On Tuesday, June 23, from 7 to 9 p.m., James Beard Foundation Award semi-finalist chef Landon Thompson of Cooks & Soldiers in West Midtown will welcome chef John Eisensmith from Six Plates in Durham, N.C. and Diane Flynt, founder and cider maker at Virginia’s Foggy Ridge Cider and a 2015 James Beard Award semi-finalist, for a special guest chef dinner celebrating the Basque summer solstice. The evening will feature a cocktail reception and six-course dinner with cider pairings, reflecting the flavors and traditions of Spain’s Basque region.
The summer solstice occurs every year in June, marking the first day of summer and the longest day of the year. Traditionally in San Sebastian, Spain, the summer solstice is celebrated on St. John’s Eve, the evening of June 23. The city lights up with bonfires at midnight and locals perform a traditional Basque folk dance called aurresku and bless the Tree of St. John on Constitution Square.
On St. John’s Eve in Atlanta, guests will gather at the bar at Cooks & Soldiers at 7 p.m. for hors d’oeuvres including tortilla de camarones y queso de cabra and classic Basque pintxos presented by chefs Eisensmith and Thompson, respectively, paired with a glass of txakoli. Following the cocktail reception, guests will be seated in Cooks & Soldiers’ private dining area for a six-course dinner with cider pairings, presented by Foggy Ridge. Cooks & Soldiers and Six Plates will alternate courses, as follows:
Quail eggs, confit fingerlings, haricot vert, chorizo and smoked tomato foam
Pairing: Foggy Ridge Serious Cider
Cooks & Soldiers
Lemon curd, caviar, baby greens, strawberry, pear and green goddess dressing
Pairing: Foggy Ridge First Fruit
Pan seared diver scallop, fennel, lentils, pancetta and fresh cherry jus
Pairing: Foggy Ridge Handmade
Cooks & Soldiers
Iberico tenderloin, fava beans, fennel, asparagus, peas, berries and Iberico jus
Pairing: Foggy Ridge Stayman Winesap
New York Strip, shiitake barley risotto, lion’s mane mushrooms, corn, blueberries and calvados demi
Pairing: Isastegi Basque Cider
Cooks & Soldiers
Georgia peach-apple galette, bacon, cider and house-spun honey-lemon ice cream
Pairing: Foggy Ridge Pippin Gold Port
The collaboration of Cooks & Soldiers, Six Plates and Foggy Ridge Cider was inspired by their collective passion for Basque culture. In Atlanta, Cooks & Soldiers focuses on the signature cooking methods of the region, boasting a menu of traditional and modern pintxos; wood-grilled asador meats, fish and vegetables; Basque cider and txakoli sparkling wine; and inventive desserts. In 2015, Thompson was recognized as a semi-finalist in the “Rising Star of the Year” category. In Durham, Six Plates is known for its seasonal dishes and annual Txakolifest, a one day festival tribute to Basque culture each May. Over the years, Six Plates has introduced its loyal following in North Carolina’s Triangle region to Basque cider and wine through its innovative beverage program, and aims to spread its cider evangelism down to Atlanta.
No conversation about American hard cider is complete without mentioning Foggy Ridge. As a semi-finalist in the beverage maker category at the 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards, Flynt may be the country’s foremost expert on fine cider. Her award-winning Foggy Ridge ciders are renowned for their complexity and drinkability, and her team’s commitment to their proprietary orchards and process would be right at home in the Basque country. Throughout the dinner, Flynt will share tasting notes and the Foggy Ridge philosophy with guests.
The dinner costs $95 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Seats to the dinner can be reserved by calling Cooks & Soldiers at 404.996.2623.