The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr
30 June 2018
The EAT Foundation has hosted another successful community dinner, and this time, the theme was Shakespeare’s plays. With a bit of wordplay setting the tone for the rest of the culinarily-punny evening (the menu was a sonnet, after all), the night kicked off with a “Midsummer Night’s Dram,” and ended up following through all the way to “Lady (fingers) Macbeth” for dessert. Guests were treated to a wonderful experience before and after the meal, as The Quill Theatre made a point of reserving seats for EAT’s guests in Agecroft’s open-air theater for the post-dinner performance as well.
As guests began to arrive, they were treated to a Midsummer Night’s Dram. A cocktail made with bourbon, Iced Tea, and mint infused honey syrup. Lemon and mint garnished the beverage. In case you’re wondering, mint infused honey syrup is made by mixing equal parts water and honey, dropping in mint, then letting the tasty concoction simmer for about 10-15 minutes. The starter refreshment received glowing reviews from the guests as a cool compliment to the heat and humidity of an early summer evening.
The first course of the night was a Country Ham(let), made specifically to cleanse the pallet of the Midsummer Night’s Dram and prepare for the upcoming rounds of deliciousness. Regional Virginia ham was topped with bourbon honey mustard and sandwiched between two homemade buttermilk biscuits. Yum!
As the appetizing course was being picked up, The Quill was kind enough to gift the diners with a singing performance from one of their players, Elizabeth Ashby. In fact, she came out and sang a different song between each course, bringing the guests closer to the revelry of an Elizabethan feast. Truly, her talents helped transport the guests throughout the evening.
Next up on the menu was the Taming of the Stew. (Get it? Ok good.) The dish had a watermelon base and chunks of watermelon within. This was combined with pieces of other melons and micro green radish to create a sweet, fresh, and bitter flavor blend. The flavors of the stew, notably the bitter microgreens, were “tamed” by the cool liquids and aromas of the fresh fruit.
The Merchant of Venison followed quickly thereafter. This one might be the heavy hitter of the night. Fresh penne was accompanied by venison Bolognese, shaved pecorino cheese, and edible flowers called Nasturtiums. Once again, the meat was regionally sourced. Chef Will Lacey has a strong belief in supporting local farms and business. He even made a point of telling the guests that the land surrounding the area from which the deer were brought has many apple trees, the fruit of which the deer like to eat. As a result, the venison has a slightly fruity, woodsy quality, which Chef Lacey told the guests to look out for. Taking his commitment to local ingredients a step further, despite coming up for the event from South Carolina, Chef Lacey and his partner bought the majority of the ingredients for the dinner at the South of the James farmer’s market in Richmond, VA that morning. You may not be surprised by this, but fresh berries are better tasting and better for you (especially in terms of environmental and economic impact!).
Speaking of berries, these were the morsels complementing the next and final course of the night, the aforementioned Lady (Fingers) Macbeth. Tiramisu bread pudding was topped with sweet and creamy mascarpone. The berries were arranged neatly on the side, with Cava as the accompanying adult beverage. This decadent dessert served as a tasteful ending to an already wonderful experience.
Chef Will Lacey hit it out of the park, AGAIN. His talent and consistency come to bare every time he cooks for EAT. If you don’t know already, he’s from Charleston, South Carolina. There he runs an organization called Driftwood Pantry. Their mission is very similar to EAT’s “Driftwood Pantry provides products and services designed to foster a sense of community.”
The Quill Theatre and it’s talented group of players perform about once a month to a crowd of around eighty. While they did Shakespeare the night of the EAT event, The Quill does a variety of different performances. You can find their season schedule here.