That was the scene at the Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County in mid-November for Farm Fête, an event by Provisions Magazine. The chef was Stéphane Gawlowicz, once of Paris where he learned to cook and now of Penn State where he is the managing chef of Redifer Commons. In France, he sourced his meals from the Loire Valley; in Bellefonte he used local farmers and producers from Bellefonte, Lamar, Mifflinburg, State College, Saxonburg, Centre Hall, Rebersburg and Woodward.
Diner Art Heim said he thought the show was one of the best he’s seen at the museum. “It had all the hallmarks of what I believe is so special about the venue. Local artists producing wonderful world-class work, the synergy among artist and ‘providers’ in the community, the farm-to-table theme — this show brought it all together. (It) highlighted what is so special about our local environment and resident talent. This is a ‘special’ place to live and thrive.”
Our next course was Cedar Spring smoked trout filet with pickled red beets and horseradish sour cream. We detected caviar on top of the filet. I never cared for fish but having recently had smoked salmon on a river trip in Alaska, I learned then that I’d been missing something. I was eager to taste the filet, and was not disappointed. My fellow diners agreed, admiring the interesting blend of sweetness, smoke and salt.
The salad, served after the entrée in typical French fashion, featured mixed greens with Dijon mustard-walnut oil vinaigrette. The presentation garnered praise but not as much as the cheese topping it all. I detected a bite typical of the Irish cheese I feast on at home.
Dessert, an apple tart sable with raspberry reduction, earned the ultimate comment: “I want this recipe. It’s delicious.” It appeared with a dessert wine, one of three pours from Happy Valley Vineyard & Winery throughout the meal to complement the courses.
We finished the evening with coffee, madeleines and chocolate truffles. I cannot tell a lie: I think some of my tablemates had more than one.
Conversation capped our evening, and we happily engaged in a casual question-and-answer session with Chef Stéphane, who answered all our inquiries except the most pressing of all: When’s the next dinner?
(Good news! There are still tickets available for our next event at Revival Kitchen on Tuesday, Dec. 11!)
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