Veggie to the Max!
Spicy vegetarian food and fine wine to match? Impossible surely? Well, no actually.
We were invited to a dinner party last night to celebrate the wedding of Maxine and Richard; Maxine is veggie so the rules were in place. Max, by the way, is one of the best cooks I know and has no issue cooking flesh but chooses not to eat it. More fool her! I was a veggie for 9 years myself when I was a right-on student, as was The Fish (12 years), but thankfully we are both now fully recovered. Not that it mattered on Saturday night.
Steve and Sara took on the task and what a wonderful job they did. Sara set the scene, creating a Lebanese feel to the dining room, and Steve was our ambitious and adventurous cook. I managed to photograph most of the food and my wine comments I’m sure will get less precise as I go along. A night which starts at 7.30 and ends at 3.30 will do that to you!
Nectarine and smoked avocado salad
Seresin Estate Chiaroscuro, 2009 (Marlborough, New Zealand)
An unusual blend of Pinot Gris, Riesling and Chardonnay (equal split). Has a complex nose with fruit, spice and floral notes. Rich, textured and long. The wine really brought out the taste of the nectarine and vice-versa; certainly one I’ll be searching out.
Kibbeh kazzabe with green herb hummus, pomegranate & cucumber salsa, pomegranate molasses
Scalabrone Bolgheri Rosato Tenuta Guado al Tasso, 2010 (Tuscany, Italy)
Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. I’m not a rose guy but this was excellent. Raspberry, strawberry and cherry with hints of wild herbs. Very refreshing and beautifully dry. A Super Tuscan rose?? Another great match with the sweetness of the molasses showing off the fruitiness of the wine.
Lima bean tagine, green olive & herb pilav, mint and garlic labneh, crispy cinnamon onions, lemon zhug.
Massaya Silver Red, 2009 (Bekaa Valley, Lebanon)
Southern Rhone blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Mouvedre… And Cabernet Sauvignon. Sweet red fruits and warm spices with nice hints of oak. Lovely long finish, definitely reminiscent of Chateuneuf. By the way, everyone has to try lemon zhug at some point in their life – a spice blend of chilli, garlic, black pepper and coriander, blended with fresh lemon pulp and preserved lemon. Beautifully tart and spicy at the same time.
Rose water panna cotta, pistachio and white chocolate fudge, strawberry & lime coulis
Grosvenor Blanc de Blanc, 2009 (Ridgeview Estate, England)
Decanter award winner in 2010 and loverly. Honey, acacia and orchard fruit. Lovely mousse, yeasty and very long. This is well worth having a look for – may be my choice for Xmas.
Fig tart, saffron and cardamom ice cream, salted almond brittle.
Steindorfer Seewinkel Beerenauslese, 2006 (Austria)
Wine of the night for me! Riesling, Pinot Blanc and Bouvier (new one for me). So much peach and apricot and wonderful honey sweetness. Sweet, pure, refreshing and ever so elegant. More please. Now.
Selection of (European!) cheese with date, pumpkin and pear chutney
Chateau Fontesteau, Cru Bourgeois, 2004 (Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux)
Cherry fruit and floral with nice hint if oak and graphite, well integrated. This is a very nice wine, which has benefited from a decent amount of time in bottle.
All in all a fantastic night, fantastic food, fantastic wine and, most importantly, fantastic company. Oh, and a not so fantastic hangover!