Sunday, September 26, 2010

Wining and Dining on the Santa FeTrail

Our morning began with us performing our community service.....No, not in a Lindsay Lohan in an orange jumpsuit sort of way...we actually volunteered. It was Pride in Excelsior Springs day, so we and 100 or so volunteers appeared at the Public Works building to do out part to clean up the city. Our particular project was to paint the gazebo signifying the well next to Willow Springs Mercantile. Our team consisted of us, Eric from the Elms, a couple of retired teachers and some students from Job Corps and the Career Center. We primed up the old girl and had her lookin' good before we headed back for the afternoon dogs, brats and burgers. Kudos especially to the young lady named Vision who clearly has some creative vision of her own...she's quite the painter.

We motored up to Fahrmeier Farms near Lexington for the Santa Fe Trail Food and Wine Festival. The locale was a truly idyllic, autumnal setting. The farm's hilltop setting provided an incredible backdrop of grapevines and painterly skies. Several local food and wine vendors had bountiful booths of goods and samples. Our dear friend, the delicious Danene Beedle, marketing director for the Missouri Wine and Grape Board, was in attendance and conducting some educational wine seminars. After we strolled the grounds and sipped some samples, we settled in for the Wine and Cheese pairing class that Danene was teaching with Cory from Les Bourgeois Vineyards. We were given several cheese samples and then were asked to try them with various wines and decide which we thought paired the best. For us, this wonderful raspberry cheese co-mingled with a local Chardonel and the Olive Oil and Herb cheese played well with the Norton red. However, the wow moment arrived with the pairing of the Tawny Port with the sharp cheddar cheese. It probably sounds a tit-bit pretentious, but seriously the taste of the two together were an outright revelation: a perfect marriage of taste and texture. The moment they came together literally made me gasp.

Ok...before I drown in my own preciousness, let me assure you that this event was not without comedy relief. One unfortunate woman arrived, mid-class, apparently straight from the loo, judging by the lengthy stream of toilet paper trailing from the top of her jeans. We kept thinking her husband will see it and save her, but, alas, he remained as oblivious as his spouse. A bit of a breeze kept kicking up and just caused the Charmin tail to flap and flow behind her. We didn't think it could get worse until we see she's decided to rinse out her wine the bucket in front of the entire class. Sure enough, she toddles up to the bucket and the t.p. streamer flowed behind her along the steadily more startled crowd. The t.p. tail made its official debut literally in the faces of the ladies in the front row and at this point, we'd nearly slid to the ground in hysterics. In the end, we regrouped and paid tribute to Danene, who had always been impressive but now surprised us with her wicked teaching skills as well.

The afternoon was relaxing; we munched on some spicy cucumbers and apples grown on the property as well as some savory roasted chestnuts. We strolled the vineyards and Keith even found a willing photography model in a posing caterpillar. We finally realized Danene had traded us in for a younger model named Cole and so we bid her farewell and left the festival as the chilly rain was starting to fall.

It was the perfect setting for Autumn to make it's grand entrance.


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