Mar­i­juana-based cui­sine and wine ma­ture— slowly

Pot­may soon be on restau­rant menu as le­gal­iza­tion trend con­tin­ues to spread in US

China Daily (USA) - - TASTE LIFE - By KRISTENWYATT in Lyons, Colo. As­so­ci­ated Press

Howto set a tone of woodsy chic at a four-course can­dle­light din­ner served un­der the stars in the Colorado foothills:

Live mu­si­cians check. Award-win­ning cui­sine, check. Beer and wine pair­ings with each course, check. Mar­i­juana pair­ings? Oh, yes. The 100 din­ers at this $200-aplate din­ner smoked a cit­russ­melling mar­i­juana strain to go with a fall salad with ap­ples, dates and ba­con, fol­lowed by a darker, sweeter strain of pot to ac­com­pany a main course of slow-roasted pork shoul­der in a mole sauce with charred root veg­eta­bles and rice.

And with dessert? Mar­i­jua­nain­fused choco­late, of course, grated over salted caramel ice cream and paired with cof­fee in­fused with non­in­tox­i­cat­ing hemp oil.

The din­ers re­ceived small glass pieces and lighters to smoke the pair­ings, or they could have their mar­i­juana rolled into joints by pro­fes­sional rollers set up next to a bar­tender pour­ing wine.

Wel­come to fine din­ing in­Weed Coun­try. and

More fla­vor pro­file

The mar­i­juana in­dus­try is try­ing to move away from its piz­zaand-Dori­tos roots as folks ex­plore how to safely serve mar­i­juana and food. Chefs are work­ing with mar­i­juana grow­ers to chart the stil­lvery­world of pair­ing food and weed. Anda pro­lif­er­a­tion of mass-mar­ket cheap pot is driv­ing pro­fes­sional grow­ers to de­velop dis­tinc­tive fla­vors and aro­mas to dis­tin­guish them­selves in a crowded mar­ket.

“We talk with the (mar­i­juana) grower to un­der­stand what traits they saw in the mar­i­juana ... whether it’s earthy notes, cit­rus notes, herbal notes, things that we could play off,” said Corey Buck, head of catering for Black­belly Restau­rant, a top-rated farm-to-ta­ble restau­rant that pro­vided the meal.

The grower of one of the pot strains served at the din­ner, Alex Perry, said it won’t be long un­til mar­i­juana’s fla­vors and ef­fects are parsed as in­tently as wine pro­files. But that’s in the fu­ture, he con­ceded.

“It’s still looked down upon as a not-very-so­phis­ti­cated thing,” said Perry, who grew a strain called Black Cherry Soda for his com­pany, Head­quar­ters Cannabis.

Hold­ing his nose to a small jar of mar­i­juana, Perry said, “If I asked my mom or my dad what they smell, they’re go­ing to say, ‘skunk,’ or, ‘It smells like mar­i­juana.’ But it’s like wine or any­thing else. There’s more fla­vor pro­file there.”

Mar­i­juana din­ing

flow­ers,

But chefs and pot grow­ers try­ing to ex­plore fine din­ing with weed face a le­gal gaunt­let to make pot din­ners a re­al­ity, even where the drug is as le­gal as beer.

Colorado’s mar­i­juana re­tail­ers can’t also sell food, so guests at this din­ner had to buy a sep­a­rate $25 “goody bag” from a dis­pen­sary for the pot pair­ings.

The bags came with tiny graters for din­ers to shave the pot choco­late onto their ice cream them­selves; the wait staff could not legally serve a dish con­tain­ing pot, even though the event was pri­vate and lim­ited to peo­ple over 21. Din­ers were shut­tled to and from the event by pri­vate bus, to avoid po­ten­tially stoned driv­ers leav­ing the din­ner.

Mar­i­juana din­ing may be­come more ac­ces­si­ble in com­ing months, though.

Den­ver vot­ers this fall will con­sider a pro­posal to al­low mar­i­juana use at some bars and restau­rants as long as the drug isn’t smoked, with the po­ten­tial for new out­door mar­i­juana smok­ing ar­eas.

And two of the five states con­sid­er­ing recre­ational mar­i­juana in Novem­ber — Cal­i­for­nia and Maine— would al­low some “so­cial use” of the drug, leav­ing the po­ten­tial for pot clubs or cafes.

Cur­rently, Alaska is the only le­gal weed state that al­lows on-site mar­i­juana use, with “tast­ing rooms” pos­si­ble in com­mer­cial dis­pen­saries. But that state is still work­ing on rules for how those con­sump­tion ar­eas would work.

For now, mar­i­juana din­ing is lim­ited to folks who hire pri­vate chefs to craft in­fused foods for meals served in their homes, or to spe­cial events like this one, lim­ited to adults and set out­side to avoid vi­o­lat­ing smoke-free air laws.

Proper pair­ing

Guests at the Colorado din­ner were ad­mit­tedly ex­per­i­ment­ing with pair­ing weed and food, many gig­gling as they toked be­tween bites. It­be­cameap­par­ent late in the evening that a rich meal doesn’t coun­ter­act mar­i­juana’s ef­fects.

“What was I just say­ing?” one diner won­dered aloud be­fore dessert. “Oh, yeah. Aboutmy dog. No, your dog. Some­body’s dog.”

The­mantrailed off, not fin­ish­ing his thought. His neigh­bor pat­ted him on the back and handed him a fresh spoon for the ice cream.

We talk with the grower to un­der­stand what traits they saw in the mar­i­juana ... whether it’s earthy notes, cit­rus notes ... things that we could play off.”

head of catering for Black­belly Restau­rant, a top-rated farm-to-ta­ble restau­rant

Corey Buck,

Din­ers seemed gen­uinely cu­ri­ous about how to prop­erly pair mar­i­juana and food with­out get­ting too in­tox­i­cated.

“Iam­not a sa­vant with this,” said Ta­ma­raHad­dad of Lyons, who was wait­ing to have one of her pot sam­ples pro­fes­sion­ally rolled into a joint. “I en­joy (mar­i­juana) oc­ca­sion­ally. I en­joy it with friends. I’m learn­ing more about it.”

She laughed when asked whether mar­i­juana can re­ally move be­yond its as­so­ci­a­tion with junk­food crav­ings.

“I have also munched out af­ter be­ing at the bar and drink­ing mar­ti­nis and think­ing, ‘Taco Bell sounds great,’” she said.

ED ANDRIESKI / AP

Din­ers seemed gen­uinely cu­ri­ous about how to prop­erly pair mar­i­juana and food with­out get­ting too in­tox­i­cated.

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