Fire & Feast: A Welcome Dinner in Southwest Florida
Step into a realm of culinary innovation as we recount our inaugural event in Southwest Florida, A celebration that unveiled a world of culinary wonders. A menu that drew its inspiration from the azure waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the rich tapestry of regional agriculture in breathtaking garden venue.
We set out first fires in Southwest Florida. Fire & Feast: A Welcome Dinner was hosted in collaboration with The Fox Mercantile, a coffee shop, garden and event space, nestled in the heart of Cortez, Florida steps away from the award-winning beaches of Anna Maria Island set the stage for an evening filled with adventure, connection, and community. And a new chapter for the Wood Fire Food team! This event marks the expansion of Wood Fire Food’s operations to Southwest Florida, bringing Chef Daniel Sabia’s expertise and passion for open fire cooking to a new audience.
On July 28th, we hosted an inaugural dinner with The Fox Mercantile, a captivating garden venue nestled in the heart of Cortez, Florida, a Gulf Coast fishing village steeped in rich history with natural abundance, sets the stage for an evening filled with adventure, connection, and community. The Fox Mercantile is owned and operated by author, designer, and influencer Ashley Petrone, and her husband Dino. Ashely & Dino are also proud owners of the Joie Inn, a boutique hotel on Anna Maria Island. The venue embodied a calming coastal oasis with light-color gravel to match the white sand beaches and lush, tropical plantings
The Fox Mercantile: A Calming Coastal Garden Oasis
The Fox Mercantile was opened in the Spring of 2023 by by author, designer, and influencer Ashley Petrone, and her husband Dino. Ashley & Dino are also proud owners of the Joie Inn, a boutique hotel on Anna Maria Island. The venue, designed by Ashley, embodies a calming coastal oasis with light-color gravel to match the white sand beaches and lush, tropical plantings, fountains, and a stunning 30 seat farm table situated right in the middle of it all, making the atmosphere perfect for hosting a Wood Fire Food Experience. Ashley’s vision was to create “a place you gather, a place where you feel welcome and a place you feel special.” The venue is located in Sarasota Florida, in a tiny Gulf Coast fishing village steeped in rich history with natural abundance giving us access to some of the freshest wild seafood and ingredients to curate an unforgettable evening.
From Gulf to Plate: Elevating Cuisine with Southwest Florida’s Distinctive Ingredients
The menu was influenced by both the Gulf of Mexico and regional agriculture. Crafted to showcase the very essence of this coastal haven, and to ignite a spark of curiosity that transcends culinary boundaries. Here, where the sun kisses the land and the sea teams with life, our team found themselves inspired by ingredients that remain beyond our reach on the East Coast. Citrus fruits like oranges and the exotic allure of tropical pineapples infused dishes with a burst alluring flavors that harmonized beautifully with the surroundings at the The Fox Mercantile.
The true magic unfolded as we embraced the Gulf’s wild seafood – Gulf Shrimp and Snapper. Over the open fire, their flavors metamorphosed into something sublime, layers of creativity and taste that can only be unlocked by the flames. The harmony was undeniable, an exquisite marriage of land and sea, fire and finesse. It’s a testament to the unique possibilities that arise when passion meets ingredients in a setting as breathtaking as Southwest Florida.
A Feast for the Senses: The Three-Course Culinary Journey
The culinary journey began with welcome cocktails at the retro-style bar, including A Burnt Pineapple Tequila Sunrise and Smoked Peach Boulevardier along with passed snacks like Smoked Key West Pink Shrimp before moving to the communal for their three-course family-style dinner.
After guests took their seats, the first course dropped onto the tables just as the sun was setting, two dishes, Grilled cantaloupe with raw cow’s milk burrata, and Charred corn with pickled snow crab, nectarines, green onion and heirloom tomatoes.
Each course was paired with biodynamic wines from Sophie James Wines, to enhance the flavors of the season’s bounty.
Ember Roasted Red Snapper with leek escabeche, achiote and orange was the star of the main course along with Whole Roasted Dairy Cow Strip Loin with Smoked Garlic Chimichurri. The entrees were accompanied by two side dishes; ember roasted eggplant with feta, spring onion, and hazelnuts and a coal roasted summer squash with smoked olives, basil, and gremolata.
Beneath the stars, dessert was served. Iced peaches with sheep’s milk cream and fried cornbread, a creative twist on beloved southern flavors was the final taste of the evening.
Beyond Food and Fire
Beneath the stars, within the embrace of nature and good company, this evening bore witness to more than a culinary event. It became a symbol of unity, a celebration of Southwest Florida’s bounty, and a preview of the remarkable journey ahead for Wood Fire Food and The Fox Mercantile.
The journey was not just about crafting a menu; it was about unearthing the extraordinary possibilities that lie in the marriage of ingredients and fire, flavors and passion. Join us as we delve deeper into the layers of this culinary tapestry, and let the allure of our Southwest Florida adventure pique your curiosity and inspire your senses. Whether you’re seeking an unforgettable event or simply captivated by the world of culinary possibilities, we invite you to explore further.
Our journey goes beyond the plate; it’s an exploration of the uncharted, an invitation to indulge in the marvels that food, fire, and nature offer. This marks the first of many events Wood Fire Food will be hosting in SouthWest Florida with The Fox Mercantile.