Thursday, October 24, 2013

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) Restaurateurs in Portsmouth and the New Hampshire Seacoast are preparing for their next Restaurant Week. Sponsored by the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce, this fall’s celebration will take place Thursday, November 7 – Saturday, November 16 and will feature close to 50 restaurants located in Portsmouth and the Seacoast.

Settled in the 1600s, Portsmouth and surrounding towns make up a vibrant, New England coastal destination with unique locally owned shops and restaurants, and world-class arts and culture. The restaurant scene provides every kind of cuisine imaginable – much locally sourced - at establishments ranging from chef-owned restaurants to local breweries.

Whether you’re a local resident or a traveler, you can find what you are looking for in Portsmouth and the Seacoast, said Valerie Rochon, Tourism Manager for the Chamber. “Want to shop our independent stores or rich gallery scene before dinner? Take in dinner and a show? Stay the night in one of our charming hotels? Portsmouth and the Seacoast have it all. And, if you are new, Restaurant Week is a great way to introduce yourself to this charming, culinary destination.”

Participating restaurants offer special three course prix fixe menus at $16.95 for lunch or $29.95 for dinner. Based on prior years, some restaurants also offer additional specials, including wine/cocktails, to accompany the prix fixe menu. I really like the Portsmouth area, and its culinary scene is definitely up and coming. And one of my favorite spots is Moxy, for tapas.

2) The Local Craft Brewfest, Sustainable Business Network’s major fundraising event for the Boston Local Food Festival, is now scheduled for Friday, November 22, from 6-9:30pm at the John J. Moakley Courthouse in Fort Point. The SBN Local Craft Brewfest is a celebration of local craft brews and is a major fundraiser for the free Annual Boston Local Food Festival. Hundreds of supporters and dozens ofvendors, including brewers, cideries, meaderies, distilled spirits and local food producers are involved in this event.

This is a critical fundraiser supporting our local food program,” said Laury Hammel, SBN’s Executive Director. “Many of our vendors have already committed to joining us for the new date—they support our mission and want us to have a successful fundraiser. We are a small non-profit trying to build a sustainable economy and we are hopeful that the food community will continue to support us by attending the event.”

The theme for this year’s Brewfest is Eat Local. Drink Local. Be Local. SBN’s Local Craft Brewfest features 50+ craft beer tastings plus 20+ tastings from local distilleries, including Battle Road Brewing, Watch City Brewing, Peak Organic, Moonlight Meadery, Bully Boy Distilleries, Turkey Shore Distilleries, Bantam Cider as well as local bites from the coolest local food producers in town such as Q’s Nuts, Taza Chocolate, 7Ate9, Vermont Smoke and Cure and much more.

Tickets for the Local Craft Brewfest can be purchased at

3) On Tuesday, November 12, at 6:30pm, Legal Harborside will host a wine dinner with Stemmler Wines. In the heart of California’s Sonoma wine country, Stemmler’s vineyards are critically acclaimed for their wines, natural winegrowing techniques and distinctive appeal. Legal Harborside will team up with Wine Grower, Anne Moller-Racke, to host a four-plus course dinner featuring signature cuisine paired with Stemmler’s selections from their vine.

The menu will be presented as follows on Legal Harborside’s scenic second level overlooking the Boston Harbor:

Bay Scallop Skewer, Pancetta, Fuji Apple, Smoked Maple Syrup
Oyster Stew, Vermouth, Fennel
Lobster en Croûte Feuille de Brick, Thai Basil, Curry Essence
Stemmler “Estate” Chardonnay, Carneros, 2009
Aponata Stuffed Squid (Smoked Tomato, Bottarga, Moroccan Dried Olives)
Stemmler “Estate” Pinot Noir, Carneros, 2011
Lightly Smoked Pork Belly (Moxie Luxardo Cherry Gastrique, Braised Tuscan Kale)
Stemmler “Nugent Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, 2009
Duo of Veal (Slow-roasted Veal Loin, Porcini Dusted Sweet Breads, Turnip, Fig)
Donum “Estate Grown” Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, 2010
Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery Bonne Bouche (5-spice Pumpkin Bread, Pecan Brittle, Pomegranate Molasses)
Donum “Estate Grown” Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, 2007

Cost: $135 per person (excludes tax & gratuity)
Reservation required by calling 617-530-9470

4) Taberna de Haro, an excellent Spanish restaurant in Brookline with the largest & best Spanish wine list in the area, is hosting several upcoming wine seminars. Each themed seminar presents an assortment of wines, paired with tasty tapas. The wine seminars cost $55 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations and prepayment required.

October 30: Expressions of Tempranillo
Collaborating with the Wine Press, this seminar will answer the question: "What is tempranillo really all about?" Five different Tempranillo wines will be presented, including the LZ 2012 Rioja; Gazur 2011 Ribera del Duero; Dehesa Gago 2011 Toro; Terruños de Castilla 2012 Vino de la Tierra de Castilla Leon; and the Vilosell 2011 Costers del Segre.

November 6: Quintessential Examples of Sherry
Five perfect sherries to show the incredible range that the genre has. You'll start with bone-dry mananilla and end with perfectly sweet oloroso, visiting fino, amontillado, and dry oloroso along the way.

November 13: Focus on Finos & Manzanillas - en rama and pasada 
Rare, dry sherries brand new to our shores. En rama refers to sherries barely filtered so they are as pure as possible; and pasada refers to sherries, in this case manzanilla, whose flor has been allowed to die gradually over several years, so the wine is exposed to ever-increasing amounts of oxygen, which lend it the depth and complexity of evolution.

You can reserve a spot for these classes online.

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