Montreal, 2010 October 13
The latest Alsace On The Menu dinner party transported guests to the sunnier climes of South America and the Caribbean for a wonderful sampling of festive and unexpected gourmet flavours. Once again, the red carpet was rolled out to greet a lineup of local celebrities and foodies in search of the perfect pairing between Alsace wines and mouth-watering flavours. Among some of the familiar faces in attendance were Abeille Gélinas and Francisco Randez, to name just a few, who brought along their foodie curiosity and were quickly rewarded with an evening fully deserving of five stars—Alsace white wines and South America were the perfect pairing—from appetizer to dessert. An unforgettable fiesta-filled ambiance!
Alsace white wines and a little zing!
While awaiting our main dish, we were treated to a divine Crémant Wolfberger that helped loosen tongues and get conversations going. It’s now easy to spot the regulars; the moment they arrive they’re keen to express their interest in attending the next dinner party.
Philippe Fehmiu, our fabulous emcee, greeted everyone and started things off with some questions. Several Alsace On The Menu regulars listened alongside recently seduced newcomers and, whether South American by birth or at heart, all were eager to enjoy the pairing of Alsace white wines with various flavours. And it wasn’t long before our “hot climate” enthusiasts were hooked. Philippe concluded his opening with his customary smile: good wine, good food, and a Latin ambiance. An exciting evening awaited us!
A highly palatable bouquet!
Once again, Nick Hamilton, our favourite wine expert, took to the microphone to profess his love for Alsace wines. In a few words (and a few sips), he explained that Alsace white wines are extremely palatable and easy to enjoy. Most are varietal wines, but also include some blended wines. So one always knows what to expect. He also explained how Alsace wines are ideal for any occasion; some are quite noble, while others can be enjoyed every day. One thing’s for sure: he loves them and recommends them for their versatility. The variety of Alsace wines offers a wealth of pairing opportunities… something we experienced firsthand throughout the evening.
Let’s start with a sublime ceviche… à la Fehmiu
Philippe is just as gifted in the kitchen as he is behind the microphone. Just listening to him describe the ceviche made us want to sink our teeth right into it… right then. It truly was to die for (South America here we come!). Even Abeille Gélinas, a known vegetarian, asked for seconds. Now that’s saying a lot! Philippe’s ultra refined scallop ceviche was cheerfully served with a 2009 Willm Riesling and 2008 Leon Beyer, both of which were just sublime—their acidity helps offset the heat of the dish to perfection. Obviously, we did everything we could to get our hands on his recipe. He’s promised to share it with us soon.
We then moved on to the main course in style where chef Manolo of Restaurant Picapica described the dish of marinated roast pork that we were about to enjoy. It’s a Caribbean recipe that blends beautifully with a 2008 Leon Beyer Pinot Gris creating an instant classic pairing. Chef Manolo confirmed that the meal was lightly spiced for the occasion. An absolute “must” when visiting Picapica… we can’t recommend it enough for your next visit!
Bu sur le web… a get-together of flavour
Aurélia Filion, a dinner party regular whose charm and spontaneity are contagious, invited us to sample a 2008 Marcel Deiss, a blended wine. Then she went through the motions just like she does on her website: she opened the bottle, reacted excitedly (with good reason) and offered her comments. She asked guests what they thought and everyone joined in the fun—sampling, searching, savoring, and then deciding on … honey, or nectar … well, whatever the flavours, we all loved it! Nick Hamilton went a step further, stating, “This particular winemaker works the soil and mixes grapes as if to say ‘see what the ground tastes like.’” Decisively fascinating. Then we all took a sip and were instantly transported…
After a quick break, Philippe introduced everyone to a renowned blogger, Don Quixote, who was wearing an ultra trendy poncho. When she raised her glass, Philippe just couldn’t resist. “Ponchos outside,” he said. Speaking of bloggers, Marie-Annick Boisvert, an Alsace On The Menu regular, couldn’t resist either and wasted no time filling us in on the latest Habs score. Whatever the topic, the mood inside Picapica is always festive!
Three ways to spice up a meal!
We were recommended the combo platter, which was sheer delight. Following chef’s advice, we began with the caramelized cod before moving on to chicken in sauce and finishing up with the lobster. Three flavours that go magnificently with a 2009 Arthur Metz Pinot Blanc.
Between our combo platter and the sumptuous dessert that followed it, Maria Sanz had our mouths watering with a recipe book about the terroirs of Venezuela. She talked about her Cuban discoveries… restaurants off the beaten path in areas where Christopher Columbus first set foot on the island. In short, she invited us on a magnificent journey where Alsace wines are always a must-have.
All’s well that ends well…
The evening ended on a high note with a delectable dessert, Dulce de leche con alfajores, that’s as pleasing to savour as it is to pronounce. With compliments that kept coming up to the very last bite. It was accompanied by an equally sophisticated 2009 Arthur Metz Gewurztraminer.
We were all feeling well fed and well taken care of. And the “tweets” kept on coming. A wonderful evening and a sold-out crowd—places filled up weeks ago. However, you might be lucky enough to join us for our next dinner party. But you’ll have to sign-up soon. The next Alsace On The Menu is already being touted as “not-to-be-missed”!
Wolfberger, Crémant d’Alsace
A colourful “à la Peruvian” feast
Fresh scallops supreme
2009 Willm, Riesling,
2008 Léon Beyer, Riesling
Gourmet Caribbean stopover
Pernil al Caribe
Caribbean-style shredded pork shoulder roast
2008 Léon Beyer, Pinot gris
Latin flavours for discerning taste buds
Sofrito chicken and mole sauce, fillet of cod with caramelized sugar cane on papaya salsa, chipotle and lobster arroz
2009 Arthur Metz, Pinot blanc
Aurélia Filion’s favourite
2008 Marcel Deiss, Cépages d’Alsace
Tierra del Fuego sweet destination
Dulce de leche con alfajores
2009 Arthur Metz, Gewurztraminer