Announcing Whole Hog Dinners, March 1-4

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The Cinta pig is an Italian breed traditionally used in cured meats. Photo courtesy of Front Porch Farm.

 

This will be our fifteenth year celebrating the glorious pig with a four-day series of dinners akin to the community dinners once commonly held at butchering time.

The inspiration for our menu comes from the heart of Italian food which lies in its peasant kitchens and butchers like our friend Dario Cecchini, whose family in Tuscany has been practicing butchery for 250 years. Dario expresses the purest love for pigs through his work. In this video, he professes it so poetically, so movingly, it serves as a reminder for us to think harder and understand more about where our food comes from.

According to Cecchini, there are no premium or lower cuts of meat — all parts are delicious if butchered and cooked appropriately. We hope we can convey some of that boundless love and respect through Chef Jonah’s farm-inspired menu.

For these dinners, we’ll be breaking down at least five delicious whole pigs from farms like Front Porch which supplies us with its delicious Cintas.

It’s best to experience this meal in a group. The menu is expansive, and you’ll be able to taste more dishes that way. Make your reservation soon! This dinner fills up quickly.

Our New Rosticceria

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Porchetta with tomatoes, olive oil-whipped potatoes, and salsa verde, 19.

We’ve converted our downstairs cafe into an Italian rosticceria in the evenings.

Our rosticceria is focused on fire-roasted or slowly braised meats and simple vegetable dishes from farmers we know, at affordable prices. The menu is designed for quick service, but diners can still sit down and linger – perhaps over a cocktail from our new cocktail list.

With the rosticceria, our neighbors can stroll in for a quick platter of roasted beef, chicken, lamb, or pork (depending on what’s available) with a choice of sides. We’ll also be offering a compelling vegetarian option, a fish stew, and a vegetarian and meat-based lasagne. Our pizza and polenta service will stay the same.

We think spit-roasting on our rotisserie is just the bee’s knees. It’s the simplest way to make extremely well-raised meat taste even better. The meat bastes in its own juices, and the fat from roasts arranged higher on the rotisserie drips onto roasts arranged lower, or onto dishes of vegetables cooking at the bottom. The food takes on the subtle smoky flavors of the fire, which, in our case, consists of charcoal and almond wood.

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Brussels sprouts with pancetta, 14.

Most importantly, the rosticceria concept allows us to expand our whole animal program, which supports some of our favorite small farmers and ranchers, such as Magruder Ranch, Riverdog Farm, and Hoffman Farm. It will also make their fine, traditionally raised meat and poultry more affordable to our neighbors. A serving of meat plus two sides will cost a little under twenty dollars.

As we go through our animals, different cuts will become available, so our menu will slowly shift as the week progresses.

It’s going to be delicious!

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Roasted peppers stuffed with brown Basmati rice, fresh Borlotti beans, almonds, and goat cheese, 11.

This Just In: Fava Beans from Martin Bournhonesque


Martin, our unofficial season-keeper, delivered the first Fava beans of the season yesterday. These are the ones that are so sweet, they need no cooking.

So, the gang is all here: morels, green garlic, artichokes, and lamb! It’s a beautiful thing.

It’s here: Whole Hog Dinners begin tonight

Our hogs are in the house and we are ready and rearing to go for Whole Hog 2015.

Take a look at our full menu here.

We’ve declared this year to be the year of the Cinta, the amazing Tuscan breed. We’re celebrating this animal with a full line-up of dishes using Cinta Sonoma pigs from our friends at Front Porch Farms. Learn more about the Cinta here.

Reserve your table at the Whole Hog Dinners today.
Call 510-547-5356 or reserve online.

Whole Hog Dinners 2015: A coming out party for a very special pig

Image courtesy of Slow Food

This fresco by Ambrosia Lorenzetti, called Effete del buon governo in campagna (1338-39), depicts a Cinata pig (bottom right). It can be found in the Palazzo Comunale, Siena. Image courtesy of Slow Food

At our Whole Hog Dinners this year, we will be serving a very special pig — the Cinta Sonoma from Front Porch Farm. It’s a pig with a rich history, and we’re thrilled to be able to have gotten four to serve at our dinners. Because we’ve got such a good supply, we’re really going to be able to showcase the Cinta throughout the meal.

Since because so few people know about this species of pig, we want so share a few tidbits we’ve dug up:

The Cinta Senese breed is a domestic pig from Siena, Tuscany, and it has been around since at least the 14th century. The pig has been so beloved that it appears in paintings dating back to the 1330s, like in the fresco pictured above. But today, few people outside of Tuscany know about or get to eat, this marvelous pig.

The Cinta is named for the distinctive light band running across its chests. (“Cinta” is Italian for “sash” or “belt.”) It is known for its relatively high fat content and unparalleled flavor, and is therefore prized in charcuterie. Cintas are most at home on wooded farms, which means that they can be challenging to raise in the modern world. In fact, they were classified as endangered in the 1980s because of the lack of suitable farmland. Luckily for us, Slow Food took an interest in the Cinta and they have helped the population recover.

Today, Cinta Sense have DOP status, which means that they cannot be legally bred and sold anywhere outside of Tuscany. In particular, they come from a part of Tuscany with which we are intimately familiar — the same area as our truffles!

So how have we gotten our hands on the Cinta pigs for the Whole Hog Dinners? Well, the short answer is that they aren’t exactly Cinta Senese.

Our Cintas are technically Cinta Sonomas, and they come from Front Porch Farm up in, you guessed it, Sonoma County. They’re beautiful animals, and they make for delicious food.

Front Porch Farms began researching how they could bring Cintas to California in 2008. As they explain on their website, they needed to recruit “an antiquities foundation, a medieval music-singing soprano (Valeria), a pig-whisperer (Riccio), and an Irish animal transport genius (Mike)” to make it happen.

Cintas finally arrived at Front Porch in June 2012. They brought in four distinct bloodlines to maintain genetic diversity, and these pigs have in turn produced two generations of Cinta Sonomas on their farm. Front Porch raises their Cintas at Acorn Ranch, a property full of both lush grasslands and oak forest. As they say, it’s pig heaven. This land is, importantly, reminiscent of the Tuscan forest region from which the Cinta come; they are able to forage and feast on mushrooms, acorns, berries, truffles, roots, and rhizomes. Front Porch also supplements this diet with barley, peas, and lots of apples. They hope to add chestnuts to that line-up when their newly planted chestnut trees come into maturity.

In 2014, Front Porch began selling their Cintas to restaurants in the Bay Area and we are lucky to have four of these amazing pigs to serve at our Whole Hog Dinners, starting March 3.

Reserve now. Call 510-547-5356 or reserve online.

Whole Hog menu is complete!

Piglets2smallerReserve now.

Whole Hog Dinners 2015
March 3–7, 2015

We’ve got our hogs ready to go and our menu finalized. Get ready for a feast of epic, delicious proportions.

Antipasti: smaller items, soup, and salads

~cold~

Affetati misti: large array of house-cured, aged salumi

Burrata cheese with house-cured prosciutto, candied walnuts, and old aceto balsamico

Minestra of pork, barley, and escarole

Crostino of “young” lonza with swordfish tonnato, capers, and lemon

Country pâté with brioche crostini and spring onions

Garden lettuces vinaigrette

~warm~

Terrina of pork trotters with Puy lentils, frisée, and mustard vinaigrette

Salad of first-of-season asparagus, pancetta, torn bread, and Parmesan cheese

Charcoal-grilled Italian-style sausage with escarole and breadcrumbs

Fritto of battered pig’s ears with bagna cauda, green garlic, and spring onions

Charcoal-grilled pork heart with ragù of beans, Castelvetrano olives, and rosemary

Cassuola of Gigande beans braised with pork skin

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Primi

Potato gnocchi with whey-braised pork

Cavatelli with pork ragù allʼabruzzese

Fusilli bucati with garlic pork sausage, Manila clams and turnip greens

Tortellini of mortadella in rich pork brodetto

Agnolotti dal plin of pork offal

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Secondi: grills, sautées, and rotisserie

Cinta Sonoma alla Caja China: Cinta pig roasted in a box

Spit-roasted house-cured ham

Due of boudins: blanc and noir with house-fermented sauerkraut

Roast pork “osso buco” with roast potatoes, broccoli di ciccio, and salsa verde

Spit-roasted, pancetta-wrapped pork tenderloin

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Dolce

TBD

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Plus, we’ll be offering these special menu items each day of the week:

Tuesday, March 3
Porchetta: layers of boneless pork middle, fat, skin, rolled in savory, moist, boneless pork meat and spit-roasted over wood

Wednesday, March 4
Front Porch Farms Cinta celebration

Thursday, March 5
 Saucisson en croûte: a lovely French-style pork sausage, wrapped in puff pastry, baked in a terrine and served warm

Friday, March 6
Zampone: the prized Modenese dish of boned pig’s trotter, stuffed with highly seasoned ground pork meat, rind, sinew, and fat, which is then trussed and cooked in broth

Saturday, March 7
Bollito misto: various cuts of meat and sausages, cooked and served in a rich pork broth and accompanied by multiple herby and full-flavored salsas

call 510-547-5356 or reserve online

February 24th, 2015|2015, Coming up..., Events, Front Porch Farm|0 Comments

Whole Hog Dinners 2015: Featured Menu Items

pig2Each night of our Whole Hog Dinners, we’ll either be hosting a special event or featuring a special menu item. This is, of course, in addition to the usual enormous and delicious menu of salumiantipastiragus, sausages, roasts, and stews that Chef Jonah will prepare. We’ll announce the rest of the menu next week.

On Tuesday March 3, we’ll have a wonderful porchetta (layers of boneless pork middle, fat, skin, rolled in savory, moist, boneless pork meat and spit-roasted over wood).

On Wednesday, we will be hosting Front Porch Farms and highlighting their Cinta Sonoma pigs. If you would like to sit at or near their table, please let us know when you make your reservation.

On Thursday, we’ll serve a saucisson en croute, a lovely French-style pork sausage, wrapped in puff pastry, baked in a terrine and served warm.

On Fridayzampone: The prized Modenese dish of boned pig’s trotter, stuffed with highly seasoned ground pork meat, rind, sinew, and fat, which is then trussed and cooked in broth.

Finally, on Saturday, we’ll have full-out bollito misto (mixed boil) of various cuts of meat and sausages, cooked and served in a rich pork broth and accompanied by multiple herby and full-flavored salsas.

call 510-547-5356 or reserve online

Whole Hog Dinners 2015: The Year of the Cinta

Whole Hog Dinners 2015: The Year of the Cinta
March 3–7

Peter & Mimi Buckley of Front Porch Farm Welcoming the Cinta

Peter & Mimi Buckley of Front Porch Farm with their Cinta pigs.

For centuries, the Cinta Senese, the prized breed of Tuscan pig, had never been found outside of the area around Siena. Almost three years ago, Peter and Mimi Buckley managed to import 21 Cintas into California to their Front Porch Farm for the purpose of breeding. Over time, the stock has grown and the feeding protocols have been refined.

We’ve brought Peter and Mimi’s Cintas into the Oliveto kitchen, where we have been curing and roasting the pigs. We’ve been loving the results.

This year, we’ll be able to feature these wonderful pigs throughout our Whole Hog Dinners, scheduled for March 3–7.

Call 510-547-5356 or reserve online.

Stone fruit from Blossom Bluff

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Although cherries got hit hard this year, peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots seem to have been less affected with most varieties appearing right on schedule and in good supply. As we head towards July many of the mid-season varieties are taking a turn on both the Oliveto dinner menu and the dessert menu and occasionally showing up in the early a.m. cafe in the form of a pop-up crostata (which goes great with an cappuccino btw).

Fran looking cute in her fruit hat

Fran looking cute in her fruit hat

ON THE MENU:

Santa Rosa Sour
Platte Valley straight corn whiskey; Santa Rosa plum; Oliveto white peach shrub; lime; egg white; Angostura bitters

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Terrina of pigeon with pistachios, Santa Rosa plums, old aceto balsamico, and crostino

Panzanella of grilled peaches with wild arugula, balsamic vinegar, and Pecorino cheese

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Apricot sorbetto

Blossom Bluff aprium crostata with almond ice cream

Oven-roasted Regina peach with shortcake and fennel pollen

Summer on the Menu

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An eye-popping visit to the Tuesday Farmers’ Market makes it hard to ignore that summer is almost here. Gorgeous produce from Full Belly, Dirty Girl, and Riverdog will be all over the menu to ring in this weekend’s summer solstice including:

Local King Salmon with ratatouille of Japanese eggplant, peppers and squashes

June 20th, 2014|Farmers, Market Reports, Summer|0 Comments