GJSENTINEL.COM BLOG: WINE OPENERS Fresh and Wyld in Paonia features organic, local foods

Posted by Dave Buchanan at 3:50 p.m. on March 2

The Hostess and I spent Friday skiing the steep but not-so-deep of Telluride, a lovely day of confused weather (blowing snow and cold, cold wind alternating with spring-warm, sunny skies) and then hied off to Paonia for dinner at Dava Parr’s wonderful farmhouse inn, gardens and bed-and-breakfast called Fresh and Wyld.

Dava’s an extremely talented and down-to-earth chef, having earned her burns serving some of Aspen’s high rollers for more than two decades before deciding to move to Paonia and start her own business.

This cozy burg along the North Fork of the Gunnison River has a strong organic, local foods movement and Dava builds her frequent dinners with a fervent desire to serve fresh, local good-tasting foods in a family atmosphere.

Friday’s dinner was one of the regular Friday night meals. The meals are severely underpriced ($15 adults, children under 4 feet eat for $8) for the quality and variety they offer, and they are served early so the locals can go out to the local watering holes or the theater after.

I said dinner was at 6 p.m. but we didn’t arrive until about 6:30 after the drive from Telluride. A bit late but our excuse (no, it was our reason) was we stopped after skiing for a drink at the old Sheridan Bar, a regular feature of the Telluride post-ski routine.

Meals at Fresh and Wyld are served community-style and you can bring your own wine, which makes it seem truly a family meal. We enjoyed Bill Muscnung’s Bethlehem Cellars 2006 Syrah (a blend of 60-percent Syrah and 40-percent Cabernet Sauvignon) with our meals.

This week’s menu consisted of High Wire Ranch buffalo lasagna, Thistle Whistle Farm salad with a vegetarian option of lasagna with butternut squash, mushrooms and spinach. The lasagna was homemade and we tried both versions. Dessert was an apple crisp and house-made gelato.

Dava makes her own pasta, mozzarella and buffalo sausage (among so many other delicious items). I’m not sure if the salad really had thistle in it but it was pretty tasty, especially after a cold day of skiing.

Summer dinners are held outside, weather permitting, and if there’s not a wedding set up in the garden.

There also is an active local Slow Food group in the North Fork Valley and you frequently see members of the group attending Dava’s dinners. Her philosophy about food and eating are closely aligned with Slow Food and are topics for later blogs.

It’s almost spring in the North Fork Valley, and all the snow I shuffled through on my visit last month (did I mention Fresh and Wyld is a regular part of the schedule?) is long gone, with hints of green grass taking its place.


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