Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I briefly highlight some interesting wine and food items that I have encountered recently. **********************************************************
1) As temperatures get nippy, the Boston Harbor Hotel presents an opportunity to give back while getting toasty at a Hot Pink afternoon tea – all to benefit the cause of finding a cure for breast cancer.

Throughout the month of October in Rowes Wharf Sea Grille, sip for a cause with this “pink” inspired Rosé Afternoon Tea featuring a glass of Poggio al Tesoro Cassiopea Rosé rimmed with pink sugar, decorative pastries, a selection of finger sandwiches, scones, tea breads and Devonshire cream and preserves, all designed by Executive Chef Daniel Bruce and Pastry Chef Bill Romiza.

It costs $39 per person and 10% of proceeds will benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Afternoon tea is offered daily from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Hot Pink Tea will be available October 1-25. For reservations, please call Rowes Wharf Sea Grille at 617-856-7744.

A proud supporter of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s mission, the hotel is also honored to host this year’s Boston Hot Pink Luncheon and Symposium on Friday, October 19 in conjunction with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Honorary chairs for this event include Tory Burch and Nancy Kelleher.

The Boston Harbor Hotel continues its month-long efforts for Breast Cancer Awareness by fundraising and walking as Team Harbor Hope in the local American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event on Sunday, October 14.

2) On Saturday, October 6, from 11am-5pm, the Concord Cheese Shop is rolling back cheese prices to 1967. The shop opened its doors in 1967 and is celebrating their 45th Anniversary this year. More than 20 domestic and imported cheeses will be reduced in price to what they sold for in 1967.

Brie $2.49/lb
Colby Longhorn 2.49/lb
Camembert 2.99/lb.
Havarti (dill, herb & caraway) 2.99/lb
Port Salut 2.99/lb
Swedish Fontina 2.99/lb
Gouda 2.99/lb
Jarlsberg 2.99/lb
NY State White Cheddar 2.99/lb
Port Wine Logs 3.49/lb
Stilton 3.99/lb

Top cracker/wafer brands will be sold for $1.99 (limit 3 boxes), and bottles of Rene’ Barbier wine will be sold for $3.99 (limit one case).

3) On October 17, at 6:30pm, Legal Sea Foods’ own Sandy Block and Tina Silverberg will host a four-plus-course wine dinner at the Park Square location. Each course will feature Legal Sea Foods’ signature cuisine complemented by wines from South Africa.

The Menu:

Smoked Salmon Napoleon, Toast Points, Dill Aioli
Stuffed Mini Portobello Mushrooms
Lobster Fritter, Chipotle Aioli*
Raats Family Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, 2008
Meyer Lemon Sole Rollatini (Maryland Crab Mousse, Baby Mache and Yuzu Butter Sauce)
DeMorgenzon Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, 2010
Bartinney Chardonnay, Stellenbosch, 2010
Oven Roasted Spiced Ostrich (Pearl Potatoes and Mushroom Ragoût)
Rudi Schultz Syrah, Stellenbosch, 2007
Kanonkop Pinotage, Stellenbosch, 2009
Mesquite Grilled Herbed Lamp Chop (Sweet Potato Pudding and Wilted Red Chard)
Raats Family Cabernet Franc, Stellenbosch, 2009
DeToren “Fusion V,” Stellenbosch, 2009
Peach Crème Brûlée
Klein Constantia “Vin de Constance,” Constantia, 2006

Cost: $75 per person (excludes tax and gratuity)
Reservations required by calling: 617-530-9397

4) Beginning Saturday, October 27, The Wine ConneXtion, will celebrate its 3rd Anniversary as it dedicates its days to pouring the finest wines at the lowest prices with the “Big Three” complimentary tasting series featuring the “Third Annual Fall Grand Tasting,” “Magnificent Meritages” and “90 Points and Above.

On Saturday, October 27 from 12pm-5pm, the Wine ConneXtion will kick-off the series with its “Third Annual Fall Grand Tasting.” Guests are invited to taste a wide selection of new wines while perusing more than 50 exclusive, hand-selected bottles from all over the world as they enjoy culinary treats from Chama Grill.

Guests are then invited on Saturday, November 3 from 1pm-5pm to expand their wine knowledge with a tasting dedicated to “Magnificent Meritages.” Guests will learn about the elusive category of exceptional American wines blended in the Bordeaux tradition. These wines go through a rigorous screening process just to be awarded the name Meritage and are a treat to taste.

Finally, on Saturday, November 10 from 1pm-5pm guests are invited to a tasting worth the wait as they sip and sample some of the industry’s highest rated wines at “90 Points and Above.” Only a handful of wines ever earn the 90+ point distinction from the top wine raters including: Wine Enthusiast, Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate and Robert Parker, and this is the time to taste them.

All tasting are complimentary and open to the public. Must be 21+.

5) Love the traditional flavors of fall in New England but craving Chinese food? China Blossom Restaurant & Lounge, located in North Andover, has combined the two in a simple, savory dish with its new Pumpkin Dumplings. Take the ever-popular pumpkin, combine it with a Chinese cuisine staple, and the result is a perfect fall dish. These dumplings are easy enough to whip up on a weeknight but fancy enough to serve at a special event or fall holiday.

For $7.25, for 12 dumplings, guests can satisfy their fall flavor cravings at China Blossom, or they can try this recipe at home.

Pumpkin Dumplings Recipe:
1 egg
1 cup pumpkin puree (canned)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Mix the egg and pumpkin puree in a bowl. Beat in the flour, a little at a time, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add nutmeg and stir to incorporate.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Place several tablespoons of the dough on top of a cutting board and spread the dough until it is 1/8 of an inch thick. Slice off ¼-inch-thick and 3-inch-long strips and drop into the water. The dumplings will take shape as they hit the water.
When the dumplings rise to the surface, cook another minute and then remove them with a slotted spoon and drop them into a bowl of ice water, then drain.
Before serving, sauté dumplings in butter and season with salt and pepper. Serves 4

6) Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar will celebrate the centuries-old art of wine blending with a unique event to be held on October 19 at 6:30pm at the Boston location. “Winemaker for a Night" will offer Fleming's guests an opportunity to create their own personally blended wines using premium varietals from Raymond Vineyards, the award-winning winery located in Rutherford, Napa Valley.

The event includes wine blending instruction and activities as well as generous food selections from Fleming’s Small Plates and Bar la Carte menus served throughout the evening. It is priced at $65 per guest.

"Winemaker for a Night" will be a relaxed and entertaining event with no special wine knowledge required and a lively program of activities including:
o An exclusive video introduction to blending from Jean-Charles Boisset, Proprietor of Boisset Family Estates, the dynamic wine world visionary behind the transformation of Raymond Vineyards, and Stephanie Putnam, Raymond’s Winemaker.
o A rare tasting of barrel samples of three single varietals by Raymond Vineyards: Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, California Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 and Napa Valley Merlot 2011.
o A hands-on blending session using Raymond Vineyards varietals, with personal coaching from the Wine Manager at each Fleming's location.

Wine blends have never been more popular and for good reason – it allows winemakers to create layers of flavors and aromas that make the sum greater than its parts. "Blending is the most important and creative action that any winemaker engages in, and for me it's the most exciting part of the winemaking process," said Maeve Pesquera, Fleming's Director of Wine. “Our “Winemaker for a Night” event will allow our guests to experience first hand the choices and outcomes that a winemaker encounters when blending a wine from different grape varietals and vineyard sources.