Chocolate Amaretto Creme Brûlée & the #NYDairyFarmtoTable Event

by Kate on October 27, 2012

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Last weekend I was telling you that HB and I had ventured out to upstate New York for the weekend and what a time we had! We were off to attend the New York Dairy Farm to Table event courtesy of the American Dairy Association and Dairy Counsel. We were so excited to join them and other bloggers to learn more about modern farming and dairy products that are made throughout New York State. The mission of the ADADC “is to economically benefit dairy farmers by encouraging the consumption of milk and dairy products through advertising, education and promotion, to reach consumers with product benefits and advantages.”

Our trip started out a little dreary with an overcast day that quickly turned into a torrential downpour. For the first hour of our adventure we drove through sheets of rain that prevented me from seeing more than a few feet in front of us. The road trip I had envisioned of a sunny day filled with frequent stops to take pictures of the picturesque countryside was quickly fading. Fortunately the rain let up after about two hours however, we didn’t see sunlight until an hour or so before our arrival. As we pulled into The Inn on the Lake, the city of Canandaigua, NY greeted us with sunny skies and cool temperatures. I immediately knew our trip was going to be spectacular.

After some much-needed rest, the next morning HB and I joined our group of other bloggers including Amber of Bluebonnets & Brownies who is a Texan living here in New Jersey and Tracy of Sugarcrafter, which is one of my favorite blogs to read.

After some introductions we were all off to Noblehurst Farms in Linwood, NY. The farm is an environmentally conscious, seven generation, multi-family farm. Milking 1,800 cows and working over 2,500 acres of corn, alfalfa, and wheat this farm business has roots dating back to the very early 1800s. 98% of farms in New York state are family owned and operated businesses. In many cases, multiple generations of the same family.

As we arrived on the farm, one of the first things we all noticed was a distinct smell that was strong and somewhat unpleasant, acidic like the smell of vinegar. We also noticed these large hills covered in plastic and tires. HB and I both mused, what could that be? It was soon explained that this was actually food for the cows, called “silage.”

Silage is piles of hay or corn that is preserved through a process of covering it with plastic and removing all the oxygen from it. At this point the silage begins to ferment and forms acetic acid which leads to the vinegar smell which may not thrill us but the cows love the taste and eat a ton of it.

The average cow drinks 30-50 gallons of water and eat 100 pounds of food per day! They spend 6-7 hours each day eating so I suppose a happy, well-fed cow is a productive cow.

While on the farm, we saw calves that were only a few hours old. They were adorable! These little calves weigh between 80-100 pounds at birth. (And I thought a 7+ lb baby was difficult to deliver!) When we were all done coo’ing and goo’ing over them, we got to learn about the course of their lives and how these little calves provide so much to us as consumers. When a calf is born, the males are sold for beef.

The females spend their days eating and resting comfortably until they’re about a year old. Once they reach 12 months old, they begin impregnating them and by the time they’re 22 or 23 months old they begin to produce milk.

Noblehurst has 1700 cows who are milked three times a day and they make about 10 gallons of milk per day. Total, Noblehurst’s cows produce about 15,000 gallons of milk per day!  That equates to 5.5 million gallons of milk. Dairy is New York State’s largest agriculture business, generating $10 billion per year and $50 billion regionally and is the #4 dairy-producing state in the United States.

We had the opportunity to see the cows being milked in a 50 cow rotary parlor. When they come into the parlor the teets are cleaned and sterilized. Next, they step on and the milking begins. The whole process only takes about 10 minutes. The cows actually train themselves to get on and off the rotary and really seem to enjoy the process. Some even stayed on to take a second turn on “the merry-go-round.” This system is also very cost-effective for the farm. It only takes 4 employees, working a 7-hour shift to milk all 1700 cows on the farm.

I was surprised to learn what that all milk contains all 9 essential nutrients, 8 grams of protein and that whole milk actually only contains 3.3% milk fat. All my life I’ve consumed skim milk, thinking that whole milk was terrible for me. As part of a healthy, well-balanced diet whole milk seems like a completely healthy choice. They should call it 96.7% fat-free milk. I personally don’t care for the creaminess of whole milk but this bit of knowledge will now keep me from giving Mike such a hard time about drinking it.

I also learned that each of these farmers has an Ivy League education. I found this so surprising. I thought that they learned the trade on the farm growing up and that was that. But that’s not the case, they each have to attain degrees and an extensive and impressive education.

After  an amazing day on the farm where we learned so much, we had a bit of down time. HB and I explored the beautiful city of Canandaigua a bit.

Then it was time to sample some of the fine dairy products that are made from milk from dairy farms just like Noblehurst. We spent our evening at the New York Wine and Culinary Center. There we learned about wine tasting, how to pair them with flavors in food and how the elements in food change how our palate tastes the wine. That evening we were treated to a wine and cheese tasting to start the night. Did you know that 1/3 of all the milk produced in the US goes toward cheese production? Being a cheese fanatic, I love that statistic.

As we sipped wine, I was in awe of how different a wine might taste on first sip and then again after tasting a particular cheese. After our sampling we headed into another room that was quite the site to see. It was a half-circle of stadium seating with a kitchen in the center where chef Andrew Chambers demonstrated how to prepare each of the three courses we would be having that evening, each paired with another wine.

We had an amazing first course of Ricotta and Pancetta Ravioli with Wild Mushroom Cream Sauce followed by Blue Cheese Port Wine Crusted Beef Tenderloin topped with Potato Nests over Seasonal Vegetables finished with a red wine reduction. Last, and you know this was my very favorite part, for dessert we had Chocolate Amaretto Creme Brûlée paired with Rooster Hill Port. I had never had port before and I was excited to try it. At first sip, I actually shuddered a bit and said to Amber, “Oh, I don’t think I like that.” But I then took a bit of the creme brûlée followed by another sip. I was just astonished by how the taste completely changed, smoothed out and mellowed. Needless to say, I drank my port and enjoyed it very much when paired with chocolate.

Creme brûlée is actually one of my very favorite desserts. Almost every time Mike and I go out to eat, if it’s on the menu then creme brûlée is what’s for dessert. This is the best creme brûlée I’ve ever eaten. So for you today I have that very recipe. NYWCC was kind enough to share it with us so in turn I absolutely must share it with you. You have to make this! It’s something you need in your life. And if you haven’t ever made creme brûlée, don’t be intimidated. I promise you, it’s not hard. You can totally handle this.

This weekend was an incredible learning experience. I realized how vital the dairy business is to our economy and so much about farm life. I have taken away a whole new outlook on that gallon of milk I buy from the grocery store. Hope you all have a fantastic weekend! I’ll be in Philadelphia today attending TECHmunch which I’m SO excited for! Hopefully I’ll learn a ton of stuff to make this little ol’ blog even better. In the mean time, make some creme brûlée and as always, you’ll find a recap of what you may have miss this week here since it is Saturday and all.



One Year Ago: Povitica

Chocolate Amaretto Creme Brûlée

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Chocolate Amaretto Creme Brûlée

Decadent dark chocolate creme brulee with a hint of Amaretto.


  • 1 whole vanilla bean
  • 5 ounces granulated sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons Amaretto
  • 16 ounces heavy cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the vanilla bean length ways and scrape the seeds from the bean with the edge of a knife. Mix the seeds with the sugar and distribute evenly.
  3. Mix the vanilla sugar, egg yolks, cocoa powder and Amaretto together until well blended.
  4. Heat the cream until steam starts to rise. Gradually add one ladle-full of the warm cream to the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Slowly add the remaining cream, whisking until all the cream is fully incorporated.
  5. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve.
  6. Place 6 ramekins in a shallow pan and fill the pan 3/4 full with hot water. Evenly distribute the chocolate mixture among the ramekins. Bake for 25 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to rest at room temperature until cool then refrigerate.
  8. Just before serving, sprinkle a thin layer of sugar over the top and caramelize using a kitchen torch or place under hot broiler until a deep chestnut color is attained.Let stand for 2 minutes and serve.
  9. Enjoy!

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*Disclosure: This trip was sponsored by the ADADC. We were provided lodging and a travel stipend. All the opinions about the event expressed here are my own.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris October 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Lovely post. I liked the look of the cows on the first cow picture.


Kate October 28, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Thanks Chris! It was an interesting trip and we really learned a lot. I loved seeing all those cows too! And upstate New York is a gorgeous place.


Tracy December 3, 2012 at 12:42 pm

I have no idea how I missed this post – I must have missed it in the holiday scramble that began before Thanksgiving – but in any case I loved reading it and re-living the weekend! It was so nice to meet you in person! And I agree that creme brûlée was incredible. 🙂


Kate December 6, 2012 at 8:47 pm

It was so nice meeting you also Tracy! Hopefully we’ll run into each other again sometime. It was such a nice weekend!


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