Gastro Pub 4 – Course Dinner

2CHEFSANDAWINEGUY – NOVEMBER 4TH 4-COURSE DINNER

Wine and food pairings by Claude Robbins

A CELEBRATION OF GASTRO PUB CUISINE

Corporate Executive Chef – Sherrie Robbins

Chef de Cuisine – Jocelyne Fay

Aperitif and Amuse Buche

Chef’s House Cured Maple Bacon “Pops”

With A Hint of Maple Syrup

Veuve Clicquot, Champagne, Brut, NV

Course I

Crusted Medley of Winter Squashes With The Chef’s Homemade

Dill Creme Fraiche Dipping Sauce

Marqués de Cáceres, Rioja, Crianza, 2010

Course 2

Wild Mushrooms Purses with Cream and Pernod

over Mushroom and Pea Risotto

Faiveley, Vosne-Romanée, 2009

Course 3

Layered Pan Seared Foie Gras Steak and Mousse de Foie Gras over Potato Galettes, Onion marmalade, Pan Fried Apples, and

Burnt Sugar Sherry Cherry Gastrique

Lustau, Jerez, Sherry, Amontillado, Seco, Los Arcos, NV

Dessert Course

Honey Lemon Curd Tart with Torched Meringue

Marchesi di Gresy, Moscato d’Asti, La Serra, 2013

A gastro pub (or gastropub) specializes in high-quality food.  It is a relatively new concept, first occurring in London in 1991, and introduces the concept of fine dining in a very casual dining situation.  Think about going to your favorite sports bar and discover they are serving fine dining with a great wine list.

In our case we have an extraordinary meal with carefully selected wines, but sorry, no large television screens showing local sports.

This is a dinner of superb flavors, a range of textures, and wine and food that together create a set of flavors that are better than the two are apart.  Although I would say this is always a goal of wine and food pairing.

When a multi-course meal like this is planned the approach is to move from simpler to more complex and from lighter to richer, as you eat each dish. However, the wine served with the amuse buche as well as from the first course to the dessert course must always move from being lighter to richer and less body to more body in the wine. The body of the wine must always match the texture of the food and simultaneously, the flavor intensity of the wine must match the flavor intensity of the food.  These are always keys to wine and food pairing.  Of courses, we must pay attention to the richness and complexity of the flavors of the food.

Aperitif and Amuse Buche

Chef’s House Cured Maple Bacon “Pops”

With A Hint of Maple Syrup

Veuve Clicquot, Champagne, Brut, NV

One discussion about the “Bacon” is whether it is bite of bacon or of pork belly. It is cooked in a way that bacon is cooked so it has more texture than pork belly.  In addition it has a little smoke, fat and Maple syrup sugar.  A great start.

Champagne is also a great start for any dinner because it provides a celebration to start any meal.  The mineral and acid character of champagne works well with the bacon and helps it from seeming too rich, as well as washes the fat off the palate. 

Veuve Clicquot Brut style is a well known Champagne and has the ability to allow the bacon flavors to show through but the Champagne does not overpower the food.

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The wine:

Producer: Veuve Clicquot-Pansardin  (“Yellow Label”)

Growing Area: Champagne

Style: Brut

Vintage year: Non-Vintage (NV)

You can pour some other Champagne other than Veuve Clicquot.  If you want to pour a Champagne that will make the bacon seem richer then pour the Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec.  The slightly sweeter flavor of the Demi-Sec will be a wonderful combination with the fat of the bacon.

Course I

Crusted Medley of Winter Squashes With The Chef’s Homemade

Dill Creme Fraiche Dipping Sauce

Marqués de Cáceres, Rioja, Crianza, 2010

This first dish is a fairly complex and subtle.  The dish is a medley of three different squash ranging from slightly sweet to sweeter as well as from soft texture to more texture.  Panco adds a little crunchiness to each bite and the dill flavored crème fraiche ads another set of flavors to complement the flavors of the squash. 

The wine needs to have a matching flavor intensity that allows the different squashes to show through as well as complement the dill flavored crème fraiche.  The wine I paired to this dish is a light red Rioja (hence it is a crianza or “baby”).  It has just enough flavor intensity and body to complement the different squash. The traditional American oak in the Rioja, with no more than 12 months of oak aging, is a complement to the dill crème fraiche because American oak often has a dill herbal flavor.

The fruit characteristics of the wine matches the sweeter squash and the tannin structure of the wine ads flavor to the less sweet squash.

It can always be difficult to pair wine to cream or crème fraiche because these can coat the palate and make the wine taste “chalky” on the palate.  The structure of this wine is just right to pair to the crème fraiche by having enough acidity to keep the palate clear with each bite.

As you eat this dish the wine lets you enjoy each bite of squash as well as the sauce.

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The wine:

Producer: Marqués de Cácres

Growing Area: Rioja

Style: Crianza

Informing grape: Tempranillo

Vintage year: 2010

There are about 600 producers of Rioja, any of them that are producing a Rioja Crianza would work with this dish.  However, do not try and pour the more full bodied styles because they will overpower this dish.  All of these wines that would overpower the dish would include: Rioja, Rioja Reserva and Rioja Grand Reserva.  Like the Crianza, all of these are red wines.

Course 2

Wild Mushrooms Purses with Cream and Pernod over Mushroom and Pea Risotto

Faiveley, Vosne-Romanée, 2009

The second dish is more complex, richer and more flavorful than the first dish.  Fresh wild earthy mushrooms with cream and Pernod, which has an anise flavor, with fresh peas (straight out of the Guilds garden) along with more mushrooms in a pastry “purse”.

We need a wine that will complement the earthy characteristics, the cream and the Pernod.  Burgundy reds always have a hint of earthiness.  The informing grape is Pinot Noir, a red grape, that is famous for having an extraordinary ability to pair with a wide range of foods.  Pinot Noir shows fruit characteristics and some acidity to cut through the combination of fat and cream.

This was a wonderful pairing.  Again the wine does not overpower any part of the dish, so you can get all of the flavors as well as the flavor and texture of the filo pastry of the “purse”.

Every bite of food, along with a sip of wine, brings out every flavor of the food.

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The wine:

Producer: Faiveley

Growing Area: Vosne-Romanée

Informing grape: Pinot Noir

Vintage year: 2009

Rosne-Romanée is one of the most famous villages in the Côte d’Or.  You really need this village to go with the dish, but there are several producers that would be workable.  You also need a wine from at least 2009, not a younger vintage.

Course 3

Layered Pan Seared Foie Gras Steak and Mousse de Foie Gras over Potato Galettes, Onion Marmalade, Pan Fried Apples, and

Burnt Sugar Sherry Cherry Gastrique

Lustau, Jerez, Sherry, Amontillado, Seco, Los Arcos, NV

This is a dish that makes you go “wow” when you see it. Everyone at the dinner began eating very slowly to enjoy the wide range of flavors and richness.  I chose  a wine you may have never had with this kind of pairing!

The combination of Cherry Gastrique and apple slices, along with the Potato Galette, each go with either the Mousse de Foie Gras or the Seared Foie Gras Steak.  However, the two types of Foie Gras have a different taste and texture that are a complement to all of the parts of the dish.  The combination of flavors is complex and each bite can be tasted in a wonderful combination as you shift back and forth between the mousse and the steak.

Next comes the wine.  Sherry is a type of wine that has been produced for about 3000 years. It is a fortified wine, meaning alcohol has been added, the wine has also been through a process called reductive oxidation.  This process occurs during the barrel resting and adds a wonderful nutty character to the taste of the wine as well as a lot of viscosity. The reductive oxidation also adds a beautiful mahogany color to the wine.

The Amontillado is the heaviest style of sherry within the family of different styles called Fino.  There are there styles of Fino: (1) Fino, (2) Fino-Amontillado and (3) Amontillado.

Even though Foie Gras is perceived as a French dish, you should be aware that most European countries make this dish.  And local wines are invented to go with local food.  Foie Gras is often served in Spanish Tapas restaurants, and various classic forms of Sherry are served with the small plates in a Tapas restaurant.

The combination of Amontillado Sherry and Foie Gras are a classic Spanish combination. It will bring out the richness of all of the flavors of the food, and be a wonderful pairing to both preparations of Foie Gras.

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The wine:

Producer: Lustau

Growing Area: Jerez

Informing grape: Palamino

Style: Sherry, Amontillado, Seco (Dry)

Brand Name: Los Arcos

Vintage year: Non-Vintage

There are several Amontillado, Seco producers of Sherry.  Lustau is one of the best producers and you do want to get one that is great for pairing with food, not one that is an inexpensive cooking sherry.

Dessert Course

Honey Lemon Curd Tart with Torched Meringue

Marchesi di Gresy, Moscato d’Asti, La Serra, 2013

When you design a multi-course dinner that clearly has a principal course you do not want the dessert course to compete against the principal course. Also, you do not want a heavy and very sweet dessert course.  You want to remember the dessert, but you do not want to forget the principal course.

This dessert is a combination of honey and lemon curd.  Lemon can be difficult to pair to wine.  In fact, lemon can break down many wines.  In addition, you need a dessert wine that is slightly sweeter, and in this case high in acidity, to pair to the lemon in the dessert.  The meringue, adds a hint of sweetness and burned sugar to show a matching hint of bitterness. The honey reduced the acidity and tartness of the lemon a bit.

Moscato d’Asti, is from the village of Asti in the Piedmont. It is also a DOCG, a superior wine from the Piedmont.  It is a sparkling wine as well, although it does not have as much effervesce as champagne.

Muscat has been grown to make wine for at least 5000 years.  It has always contained a strong lemon and orange flavor character.  It is a perfect complement to this dessert, with enough sweetness and lemon character to finish the meal.  Not to sweet and not to heavy for the lemon tart and meringue.

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The wine:

Producer: Marchesi di Gresy

Growing Area: Moscato d’Asti DOCG

Informing grape: Muscat (Moscato)

Brand Name: La Serra

Vintage year: 2013

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