Summertime in Connecticut means that the Hartford Symphony Orchestra moves out doors to the Simsbury Meadows (double check info) for five fun and family friendly concerts, each featuring a different theme. We attended last Friday and were blown away by the Orchestra’s collaboration with Morgan James, Capathia Jenkins, and Randall Craig Fleischer for Broadway Rocks!
This is my favorite media partnership yaas
A Hartford Magazine on each and every table! Nice
We had a very nice group of ladies in attendance (plus one gentleman boyfriend who graciously offered to snap this picture)
Pictured left to right: Diane Taha of the Greater Hartford Arts Council, Carolyn Paine of Connetic Dance, Rachael Forker of Onyx Moonshine, Me! of CTNow/Hartford Courant, and Emily Cahill of Yelp, Hartford. Quite the power group.
Speaking of Onyx, Rachael was kind enough to bring us Cranberry Onyx Margaritas. I’m glad I haven’t had the chance to try the Cranberry Onyx before this… the margarita blend was such a nice blend of citrus and tart – it was the serendipitous introduction.
Plus, the Onyx looked really nice in my new mason jar cocktail glasses.
In addition to friends actually in attendance, we had friends who were there in spirit:
Emily mixed her 90 Plus Prosecco with a home made blueberry and basil simple syrup, which will hopefully serve as a nice base for many a future summer cocktail meet up. We also had some great offerings from our partners for Talcott:
The always amazing Rosedale wines
And finger foods from Fitzgeralds. The fruit tarts are my actual favorites. I crave them in the winter because I associate them with Talcott and summertime.
All the food, libations, and camaraderie were an excellent back drop to the main attraction: the music. I’m a self professed classical music nerd, due to many, many hours on the piano in my formative years. And who doesn’t like a good Broadway tune? The beauty of Talcott is that it takes a higher brow concept, like the Symphony, and combines it with the mass appeal of pop music:
Demonstrated with this crowd here. The perfect weather probably didn’t hurt.
There was plenty of singing along to crowd favorites from Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera, and to round things off: a flash mob from The Age of Aquarius!
Oh, also there were fireworks. And a perfect, full Hunter’s Moon.
So, basically, the best night out I can remember in quite some time!
Also fun and relaxing was hosting a farm to chef BBQ on Sunday. Yes, I know that term gets bandied about quite a bit, but the lion’s share of the ingredients were sourced from farms within 5 miles of my house that very day, so I feel like it’s justified.
Behold the tiny hunter gatherer
Penelope loves trips to the Garlic Farm, which is useful as I currently write their newsletter and we have a CSA starting up soon. It seems like a great thing to do with a baby – tactile development, GMO and pesticide free vegetables, shapes, colors – plus, at the end, we have fresh delicious things to eat
My friend Amanda and I headed up to Lost Acres for local wine whilst the men folk stayed at home with the kids. Naturally, this led to a glass of wine on the patio, with jazz playing in the background
If you haven’t been to Lost Acres and you live close by, just go. It’s so worth it
Once back home, I prepped a very simple bruschetta (recipe below) and cracked open another bottle – one I’ve been saving for some time, waiting for the right pairing:
Tada! Plus Ironside Cabernet – courtesy of Cait – from the same folks behind the 90 Plus Cellars Brand
The tomatoes from the Garlic Farm were beef tomatoes – rich and meaty, with a thick, juicy texture which I felt would pair better with red wine then a right. The nicely balanced tannic quality of the Ironside blended nicely with the crunchy, balsamic bruschetta. Plus, I was pleasantly surprised at the thinnish mouthfeel of Ironside – it’s got a three dimensional, robust flavor palatte but a more maleable body then many cabernets, which also lends itself well to summer drinking! Ok yes, I just learned “mouthfeel” and I’ve been dying to use it in a sentence. True wine snobs feel free to attack me in the comments. 🙂
The Ironside also worked very well with Sweet Pea local burgers and watermelon feta arugula salad (stolen from the Capital Grille’s summer menu, thank you very much). It’s the first wine created by the 90 Plus Cellars company, and the backstory is quite charming too! Always nice to read about or drink a wine that you have a bit of a personal connection to, don’t you think? (My connection, if it’s not obvious, is Cait, who now works for 90 Plus as a marketing lady extraordinairre).
Also pictured: marinated shrimp. And you can’t see it, but there is black pepper Sweet Pea chevre on top of the burger.
It’s definitely worth it to go local, fresh, and seasonal for a BBQ. The bruschetta alone packed a much bigger flavor punch then many I’ve prepared in the past, due to the extremely fresh ingredients. Plus, there’s the added satisfaction of sustainability and knowing you’re supporting local agriculture. I’m thinking that when we go to the Florida Keys in August, I’ll try to make a Floridian version of farm to table (sea to table?) with fresh grouper and citruses. Ah yes. Let the good (summer) times roll!
Farm fresh bruschetta
Extra virgin olive oil
Rock salt and fresh cracked pepper
Fresh ciabatta bread
Cube tomatoes and combine with slivered garlic and torn up basil in a medium sized bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic and season to taste. Refrigerate for at least 1/2 an hour and up to four hours. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees, thin slice the ciabatta and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Lightly toast the ciabatta and then spoon the bruschetta on top and serve immediately.