Thursday, January 30, 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 February 15, at 7pm, Aura at The Seaport Hotel will host a wine dinner with Bonny Doon Vineyard as part of the 23rd annual Boston Wine Expo, one of the country’s biggest and most respected celebrations of wine, food and culture. This California-based vineyard produces premium wines from both domestic and old world vineyards with distinctive yet expressive flavors. Aura will team up with Bonny Doon’s chief winemaker, Randall Grahm, to host a four-course dinner featuring signature cuisine paired with Randall’s selections from the Bonny Doon winery.

The menu will be presented as follows:

Arugula Salad (Fig Jam, Spiced Almonds, Asiago Cheese, Seaport Honey Vinaigrette)
Oysters 3 Ways (Baked With Basil Sabayon, Fried with Sesame & Wakame, Raw with Pomegranate Granite)
2012 Bonny Doon, Albarino
Shellfish Panache (Curry, Coconut, Little Neck Clams, Mussels, Baby Shrimp)
Lobster & Asparagus Risotto
2011 Bonny Doon, Le Cigare Blanc
Roast Poussin (Butternut and Caramelized Onion Sformato, Charred Cauliflower)
Roasted Beef Tenderloin (Herbed Spaetzle, Baby Carrots, Bleu Cheese)
2008 Bonny Doon, Le Cigare Volant
Chocolate Ganache Cake with Crème Pistachio and Candied Black Pepper Pistachios
2011 Vol des Anges, Late Harvest

COST: $85 per person (excludes tax & gratuity)
Reservation required by calling Aura at 617-385-4300.

2) On Saturday, February 1, from 10am-2pm, the Wayland Winter Farmers' Market will hold their 4th annual Massachusetts Farm Wineries Day. Eight farm wineries from throughout the state will be there.There will also be 40 food vendors at the market. I went to last year's event, and it was an excellent event, with plenty of interesting food and wine. Highly recommended.

The wineries will include:
Carr's Ciderhouse, Hadley
Coastal Vineyards<, South Dartmouthbr /> Green River Ambrosia Meadery/Artisan Beverage Cooperative, Greenfield
Mill River Winery, Rowley
Still River Winery, Harvard
Turtle Creek Winery, Lincoln
Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery, Wesrport
Zoll Cellars, Shrewsbury

3) On Thursday, February 6, starting at 7pm, there will be a compelling Sherry Tasting Seminar at Taberna De Haro in Brookline. The event is titled, Comparing Styles of Emilio Lustau, and each course will offer two different styles of the same wine, all made in the winery of Emilio Lustau, a place blessed with old stocks and progressive talent. I have visited the Lustau winery, and can vouch for the quality and diversity of their Sherry.

Chef Deborah Hansen will pair herries like the straightforward Manzanilla Papirusa and the Manzanilla Pasada Cuevas Jurado so you can contrast the fresh, bristling notes of the first with the mellower, nuttier aspects of the second. The Fino course will consist of a Fino from el Puerto de Santa Maria, something rather scarce in this market, next to a Fino en Rama (unfiltered) from the same little town - something scarcer still. The Amontillado Los Arcos will be juxtaposed with the Rare Amontillado Almacenista Escuadrilla, illustrating the effect of the long, careful aging. Oloroso Don Nuño will be tasted with the Oloroso Emperatriz Eugenia, a supple and regal oloroso that everyone adores. It will finish with the yet-to-be-released Brandy de Jerez Solera Reserva! Coming soon to Massachusetts - be the first to taste it!

First Course
Manzanilla Papirusa
Manzanilla Pasada Cuevas Jurado
Bienmesabe (marinated fried haddock)
Jamón serrano con cebollita al azafrán (jamón-wrapped honey-spiced little onion)
Second Course
Fino Puerto Fino
Fino 3 en Rama El Puerto de Santa Maria
Sepia a la plancha (griddled cuttlefish with black allioli)
Patatas gaditanas (potatoes with picadillo & cured tuna)
Third Course
Amontillado Los Arcos
Rare Amontillado Escuadrilla
Gallina frita y cocida (golden braised hen)
Habitas (fava beans w mint and Andaluz extra virgin olive oil)
Fourth Course
Oloroso Don Nuño
Oloroso Emperatriz Eugenia
Berengena rellena (stuffed eggplant w moorish spices)
Buñuelos de payoyo (andalusian cheese fritters w honey syrup)
Fifth Course
Brandy de Jerez Solera Reserva

Cost: $60 (plus tax and gratuity)
Reservations and pre-payment required, so please call 617-277-8272

4) On Sunday, February 2 and Monday, February 3, the Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro will serve crepe specials in honor of Le Jour des Crêpes (also known as la Chandaleur), a French holiday honoring the end of the Christmas season. Guests can indulge in a variety of Executive Chef Josh Lewin’s sweet and savory crepes being offered during dinner on Sunday and during breakfast, lunch and dinner on Monday including specials such as jamon mangalica and béchamel, butternut squash and sage, as well as raspberry sauce and spiced pecans.

While celebrated differently in many cultures, la Chandaleur always takes place 40 days after Christmas on February 2nd. In France it’s tradition to eat crepes after 8PM, and it is said that if a cook holds a coin in one hand and successfully tosses a crepe with a frying pan in the other, the household will be prosperous throughout the year.

Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 617-723-7575.

Sunday February, 2:
Dinner (small plate), $10:
Smoked ricotta and brown butter
Jamon mangalica and béchamel
Monday February, 3:
Breakfast, $8
Raspberry sauce and spiced pecans
Lunch (with salad), $12
Ham and cheese
Butternut squash and sage
Dinner (small plate), $10:
Smoked ricotta and brown butter
Jamon mangalica and bechamel

5) For Valentine’s Day, consider going to Coppa where chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette have put together a special 3-course tasting menu, priced at $55 per person, and $35 extra for wine pairings. For each course, you will have a choice of five options, and these options can be quite compelling.

Some of the courses include
--“Lady and the Tramp” Spaghetti and Meatballs
--Seared Foie Gras with tamarind and persimmon
--Uove e Indivia: Soft poached-breaded fried egg, caviar crème fraiche, endive, candied walnut, meyer lemon black pepper vinaigrette
--Pancetta di Malale: Pork belly, black tahini, black lime roasted carrots, pickled ramps
--Aragosta la Pizza: Tempura fried lobster, fried lemon rings, aioli
--Forno Anatra Arrosto: Wood oven roasted duck leg confit, pomegranate molasses glaze, pig’s foot baked beans, herbs
--Banana and Nutella Bread Pudding

Call Coppa to make reservations at (617) 391-0902

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