In the novel Travels with Charley, John Steinbeck writes:
“I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.”
And if you’ve ever been to Montana, I am sure you know exactly what Steinbeck is talking about. The mountains are picturesque, there is vast rangeland, the rivers are abundant… Much of Montana is just like a postcard. I have to agree with Steinbeck, I love Montana too. And I love to visit Montana any time we can.
On our Great Canadian Harley trip, we spent some time in Montana and we had the amazing opportunity to attend a special event. The hubs and I, along with some local friends, attended the Bounty on the Blackfoot. The Bounty on the Blackfoot was a true farm-to-table long table supper event curated by two renowned chefs, The Resort at Paws up Executive Chef Ben Jones and celebrity Chef Brooke Williamson.
The event was hosted at The Resort at Paws Up which is a 37,000 acre working Montana ranch located right on the Blackfoot River. The expansive property is the home of the guest ranch which turns the idea behind roughing it in the Montana wilderness into a luxury experience. It takes “glamping” to a whole new level.
Paws Up offers guests the opportunity to enjoy Montana from a luxury home or get this, luxury tent. Along with first-class service and accommodations, The Resort at Paws Up also provides gourmet cuisine, decadent spa treatments, and an endless list of recreational activities. Want to fly fish on the Blackfoot described in A River Runs Through It, climb the majestic mountains once memorialized by Lewis and Clark? The Resort at Paws Up has got you covered. As they describe it, “The Resort at Paws Up is truly The Last Best PlaceTM.”
Taking part in a Montana Long Table event is truly a special experience as these only happen three times a year. Before the event itself, there is a farmer’s market where you get to sample and purchase locally grown wares as well as meet the people who are behind it all. As you move beyond the market, you come across a long table set-up literally in the middle of scenic Montana rangeland. Resort employees meet you with fabulous appetizers prepared by the renowned Chef team as you move towards your spot at the iconic table.
We had a fantastic chat with the Hutterite family who grew all the vegetables. We learned all about camelina from Ole World Oils. Camelina is a brassica that produces small seeds often crushed for oil. It was fascinating for us to talk with the grower about how it is planted, what climate it prefers, and other agronomy-related questions. I’ll bet the grower had no idea he would have his brain picked by an agronomist that evening. 😉
We enjoyed delicious beer poured by Blacksmith Brewing Company out of Stevensville, MT, wine from Sonoma Valley, and handcrafted cocktails from the bartenders at The Resort at Paws Up to wash down our delectable appetizers like blackened filet crostini with huckleberry compote, goat cheese, and tobacco onions and the best grilled lamb ribs I’ve ever eaten. The even had my hands down favorite classic, a Whisky Sour, served in a mason jar. Can you say perfection? Our long table Bounty on the Blackfoot was a four course dinner utilizing locally grown ingredients. Our meal began with an Avocado, Cucumber, and Tomatillo Soup topped with Watermelon and Coconut Salad. This soup was so refreshing, it was a warm day and having a cool soup was just the ticket. Next we enjoyed a Trofie (type of pasta) Salad garnished with Mushrooms and Truffle Parmesan Broth. Full disclosure, I am not a huge mushroom fan but this was fantastic. I ate every bit. And just check out thae incredible presentation of every dish.
For our main course, we enjoyed a selection of Hutterite Chicken, Prime Beef Tenderloin, Trout with Roasted Garlic and Lemon Butter, Montana Lamb Saratoga, and Missoula Farmer’s Market Vegetables. I don’t think there was a single thing on the main course I didn’t like. We finished up with a Peanut Butter Mousse with Huckleberry Jelly and Candied Peanuts. A clever take on everyone’s favorite childhood combination, but in a much more sophisticated presentation. It was almost too gorgeous to eat, but too delicious not to eat.
We finished off the evening enjoying the company of those around us and watching the sun sink down behind the picturesque mountains. We had the pleasure of sitting next to a couple from New York City and their two adorable little girls. We also met a couple who lives in the same town as some friends of ours on the East Coast, talk about small world moments. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect Montana day. Enjoying the evening in the middle of a Montana moment with good friends, incredible food, and of course some delicious drinks too.
If you ever get the opportunity to visit The Resort at Paws Up, without a doubt, do it. And hopefully like Steinbeck and myself, you’ll fall in love with Montana too. Thank you to the staff at Paws Up for an extraordinary evening, to both Chef Ben and Chef Brooke for putting on an incredible feast, and for our friends for giving us the opportunity to attend such a coveted event.
You can find more beauty and adventure from The Resort at Paws Up by visiting their website, giving them a LIKE on Facebook, following their Instagram page, checking them out on Twitter, or seeing what they are pinning over on Pinterest.