Food & Wine

Artisan Beef Institute

“At steak houses all over the country, wine drinkers know the variety of grapes used to make the wine, the patch of earth where they were grown, and the year they were picked. They might even know whether the wine was aged in a barrel made from oak grown in France or America. They don’t know nearly as much about their steak,” (Mark Schatzer, “Having a Cow About Steak Quality,” The Wall Street Journal).

This Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, we’ll be serving up heritage burger sliders at Grand Rapids’ International Wine, Beer & Food Festival, the largest wine festival in the Midwest. Held in downtown Grand Rapids, it’s the perfect venue to make the case that heritage beef and lamb, which are primarily pasture-raised, can be every bit as distinctive as wines. The breed, what the animal eats, how it is raised and ‘harvested’, and whether or not it is dry aged (and for how long) are among many factors that influence the quality and flavor of the meat we eat.

If you can’t stop by and experience heritage meats first-hand, here are the tasting notes which arrived today and written for us by the Artisan Beef/Lamb Institute (located, appropriately enough in wine country [California]). Enjoy!

Dundonald Highlands – Highland Beef
Southwest Michigan, produced by Eddie Mackay

“This pasture grain-finished, dry-aged ground beef has fresh air, sweet, caramel smells coming off the grill and a
bright, balanced flavor, even when cooked well done. At medium rare, hints of caramel and Parmesan are a little
more pronounced. As the burger cools, you’ll probably find the flavor of mushrooms peaking through. No condiments
needed, just a hint of salt.”
– Carrie Oliver (based on tasting of ground beef)

Dundonald Highlands – Cheviot Lamb
Southwest Michigan, produced by Eddie Mackay

“This lovely lamb carries the scent of the lea, sweet grasses with hay bales on the side. It has a surprising texture with a nice, firm start followed by a tender second chew. Gentle to medium lamb flavor, with a balance of sweet, savory, tangy notes and hints of iron, this lamb will benefit if you let the outside caramelize during cooking.”

– Carrie Oliver (based on tasting of lamb chop)


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