On a beautiful hot and sunny day, Patrick and I traveled 40 minutes to the town of Fairfield to attend a Roasted Pig Face and Wood-Fired Pizza Feast, a Feastly event hosted by Chef Don Stefano and his lovely wife, Bubbs. Don personally invited us to his beautiful lakeside home to check out what he's got cookin' up and to introduce himself to the food community. There were 7 of us, including my awesome food blogger friends, Christina of East Bay Dish and Sandy of Foodhoe. I couldn't have thought of better people to join in on this special experience.
To our surprise, Fairfield is becoming a pretty happening place! They have a few great wineries, some local farms, and great food purveyors. Here are two facts:
- Fairfield (Green Valley) is not located on the other side of the world - in fact, it's actually 15 minutes closer than Napa if you're coming from the East Bay, SF, Walnut Creek, or Sacramento
- You might just find some good food if you make the trek like we did
Feastly is a website that allows you to find homemade meals and food experiences prepared and served in a cook's home, pop-ups, or any inventive space. You can think of it as social dining or the AirBnB for food experiences, where you're having a meal at a friend's place without having to help clean up. From this experience, you can bet that I will be attending many more Feastly events.
ABOUT DON STEFANO
Don is a former winemaker and self-trained chef who started out cooking in classic French but branched out to different types of cuisine. He is a humble and generous host who is very personable and interactive with all the guests. It was great getting to know him and his wife. Just simply talking to both of them, you can pick up and feel the passion that they both have for food.
The idea of having dinner with a group of people that I do not know is not exactly my cup of tea. However anyone who signs up to attend a roasted pig face dinner is likely to be someone I want to get to know; I was right about that. There was a good mix of people ages 30s+ who all had a love for food and drinks. I already knew half of the group personally but the other three people who attended were fun getting to know. It was very comfortable and the conversations were all very interesting. It's really fun to be around people who like to eat similar foods to you.
Burrata and Tomatoes: The tomatoes were harvested from their garden, which were meaty, sweet, and nicely acidic - very delightful. The burrata was made locally just 2 miles away from their location; it was rich and creamy. Overall, I could be completely satisfied eating an entire plate of this.
Charcuterie Plate: We were each given a nice spread of salumi: house-cured Culatello, Coppa, Pancetta, Smoked Pheasant, La Quercia Prosciutto, Mortadella, Salami Cotto, and Finnochiona. The mortadella and smoked pheasant were my favorites, but I loved every single piece of cured meat presented.
Roasted Pig Face: The moment we were all waiting for arrives. We all clapped as Chef Don Stefano comes out holding a plate of the roasted pig head, sliced perfectly in half, with coleslaw made from a family recipe and brioche buns. This dish is inspired by Jonathon Sawyer, the chef and owner of the Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland.
I had the honor of digging in first, so I naturally gravitated towards the cheek area. I can't even describe how wonderful this piece of pork is. The skin was soft and gelatinous. It was luscious and packed with a nice sweet and smokey molasses flavor. The meat was so tender that it just falls apart easily. You can see the glistening fat rendered all over every meaty part. I was in complete pork heaven. If you were a witness at this dinner you will see everyone at the table stuffing their faces and nodding at how unbelievably good this pork is.
Let say that it was so good that I had four generous servings of various head parts. I also tasted the special part behind the eye socket and it was such a nice chunk of meat. My mouth is salivating as I am writing this.
Wood-Fired Pizza: As if we weren't all completely stuffed already, Don comes out to throw a few pizzas into his homemade brick oven that he built himself last year.
There were two types of pizza served. The first pizza was bacon, onions, and melted gruyere over a fromage blanc base. The second pizza is inspired by the traditional Neopolitan style pizza and had an amazing full-bodied tomato sauce as the base topped with fresh mozzarella and fontina cheeses and their own homegrown Jimmy Nardello peppers, garnished with some arugula and red pepper flakes. Christina also received a hands on pizza demonstration; she did great and her pizza turned out tasty!
Even though we were all stuffed from the pork, each of us had at least three slices. I love both of the pizza options equally. But the sauce on the Neopolitan style pizza was really outstanding.
I think it's fair to call Don a true pizza expert. He has perfected his pizza dough by trial and error within six months of experimentation. The crust is slightly charred on the edges but thin and bubbly with a nice texture.
Limoncello: This lemon liqueur drink was cold, refreshing and cleansed our palates to prepare for dessert. We all sipped this fast to avoid the ice from melting.
Blueberry Pie with Ice Cream: The homemade pie was absolutely scrumptious. By this time I am happily uncomfortably full, but I still somehow managed to finish every single bite. I loved the flaky dough! The meyer lemon ice cream (the only non-local item presented) was a great addition. The flavors really complemented each other.
The alcohol portions were very generous and we shared bottles throughout our table. Don is a former winemaker, so the pairings are very well thought out for each dish whether it was a glass of Alsatian Pinot Gris or a brown ale.
I cannot wait to go back again! The food was incredible and made with so much love and passion. I admire Don's mission to source his food locally and to grow it at his home. This entire experience was memorable and wonderful thanks to fantastic hosts, awesome company, and incredible food. It makes the drive to Fairfield completely worth it.
Don also sent us home with some homegrown freshly picked tomatoes!
HOW TO ATTEND
Don hosts a couple of food events per month. You can join in on the fun here: Roasted Pig Face and Wood-Fired Pizza Feast. The $49 price is worth it for this high quality family style meal. I will bet that you won't leave hungry.
Thanks for a fantastic feast, Don!