When Bryan (the “beer guy”) isn’t writing about beer I put him to work as my camera man – so he and I were proud and honoured to represent VanFoodies at the 11th Annual ChefmeetsBCGrape while our fearless leader, Joyce, had other work commitments. The ChefmeetsBCGrape Signature Tasting is a fundraiser for the Arts Club Theatre to support the local theatre arts while showcasing BC food paired with BC VQA Wine.
The event started off with a bang with my favourite dessert of the evening (and, needless to say, favourite dish overall):
I’ve never had chocolate in a pate form before but let me tell you, it was smooth, creamy, not too sweet, and went beautifully with the toffee brittle crunch. The lychee foam and sour cherry compote disappeared behind the richness of the chocolate but gave it an interesting look with the white bubbles and pop of red colour. I found the white wine pairing quite surprising and would have preferred something equally as rich to balance with the chocolate/toffee flavours such as a Cabernet Sauvignon – the Pinot Gris was washed out by this delicious and delightful treat.
Now being Aussie I am a lamb fan (it’s a national Aussie meat) but I don’t find many Canadians who enjoy it. However, on this night, I only heard positive feedback from everyone I spoke to regarding this dish:
The combination of flavours was well balanced with an equally balanced wine that paired very well with the strong flavours of the meat and cheese.
We were also able to try this cheese on its own from the All You Need is Cheese table showing off some of our Canadian cheeses:
The Bothwell Medium Cheddar was creamy and delicious, the Tre Stelle® Mozarella was your typical, flavourless Mozarella but the Grey Baby, while not my favourite on its own, was so much more enjoyable with the lamb sirloin slider (mentioned above). It goes to show pairing different foods makes a difference in the final result.
I have never tried pheasant before so this next dish was an interesting introduction to the pheasant world for me:
The pheasant boudin blanc had a smooth texture and reminded me of duck while the veloute had the perfect amount of garlic – the chardonnay paired well with this medium-rich dish.
This next combination, as delicious as the salmon was, won me over by this sparkling wine:
If you are looking for a refreshing, semi-sweet, VERY bubbly sparkling wine then look no further, The Bub is for you. I loved the look of the candy cane beets with this dish. This was voted by the judges as the Best BC VQA Pairing of the evening – good choice!
The Runner Up for Best BC VQA Pairing was the slow braised oxtail and tomato ragout paired with Burrowing Owl Estate Winery‘s Cabernet Franc 2012 presented by Torafuku. Unfortunately the wait was at least 20 minutes and with only an hour left we felt it was too long to wait.
I did not think of Sturgeon as an eatable fish but after this dish I reconsidered:
The sturgeon had a lovely, non-fishy flavour and went well with the rissolée. I enjoy Viognier wines; I find they have a lot of flavour and are semi-sweet, a lovely combination with this dish.
I have, over the years, come to appreciate chili-hot food but I found this following dish did not balance the chili well and all I discovered was heat-heat-heat and not much flavour:
The judges of the evening disagreed with me and voted this the Best Dish of the evening. I felt the heat took over the flavours and I wasn’t able to taste anything but chili.
Continuing with the seafood theme, the next dish was an interesting and complex combination:
This dish was a little too complicated to fully enjoy the flavours. There was just too many ingredients competing as opposed to complimenting each other.
A little twist on your morning oatmeal perhaps:
Ok so it doesn’t look pretty but it was quite delicious and rich with a perfect wine pairing. The snail gave it a chewy texture but it was more pleasant than it looks and sounds.
To conclude I must mention my new favourite winery that I discovered during this event – Stoneboat:
If you ever have a chance to try their wines I am sure you will discover something wonderful and different from anything you have tried before. All of the wines that I tried from Stoneboat were so original and different from each other. Well worth trying.