Fava beans and white asparagus tossed over heatLast night, I was lucky enough to be a part of the Summer Solstice Cider Dinner at Cooks & Soldiers (not my client). My actual clients, the team at Six Plates, in Durham, NC, came to town along with Diane Flynt, the founder and cider maker at Foggy Ridge Cider in Virginia. It was a lot of work coordinating between two restaurants, a beverage producer and no less than three PR firms – but I was rewarded with an amazing experience and unbelievably generous access to the kitchen as the back of house teams prepared the meal. Huge thanks go out to Chef John Eisensmith, Mattie Beason, Chef Colton Wells, Diane Flynt, Fred Castellucci, Chef Landon Thompson, Chef John Castellucci, Chris Dobson, Chef Colin Auer, Chef Ashley Auer, Stewart Barnes, Caroline Plyler Haye, Natalie Earwood and everyone who helped out along the way.

Here’s the menu:

First Course

Six Plates

Quail eggs, confit fingerlings, haricot vert, chorizo and smoked tomato foam

Pairing: Foggy Ridge Serious Cider


Second Course

Cooks & Soldiers

Lemon curd, caviar, baby greens, strawberry, pear and green goddess dressing

Pairing: Foggy Ridge First Fruit


Third Course

Six Plates

Pan seared diver scallop, fennel, lentils, pancetta and fresh cherry jus

Pairing: Foggy Ridge Handmade


Fourth Course

Cooks & Soldiers

Iberico tenderloin, fava beans, fennel, asparagus, peas, berries and Iberico jus

Pairing: Foggy Ridge Stayman Winesap


Fifth Course

Six Plates

New York Strip, shiitake barley risotto, lion’s mane mushrooms, corn, blueberries and calvados demi

Pairing: Isastegi Basque Cider


Sixth Course

Cooks & Soldiers

Georgia peach-apple galette, bacon, cider and house-spun honey-lemon ice cream

Pairing: Foggy Ridge Pippin Gold Port