One thing for sure, Tasia Malakasis knows how to throw a party! So when she called to tell me she was doing a shoot for Country Living and asked, "Might you come to Elkmont?," I didn't hesitate to say yes.
I've come to love and know Tasia as she has built Belle Chevre into a premium artisanal goat cheese company over the past few years. It's been wonderful to watch…and we've had some good fun along the way. Tasia and I have done some magazine shoots together…and often cross paths at the Fancy Food Show. But, I had never been to the creamery where the Belle Chevre goat cheese magic happens. This shoot was my chance.
I flew into Huntsville that afternoon, amidst severe storms and threats of downpours, determined to make it for the first cocktail. After a few bumps and delays, I arrived just in time for the party caravan to the farm. As we approached the creamery, it was simple and a little rustic just as I imagined. Horses gently galloped in the distance, and the afternoon sun glinted over the grassy fields and still pond. It was the perfect backdrop for an early evening fete.
As I got out of the truck, the smell of roasted lamb wafted through the air. My stomach began to grumble. Chef David Bancroft was perched under a large oak tree, carefully turning the Will Harris mutton and bathing it in Back Forty Brew with fresh rosemary (mmmm…). Peach moonshine cocktails with fresh basil greeted us as we walked to our tables. And large sheets of Apalachicola oysters on ice just begged to be eaten. Tasia paired them with a lemon zest mignonette, which was a refreshing summer twist to one of my favorite seafoods.
As the sun drew down, the string lights surrounding our tables started to glow. All the mamas and kiddos settled in, and we laughed and giggled our stuffed bellies off to a few good Southern jokes. A local string band propped themselves up on a few bails of hay and began to croon and pluck tunes, which made my feet start to tap. After a few twirls on the dance floor, and a few nips of bourbon, it was time to call it a wrap.
When Tasia calls with another invite, you can bet I'm on the next plane to Belle Chevre and 'bama.