Our next installment of wine dinners was the Harvest Wine & Food Dinner on November 1st. This sold out event featured five delicious courses paired with five amazing wines highlighting the unique flavors of fall. The festive room was filled with good food, good conversation, good wine and great friends. Wine tidbits and information were shared throughout the evening, but not to worry, there were prizes for those paying attention!
In asking Head Chef, Mike Devay, what inspired him for the menu, he said “I love to eat, so it’s only natural that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday!” This is the third wine dinner for Chef Devay and he chose to theme it around the upcoming holiday. “Every time we do one of these dinners, I try to bring new and creative courses to the table that most people haven’t tried or don’t think would taste good”, stated Chef. He sure hit that one on the head this time around!
The hors d’oeuvres course was a selection of cheeses donated by Cabot. The extra sharp and seriously sharp cheddars, pepper jack and Farmhouse Reserve Aged cheddar were paired with William Wycliff Brut Champagne. The champagne’s crisp, fruity flavor paired well with the bold and tangy cheeses.
The second course really shocked a lot of the guests – brussel sprouts! Not what you think, it was a brussel sprout salad! Chef Devay is not a huge fan of brussel sprouts either, but thought serving them in this fashion was more appealing. The shaved, raw brussel sprouts were served with a sweet and savory maple bacon vinaigrette dressing. It was a hit! This course was paired with B & G Macon Villages Chardonnay. This well rounded Chardonnay had a fruity nose with hints of golden apple and a touch of honey. Light and citrusy with a smooth finish made this a match made in heaven!
Next was pumpkin alfredo tortellini, a yummy cheese stuffed tortellini in a pumpkin alfredo sauce garnished with fried sage. This course was the most troublesome for our Chef. The intention was to have a hint of pumpkin followed by alfredo, but the first attempt tasted like pumpkin pie! He chose to switch the pasta to the tortellini and once he fine-tuned the sauce, the end result was delicious. The fried sage brought in another texture and complimented the dish quite well. This course was paired with Copper Ridge Merlot. Not the first choice of wine for this course, but when the one we ordered didn’t deliver, we had to improvise. Most comments were about the same as when they heard they were eating brussel sprouts; “no way” and “I don’t like…Merlot”, but the wine paired perfectly. The dark cherry flavor with hints of vanilla and spice and silky finish enhanced the nutty richness of the sauce and surprised most guests how well they went together.
Course number three was stuffed turkey tenderloin. This dinner wouldn’t have been what it was without this course. The turkey, a staple for a Thanksgiving inspired meal, was an easy choice. To make it extra special, the bread stuffing had fresh cranberries incorporated into it and the gravy was infused with cranberry as well to give it a touch of tartness. What turkey dish would be complete without mashed potatoes? That is where the cauliflower mashed came in, yes cauliflower! Boiled down, a little butter, salt and pepper and there you have it! The rich flavors of this course were enhanced by Hangtime Pinot Noir. Grapes for this wine were given extended “hangtime” and harvested at peak ripeness, hence the name! This wine exhibits a rich garnet color with aromas of dark cherry, dried cranberry, and hints of allspice. The silky mouthfeel and supple tannins contribute to a long and satisfying finish. Just say “yum”!
The dessert course – people are still talking about the dessert course!! Caramel apple puff pastry! Chef Devay admittedly loves sweets and loves to bake. “This was my favorite course”; says Chef Devay. You can be over the top creative when it comes to dessert and “over the top awesome” this one was! Chef made a homemade caramel sauce and mixed it with the apples and cinnamon slurry, wrapped it all in a puff pastry and baked it. Topped it with more caramel (because you can never have enough caramel) and finished it with homemade cinnamon whip cream. Yes - it was as amazing as it sounds! Paired with Crios Malbec full of jammy fruit flavors and subtle hints of coffee and vanilla made it a perfect ending.
Another wine dinner in the books! We hope to see you at the next one.