The Wheeling Symphony Auxiliary hosted its 6th annual Farm To Fork benefit dinner on Saturday evening at Rock Valley Farm near Dallas. The cool, clear weather made the idyllic farmhouse setting just about as perfect as could be imagined as the guests arrived and took their first sips of the orange-themed signature cocktail. However, by the time all were seated and chef Charlie Schlegel of Ye Olde Alpha had presented the first course, bison-stuffed pepper, dark clouds had gathered in the west. A few rain drops fell into the delicious cucumber gazpacho, which Charlie noted takes an extraordinary amount of cucumber-peeling to produce, but didn’t dampen the spicy flavor nor the mood of the event. Some guests turned their napkins into rain hats, with results ranging from awkward to almost acceptable.
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The sun battled back through the clouds valiantly a few times before the roasted beet salad was served, but soon thereafter the rain began in earnest and umbrellas began to spring up. The sight of a hundred umbrellas hoisted over plates of veal certainly made this year’s dinner a memorable one. And the best part is, no harm was done. The feasters never fled the tables for the shelter of the barn, which is a testament either to their bravery, or perhaps to the power of the wine, perfectly paired to each course by Good Mansion’s Domenick Cerrone. Best of all, this story has two happy endings- a halt to the rain, and a fruit-laden toasted pound cake.