Coming Together Over Food: A Banquet for the Senses in the Countryside of Chiang Mai

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Living in the city, It’s rare that you get a chance to experience the quiet of the country, an uninterrupted view of the sky and the sounds of nature.  In an effort to get outside of our regular life, we ventured out into the countryside of Chiang Mai, driven in the back of a songtaew, knowing not where we would end up, but only that a special dinner awaited us under the stars.

In between a rice field and a small stream, a table for about 75-100 was set up where an army of mismatched plates and chairs looked as if they had been collected from neighbors houses and set up in the back yard.  Strings of lights strewn amongst the trees were the only decoration besides a single chandelier hung from a tree, seemingly sent from the sky.  The rest was all nature:  trees, crickets, grass under-foot.

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Strangers came in groups, as couples or singles and soon were all talking over pre-dinner drinks of local craft-brews and soon we were all sitting at the long table almost as a big family.  Conversations grew out of curiosity to learn about new faces across the table or the food that was beautifully presented in multiple courses.

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And about the food:  It was indeed delicious, but even more-so knowing that all the ingredients for the meal were fresh, seasonal and local.  The host for the evening was Rustic & Blue – Handgrown Produce & Artisan Fooda wildly popular farm shop in Chiang Mai.  Their goal is to create an intimate atmosphere in which friends can share a meal, and at this, they excelled.  The setting was the perfect backdrop to allow us to come together and experience  the delicious flavors, prepared in the makeshift outdoor kitchen.  As the evening rolled along, we became drunk on the tastes of the wonderful food and the starlight above and by the time we left, we had made new friends and memories, the likes of which cannot be replicated in any typical setting.  Sometimes, it takes a step outside of your everyday to be able to allow your senses to hear, see and taste new things.  Coming together over food never tasted so good!