My last full day in Brattleboro was simple. Shawna had planned a feast for the evening. Before the feast, we went on a hike up Hogback Mountain, once used for skiing, and now only for "snowmachining" (thanks, wannaveep). The trail was often overgrown, and a couple of garter snakes slithered across, frightening Shawna, until we reached the top, on which loomed a large old firetower, occupied by other hikers when we arrived. I went up, and Wyn and Shawna decided to stay below since they'd seen the view and knew the ricketyness of the tower. Wyn said I'd be able to see a hundred miles, and I would see Melville's Mount Greylock to the south and the White Mountains to the north. The occupants left as soon as I reached the top (sniff armpits--not too bad given the climb) but they talked to Wyn and Shawna while I enjoyed the view. It was wonderful and windy and the only problem was the scratched up glass windows that I had to hold open to see all the green folds of New England.
Afterwards we cut over to the road, where there was a cheesy (literally) giftshop. I spotted a chanterelle just off the trail under a tree as we approached-- small, but at its pickable peak--and so I was able to talk fungus and let Wyn and Shawna smell the delightful apricot aromas of the fresh cantharellus cibarius and then walk around the store guarding the little gold treasure in my palm. We snacked on salami and cheese and crackers and watched all the RVers who stopped to load up on maple syrup and Vermont cheddar and corny tee shirts and other chachkies. We walked back down Hogback and, just before the road, I spotted two large, perfect chanterelles under a tree and I added those to the collection, and Shawna added them to the dinner menu.
We made it back to their house in the early afternoon and Shawna immediately commenced cooking, and Wyn set the grill up for the steaks and opened the lovely Lemelson. The menu speaks for itself and for the kind of evening we savored, so here it is:
Hors d' oeuvres
Heirloom tomato bruschetta
Gravlax on cucumber
with capers & crème fraiche
Parmesan cups with herbed farmers cheese
with red wine reduction & Chanterelles
Potatos au gratin with bleu cheese
with marcona almonds
Mixed green salad
with carrots & blue cheese
Lemelson Thea’s Vineyard Oregon Pinot Noir 2005
Morgan Double L Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
Foxen Vogelzang Vineyard Cabernet 2005
Siro Pacenti Rosso di Montalcino 2005
Shawna's an amazing cook. We ate and drank too much and too well again, and talked over this divine feast all night and the stars again and I didn't want to leave this lovely place but I didn't want to kill Wyn and Shawna with their own superb hospitality. I can't thank them enough for being such wonderful hosts and friends. Come down so I can cook ya'll up something southern, and, of course, my wine cellar's always open for you, Wyn and Shawna.