I woke up on Sunday morning and was immediately in a panic once I looked outside and saw what looked like another blizzard. My panic had little to do with most things people worry about when they see such weather, and everything to do with the Lamb Jam I was so looking forward to attending later in the afternoon. After Nemo canceled my last featured food event..ironically called the Blizzard Bash, you can understand why I might be in such a state. Luckily however, the event was held and I was only 15 minutes late due to snow induced awful traffic…and there was a TON of lamb:)
Upon arrival, I was immediately proud of us Bostonians, despite the yucky weather, the turn out was huge! For next year, I strongly suggest the extra splurge for a VIP ticket which gets you into the hour long VIP session. Not only do you get drinks concocted by some of Boston’s best bartenders…ahem Jackson Cannon and Nicole Lebedevitch from The Hawthorne, but you also get to completely skip the long line that had formed quite early on. (Lamb Fans!)
Along with the drinks and the sliced-on-site charcuterie, The South End Formaggio was also on hand with an impressive few pounds of delicious cheese…you see, there needs to be something to cleanse your palate in between all the meat…:)
Once we had done enough damage in the VIP room, we sauntered over to the main event, which by that time no longer had a line. The chefs were all set up in a large circle and voting card in hand, (let’s remember we were all there with the serious mission of selecting Boston’s Lamb Master!) you tried lamb dish after lamb dish from one table to the next.
The first bite I had was one of my favorites. Chef Brian Alberg, from The Red Lion Inn, (Stockbridge MA), presented a lamb breast bracciole with Zarh Farm mushrooms, arugula and Berleberg cheese. Although the cheese could have been a little more pronounced, the dish was really well executed and a perfect initiation into the lamb jam.
My absolute favorite dish was from Chef Champe Speidel’s Persimmon in RI. He prepared a slow roasted breast of lamb with the most surprising and sweet tasting medjool date, pine nuts and a teensy bit of anise hyssop.
I cast my vote for this dish, and although I was disappointed that they did not win (I have a very competitive spirit!), Chef Michael Scelfo from Russell House Tavern absolutely deserved his title as Boston Lamb Jam Master.
He will be going on to compete and represent Boston at the Ultimate Lamb contest in New York in the fall of 2013.
My secret favorite part of the evening though, were the deliciously cute lamb cake pops….I managed to snag some from my friends who were already succumbing to meat sweats…:)