Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival: Flavours of the Festival Brunch. Part II
Well as a chronicler of a multi-course food and wine pairing, I obviously need to go into training well in advance of the next sipping and supping event I attend. Having been deprived of wine for most of the past 6 months - because taking analgesics for my severe back pain took precedent over drinking pleasure - I must have lost any of the tolerance for alcohol that I had carefully built up over the years.
Because, even though I sternly restricted myself to just the few sips of each wine needed to see how the food and wine pairing stacked up - well except for the Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé and Optima - I must have got a bit befuddled without realizing it until much later.
Or maybe it was because I was concentrating hard on keeping my dance-deprived body from fox-trotting round the tables to the terrific background music of the trio, whose names I have not yet found out. Whatever the cause here is what happened.
Writing up my impressions of Flavours of the Festival. Part I. I was pleased with my photographs of plates set out at the food stations, and of the close up of each dish. "They turned out rather nicely" I thought smugly to myself.
So having posted Part I, I happily opened my photo library to get started on writing up the second half of the Flavours of the Festival Brunch food stations and burst into hysterical laughter.
Somehow I had neglected to take pictures of both the wonderful lamb chop dish from Market and the gorgonzola stuffed tenderloin from Chop Steakhouse.
My only excuse apart from the wine befuddlement is that lamb chops and gorgonzola with beef - or actually gorgonzola with or without anything - are among my favorite foods. I guess I must have just put down my plate and dived right in to enjoy the food without taking a picture.So apologies to the teams from Market and Chop.
I had to check. Sous- vide is "under vacuum" - the meat is placed in airtight plastic bag and cooked slowly in a water bath at a consistent temperature water till tender.
The venison was paired with Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin 2007, a full bodied blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet France, Petit Verdot and Malbec.
The Osoyoos Larose Vineyard is located in the South Okanagan valley. Winemaker Pascal Madevon shared this glorious picture of the vineyard with me.
The next station I visited was manned by the team from Market by Jean-Georges at the Shangri-La Hotel. I have had several great meals there and as well it was one of the stops on our Foodie Tour.
The table was surrounded by a large crowd and I could not find a spot to get a photograph.
Chef de Cuisine Karen Gin served up a lamb chop with roasted Brussels sprouts and pistachio pesto. The chop was perfect for my taste, pink and tender. My table mates raved about the vegetables. I forgot to take a photo.
The food was paired with the Hester Creek Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 from the winery which is also located in Oliver, in the South Okanagan.
The next station was the Chop Steakhouse Bar in Richmond. I have not yet had the occasion to visit it.
Again I could not find a clear spot to photograph the table so I just joined the line up and took my plate.
Chef Michael Nezny's offering was gorgonzola stuffed beef tenderloin , wrapped in Fraser Valley bacon over wasabi spiked mashed potato with a Rioja infused demi-glace
As I mentioned I absolutely love gorgonzola in almost anything. One of my favorite food memories is eating gorgonzola at a perfect stage of ripeness, at a rickety wooden kitchen table in a farmhouse just outside Lucca, a walled town in Tuscany where friends and I had rented the place for a week. It was one of those magical times when we consumed copious amounts of wine with cheeses and charcuterie, yet never felt intoxicated.
Back to the brunch: Here the tenderloin was paired with a Spanish wine - the Osborne Montecillo Crianza 2008. The Bodega Montecillo of the Osborne Winery group is in the Rioja district of Northern Spain.
It's been quite a while since I dined at The Pointe Restaurant at Wickaninnish Inn on Vancouver Island, but I still remember the magnificent sight of waves crashing on the rocks.
By the time I reached their station the brunch was winding down but I was still able to get a plate.
The offering from Chef Nicholas Nutting was smoked duck breast with ciabatta crouton and cassis syrup.
I know I have said that just about every food but I absolutely adore smoked duck breast. Fortunately this time I was alert enough to remember to take a picture.
The dish was paired with another rich Spanish red wine - the Gonzalez Bypass Bodega Beronia Reserva 2005.
At the Yew Restaurant and Bar from the Four Seasons Hotel executive Chef Oliver Beckert served up smoked trout (another favorite of mine) mousseline, candied horse radish with a black sesame crisp.
They also served a white chocolate cheese cake lollipop which I regretfully did not get a chance to try.
The pairing was with Osborne Pedro Ximénez old rare sherry aged for 30 years. Totally yummy.
My final stop was at the station of the Old Vines Restaurant, at Quails' Gate Winery where I enjoyed a terrific lunch during the Okanagan Wine Festival in May.
Chef Roger Sleiman created a baked yogurt dessert , with poached seckel pear and lavender honey roasted almonds.
The crowning touch for me as an avid collector of dessert wines and ice wines, was the paired Quail's Gate Botrytis Affected Optima 2008. I confess I finished my glass and licked the rim.
So that concludes my journey round the Flavours of the Festival Brunch. Next year my strategy will be to train my alcohol-metabolising enzymes well in advance and ensure that I take all my photographs before I sip any wine.