What do we love most about living in the Hudson Valley--the legendary views, the art they inspired, the local farms, the food they produce? All the things we love come together in Olanafest 2012, Olana's biggest local fundraising event of the year, which takes place on Sunday, October 7. Chefs from some of the best restaurants in Columbia and Dutchess counties have been challenged to create original hors d'oeuvres inspired by the landscape paintings of Frederic Church. Honorary chair for Olanafest 2012, Ruth Reichl comments, "This is the first time the work of the eminent Hudson River School landscape artist is driving some of the best culinary artists in the Hudson Valley."
Among the paintings inspiring the hors d'oeuvres are these:
The After Glow inspired Chef Rei Peraza of Panzur in Tivoli to create Beef Heart Tartar with Pastrami Gel.
Storm in the Blue Mountains, Jamaica inspired Chefs John McCarthy and Benjamin Freemole of The Crimson Sparrow to create a caramelized white chocolate and spice cake laced with cloves, cardamon, and tamarind.
Horseshoe Falls inspired Chef Joseph Dalu of Le Petit Bistro in Rhinebeck to create Crispy Fried Oysters with Cucumber and Spicy Tabikki Mayo.
The study for Under Niagara inspired Chef Charles Fells of The Artist's Palate in Poughkeepsie to create Fois Gras Paté with Champagne Creme.
Mexican Forest--A Composition inspired Lori Selden and Mark Young of Mexican Radio to create Mexican Vegetable Pinwheels with Spicy Salsa Cruda.
Clouds Over Olana inspired Chef Wilson Costa of Gigi Hudson Valley in Rhinebeck to create Fall Vegetable Hash over Grilled Gigi Maple Pumpkin Polenta.
Sunset, Bar Harbor inspired Chef Mark Ganem of Vico to create Tricolor Pepperonata with Thyme over Parmiggiano Polenta al tramonto.
Other culinary works of art expected at Olanafest 2012 are Moroccan Orange Olana, inspired by Evening Clouds Over Olana, from Chocolatier Oliver Kita's Hudson Valley Estate Collection of Chocolates, and Cider Glazed Pork Belly with Braised Kale and Apple Butter Squash Puree, inspired by Apple Blossoms at Olana, created by Chef Robert Pecorino of Café Le Perche.
For more tantalizing information about the event, including photographs of some of the scrumptious morsels, see Scott Baldinger's article in Rural Intelligence: "Olanafest 2012: Eat for Art's Sake."
Olanafest 2012 takes place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Sunday on the East Lawn of the Olana State Historic Site. Tickets for the gala evening are $90 for members of The Olana Partnership or $115 for nonmembers. Visit the Olana website or call (518) 828-1872 for more information or to reserve tickets.