I get to photograph some pretty unique experiences throughout the state of Virginia, and last Sunday was no exception. My coworker and I joked that it was like shooting the best parts of a wedding: the reception. Forget the ceremony, dancing drunks and family grip-n-grins! What we mean is everybody loves food, especially when paired with wine, strung lights, soft music and a chef guiding your palate with evolutionary intent. We found ourselves photographing an Italian-inspired farm-to-table dinner on a farm, in the middle of a garden during sunset. If you think this sounds magical, it was. My only regret was that I was not sitting at the table enjoying every bite.
The Boathouse’s Chef Paige Healy, upon completing her culinary studies in Italy, has teamed up with Victory Farms in Richmond to present true farm-to-table dining experiences. Each dinner’s five course menu is paired with a selection of wine from The Boathouse’s sommelier, Michael Avery, a tour of the farm and, typically, a glorious golden hour. In some instances the guests are even invited to help gather fresh herbs to contribute to their meal.
The feast included a roasted beet, walnut, Gorgonzola arugula salad; lasagna al pesto layered with zucchini and mozzarella; roasted chicken with caramelized onions, sweet peppers and baby carrots; potatoes sautéed in olive oil and garlic; and made-from-scratch tiramisu finished off with a Sambuca digestivo.
While I was able to partake in a plate of insalata and tiramisu during quick breaks, both of which were delectable, I was also able to savor the experience with some stunning visuals. And although no one got married, it felt like everyone at the table was family in the end.