Thursday, January 5, 2017

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I highlight some interesting, upcoming food & drink events.
1) Join Davio’s Chestnut Hill on Tuesday, January 31, at 6:30pm, for an exclusive wine dinner hosted by Halter Ranch Vineyard of California. The five-course wine dinner features an extraordinary menu by Executive Chef Steve Lazdowsky, specifically created to compliment and pair perfectly with hand selected wines from Halter Ranch Vineyards. Gene Zimmerman, National Sales Director for Halter Ranch Vineyards, is the special guest and wine expert who will guide guests through the evening as they discover the prestigious wines of Halter Ranch Vineyards.

Halter Ranch is located in the heart of California’s Central Coast and balances the traditional winemaking process with innovative techniques. The winery produces 100% estate-grown wines, specializing in Bordeaux and Rhône Valley varietals and blends. In 2008 they earned California’s prestigious Sustainability in Practice Certification for its environmentally responsible viticultural and winemaking practices.

Grilled Spanish Octopus, Celery Root, Fingerling Potatoes, Pistachios, Lemon
2015 Halter Ranch Grenache Blanc, Paso Robles
Smoked Duck Carpaccio, Poached Pears, Dates, Endive, Pear Vinaigrette
2013 Halter Ranch Cotes de Paso Rouge, Paso Robles
Hand-Rolled Potato Gnocchi, Parmigiano, Black Truffle Cream
2013 Halter Ranch Synthesis, Paso Robles
Petite New York Sirloin, Broccolini, Creamy Potatoes, Pepata Sauce
2013 Halter Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles
Flourless Chocolate Cake, Pistachio Gelato
2014 Halter Ranch Ancestor, Paso Robles

COST: $125 per guest (excluding tax & gratuity). Registration and pre-payment are required, please call 617-738-4810 or visit to register.

2) The 12th Annual CityFeast in Boston’s North End, held on Sunday, January 29, at 6pm, will offer the chance to enjoy a dining experience at seven restaurants in Boston: Antico Forno, Aria Trattoria, Bricco, Lucca, Taranta, Terramia Ristorante, and Tresca. Tickets include a five-course dinner with wine pairings at one of the participating restaurants and proceeds will benefit Joslin Diabetes Center’s High Hopes Fund, which supports the Center’s greatest needs in research, education and clinical care. Joslin Diabetes Center is the world’s preeminent diabetes research and care organization, located right here in Boston.

Founded in 2005 by Carla Agrippino Gomes, owner of Antico Forno and Terramia, CityFeast has raised nearly $300,000 for Joslin Diabetes Center’s High Hopes Fund. Carla started this fundraiser in the North End of Boston with her restaurants and several others as a way to support and show her appreciation for Joslin and the life-saving care her son, David, has received there since being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 25 years ago.

David, now 26 years old and a graduate of the MCPHS Physician Assistant program in Boston, will be honored at this year’s CityFeast for being a patient at Joslin for 25 years. Joslin has inspired him to want to work in the field of pediatric Endocrinology to help young children deal with the challenges of living with diabetes, and provide them with hope that they can live a full life even with the daily struggles and responsibilities that come with having type 1.

COST: Tickets are priced at $150 each, of which $100 is tax deductible, and can be purchased at: 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:

3) On January 29, the Museum of Science, Boston unveils its newest exhibition, Chocolate, exploring every aspect of “the world’s perfect food," so described by nutrition researcher Michael Levin. The 5,000-square-foot exhibit examines chocolate’s unique place in history, ecology and popular culture. It reveals where chocolate is grown and how it’s made, from the most luxurious confections to the mass-produced treats doled out on Halloween.

"Through this dynamic exhibit, visitors will experience chocolate from its rich history—which goes back thousands of years—to its global influence and universal popularity," says Christine Reich, the Museum’s vice president of exhibits development and conservation. The interactive exhibit delves into chocolate’s place in ancient and contemporary societies, its significant economic impact and its starring role in the culinary arts.

The exhibit takes Museum guests deep within the complex rainforest ecosystem with a replica of a native cacao tree laden with football-shaped seed pods (Theobroma cacao translates to cacao, food of the gods). Found in Central and South America, Asia and West Africa, these evergreens reach no more than 40 feet in height, growing in the shade of the much larger canopy trees. Visitors will appreciate the importance of midges, the tiny no-see-um flies that pollinate the delicate flowers which grow directly on the trunk and lower limbs of the cacao tree, and the migrating birds that build homes in its branches.

Created by Chicago’s Field Museum, Chocolate explores the ancient Maya—the first to transform the bitter seeds into a spicy drink made from crushed, fermented, dried and roasted cacao, chili peppers, and water—and the Aztec empire where cacao was considered both an offering to the gods and a form of currency.

Chocolate, located in the Museum’s Blue Wing, focuses on the Spanish conquest of the Americas, the treasure-trove of seeds they discovered and the arrival of chocolate in Europe. Here, visitors will see what happened when cacao was first combined with sugar and how the wealthy satisfied their cravings for all things chocolate while enslaved peoples toiled on plantations to meet the growing European demand.

This exhibit reflects the Museum’s commitment to educating the public about food and nutrition. According to Museum president and director Ioannis Miaoulis, “Chocolate is a natural extension of our efforts to present the science and engineering behind agriculture and nutrition, the importance of food in history and society and the work of some of the world’s gastronomic wizards. This timely exhibit engages the senses and highlights the importance of chocolate which is enjoyed in every corner of the globe.” Presented in English and Spanish, Chocolate reveals the sweet side of the industrial revolution, the inventions, advertising and packaging that brought chocolate in myriad shapes and sizes to the masses, and the backbreaking work needed to harvest cacao.

Museum-goers will see the impact of this important product in the global economy, estimated at more than $90 billion annually. Today, cacao seeds are traded on the commodities market, under the name cocoa, along with wheat, pork bellies and soybeans. A futures stock ticker in the exhibit will display current cocoa prices on the world market.

Harvesting cacao is a labor-intensive undertaking. Each pod contains from 30 to 50 seeds, just enough to produce a few bars of chocolate. Museum-goers will discover how chocolate is grown, gathered, shipped, sold and consumed, and learn how farmers are working to maintain their crops to protect their income, preserve their way of life and protect the rainforest. These farmers are partnering with scientists to incorporate ecologically sound and sustainable practices and eliminate the use of fertilizers and pesticides which are toxic to people and vegetation.

Chocolate is included with regular Exhibit Halls admission: $25 for adults, $21 for seniors (60+), and $20 for children (3-11).

4) I have to give some love to any wine dinner that offers Frog Legs as one of their dishes. On Saturday, January 21, from 7pm-10pm, Sommelier David Bérubé of Bar Boulud, Boston, located at Mandarin Oriental, will host “Château Pichon Baron & Château Suduiraut,” an educational wine dinner featuring two of France’s most prestigious wine-making estates. As part of this exclusive experience, Bar Boulud will welcome two special guests, Pierre Montégut, Technical Director of Château Suduiraut, and Jean-René Matignon, Technical Director of Château Pichon Baron.

While guests enjoy a five-course dinner created by Chef de Cuisine Michael Denk, they will taste exquisitely complex library vintages from both estates, which are located in the Bordeaux region of France and have been recognized in the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855.

The “Château Pichon Baron & Château Suduiraut” wine dinner will be served as follows:
Blackened Shrimp (pear and lychee compote)
2010 Castelnau
Butter Poached Lobster Medallion (rye crumpet, fennel confit, pickled kumquat)
2014 S de Suduiraut
Braised Frog Legs (pipérade, wild mushrooms, picholine olives)
2010 Les Tourelles de Longueville & 2006 Château Pibran
Duck Cassoulet (gigante beans, confit duck leg, albufera sauce)
2003 & 2011 Château Pichon-Baron
Toasted Almond Panna Cotta (citrus mélange, exotique soup, almond tuile)
2007 Suduiraut

COST: $110 per person (inclusive of tax and gratuity)
TICKETS: Available for purchase on

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