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Chefs, Winemakers Capture Tastes of the Local Harvests

Chefs, Winemakers Capture Tastes of the Local Harvests

Diane Stoneback | The Morning Call, Allentown, Pa.

Attend either or both of this weekend’s premiere food events – the Taste of the Lehigh Valley and the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail’s Harvest Weekend: The Butcher, The Baker and the Winemaker – and you could end up thinking Thanksgiving has arrived early.

Although Pilgrims and Indians won’t be present, both events will celebrate and serve up a cornucopia’s worth of our area’s harvest.

Consider them the makings of a food frenzy for locavores (people who eat only foods grown within 100 miles of their homes).

During the wine trail’s Harvest Weekend, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, visitors will find foods like handmade cheeses from Stonecroft Farm (at Clover Hill) and Klein’s Farm Dairy (at Franklin Hill), pulled pork from Pinnacle Ridge’s pig roast and Breakaway Farm’s smoked meats at Clover Hill.

All this can be enjoyed with wines made from grapes grown just beyond the tasting rooms. With a few exceptions, most of the weekend’s events are free.

The other event, the second annual Taste of the Lehigh Valley, benefits the Lehigh Valley chapter of Buy Fresh Buy Local. “It’s a steal,” confides one insider about the $20 advance ticket price.

Chefs from 14 area restaurants will gather 1-4 p.m. Sunday. They will be at Melt, at the Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley, to cook and serve an amazing menu of dishes from locally grown ingredients.

“At the local farmers markets you’ll see beautiful ingredients. At Taste, you’ll see and taste what talented chefs can do with them,” says Sarah Petryk, Melt’s marketing manager.

Although Bolete chef Lee Chizmar hasn’t decided what he’ll prepare, it will be different than last year’s Lobster Corn-Fritters. Bolete co-owner Erin Shea hints at why the event is a dream of a tasting.

“Events like this give us a chance to make an impression on people who haven’t visited our restaurant. We want to do something that stands out,” she says.

Scan the event’s menu and it’s apparent other chefs share their views.

We’re talking seriously fresh and elegant dishes: Roasted Corn and Shrimp Salad with Heirloom Tomato Vinaigrette and Goat Cheese Mousse with Cornmeal-Crusted Okra by Melt’s chef Christopher Heath. Jumbo Lump Crab Cake on Brioche with Remoulade Sauce and Liberty Gardens Microgreens from Hotel Bethlehem’s 1741 on the Terrace. Chicken Torchon with Tomato Marmalade and Mushrooms from Emeril’s Chop House.