Puffs and Pappardelle: Inside Top Chef’s Hosea Rosenberg’s Latest Cannabis-Paired DinnerHeather ShoningFebruary 1, 2016
If you’re not a cannabis consumer, you may be surprised to learn the ways it's becoming more infused into our culture. Side industries are stemming from the rapidly-growing cannabis industry. Weddings, for instance, are starting to feature cannabis bars and other canna-friendly touches. You’ll find the plant working its way into yoga sessions. And cannabis-friendly accommodations are opening around the world, making it easier for visitors to come and consume.
But what to do if you’re a newbie to partaking in cannabis? Wandering into a dispensary and knowing what to buy, how much to use, and where you can use it can be overwhelming. Luckily, there’s a creative company out there making this prospect possible: Mason Jar Event Group, a Colorado-based event planning organization that hosts elegant farm-to-table meals (among other events) with cannabis pairings. These events are the perfect opportunity for a non-smoker like me to give it a try. And so, I did.
On Thursday, January 28, I boarded the event shuttle to Shupe Farm in Longmont, Colorado, for a farm-to-table experience called simply “Winter.” On our way we stopped at Headquarters Cannabis Co. to pick up our pre-assembled goody bags for the evening.
The Leafly-designed bag contained:
- A Strawberry Cough rolled joint from Headquarters Cannabis Co.
- Cannabis-infused rosemary parmesan crackers from Love’s Oven
- Canna-Tsu from Headquarters Cannabis Co.
- Rolling papers from Headquarters Cannabis Co.
- Cannabis-infused toasted marshmallow drops from Canyon Cultivation
- Marley Coffee
- A lockable goody bag by Anonymous Bags
- Sunglasses from Headquarters Cannabis Co.
- A lighter
Once everyone was outfitted for the evening, we continued our trek to the farm. The building looked lovely with twinkle lights on the trees and fire pits blazing outside the barn, and the interior resembled a beautiful winter wedding reception venue. To my right was a large fireplace surrounded by lit Christmas trees. To my left was a long bar surrounded by professional people making up a spectrum of ages and career fields, chatting and drinking.
I headed straight for the bar in search of a little something to take the edge off since I had no idea what I was in for this evening. Craft cocktails by 3 Chicks Bartending were flowing — some sort of strawberry jalapeño concoction — and they were delicious. A perfect way to start the evening.
Servers floated about the room with plates of delicious pork cheek empanadas — warm and flaky. I wandered around a bit and chatted with a few strangers until a friend pulled me outside to a nearby fire pit. A pungent, yet sweet, smell hung in the air. Several people were enjoying the Strawberry Cough joint from their goody bags. The strain is known for delivering an uplifting cerebral euphoria, offering a great start for this buzzing event.
Soon, a soft ringing bell sound floated out the door. Dinner, catered by talented chef (and season 5 Top Chef winner) Hosea Rosenberg's Blackbelly Market, was about to served. Two long dining tables were filled with beautifully mismatched glassware resting atop layers of antiqued linens. Earthy beetle-kill pine disks served as chargers or placemats made of stitched together slim sticks. Tall floral arrangements protruded from wooden vases. A smooth jazz band played in one corner of the room, providing the perfect mellow score for the evening’s activities.
The first course was a rust-colored roasted red pepper soup, which paired nicely with the rosemary parmesan bite-sized crackers from Love’s Oven. With only 0.5 milligrams of active THC each, the crackers were the perfect treat to keep the buzz going. Table talk was engaging, with the diverse crowd making its way to the fire pits and back to the tables again throughout the evening.
"Winter" served its second course, roasted organic winter brassica salad, in large bowls to be passed family style. The seasonal flavors of Brussels sprouts, Romanesco, and broccoli with sweet, crisp apple and dates exploded in my mouth.
The dinner paced nicely, offering time between courses to make a trip outside or to visit the vape bar where you could enjoy a nugget of Canna-Tsu from your treats using Healthy Headie's PAX2 vaporizer — the only form of smoking allowed inside the building. Wine pairings mysteriously appeared before me thanks to the quick, quiet event staff.
Blackbelly's main course was a hearty coq au vin with pappardelle on the side. It, too, was served in large dishes passed family style among the neighbors I was getting to know at my table. With each new course, I found myself more and more pleased with the entire experience. I had a gentle buzz going, as did everyone else in the room.
By the time dessert rolled around, I was bowled over. The dense chocolate torte with caramel and sea salt melted in my mouth. Coffee was served with a dash of chocolate liqueur for the final pairing of the evening: cannabis-infused toasted marshmallow drops. What better treat than s’mores to round out a decadent evening?
Clinging to the final minutes, I was happy to chat with Kendal Norris, the woman behind Mason Jar Event Group, and creator of the trendy cannabis parties. From my experience, these events will skyrocket in popularity as out-of-staters and more professional individuals look for ways to enjoy fine food, fine company, and fine cannabis.
Image Source: Mason Jar Event Group