Many restaurants and resorts are making an effort to produce dishes with local ingredients. This movement not only creates great food, but a story behind it. That’s the case at Shawnee Inn, a resort nestled in the lush nature of the Pocono Mountains. Not only do they collaborate with local farms, but they raise their own vegetables and herbs onsite. I recently had the opportunity to experience a farm to table dinner with several other DC-based bloggers at Shawnee Inn on-site brewery and share the dining experience with the local farmers of the region.
The scene: The rustic facade with the light scent of hops was the perfect setting for a beer dinner. Dinners are not typically served in the tasting room, however, it can be booked for special occasions. The room can sit around 25 people and the intimate setting makes for a perfect rehearsal dinner or birthday party. On the long dining table, we all came together: DC Travel Bloggers, the staff of Shawnee Inn, their family members, and local farmers of the area such as the lovely managers of Easton Farmer’s Market.
The Food: The menu was simple yet hearty. It was perfect as we spent the day white water rafting and the group had built quite the appetite. Chef Rodney Tallada began the dinner with savory veal meatballs (veal from Aspen Ridge Farm). The meatballs were paired with Sunfish Blonde, a light beer. We enjoyed that although flavorful in its own, it did not steal the richness of the meat. We continued our meal with a mixed green salad with Cranberry Creek farm goat cheese. Not only was the salad paired with the Berliner Weisse beer but the salad dressing was made with it as well.
Our main course was a hearty pork chop from Ironstone Creamery, a farm located in nearby Lehigh County, PA. It was served with red potatoes, snow peas, and wild mushrooms. We had received the menu the evening before the meal. When I was white water rafting in cold, rainy weather, I kept on fantasizing about that pork chop. It lived to my expectations. It was paired with a ShawneeCraft Belgian Tripel. After living in Belgium for six years, I can be a snob when it comes to Belgian beers. Although the beer had a nice, crisp taste to it, it was sweeter than the authentic Tripels made in Belgium.
Sweet Endings: We concluded our dinner with a homemade rhubarb and strawberry pie, however, what stole the apres dinner show was the Mountain Ridge Coffee. The coffee was served from the cart used at Monroe Farmer’s Market, a vintage red bike with a stand for the coffee. The owner passionately talked to us about how she roasts the beans which come from all over the world right at home in Pennsylvania. A nice espresso was the perfect ending to a beautiful dinner.
The Verdict: For me, a dining experience is a well crafted story. The protagonist will always be the food and in this case, it played a great starting role. The supporting cast: the location, beer, attendees, made it into an award winning story. We had an eventful 48 hours in the Pocono Mountains but this dining experience was the highlight!