Swan Song…Cleonice Mediterranean Bistro…

At the end of every November, for the past 12 years, Cary and Rich Hanson have held a Game Wine Dinner at Cleonice Mediterranean Bistro with Jack Scully of Easterly Wine. They hold a half a dozen Wine Dinners every year. I have been to many of them as a guest, and have been fortunate to have hosted them since June of 2013. The dinner on November 23rd appeared to be a typical, wonderful, “Wine Dinner as usual”… 5 courses with 5 wines paired perfectly. Hazelnut Crusted Duck Pate’ paired with 2013 Domaine Pajot “Les Quatre Cepages” Cotes de Gascogne…Crispy Seared Wild Boar Belly with French Green Lentil Salad paired with 2012 Perticaia Trebbiano Spoletino…Rabbit Cacciatore with Fresh Cavatelli Pasta paired with 2013 Otella “Gemei” Rosso Alto Mincio…Venison Osso Bucco with Cauliflower Rissotto paired with 2011 Quinta do Crasto Douro Superior…and Pumpkin Flan with Hazelnut Praline paired with 2011 Mas Amiel Muscat de Rivesaltes. The dinner was delicious and the wine pairings were perfect. I had no idea that this would be the last Wine Dinner that I would host there. On December 4th Cary and Rich announced that after 12 and a half years they would be closing Cleonice on December 31st. This saddens me in a way that I cannot express. Cary and Rich are two of the nicest, hardest working people that I know. They have a true passion for food and wine and preach the importance of fresh ingredients. They employed great people, provided great service, and served the best food in the Greater Ellsworth Area for 12 and a half years. Cary and Rich grew their own vegetables,raised there own chickens, ducks and pigs. They supported local farmers and fisherman, way before it was the trendy thing to do. Cary and Rich introduced us to Tapas, taught us about Mediterranean Cuisine and “Farm to Table” dining. For 12 and a half years they did everything they could, to support their community, but in the end, the times worked against them… Now they are closing. They will be terribly missed and Ellsworth will not be the same without them…Cleonice will be open for a few more lunches and dinners… Make a reservation, stop in and say hello. Say “thank you” to Cary and Rich Hanson for all they have done to make Ellsworth a better place…for 12 and a half years.