It was a beautiful Sunday night for a five-course dinner at Chamard Vineyards. The sun was shining and streaming into the Barn setting, sunlight through the windows and doors, yet with just enough darkness for globe lights to be lit up and hanging above us, making the room so cozy and inviting. Just outside the door we could see a glimpse of the pond and water fountain on the grounds of the vineyard. I’d always wanted to partake in an event in the Barn, and I was excited to have this experience.
The long farm table was set with glassware, napkins and silverware for the 10 guests. It was such an intimate group and already, the night was off to a great start. There were three pairs of twosomes – friends and couples – and then four members of the Sepe Family. We were introduced to the farmer, Peter, his wife Carol, his daughter Erin, and her husband Jonathan, the owners of Sepe Farms in Sandy Hook. It was their seven month old lambs, we later learned, that we were going to be enjoying for this delicious evening feast.
As the first course arrived, one of Chamard’s chefs – Cooper Westerkampf – came out to the Barn from the main building at Chamard to introduce the course and what we would be enjoying. The first course consisted of Ground Lamb Sliders with preserved lemon cucumber yogurt, confit tomatoes, Feta cheese, baby arugula and frites. It was paired with a 2015 Estate Rose. The Rose was light and paired nicely with the sliders. By the time my friend and I had eaten as much of our meal as we could, we were wondering if we would have room for the next courses. And yet, somehow, we managed to find the space in our stomachs as the second course arrived.
Once again, Cooper returned to give us a brief overview of the second course. The dish contained Grilled Merguez Sausages with white bean & tomato ragout and sautéed baby spinach and was paired with a Stone Cold Red wine. The refreshing wine – a juicy, full bodied red that had been chilled slightly – really was a nice complement to the spicy flavors of the sausage and the whole grain mustard.
As the third course appeared, as did Cooper, we learned that we were going to be enjoying Roasted Leg of Lamb with Herb Dijon pistachio crusted, roasted fingerling potatoes, baby heirloom carrots with red wine demi paired with a 2015 Chiliean Malbec. The leg of lamb had a beautiful tenderness and really was a great combination with the flavors in the carrots and potatoes as well. While we were enjoying the third course, Claire Carey, the Events Manager at Chamard introduced us to the Sepe Farm Family officially, as we’d already become acquainted over the meal, and asked if they wanted to say a few words about their lambs and farm.
Peter Sepe let us know that Sepe Farm, LLC has developed relationships with local chefs over the last four years. He loves being able to walk in the back door of the kitchen and get to know how chefs think when preparing their meals and how it aligns with how he thinks about his lambs. He praised Matt Bouffard, the head chef at Chamard, saying “he is doing a super job” and how he doesn’t mind the hour drive from his farm to make a delivery to Chamard. Peter said he felt “really special” when asked to do a dinner with Chamard using his lambs. He let us know his whole family is involved in aspects of the farm.
As we finished up the third course, and remarked how we couldn’t imagine eating anymore as we were so full from all the prior delicious dishes, the fourth course was brought out and introduced by Cooper. We were presented with a Stuffed Lamb Loin Roulade with fois gras truffle briouche stuffing, stewed beluga lentils, mirepoix and grilled asparagus. This course was paired with a 2015 Cabernet Franc. As usual, despite the fact I couldn’t finish the entire course, every bite I did take was amazing; such a great combination and so flavorful.
Finally, the fifth course, our dessert, a Cherry Strudel with caramel ice cream, lamb bacon, fig paint, mint oil, fig pearls, and micro marigold was presented.
A 2014 Estate Port, a lovely golden colored wine, which was light and fruity, was paired with this wonderful finish to our meal. While many of us lingered over our Port and dessert, a good conversation about lamb dishes ensued and we were informed that the Sepe Family is always looking for lamb recipes. Peter let us know that if we ever want to visit their farm in Sandy Hook or learn more, just give them a call or visit them at www.sepefarm.com.
Matt and Cooper both made an appearance at the end of the night and let us know they are already preparing for another Farm Dinner event soon. I know I will be first in line to attend and I recommend you visit Chamard.com to keep informed about when the next five course meal will be offered. You won’t want to miss it!