An avian chorus chirped from the rafters before the first notes of Mozart’s “Flute Quartet No. 1.” Their harmonious din accompanied the Cleveland
Orchestra quartet to the last note of Arthur Foote’s “A Night Piece,” and into the dinner conversations of the 233 patrons celebrating the Cleveland Orchestra’s centennial and the 50th anniversary of Blossom Music Center.
The world-renowned orchestra’s summer home became a haven of gastronomy, with an onstage garden-to-table dinner paired with fine wines prepared by regional and national chefs. Diners sipped Spanish Rosé Cava from Viva la Vida to start, with French Garden Pea Crisp by Chef Rick Carson of Nosh Catering in Hudson. Farm vegetables with Chef Zack Hirt’s ham of Nuevo and Invocation Red Blend from Sonoma’s Cast Wines.
California also sent Chef Roger Thomas, of Viceroy L’Ermitage in Beverly Hills, who complemented his beet-cured Hamachi with a Treasure Hunter Chardonnay from Washington state. Coffee and brown sugar showed up before dessert, crusting the strip loin prepared by Chef David Holland, also of Nosh Catering. A 2011 Lara O Pro from Bodegas Fusion of Spain was the libation of choice. And to finish, Pastry Chef Lauren Shaffer came from Maryland to offer a bit of breakfast at night: combining cereal milk and strawberries in a cup of White Chocolate Cremeux. A local vintner CLE Urban Winery closed out the menu with a Shoreway Voignier, as Bent Tree Coffee in Kent offered an organic cup for the trip home.
Opened in 1968 with George Szell conducting Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, the Blossom Music Center Pavilion was designed by Cleveland architect Peter van Dijk, who with his wife Bobbi served as the benefit’s honorary chairs. Named to honor the Dudley S. Blossom family, major orchestra supporters, Blossom itself has benefitted from concertgoers since that first program. As Richard K. Smucker, board president of the Cleveland Orchestra, noted, “Over 20 million people have experienced live music concerts here in Blossom’s first fifty years.” And now add gastronomes to the metronomes, with the first staging of “A Symphony of Food & Fine Wine.” STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY PEGGY TURBETT