October, 22nd – October 23rd
We frequently get the request to repeat a special dinner we offered in 2006 to celebrate polenta. Just last month, we harvested Trentino Red Flint corn grown here in California, which definitely merits a whole new polenta celebration.
Polenta is a meal meant to be eaten communally. Traditionally, corn porridge was cooked on the fire in a paiolo (copper pot), poured out onto a wood board, formed into a firm, rounded cake and set in the middle of the table. La Polenta is served with simple to exalted ingredients that run the gamut from saucy meats, poultry and wild game, vegetables, mushrooms, fish stew, to olive oil and cheese. Following in the tradition, we will offer wooden boards with a round of polenta for each table sufficient for the size of the party, with a variety of accompaniments from which to choose.
In the 1970s, most regional corn varieties in Italy were lost as more people turned to an industrial raised corn. This Italian Red Flint corn, we call Trentino, came from a family garden in Trento and was discovered by our friend William Rubel, a food historian. We think this particular Red Flint corn originated in the Caribbean.
Anson Mills in South Carolina grew out the first crop in 2006. It was milled fresh, kept cold, and air expressed to Oliveto for our first Polenta Dinners. Our relationships William Rubel and Glenn Roberts of Anson Mills, along with this initial foray into growing and milling corn, quickly evolved into our first meeting at Oliveto to explore the possibility of establishing a grain economy here in Northern California. This year’s batch of corn, grown for us in Woodland, CA by the Rominger Brothers, is from seed provided by William. It was harvested on September 15, 2009.