Events: A Ricotta and Rosé Dinner

Unforgettable Ricotta (Tusa)

Summer started with sheep’s milk, and I am determined to end it with sheep’s milk. On Sunday, August 28, 2016 I invite you to join me for a ricotta + rosé dinner at a charming restaurant near my house in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia, The Pickled Heron. The dinner will include a 4-course meal, featuring homemade ricotta in each dish, plus specially chosen rosé pairings from Moore Brothers Wine. As a highlight, we’ll be using some extraordinary grass-fed sheep’s milk from a new local company called Perrystead.

Let me tell you why I am over the moon — picture a moon made of sheep’s milk  — about this dinner.

Synchronicity is at the heart of this meal. In late May, I sprinted off to Sicily in pursuit of ricotta, and thanks to a pair of glorious grrrl guides who invited me to contribute to a project called Due South. In Sicily, I was introduced to the ricotta of my dreams — the island’s ricotta is especially delicious (and famous) because of the fertile pastures where the sheep graze.

Fields of the Madonie Mountains Near Gangi

The best ricotta, as any Sicilian will tell you, must be made from grass-fed sheep’s milk.

When I returned to Philadelphia, a chef reached out to me on Instagram to say, “Psssssttt! Your pictures are making me want to pig out on food and travel. Wanna do a cheese/book dinner?” It was Chef Daniela D’Ambrosio (you may remember her duking it out with Bobby Flay on the Food Network?) at The Pickled Heron. We’d never met in person, but when we did, it was a mutual cheese love affair. We flipped through a Sicilian cookbook together, and I described to her the various ways Sicilians used ricotta, in particular: baking it in clay to create Ricotta Infornata.

Clay-baked Ricotta Infornata

Clay-baked Ricotta Infornata

My only question was this: how would we source great sheep’s milk?

Synchronicity struck again! An urban cheese guru named Yoav Perry (a.k.a. Artisan Geek) texted me to say that he had left New York and bought a house in my neighborhood. When we met for coffee, he told me he had formed a relationship with some pasture-raised sheep farmers in New York and was preparing to become their chief distributor. Can you imagine? The archangel of grass-fed sheep’s milk right before my eyes?

And so, on August 28, we will celebrate sheep’s milk and synchronicity. I hope you can come! Details and menu are below…

Ricotta + Rosé Dinner Party, Sunday, August 28, 7 p.m. at The Pickled Heron, 2218 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia, $85 (does not include tax +tip). Reservations: 215-634-5666Note: Seating is limited. Vegetarian and gluten-free alternatives are available – please mention these preferences when you reserve.


 4-Course Menu with 4 Rosés

Grilled Octopus with Preserved Lemon, Chickpeas, Chilies, Oregano, Ricotta Salata
Jaume Rose Côtes du Rhône 2015

Ricotta Gnudi with Chanterelles, Housemade Pancetta, Basil
Corte Gardoni Chiaretto  2015

Grilled Quail with Ricotta Infornata, Balsamic Cherries, Broccoli Raab, Pine Nuts
Turcaud Clairet 2015

Fig Tart with Ricotta, Honey, Pistachio Gelato
Magellan Defendu ROSE 2015


More August Cheese Events: My pals at Di Bruno Bros. just announced a series of cheese and beer pairing classes at the new Di Bruno Bros. Bottle Shop. For tickets and details, check out the Di Bruno Bros. Culture Club.


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