The article from Luke Tsai in the East Bay Express that mentions our Mulefoot Hogs, the upcoming dinner (10/12), Chop Bar & Lungomare - has roots in a great friendship with Chef Craig DiFonzo started years ago when he was a chef in Yountville. From Day 1, he supported the farm and animals.
Years and hogs (and guineas and rabbits and duck eggs) later, we are grateful that Craig is still friend. Yes, a great meal needs to start with great ingredients - and we try to supply the great ingredients - but the ingredients need a great artist. We are always humbled at the wonderful things he creates.
When Larry & I married - our reception dinner was at Lungomare. When my parents visit from PA, we make sure to schedule a meal at Lungomare. Larry, historically not a foodie, said it better than I could, "one of the best things about Craig's dishes is that you can still taste the main focus - it's not covered up by different things going on - but you get a great taste of the main flavor" - of course, Larry said it much more eloquently than I can quote - but he was so "spot on" with his description it stopped my in my tracks.
I've been in the Lungomare kitchen - everything is made from scratch. Whole beans are shucked, stock is made from vegetable trimmings and animal bones, the smoking chips are soaked and put in the smoker for pork belly, whole fresh fish arrives from the fishmonger - so fresh it is still in rigor mortis, pate, pickles, dough, homemade ricotta, nocino. Everything is sourced as locally as possible, too - he works with as many small farmers and ranches as possible - he's proud to show the raw ingredients and talk about the heritage breed rabbits, freshly caught sardines & salmon, locally made cheeses. He drives the kitchen staff hard - but not for no reason - he wants each dish to leave the kitchen perfect. He wants each guest to enjoy the dish - and share in the magic that he feels creating in the kitchen.
We cannot continue to learn and grow the farm business without support from local chefs. We could never have gotten this far without support from our friends. We're grateful to have Craig as both.