Midsummer in Montana. Everything is blooming and fruiting. The day’s sun scorches us while the cool nights revive us. In summer, exciting things happen–It’s as if everyone in this part of the world holes up for three-quarters of the year in preparation. It’s no wonder so many people from around the world want to share. Sometimes it can be overwhelming–the hustle and bustle the crowds–but then there’s events like this, people like these, that remind you what summer is all about…friendship, celebration, appreciation of the bounty of where we are.
One evening last week, we were guests at a farm-to-table dinner at Purple Mountain Lavender Farm. It was one of those evenings too lovely to be real, if you know what I mean. We arrived at their farm at the top of the mountain and were shuttled to the house for a night of good food and wine. The theme of the night was dining with lavender. Inside a screened in porch tables covered with beautiful white linens and sprigs of lavender were set. Meanwhile, a local musician, just out of high school, began to play just down the hill from us. The first course was served outside: a bruschetta with lavender in the dressing. A wine was presented as a pairing and poured freely. Everyone relaxed into the rhythm of the evening and before long we were brought into the dining area.
The courses were made up of local products done in a simple yet creative way: sauteed forest mushrooms with lavender goat cheese on puff pastry; green salad with lavender balsamic; and roasted chicken breast with herbs de Provence and a lavender-lemon cream sauce. I looked around during each and diners licked their plates clean (in the most delicate way possible). Each dish was paired with a different wine. To finish, out came a classic carrot cake but with a lavender infused cream cheese frosting. This course was served with a beer from the brewery across the lake.
While the food was fabulous, the company was best. Everyone was so happy and so hospitable. You can imagine why. We chatted like old friends and watched as the sun finally settled over the horizon in the late-night hours.
Thank you for having us, Purple Mountain Lavender. It was a night we won’t soon forget.