Monday, April 03, 2006

Springtime in Harbor Town

I recently was asked to lead a food and wine pairing at a private residence in Harbor Town in downtown Memphis. The host (thanks, Joe!) wanted to have a few friends over for dinner but wanted to do something a little different. I felt up to the challenge so I agreed to do it.

To welcome the guests I had prepared a edamame dip with rice crackers. The dip had lovely flavors of garlic, ginger and a hint of soy to whet their appetites. The first course was red wine poached figs stuffed with blue cheese and walnuts and drizzled with pomegranate molasses. I paired the figs with Castellblanch Rosado cava, a bright and fruity sparkling rose from Spain. The fruit in the cava mirrored the figs, contrasted the saltiness of the blue cheese, and complimented the tartness of the molasses.

Next up were grilled chicken skewers with a pad thai dipping sauce comprised of coconut milk, peanut butter, garlic, ginger, soy, chilis and lime. This I paired with McWilliam's Dry Riesling from South Australia. The lime zest hints in the wine picked up the lime in the sauce while the spice amplified the fruit in the wine. It was a harmonious pairing of flavors that everyone should try.

The main course was marinated flank steak seared rare and topped with a chimmichurri sauce paired with Antis Malbec from Argentina. The wine's supple tannins complimented the beef while the olive oil in the sauce brought out the wine's red fruit flavors. The slight spice from the chilis in the sauce mirrored the slight spiciness of the wine.

Lastly was a chocolate souffle paired with Clocktower Port and Coturri Chauvet Vineyards Old Vines Zinfandel. What way to end! The sweet fruit of both wines amplified the souffle's chocolatey richness. The souffle also brought out a hint of cocoa that I had never detected in the Zin.

All in all I had a blast preparing the food and pairing the wine. I could definitely tell that the guests enjoyed themselves just as much.

I can't wait to do it again! Bring on a new set of tastebuds!

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