I’ve got a new food crush.
A food crush (as I define it) means you’re smitten with the food made by a particular chef – which translates into wanting to kidnap said chef and hide her/him in your basement so they can make delicious meals, just for you. And if you’re familiar at all with my 140 character musings on Twitter, you’ll know that I have a few of these crushes.
First, there’s the radio crush I have for a particular CBC Radio announcer. In the Okanagan dining scene, I’ve established a fairly public food crush on a chef at a Summerland establishment. After last night’s Gourmet and Grapes held at Cabana Grille in Kelowna (sponsored by Terasen), I’ve a few new food crushes – and met/got reacquainted with a couple of great wines.
While Cabana executive chef Ned Bell got his Iron Chef game on against chef Roger Planiden, the space at Cabana was divided into a myriad of food/wine paired stations – each hosted by a great chef and guest winery. Oh MY.
- Duck risotto, and a wild salmon/organic apple tartare, prepared by Wild Apple Manteo executive chef Bernard Casavant – paired with Arrowleaf Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris respectively
- Cheese (cheese!), including local Poplar Grove Tiger Blue and two from Quebec (brie from Montreal…mmmm) – paired exquisitely well with the consumer choice award winning Gewurztraminer from The View; easily the best pairing of the night
- Halibut with a yummy whipped potato concoction and vanilla butter on fresh greens by Eldorado executive chef Michael Lyon (I wasn’t a fan of the reisling wine pairing – the sweet vanilla in the sauce brought out a sharp acidic note in the wine, which was unfortunate)
- Although the Sablefish was gone by the time gal pal Allison Markin and I weaved our way to the final station, we didn’t bemoan the loss as we tucked in to some delectable seared venison courtesy of Passa Tempo executive chef Jeremy Luypen – paired with Blue Mountain Gamay or Brut (I choose the bubble – always choose the bubble). As it was the last stop, Chef also treated us to a delicious chocolate pate with to-die-for whipped topping that remains unknown to me. When it tastes that good, I don’t need details.
So yes, I have a new food crush or two. Looks like we’ll have to expand the basement to fit a couple more chefs. As for that culinary throw-down? Chef Roger took away the spoils while Chef Ned – gracious host that he is – awarded his foodie colleague with a flight for two anywhere in Canada that WestJet flies.
Fall Wine Fest – new wine releases
I promised to keep our readers (the eight of them I have) up-to-date on new Fall Fest wine releases. As I’m only one person, I need to go about this blitz-style to hit as many wineries in one spot as possible. The best way to do that during Festival is to attend a large tasting event. This year, I’ve managed to get to┬áFestival of the Grape in Oliver. Staggering distance from my house, fortunately.
Eau Vivre: Pinot Noir. The 2007 sold out (understandably, as it’s yummilicous), so wine maker Andrew has released the 2008 vintage. This one’s gonna win stuff. Get it while you can.
Tinhorn Creek: 2007 2Bench Red. It’s wine maker Sandra’s inaugural vintage of a big red blend – with Cab Sauv, Cab Franc and Merlot. 2008 will see the introduction of Petit Verdot and Malbec, but for three years after that the Malbec will go awol as they lost their Malbec in the flash-freeze of 2009. The ’07 is remarkable. Put it in your cellar and let it sleep, if you can. It’s got staying power. You’ll curse me while you’re waiting for it, but you’ll thank me afterwards.
Fairview Cellars: Iconoclast. This is wine maker Bill’s swan song, and if you know anything about Bill’s cabernet sauvignons of the past you’ll know that I’m talking BIG goodness. Extremely limited production – one barrel’s worth of wine only. Not your average wine, in the best possible way. I asked him to put one aside for me until I can get to the winery – it’s THAT good.
Township 7: 2006 “The Black Dog”. Let’s start with this – 40 months in new French and American oak barrels. That’s not a typo; it’s FORTY months in barrel. Oh-my-freakin’-word. 44% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec, 1% Syrah. With only 54 cases released – and 114 bottles sold in ONE DAY at the winery, immediately after release – this is going to fly out the door before you know it. I grabbed what bottles I could, and although it’s tasty right now I know it’s a good one to let sit in the bottle for a decent amount of time. If I can forget about it that long. The label says it best. “Share with the most deserving friends and cook them something wonderful.”
So now you know what I know. More wine release info will come your way as soon as I hear about it. Please feel free to add your own – we love to hear about what BC wine you’re drinking. After all, the best time to un*wine*d with a glass of something yummy is the minute you think about it – and can get to the bottle.