Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Commonwealth Wednesdays Debut in Carmel {Edible Monterey Bay}

October 14, 2014 – this piece went live on the Edible Monterey Bay blog. Read it there.

Commonwealth Wednesdays Debut in Carmel
story by Camilla M. Mann, photo courtesy Lauren De Vine

October 14, 2014 – A weekly showcase for local food pioneers called Commonwealth Wednesdays debuts tomorrow at Carmel Belle and the very first event features the seasonal elixirs, shrubs and mixers of beverage artisan Lauren De Vine.

‘Commonwealth’ means ‘founded for the common well-being’ and, in this case, owners Jay and Chloe Dolata, Chef Kyle Odell, and the rest of the Carmel Belle team aim to connect local food pioneers with the community, for the good of all.

The Dolatas make an effort to operate as a community-minded business, purchasing products from local purveyors and farmers. Taking local sourcing a step further, Commonwealth Wednesdays will allow them to connect those people directly to the community. Once a week, Carmel Belle will host local food pioneers to highlight their products, share samples, give a demonstration, and—most importantly—meet the locals.

First up: Lauren De Vine the creative force behind Lauren De Vine Beverages. Lauren will be sharing her spirit-bases for making mocktails, cocktails, and soda. While she has experience taking businesses from concept to fruition, it has always been with other people’s ideas including Barmel and a skin care line. This will be the first public demo of her very own recently launched brand. “My intention,” she says, “is to take the mystery out of a good cocktail.”

At 5:00pm, Lauren will explain how she plans to change the beverage industry and show how you can be the life of the party with one of her signature cocktails or sodas. Then, from 5:30pm – 6:30pm, Lauren will provide samples of her produce-driven, spirit-bases. She didn’t want to divulge too much about the three flavors ahead of the Commonwealth Wednesday, but I can reveal that they capture the essence of the late summer season and each has multiple intriguing layers of flavor.

Lauren’s spirit-bases are handcrafted using the best locally grown organic ingredients. She defines local as starting as close to her as possible and moving outward, as needed, to source her fruits and herbs. Lauren mentions that she loves working with Jamie Collins of Serendipity because the farm is close and they share a mindset about food production and sustainability.

She relishes being part of the food community in Monterey and will be starting a weekend CSA to get feedback on different flavors before she launches on a larger scale in spring 2015. Her idea is for CSA members to pick up six small-scale spirit bases along with instructions for turning those into celebratory libations by mixing in alcohol or soda water.

“We use organic, fresh ingredients in our products and they can all be delicious without adding liquor. Nearly all of them would only require a bit of soda water and ice to be fully realized and enjoyed,” she adds. Carmel Belle will be the first of the pick-up locations.

Alongside Lauren’s demonstration, Chef Kyle will be creating a couple of small plates for the evening in addition to the regular Dinner Belle menu. Looking ahead, Commonwealth Wednesday will showcase farmer Jamie Collins of Serendipity Farms on October 22. Future events will feature local food pioneers from Kai Lee Ice Creamery and Tomatero Farm, among others. Those sound like beneficial evenings for all.

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