Slow Food East End celebrates Mardi Gras

A dish served at Slow Fodd East End's recent snail supper at Aldo's in Greenport. (Credit: Abigail Collier)

A dish served at Slow Food East End’s recent snail supper at Aldo’s in Greenport. (Credit: Abigail Collier)

For the first course at a gathering at Aldo’s in Greenport on a recent Sunday, guests dunked fluffy, white, crusted Blue Duck Bakery bread into locally sourced goulash. Then came the lentils and salmon from Southold Fish Market and boudin sausage from Deep Roots Farm, also in Southold.

Diners washed the meal down with glasses of Channing Daughters Scuttlehole Chardonnay and vino from The Lenz Winery in Peconic.  Finally, they enjoyed moist New Orleans bourbon bread pudding, a sweet berry crumble and Joe & Liza’s vanilla ice cream from Sag Harbor.

It wasn’t your typical potluck dinner.

Some three dozen residents of the North and South Fork had come together last Sunday night to celebrate Mardi Gras and local food at Slow Food East End’s monthly snail supper. Attendees dined on food strictly from local farms, businesses and home gardens, which is in line with the slow food movement, which promotes sustainable food prepared with care.

“You don’t have to be a farmer or educator or North Forker or South Forker to be interested in promoting a sustainable food culture, and to appreciate the environment and where you come from,” said Judiann Carmack-Fayyaz, chair of the SFEE board of directors and a Bridgehampton High School teacher.

Credit: Abigail Collier

Credit: Abigail Collier

The intimate setting of the small yet sold out event happening behind the coffee shop’s “closed” sign seemed only to enhance the richness of the food.

The local chapter of Slow Food, a network of food connoisseurs, chefs, educators, and business owners, hosts a dinner at a member’s home or business once a month to promote the region’s food culture. The recent event raised about $550 for Slow Food East End, which supports local food efforts including School Gardens Ltd., a Bridgehampton-based volunteer group that builds school gardens.

“The big idea of the snail supper is that it creates intimate situations where people can really get to know each other around a theme where everyone can really have a conversation,” Carmack-Fayyaz said.

She said the recent snail supper —  where members paid $15 and guests $20 — is aimed at those who don’t want to pay $95 for one of the group’s more formal four-course dinners.

An enclave for locally produced fish, wine, and produce, the East End chapter excels at the global organization’s mission of promoting good, clean and fair food for all.

Though the Snail Supper is not as profitable as the other dinners hosted by the organization, the affordable and relaxed event appeals to a wider and younger community, Carmack-Fayyaz said.

“What I’m trying to do now is really change the age demographic of Slow Food East End,” Carmack-Fayyaz said.

“If you look around, most of the people in this organization are retired,” added Jeannie Calderale, co-chair of SFEE’s education committee.

A dish served at Slow Food East End's recent snail supper at Aldo's in Greenport. (Credit: Abigail Collier)

A dish served at Slow Food East End’s recent snail supper at Aldo’s in Greenport. (Credit: Abigail Collier)

Among the usual cocktail parties and multi-course dinners, the group’s board has organized a series of low-cost opportunities in more youthful venues. Last month they screened “Fed Up,” a documentary film about the food industry, at the Ross School in East Hampton.

And Sag Harbor yoga teacher Corey DeRosa will discuss Ayurvedic cooking at the Hayground School in Bridgehampton on Saturday, March 21st at 2-4:30pm.

Annual youth membership is available for $30.00, just half the cost of a regular membership.

The group will also host its annual Josh Levine Memorial Foundation & Slow Food East End cocktail party on April 12.

For a complete listing of events visit slowfoodeastend.org.