Event Spotlight

Share a Glass at the Drake Hotel

Share a Glass at the Drake Hotel was a huge success!

With the excellent wine list to choose from, to the fabulous appetizers Executive Chef Anthony Rose prepared, I was able to put together a fabulous tasting.

Our sparkling wine reception was a fantastic Cava from Spain, Segura Viudas. Processed in the Classic Method, this wine’s quality is outstanding for under $20. With a very distinct aroma and taste, Cava’s are unique in the sparkling wine world, because of the indigenous grape varieties that are used in Cava — Parellada, Macebeo and Xarel-lo. Segura Viudas’s refreshing acidity, accompanied by it’s lemon tart aroma is perfect on its own or paired with anything from a hearty paella, to a mouth puckering lemon tart.

Our first wine and appetizer pairing was Kir-Yanni Akakies Rose from Greece and Duck Breast with Roasted Fruit Compote Crostini. The strawberry and sour cherry aromas along with the wine’s crisp acidity cut through the duck breast and elevated the fruitiness of the compote to leave you wanting more.

Second, we chose Malivoire Gamay from Niagara and a yukon gold and chestnut soup. Instead of complimenting, we chose to contrast. The soup was prepared specifically for the Share A Glass event by Executive Chef Anthony Rose and it was incredible.

Third, we enjoyed Catena Zapata Malbec from Argentina with a portobello mushroom fritter with roasted garlic mayo. Who knew a mushroom could stand up to a Malbec.

Finally to finish things off, we enjoyed the Select Late Harvest Indian Summer Riesling from Cave Springs. Not quite the sugar of an ice wine but definitely a sweet, golden nector just the same.

Thanks to our server Al and the Drake Hotel staff for an excellent evening. Everyone really enjoyed themselves and many kept the night going with the “Winterlicious” menu.

Many of the night’s attendees adored the Yukon Gold and Roasted Chestnut Soup, I attempted to coax the soup recipe from Desiree, but to no avail. I did, however, find an equally promising soup that I am hoping everyone will enjoy…

Chestnut Soup
Makes about 4 cups

2 lbs of whole chestnuts (or 2-1/2 cups, roasted and peeled)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 to 1 cup celery root, peeled and diced
1 cup Yukon gold potatoes,
diced bay leaf
5-6 cups vegetable stock
fontina cheese, applied liberally

1. If you already have roasted and peeled chestnuts, skip to Step 3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take chestnuts and, using a paring knife, score them with an X or horizontally on both sides. Place them on a baking sheet, drizzle with 1/2 Tbsp olive oil and massage until covered. Roast in oven until skins start to crack open, about 15 minutes.

2. Once chestnut skins start to crack open, remove them from the oven and start to peel of the skins while they’re still warm, ending up with about 2-1/2 cups. Optional: set aside 4 of them for garnish.

3. Using a stock pot, melt butter and a 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent. Then add garlic and saute for about 2-3 more minutes. Add 4 cups of stock, 1/2 cup of celery root, potato, chestnuts, and bay leaf. Simmer for about 20 minutes, tasting and stirring occasionally as you go. Add 1/2 cup more celery root as needed, being careful not to overwhelm the flavor of the chestnuts.

4. Using a food processor or an immersion blender, puree in batches or blend the soup until smooth. Add 1 or 2 additional cups of stock as needed while pureeing. Then using a ladle or spoon, push puree through a sieve into another pot. Repeat this last step a time or two to maximize the velvety smooth texture.

5. Ladle into bowls and garnish liberally with fontina cheese and a couple of the reserved chestnuts.

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