Amy’s Culinary Adventures at the Kennebunkport Festival: Day 1
It’s a gorgeous June afternoon and a perfect start to the Kennebunkport Festival. I check into the Kennebunkport Inn, my home away from home for the week, unpack my bags, and settle in. The cocktail party tonight is at One Dock, the inns restaurant and bar, and all I have to do is walk downstairs to join the fun. Most of the guests are congregating on the deck listening to the smooth sounds of Emilia Dahlin and her band. I’m handed an ice cold, light pink cocktail featuring Double Cross vodka. It’s tart and sweet, made with beet juice, simple syrup, lime, soda water, and a hint of mint.
This cocktail party is the perfect way for me to ease into the week; with so many people to meet, places to visit, and drinks to sample, it’s nice to kick it off with an intimate gathering. The passed appetizers are delicious, and I have to limit myself after more than a few bites of duck rillettes, smoked salmon with dill cream, lightly spiced shrimp bites, and herbed goat cheese, and candied onions served on polenta cakes.
But soon it’s time for dinner. My guest and I walk across the river and to the home of Sherry Turner and Steve Bull for a dinner prepared by Alyson and Ryan Flemming of Fromviandoux in Camden. As other guests arrive we snack on light hors d’oeuvres and sip wine on their wrap-around porch.
Sherry and Steve have been hosting these dinners for five years and it’s apparent how much they enjoy sharing their home and this experience with us. The wines are paired by John Dietz of Easterly Wine Co., and the food prepared by the Flemmings is a delight. The couple enjoys eating a few small portions, and their menu, like our dinner, is served in that fashion.
We start with coriander cured salmon on Yukon gold potato blini, a sherry glazed melt-in-my-mouth pork belly with blue oyster mushrooms, and a scalloped crab cake bound with scallops, not bread crumbs, with spring pea shoots. The course is paired with a chardonnay-viognier blend by Spann Vineyards. It’s full bodied, balanced, and incredibly food friendly.
Ryan’s light and airy gnudi, house made ricotta dumplings with arugula, lardons, and lemon butter, are paired with a luscious Russian River Valley pinot gris by Inman Family wines. A rich dish of duck prepared three ways, honey roasted breast, cinnamon spiced duck confit, and creamy foie gras, is served alongside a smooth yet bold 2008 Easton zinfandel.
Alyson’s love of cheese is evident; there’s a page dedicated to cheese on the menu, and tonight, our desserts highlight her favorite ingredient. After a small bite of frozen yogurt, pungent and tart with hints of lemon and bursts of grapefruit and mint, she presents a triple cream cake made with gooey, soft Brillat Savarin cheese. To end the meal and a fabulous night, Alyson serves a strawberry basil cake with basil ice cream and a cocoa streusel and Dietz provides a fizzy and sweet wine ”to make you smile,” he says.
Meeting new people and eating amazingly prepared food in a gorgeous home makes me very happy. I head back to the Kennebunkport Inn to rest up for my next day in the Kennebunks, and look forward to what tomorrow brings.