Montreal, 2011 March 1
Alsace On The Menu’s very first stopover in Quebec City was a resounding and flamboyant success! Voodoo Grill, legendary restaurant and ‘supper club’ on Grande Allée, played host to a wonderful evening and many lucky guests in attendance. The venue was chic and inviting, and adorned with sparkling chandeliers.
Six o’clock. Anticipation reigns supreme and the kitchen is bubbling with excitement as we wait for the first guests to arrive. Philippe Fehmiu, customary master of ceremonies, tests his microphone while DJ Vibeus, who’s just settling in for an evening of eclectic mixing, plunges Voodoo Grill into an atmosphere of Asian-inspired electronica. We could already tell this was going to be a dinner party to remember!
Full glasses for a journey full of class!
Six thirty. Guests arrive. Everyone’s dressed to the nines. The small talk is as effervescent as the sparkling Crémant d’Alsace Wolfberger being served—one sip is all it took to be transported somewhere special. For appetizers, we’re offered a chicken consommé with ginger, lacquered duck breasts, and sweetbread egg rolls with beetroot soy syrup. We’re all completely won over. And with taste buds conquered, it’s time to pore over the menu… eagerly feeding our hungry curiosity.
Asian-inspired cuisine and noble Alsace whites: perfect pairing, harmonious voyage
Guests take their seats as Philippe Fehmiu, official tour guide for tonight’s journey of flavours, sets the tone for the evening. He’ll accompany us right through to dessert with his customary energetic verve. Stylish as always, he’s wearing a gingham check shirt with mini black bow tie. Hope you’re taking notes, gentlemen!
Casual chic at its best
Many newcomers have shown up for tonight’s Quebec City first. And Philippe graciously explains the essence of Alsace On The Menu dinner parties—their distinctive 2.0 characteristic and real-time ‘streams’—encouraging us to keep our smart phones switched on to tweet and share feedback on AlsaceOnTheMenu.com!
The Menu dinner parties: an opportunity for guests to discover the flavours of Alsace Wines and to experience their versatility with great-tasting dishes from around the world. The ambiance surrounding each dinner party is sophisticated and friendly, he explains, just like Alsace noble white wines. Sounds inviting… just the way we like it!
And with that, Philippe introduces two prominent wine specialists ready to tempt our palates throughout the evening: renowned wine expert Nick Hamilton and ever-so-bubbly blogger Aurélia Fillion, whose spontaneity and liveliness never run dry. True to form, she’s quick to remark, “I love Alsace wines!”
The chef and his chef-d’œuvres
Chef Mathieu Villeneuve momentarily steps out of his kitchen to present his menu—the result of a lot of hard work. For three days, a small army of chefs has been working behind the scenes preparing a meal that now looks simply divine (and trust me, it was!).
Off to a great start…
Chef Villeneuve has decided to take us on a journey throughout Asia, travelling east to west. The first course consists of roasted scallop, a red lentil soup, and a crunchy vegetable rémoulade in Madras oil curry with gnocchi and coulis. And what better to accompany this mouthwatering course than two noble Alsace Pinot Blanc wines: Trimbach 2008 followed by Réserve Domaine Weinbach 2008.
Nick Hamilton describes them as light wines with delicate acidity—charming, sweet and round—and invites us to take a sip. He doesn’t have to ask us twice…
Second course, seventh heaven
Nirvana! We’re treated to lobster with rice leaf and, tip choy, shiitake, lemon oil, and miso shellfish bisque. It’s a mouthful of perfection beautifully accompanied by Alsace Riesling. Nick praises the varietal as dry and liqueur-like with an especially wide-ranging style that creates a rare quality.
Passionate about favourites
The first Riesling we sampled was Hugel 2009. It’s light, fresh, consistent, simple and refreshing, followed by Aurélia’s favourite, a dinner party tradition where she invites us to taste her favourite pick. This time, she’s chosen Riesling Herrenweg Turckheim Zind-Humbrecht 2006. A wine, she says, “that gives back plenty of love.” Her statement couldn’t be truer; one waft of its delicate bouquet is all it takes to awaken one’s senses. Hardly surprising for a Riesling that hails from a legendary winemaker and exemplifies what the Alsace experience is all about. “From the very first moment I tasted it, something happened between the wine, myself and the bar. Once swirled, it explodes with flavours and lingers. It’s full and rich and keeps coming on strong… the kind of wine that makes me such a wine lover.”
Then our master of ceremonies asks guests for their impressions. As one would expect, everyone has his or her own flavour interpretation, from whisky to many others. But according to Aurélia, there’s no such thing as a wrong answer. For her, wine exists to remind us of past experiences. So cheers, here’s to the democratization of wine!
Cue the belly dancers
Surprise and music are in the air as three belly dancers take to the floor. Everyone’s thrilled as the trio delights and wows in a fabulous atmosphere. One thing’s for sure: it’s an evening we won’t soon forget!
One main course, three tempting dishes
It’s time for the main course: braised lamb shank with sweet garlic hummus, Siberian ravioli (braised beef and small roux), bone marrow, five-spice, and nan bread. To complement such delicious cosmopolitan fare are two interpretations of Alsace Pinot Gris: Lucien Albrecht Réserve 2008, a very smooth wine with sweet-smelling pear and floral notes, and Léon Breyer 2008, a fresh, acidic, and appropriately spicy wine.
DJ Vibeus, who is still at the helm of his mixing station, continues to dish out Asian-inspired creations of his own. In fact, everything has come together so perfectly—the wine, the food, the music, and the belly dancing—that it’s been one of the most complete, fully immersed dinner parties so far.
To close out the evening in signature Alsace style and taste, we’re treated to three delicious desserts: sushi with pickled ginger, matcha tea crème brûlée (simply divine), and a fresh new take on the traditional pineapple fritter. They’re accompanied by the most energetic Alsace varietal, Gewürztraminer, for a delectable dessert pairing: Cuvée Bacchus Pfaffenheim 2009, a floral, spicy and tart wine, followed by a sublime Gewürztraminer Vendanges Tardives, Léon Beyer 2000, honourable mention winner. Talk about ending the evening on a high note!
Heavens, what a night!
Once again, Philippe bids us adieu and, once again, smiles are on everyone’s lips. All in attendance, from foodie to gourmet enthusiast, have been wined and dined to perfection and are clearly satisfied. And as usual, we all want to know the answer to the same burning question: when’s the next party? To be continued…!
Follow us and enjoy!
- Wolfberger Crémant d’Alsace Sparkling Wine
- 2008 Domaine Weinbach Pinot Blanc Reserve
- 2008 Trimbach Pinot Blanc
- 2009 Riesling Hugel
- 2006 Zind-Humbrecht Riesling Herrenweg de Turckheim
- 2009 Lucien Albrecht Reserve Pinot Gris Romanus
- 2008 Léon Beyer Pinot Gris
- 2009 Gewürztraminer Cuvée Bacchus, Pfaffenheim
- 2000 Gewürztraminer Vendanges Tardives, Léon Beyer
Dinner party menu at Voodoo Grill restaurant
Wolfberger Crémant d’Alsace Sparkling Wine
Chicken consommé with heightened with ginger and lemongrass
Sweetbread egg rolls with beetroot soy syrup
Lacquered duck breasts
Roasted scallop, red lentil soup, and crunchy vegetable rémoulade in Madras oil curry
2008 Domaine Weinbach Pinot Blanc Reserve
2008 Trimbach Pinot Blanc
Lobster with rice leaf, tip choy and miso shellfish bisque
2009 Riesling Hugel
Aurélia’s favourite wine
2006 Zind-Humbrecht Riesling Herrenweg de Turckheim
Braised lamb shank with sweet garlic hummus, Siberian ravioli, bone marrow, and five-spice
2009 Lucien Albrecht Reserve Pinot Gris
2008 Léon Beyer Pinot Gris
Sushi and ginger confit, matcha tea crème brulée, and pineapple fritter
2009 Gewürztraminer Cuvée Bacchus, Pfaffenheim
2000 Gewürztraminer Vendanges Tardives, Léon Beyer