Thursday, January 9, 2014

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I highlight some interesting wine and food items that are upcoming.
1) On Saturday, January 25, from 1pm-5pm, the Wine ConneXtion, located in North Andover will host a complimentary wine tasting, “Italy Uncorked,” led by Ciro Pirone, the Director of Italian Wines for Horizon Beverage Company. Pirone will share his passion for Italian wine with tasters and reveal excellent, affordable finds from Piemonte, Tuscany, Abruzzo, Sicily and other great wine producing regions of Italy.

Ciro Pirone, Director of Italian Wines for Horizon Beverage Company, knows a thing or two about Italian wines. Born and raised in Salerno, Italy, his family’s lifestyle and traditions fed his passion for wine, food and culture. As a graduate of the Istituto Alberghiero di Salerno where he studied hotel and restaurant management, Pirone landed in Boston in 1999 where he continued his wine education at Boston University, the International Sommelier Guild and the London-based Wine & Spirits Educational Trust (WSET). As the Director of Italian Wines for Horizon Beverages, his goal is to help American wine consumers better understand and appreciate the wine from his homeland.

Walk-ins are welcome all day. The tasting is free to the public but please note that you must be 21 or older.

2) Join Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro (BHHB) for the return of its Fondue Sundays featuring classic, French-style fondue. Suitable to be shared as an appetizer or to be enjoyed as a main course ($26 per pot), guests will be treated to hot French fondue featuring the distinct tastes of Domaine Giachino Abymes from the Savoie, Bergkäse Alpenblumer, Emmentaler and Gruyére Vieux.

Served with rustic, locally sourced bread as well as less traditional accompaniments including small potatoes boiled in sea-salted water, cornichon pickled vegetables such as ramps, cipollini onions, and cauliflower, guests will be wondering if they are in Beacon Hill or the Alps. Just in time to escape the elements in classic mountain style, Fondue Sundays will be served every Sunday beginning Sunday, January 5 through the spring. The special will be served during dinner service, 5:30pm-10pm, in conjunction with BHHB's regular menu.

Reservations are recommended by calling 617-723-7575.

3) The Seaport District and the South End will once again join the North End for the 9th Annual CityFeast on Sunday, January 26, at 6pm. CityFeast is a fun-filled evening hosted by ten restaurants in Boston: Antico Forno, Aria Trattoria, The Gallows, Lucca, Lucia, TAMO, Taranta, Temazcal, Terramia Ristorante, and Tresca. CityFeast is pleased to recognize Mayor Thomas M. Menino this year as the event Honoree for his outstanding passion and long-time commitment to supporting CityFeast, championing city-wide health and wellness initiatives and helping to promote diabetes awareness.

Tickets include a five-course dinner with wine pairings (or tequila pairings at Temazcal) at the choice of the participating restaurant, and proceeds will benefit Joslin Diabetes Center’s High Hopes Fund, which supports the Center’s greatest needs in research, education and clinical care.

The North End’s own Carla Agrippino Gomes established this spectacular event in 2005 to show her dedication and appreciation to Joslin after her son David was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on his first birthday. David has received care at Joslin for 22 years.

Tickets are priced at $150 each, of which $100 is tax deductible. Due to high demand, reservations are limited, and will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For more information on CityFeast or to purchase tickets visit: Http://­www.­joslin.­org/­cityfeast

4) On January 28, a6 6:30pm, Legal Harborside will team up with Larry McGuire, President and CEO of Far Niente, for an exclusive four-plus-course wine dinner. In the heart of California’s renowned Napa Valley wine country, Far Niente’s vineyards were established in 1885 and are internationally renowned for their ability to gracefully age with elegance and superior flavor.

The menu will be presented as follows:

Bay Scallop Tiradito, Avocado Purée, Yuzu and Curry
Lobster and Uni Cappuccino
Salmon Tartare Gribiche Style
Torched Tuna Belly, Nori Dust Sticky Rice, Miso Ginger Aioli
Far Niente Chardonnay, Napa Valley, 2012
Seared Scallop* with Smoked Duck Thigh Raviolini (Swiss Chard, Poached Kumquat)
Far Niente “Cave Collection” Chardonnay, Napa Valley, 2010
“Monkfish Wellington” (Creamed Escarole, Monkfish Liver Bordelaise)
EnRoute “Les Pommiers” Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, 2012
Lamb Loin (Smoked Eggplant Date Purée, Boudin Noir, Charred Broccoli, Lamb Jus, Pistachio Mint Gremolata)
Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2005
Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2010
Bruléed Mascarpone Cheesecake (Toasted Coconut, Citrus Salsa)
Dolce, Napa Valley, 2007 (Late harvest Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blend)

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

5) The Bison Council, an official sponsor of the Polar Grill Fest, has teamed up with The Meat House and Redhook Brewery to serve grilling-enthusiasts bison for the first time at the third annual event. Visitors will enjoy two bison sausage flavors – Wild Rice & Asiago and Hickory Smoked – each paired with grilled peppers and onions. These sausages, along with several other cuts of bison, can be purchased at local Meat House locations in Portsmouth and York, ME, in March.

The Bison Council looks forward to sharing bison’s delicious flavor with locals, while educating them on the many available cuts and often unknown nutritional facts. Many are unaware that one serving of bison (100g) has less calories than beef (103 vs. 198), fat than pork (1.35g vs. 6.48g) and cholesterol than chicken (59mg vs. 70mg).

In addition to bison, Polar Grill Fest attendees will enjoy BBQ from the area’s top restaurants. All 12 participants will compete for the “Best in Snow” award, judged by Deb Weeks of Green Monkey Restaurant, Chuck McMahon, reporter for Seacoast and Portsmouth Herald and Keith Lemerise, Editor in Chief of Tasting Table.

WHERE: Redhook Brewery,  1 Redhook Way,  Portsmouth, NH
WHEN: Saturday, January 25, 12pm-5pm; 4pm–“Best in Snow” Finalist Announced

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