Hunt To Table

Wild Game Dinner Pays Homage to Hemingway

By Alona Abbady Martinez

When Ernest Hemingway was just 3 years old, he was eagerly tagging along with his father Clarence on seven-mile hunting expeditions. Ernest’s mother Grace noted a humorous anecdote about her son in a family scrapbook “… little hunter and provider shot a duck for their dinner, but with the tongue in cheek added that Papa (Clarence) shot at the same time,” said Sean Hemingway, Ernest’s grandson who completed the final edit of Hemingway on Hunting.

“For Hemingway, hunting was more than just a passion; it was a means through which to explore our humanity and man’s relationship to nature,” Sean said. “Courage, awe, respect, precision, patience — these were the virtues that Hemingway honored in the hunter, and his ability to translate these qualities into prose has produced some of the strongest accounts of sportsmanship of all time.”

A Hunting Club Pays Homage To Ernest
Inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s love of hunting and the great outdoors, a group of 35 successful business men and  women who are hunting enthusiasts recently celebrated an evening of wild-game culinary delight at Swine Southern Table and Bar in Coral Gables, Florida. On behalf of International Opulence, Michael Jay – a seasoned hunter and member of the group casually known as the Hemingway Hunt Club – sat down with co-founders Jorge Freeland, A.J. Ager.

“The idea behind the club was to follow Hemingway’s values on hunting and fishing. It was to honor the author. He loved Florida and was very passionate about the outdoors,” Freeland explained.  “I ran the club the first year and organized our dinners.”

The dinners Freeland is referring to are the feasts prepared by acclaimed chefs featuring what the members have hunted. Swine Southern Table and Bar, a Miami favorite specializing in Southern comfort food, hosted February’s hunt-club dinner under the watch of Corporate Chef Patrick Rebholz. John Kunkle, owner of 50 Eggs Inc., which includes Swine, initially became interested in the club after embarking on a hunting expedition with Freeland in Argentina.

“About 2-3 months ago, we were talking and John said, ‘Hey, I’ve got this new chef at Swine and he specializes in wild game – you bring the protein and we’ll supply everything else!’” Freeland told International Opulence.

The Feast At Swine
Members of the club dropped off their game at Swine prior to the event.

“The group was extremely eager and have such a brotherhood amongst them.  It really made the dinner so worth it for me and my team,” Rebholz recalled.

The final result was spectacular. Baird Lobree, a fellow hunter who attended the dinner, was impressed by what he calls, “the incredibly varied, detailed honor-the-whole-animal creativity, careful preparation, presentation and service.”

The Wild Game Menu
Starters included Wild Boar Empanadas, Bacon Guantlet, and Thai Pheasant Sausage, followed by an exquisite array of hunted delights:  Smoked BBQ Legs of Boar, Pheasant Stuffed Quail, Fennel Stuffed Tomahawk Boar Chops and Wild-Caught Golden Tilefish with Sun Choke Coconut Pureé.  Exceptional wine pairings, desserts, specialty cocktails, and nightcaps, such as John Wayne-inspired “The Duke Bourbon” were also showcased.

“Cooking with wild game is an interesting feat – you are working with an animal from the wild.  We had to taste quite a bit as we curated the menu. The most interesting part would be thinking outside the box to make sure we honor the entire animal,” Rebholz explained.

“We’re trying to promote hunting and fishing as a historic American pastime,” Freeland said.  “Hunting is not so much about shooting; it’s about being out in nature.”

It’s also about the comradery that forms between members during and after the hunt, something exemplified by the dinner at Swine.

Co-founder A.J. Ager, agrees.  “I realized this was the perfect opportunity for some father-son bonding. Lo and behold, my son landed his first pig!  It was a memorable moment for both of us and John’s culinary team cooked it to delicious perfection!”

Hunt To Table