We enjoyed a blessedly relaxing evening with our Dinner Posse crew recently in the chill atmosphere of Van Till Farms in Rayville, MO. Chill AND chilly, actually, as the first truly brisk breezes of the changing seasons settled in. Having not been to Van Till before, I was a mite concerned about sitting outside on their well-known patio on this particular Friday night. The concern was needless, however, as the good folks at Van Till took care of everything.
Van Till Family Farm and Winery is located on an idyllic setting in Rayville, MO. Van Till has always been in my peripheral vision in a way...they had participated in the Missouri Wine Festival at the Elms before and I always purchased their to-die-for Garlic-Gorgonzola bread. I shouldn't speak much of those much-missed bakery items as Van Till isn't producing those anymore. We spoke to Van Till patriarch Cliff about that the night we were there and he admitted that they needed to streamline and focus their efforts on their wine and gardens. It's certainly hard to argue with that logic when you taste the bounty of their farm-to-table goodness.
That night, we arrived to the enclosed patio, settled in with the Posse folks and ordered up some bottles of wine. It was great to see the Boswells whom we hadn't seen in a while, and we caught up with them over various Van Till vinos like the flavorful Chambourcin and for the ladies, a makeshift blend of the semi-sweet Vignoles and the Sweet White. On Friday nights and Saturdays only, Van Till serves up their marvelous gourmet pizzas and that's what we were here for. Keith and I kicked off with mixed greens (grown in their own greenhouses) tossed in the tangy house-made basil-garlic dressing and then soon dug into a delicious vegetarian Spinach Blanco (with fresh spinach and tomatoes and creamy white sauce) pizza. Among the savory pies sampled on the table were the Bacon-Gorgonzola and the Pesto Chicken Pear and all received enthusiastic thumbs up. The pizzas are all baked in the wood-fired oven on the patio and that night Cliff's son was manning the oven.