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What Grows Together Goes Together: Lock 50’s Cru Night Mantra

Cru Night with Orma Toscana Rosso 2012 at Lock 50 in Worcester, MA

Too often, commodities crafted for consumption sit on dusty shelves, coveted but never enjoyed. Cru Night was conceived as an occasion to share something remarkable. 

This month, Lock 50 was selected as one of just 50 restaurants across the country (as well as a handful in Italy) – and the only one in Massachusetts – granted the prestigious honor of presenting an iconic single-vineyard wine on Cru Night. The event featured the Orma Toscana Rosso 2012, a vintage poured by the glass from large format 750ml bottles.

Cru Night with Orma Toscana Rosso 2012 at Lock 50 in Worcester, MA
Cru Night with Orma Toscana Rosso 2012 at Lock 50 in Worcester, MA

The Orma Toscana Rosso 2012 is a Bordeaux Red Blend hailing from Tuscany. Working with Lock 50, Winebow Group relished Cru Night as an opportunity to open the minds and palates of central Mass to a world of single estate wines. Attendees were reminded by Italian Portfolio Specialist, Ashley Beer, that (as with food) one tastes wine with the eyes, nose, and mouth.

Orma poured a deep brick red and emanated herbal aromas of tobacco and dry clay. As a single-vineyard novice, I have recourse to assess mouthfeel in the same simple way I consider the fat percentage of milk. Orma offered the texture of half and half, both dense and dignified. Ms. Beer, our single-vineyard virtuoso agreed, declaring the Orma both, “Rich and opulent!”

Ms. Beer likened tannins to the sharp, bitter sensation of sucking on a tea bag. She explained that Orma’s ripe tannins come as a result of a proper rest, providing a supple texture to the wine. She went on to say that there is not an overwhelming oak character (gleaned from aging in French Barrique)  and this subtlety lends solicitous balance to the Orma’s bright acidity.

Orma’s robust character renders it a perfect pair for roasts and game dishes. When Beer caught sight of the chef’s pairing, she recited the mantra, “What grows together goes together.”

Tuscany is known for simple, rustic peasant food crafted from fresh components. “It all came out of the ground together,” Executive Chef Tim Russo confirmed. Russo prepared a Tuscan feast for the event featuring ingredients grown from the same region as the esteemed wine. Russo served Anise Rubbed Wild Boar, White Beans, Braised Cavolo Nero (black kale), Truffle Cacio e Pepe, and a Roasted Pepper Spread with hearty slices of fresh bread.

Russo’s Truffle Cacio e Pepe was a minimalist’s dream – a house made pasta dish crafted from three simple ingredients.The chef reserved his pasta cooking water to bathe the dish in a delicate coating of sumptuous Italian cheese. The Orma’s purity of fruit gripped the Cacio e Pepe with a full embrace. As for the boar, Orma’s hearty density held up like none other to a beast noted in Italy as the symbol of strength.


Editor’s Note: Lock 50 regularly host many different wine events such as Cru Night. On April 5th, 2017 they will host their next Dueling Wines Event, this time pitting wines from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres in an informative and interactive wine tasting where their guests choose the winner!  In addition, on April 16, 2017 Lock 50 will host a wine tasting in conjunction with the highly acclaimed Peter Michael Winery.

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Seven Local Chefs Join Sweet’s Alina Eisenhauer for Her Crowdfunded Cookbook Project

Alina Eisenhauer from Sweet on Shrewsbury Street in Worcester, MA

Alina Eisenhauer has enlisted seven Worcester and local area chefs to provide exclusive stories and recipes for her Cooking from Memory cookbook, which she is funding herself through Kickstarter. (Crowdfunded means the book’s creation is entirely dependent on the support of the crowd – meaning us – through March 24: For a pledge of $30, you get a full-color hardcover book delivered by the end of the year.)

Peter Eco (Fay Club), Jared Foreman (deadhorse hill), Candy Murphy (Figs and Pigs), Jay Powell (Twisted Fork), Christopher Rovezzi (Rovezzi’s Ristorante), Mark DeNittis, and Tim Russo (Lock 50) have all agreed to share memories of favorite dishes growing up and provide or create recipes with Alina for the book.

“I felt this was a great way to connect our memories of food to what is happening around Worcester,” says Eisenhauer. “There are so many wonderful chefs and restaurants who are connected to and connecting this city today. I wanted to celebrate that and work with a few of them to make this cookbook even more fun and capture more of our city’s food spirit.”

Chris Rovezzis Cooking
Chris Rovezzi, in the kitchen, will share memories for Eisenhauer Cookbook

In fact, Eisenhauer notes, the memory and recipe that inspired the whole book came from a conversation she had with Rovezzi long before she moved to Worcester and opened Sweet.

“He told me chocolate cream pie was his favorite dessert as a kid, because it was the first thing his dad taught him how to cook. But he hadn’t eaten it since then because he was afraid it wouldn’t taste the same. I knew right then I had to make Chris a pie, and that’s the memory that stayed with me and inspired the book.”

What will the other chefs choose? That’s up to them, says Eisenhauer. The most important thing is that the dish connects to a memory of food that is important to them – something they ate growing up or something someone they loved made. The actual recipe in the book might be that recipe from their families, an elevated version of the dish they cook for customers today, or something inspired by the memory that Eisenhauer creates with them. She and her team will also work with the chefs to capture the memories and recipe in words and pictures.

Chef Tim Russo from Lock 50 on Water Street in Worcester, MA
Chef Tim Russo from Lock 50 on Water Street in Worcester, MAChef Tim Russo from Lock 50 on Water Street in Worcester, MA (Alex Belisle for Mass Foodies)

“But no matter what,” adds Eisenhauer. “The recipe will be exclusive to Cooking from Memory – something you won’t find anywhere else when the book is published.”

That is IF the book is published. As reported previously by Mass Foodies, Eisenhauer is taking a non-traditional route to produce a cookbook that will rival the content and quality of any book she could have produced with a traditional publisher.

But that work – mostly the printing of 5,000 books – is expensive. Kickstarter allows her to try and raise the money herself by asking her thousands of customers, connections, and friends (many of whom have asked her when she would write a cookbook and how they would “totally buy it”) to simply purchase one in advance to make it happen.

Cooking From Memory, Chef Alina Eisenhauer's new book going on Kickstarter.
Cooking From Memory, Chef Alina Eisenhauer’s new book going on Kickstarter.

“I don’t think many people realize that if there is no funding there will be no book – there will be nothing to buy later!” adds Eisenhauer. “Kickstarter is all or nothing. If we don’t get the funding we ask for, we don’t get ANY of the money we raise to do this. There is no risk to anyone who pledges either. If we fund, they get a book at below the cover price including shipping or one of the other rewards they pledge to buy. If we don’t, they are charged nothing. I promise it will be worth your advance support.”

The Cooking from Memory project ends on Kickstarter on March 24. The book also gives back: for every book sold Eisenhauer will donate at least $1 to her favorite charity: Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.