The Swiss Cordial
Saint-Saphorin, a great wine region of the canton of Vaud, is about ten kilometers east along Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) from Lutry. Up the hill from Lutry, in the vineyards of Châtelard, Leo learned at a very tender age how to swear effectively in Italian from the immigrant workers tending the Chasselas vines.
And on August 1, he always looked forward to the evening celebrations on the shores of Lutry. It was le Premier Août, the Swiss National Holiday that goes back to the the foundation of Helvetia on August 1, 1291. No lack of history there, but what the kids loved was carrying around the paper candle lanterns, late into the night.
Leo wasn't old enough then to appreciate the wines of Vaud and neighboring cantons — the Chasselas/Fendant, Humagne Blanche, the Dôle. Now that he is, we're not about to let the mere fact of being in Portland get in the way of celebrating le Premier Août in style. We'll showcase some phenomenal Swiss wines not available in the States, as well as more readily acquired wines in similar styles from just across its borders, with foods inspired by Switzerland and its neighbors, and plenty of other suitable revelry.
In deference to the Swiss trend of celebrating le Premier Août on working farms, this Cordial happened at a backyard farm within Portland city limits, part of City Garden Farms, which has been getting a lot of great press in its own right.
We sourced our super-local produce from the venue itself, as well as another nearby backyard farm, and of course Anna's prodigious garden. Plus we added some Swiss Slow Food goodies to the mix. We also did our characteristic research into music, media, and of course wines.
Swiss wines are tremendously difficult to find in the States. Leo's dad brought over a couple from Lutry, adding to another pair in our cellar, and Portland's favorite German/Austrian distributor Ewald Moseler donated a few astonishing secret Swiss bottles from his own stash, and some excellent unbidden Austrians. We also consulted with Dana Pickell of Triage on great wines in similar styles from just across Switzerland's borders: the Jura, Savoie, and the Valtellina in Lombardy.
City Garden Farms
A big thank-you to Martin Barrett of City Garden Farms for generously providing his urban farm/yard to this Cordial. CGF was also the source of most of the produce for the menu.
We loved having Martin as a Cordial partner, and the feeling was clearly mutual, as evidenced by his glowing (dare we say blinding) review:
I had never heard of 'The Cordial' before and so was certainly intrigued when I received an email from Anna Daedalus inquiring as to whether I would be interested in hosting a Cordial event at my City Garden Farm here in Portland, Oregon. City Garden Farms is a series of 12 innovative Urban Produce Farms that operate IN the city of Portland.
I called Anna, invited her to my City Garden Farm and realized very quickly I was talking to a like-minded kindred spirit with a love for community and connecting with enlightened people. This was further confirmed for me when I had lunch with Anna and met her husband Leo. We all clicked immediately and I knew I was in the company of two very special people. They answered all my questions with integrity and respect and I came away feeling very reassured, lucky and honored that they wanted to host an event such as this essentially in my backyard.
The event was a huge ( I mean HUGE) success!!! I really was quite in awe of the whole thing. The professionalism and respect I was shown by the catering staff ( Anna and Leo's friends) was humbling, The attention to detail from the wine glass tags to the menu, from the lighting to the silent big-screened movie, from the place settings to the table layout to Leo's maître du Cordial role was without compare. They did EVERYTHING and not once did I feel intruded upon.
The event ran with fluid and flexible precision, staffed by people who truly cared about what they were doing and attended by people who truly appreciated all that had been done for them. I met some of the most inspiring, interesting, kind and friendly people I could hope to and new avenues in life have been opened to me as a result. My house and yard truly 'lived' that night and it will go down as one of the great things that have happened in my life.
Anna and Leo left my house and yard exactly as they found it. My kitchen, bathroom and living room were all left cleaner than before the event and my life has been left with more friends and experience than had I not embraced the two of them and done this. Don't walk...RUN to your nearest 'Cordial Office' and sign yourself up for an event.
— Martin Barrett
Co-Founder of City Garden Farms
'Live Urban - Eat Local'
Anna & Leo extend their gratitude and appreciation to our team and support:
- Cyndy Chan — Chef
- Jonnie Ling — Pastry Chef
- Jessica Ly — Sous Chef
- Lilly Chamberlain — Sous Chef + Service
- Krissy Martin — Grand Crew + Service
- Bob Martin — Grand Crew + Wine Service
- Ashley Stallman — Grand Crew + Service
- Dan Bravin — City Garden Farms
- Mark Desmarets — Eco Logical Farm
- David Fortney — Eco Logical Farm
- Dana Pickell —Triage Wines — Near-Swiss Wine Consultant
- Ewald Moseler — Swiss Wine Star, PDX Bureau
- Heidi Diggelmann — Swiss Wine Consultant, Lausanne Bureau
- Bob Eisenman — Vaudois Wine Mule
- Carole Zoom & Brett Campbell — Mega Support
- Peter Stewart — Plum Forager
- Steve Olson — Head Carpenter
- Dave Grooters & Robin Russell — Board of Chairs
- Yvonne de Maat — Milk-Carton Lamp Assistant
- David Abel — Video Projector Purveyor