It looked like an indie wedding, or a page out of a Pottery Barn catalogue — but it was a marijuana-pairing dinner. The Headquarters cannabis boutique team and Blackbelly Market's Hosea Rosenberg hosted a winter dinner event last weekend at which marijuana normalization reached a new high, at a sold-out (by private invite) event at the farm-chic Shupe Homestead in Longmont.
The evening moved the seventy diners from course to course in intelligent ways that showcased all forms of marijuana, including edibles, drops and good ol' flower, emphasizing the Headquarters philosophy of connection to and appreciation for the cannabis community. It was the third event conceptualized by Mason Jar Event Group's Kendal Norris, and the largest yet: The first treated cannabis industry workers to a farm-to-table dinner outdoors at the same homestead in September, and then there was a yoga-weed brunch in November.
A complimentary shuttle that braved traffic on I-25 definitely helped get the good vibes going, and the first stop was at the Lyons outpost of Headquarters. Although the exterior of this dispensary is unassuming, the boutique dispensary consistently receives rave reviews and boasts some of the most potent strains we've had the pleasure of smoking in this state. The care taken by growers really shows, evident in the brilliant, dense trichomes of the Canna-Tsu bud in a Mason jar that came with the diners' goodie bags.
Guests paid $25 for those goodie bags, which also included several items donated by Leafly, a savory batch of edibles by Love's Oven, a joint of Strawberry Cough in the precious KushKards packaging that read "Let's Burn One," and marshmallow-flavored drops from the brand-new Medicina by Canyon Cultivation line, as well as the stoner essentials of rolling papers and a lighter.
As we rounded the back of the homestead, we were greeted by two giant fire pits surrounded by cannabis smokers laughing and conversing. For those who do not partake in marijuana, they would be drinking their first course of booze prepared by the talented Crystal Sagan, owner of Three Chicks Bartending. It is a balanced yet sweet cocktail made with mixed berries, citrus and two types of liquor, including Leopold Bros. vodka.
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Blackbelly then came out swinging with the first course, a delicious pork-cheek empanada paired with Headquarter's Strawberry Cough, a lightly sweet smoke that loosened up the crowd. The crust was flaky and posed a social threat of a mess, but all awkwardness was forgiven in this crowd of cannabis enthusiasts.
There was no smoking inside the space, so a vape bar had been assembled by the pros from Healthy Headie, whose spread included a series of the new Pax vaporizers. Meanwhile, smokers gathered around the outdoor fire pits that lined the entrance. Music by Dechen Hawk and his band provided a perfect low-key backdrop: a little bit rock and roll along with indie and country.
Soon we were near sensory overload, as food jockeyed for attention with the knockout cannabis strains.The second course consisted of a roasted-red pepper soup with puffed barley and a Haystack Mountain chevre, meant to be paired with rosemary-parmesan crackers from Love's Oven.
Love's Oven owner Peggy Moore told us that the crackers were her favorite thing coming out of the bakery, adding that she hopes savory edibles catch on in 2016. Dosed at a mere half-a-milligram apiece — the lowest we've seen in an edible — they're meant for a subtle high and, yes, you can eat more than just one (even if you have to rip open wrapping around each cracker). An Argentinian white wine called Recuerdo Torrontes augmented the course for the non-smokers.
Third course was a roasted organic winter brassica salad made up of Romanisco, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts with apples, dates and hazelnuts adding sweet, crunchy textural components. Rosenberg knows his way around a vegetable garden, and this combo was amazing.
The pungent and sticky Canna-Tsu paired perfectly with Rosenberg's entree: coq au vin, served with housemade tagliatelle. The dish featured Mary's Free Range Chicken, along with sweet onions, mushrooms and a gravy rich in flavor but light in texture. The smooth finish of the Canna-Tsu was delightful. Canna-Tsu has a high CBD and low THC profile, which makes it citrusy, sweet and earthy, as well as able to provide mental clarity. If imbibing is more your style, then you got to try the Perrin Cotes du Rhone Villages Rouges, a stunning red wine
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And we needed to concentrate on a dessert to die for: a decadent chocolate espresso mousse torte with salt caramel, Syrian pumpkin seeds, Washington elderberries and local cinnamon cacao. This final course was served with Marley Coffee with Meletti Cioccolato liqueur; cannabis consumers had the option of adding a drop of the Canyon Cultivation marshmallow Medicina drops.
Canyon Cultivation owner Morgan Iverson explained that the drops are naturally flavored with no added chemicals, and also happen to be vegan and GMO-free. The drops have a four-to-one ratio of CBD to THC, which means they won't give you a huge head high, but instead relax you and work as a sort of pain reducer with their CBD properties, which are non-psychoactive.
At the end of the night, nobody wanted to leave — but reluctantly we boarded the bus. Until next time.