November is wine month at Provence Marinaside and we have tons of great events planned. One event that I am particularly excited about is the winemaker’s dinner we have arranged with Pacific Breeze.
Pacific Breeze is a ‘garagiste’ winery in New Westminster. I think it goes without saying that New West is probably not the best place to be growing grapes. What they do instead is source quality grapes from along the west coast: BC, California, Oregon and Washington. This contradicts the romantic notion of an estate winery, however there are some serious perks. Sourcing grapes from a variety of wine regions allows the winemaker to choose only the best grapes to work with, as opposed to being stuck with lesser quality fruit in tough vintages. Another perk is that the tasting room is just a skytrain ride away!
When planning the menu for any wine dinner at Provence we realize that the wine is the real star of the evening. The foods role in the menu is to season the wine, show the wine at its best, showcase the beautiful marriage that food and wine can achieve. To accomplish this goal we start with the wine, letting the flavours guide our menu choices.
Personally, I love putting together menus in this fashion. Food and wine are my passion, so any chance I get to combine and elevate them at the same time is pretty much what I live for. Planning the menu for Pacific Breeze was particularly fun because I was able to share the experience with my good friend, Chef Sheldon. It was Chef Sheldon’s first time planning a menu in this style and we both had a wonderful time learning from each other and combining our ideas to put together a menu that we are both very proud of. I’ll share with you a few features of the menu we created, but to truly appreciate the amount of detail and love that go into these events you simply need to attend one.
Sometimes it is the simplest thing that really ties a dish together with a wine. Flavours like goat cheese and asparagus are pretty classic pairings with Sauvignon Blanc, but drizzling both of those with an olive oil infused with grilled grapefruit zest is what makes our salad the perfect match with the fruity vibrant Sauvignon Blanc from Pacific Breeze.
In the case of the Big Red, a Rhone inspired blend, we chose to highlight the jammy and white pepper notes with smoky earthy flavours of grilled quail, crispy duck skin and smoky bacon. When we realized that we had chosen a trio of meats, we were pretty pleased with ourselves!
When tasting the Signature Series Cabernet we found ourselves using a lot of descriptors normally found in dessert: mocha, spices, plum, berries and vanilla. We decided to use these flavours in savoury applications to come up with a playful way to trick the mind and palate. Pairing classic beef tenderloin with leeks braised in vanilla, potatoes mashes with nutmeg and a savoury jus laced with bourbon.
The dessert course was a little tricky as we chose to use a dry wine. The AssasZin is a super jammy and rich Zinfandel. The moment we tried a sip alongside a piece of 70% dark chocolate we knew we had made the right choice. A wedge of salty and mild Baby Blue cheese from Moonstruck also brings out the sweeter side in this Zinfandel. We’ll be serving both alongside shortbread cookies that I’ll be making myself, a recipe that I adjusted specifically to pair with this style of wine. A little less sugar than usual so as not to overpower a dry wine, with cocoa butter and crunchy cocoa beans to give the melting texture and bitter flavour of chocolate in a whole different way. Bonus, I get to play around in the kitchen for the afternoon, I miss my days as a pastry chef!
The seating is very limited for all the wine month events so call now to book your space for any or all of them. I hope to see you there.