Arethusa Farm

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If you are in the NYC or Boston vicinity and are looking for a great gastronomic weekend, look no further than scenic Litchfield Country, CT and first check out the town of Washington. Not only are there wonderful restaurants, food shops, bookstores and farms but two Relais and Chateaux inns! Winvian-”113 acres of Norman Rockwell meets Alice in Wonderland” and The Mayflower Inn & Spa so lovely and elegant, each have unique and delicious restaurants along with wonderful spas and stellar accommodations. I’m proud to say both have an FCI/ICC chef at the helm. FCI grad, Chris Eddy, Culinary 1998 is Chef at Winvian and Stephen Barck is the acclaimed new chef at The Mayflower!

The Main House at Winvian, photo courtesy of Winvian

Winvian spa, photo courtesy Winvian

The Mayflower Inn & Spa

Oliva, in the town of New Preston is a local’s favorite with a wood burning fireplace and a superb Mediterranean menu. Riad Aamar has lovingly made this a romantic and delicious bistro. New Preston also has one of the best kitchen stores on the planet New Preston Kitchen Goods, a must stop if you’re in town.

Arethusa al tavalo in nearby Bantam is the real deal for Italian food. The owners are also the founders of the celebrated Arethusa Farm. Anthony Yurgaitis and George Malkemus are busy guys; they also happen to be the proprietors of Manolo Blahnik North America. You can find a previous post about Arethusa Farm here. They spend a lot of time in Italy and decided to bring Litchfield County a gift, this little trattoria. You’ll find it next door to their dairy store which sells housemade cheeses and ice cream. Next on the Bantam list, check out Bantam Bread, an exceptional artisanal bakery.

Bantam Bread Co.

Now, let me make your mouth water. I recently interviewed Chef Joel Viehland of the restaurant, Community Table (Ct) along route 202 in Washington. Joel did stages all over he world. It’s fun to see this world influence (NOMA in Denmark somewhere in Spain, as well as his stints with Susan Spicer and Emeril in New Orleans) in the food here, and it’s also fresh, homey and delicious. Just look at these plates!

Red Velvet, Dark Chocolate, Mascarpone, Beet

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Artisanal products are all the rage these days. Newspapers, bloggers and magazines can’t discover them fast enough. I found the ultimate. Recently I came across an amazing small dairy farm. Saying it is artisanal hardly does it justice. With the amount of love, care and attention the cows are given, I know that every gallon of milk and pint of yogurt has to be subsidized by these owners. I am speaking of Arethusa Farm in Litchfield, Connecticut.

I was fortunate to get an invitation to visit this exquisite property and discovered it is one of the leading dairy farms in the country. The proud proprietors are George Malkemus and Anthony Yurgaitis (they also own Manolo Blahnik!). They are obsessed with their cows. You get the message from the moment you walk in the barn. Above the entrance it states, “Every cow in this barn is a lady, please treat her as such.” You cross the threshold and your sensual experience is the smell of sweet hay. Each cow is beautiful and has her own stall. In addition to these ladies grazing in pastures every day they also get a daily shower, individually customized supplemental feed, and round the clock babysitters. The barn is even air conditioned! It is not surprising to learn that the top cow, Veronica, a Jersey,  is a national “Supreme Champion” winner, multiple times over.

In addition to the milk production, Arethusa is now going to start bottling their own milk and making their own cheese in nearby Bantam, in the old firehouse on Route 202.

Take a ride to the country! The milk is ambrosial. The lowfat tastes creamy. It has flavor that screams “MILK”!  Thank you Tony and George, for putting your heart and soul where it pleases the palate.

To buy Arethusa milk and yogurt, you can shop at the local supermarkets in the Litchfield, CT. area.

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