An Amazing ' Food and Riesling Pairing ' Experience at Splendido!
After months of planning and eager anticipation, a small group of 'Riesling Loving' Chowhounders gathered at Splendido yesterday for a stunning ' once-in-a-lifetime ' Chowmeet.
For this gathering, each participant was asked to bring along a 'gem' bottle of Riesling from their own cellar collection. These, to go with a specially tailored ' Food and Riesling ' pairing tasting menu. The task of selecting and bringing the bottle was a relatively simple one. However, here in Toronto, the task of identifying a restaurant with a kitchen capable of delivering the quality of food and a wine service competent enough to complement the array of such fine and rare wines is a huge challenge.
Our event organizer, Ontario Board's 'Food and Wine' Guru - Estufarian selected Splendido as the venue and his choice was spot on! At the end of the meal, we achieved a rare Trinity of great food and wine, great service and most of all, great company!!
The meal, specially designed and prepared by Chef Victor Barry consisted of the following offerings:
- Mystery Indian spiced cream soup with savory miniature finger puff.
- Qualicum Bay Scallop ceviche & Ramps
- Australian Toro, Pequillo Pepper
- Razor Clam Salad, Cucumber foam
- Rocky Point Oyster, smoked butter sauce
- Oregon Black Trumpet Mushroom Salad
Celeriac, Perigord Truffle ( generously shaved ) and Crisp Parsnip
- Seared Rouge Farms Foie Gras ( again generous slab )
- Bourdin Noir
Walnut, Apple & Duck Confit
- Chestnut Agnolotti ( supremely smooth and creamy )
Suckling Pig, Parsnip & Hazelnut
- Passion Fruit Genoise
Caramelized Banana, White Chocolate $ Passion Fruit Sorbet
- Macaroon, Marshmallow coconut, Madeline ( piping hot! ), Shortbread
Due to time consideration and the large number of dishes involved, I am not going to provide a detailed dish-by-dish review. Instead, I will just let the dish description, photos and the readers`imagination to determine the olfactory and taste sensation!
All I wanted to say was that every dish was well executed and the presentation eclectically funky. The entrees were `borderline rustic`, well balanced, delicious and incorporating a `textural play` between the main ingredients and their supporting cast. All in all, the dishes were successful in high lighting the versatility of Riesling in food pairing!!
Next, on to the true stars of the evening - the Incredible WINE!!
The amazing array of rare gems contributed by the participants included:
- 1983 Inniskillin Late Harvest Selection Riesling, Limited Edition#7632
- 1969 Egon Muller Scharzhofberger Spatlese (MSR)
- 1971 Eitelsbaccker Kronenberg Auslese (MSR)
- 1971 Egin Muller Scharzhofberger Auslese (MSR)
- 1971 Anheuser Winzenheimer Rosenheck Auslese (Nahe)
- 1997 Gunderloch Nackenheim Rothenberg Gold Cap Auslese ( Rheinhessen)
- 1998 Gunderloch Nackenheim Rothenberg Gold Cap Auslese ( Rheinhessen )
Apart from the 1969 Scharzhofberger, which went rapidly downhill once exposed to air ( but somehow miraculously revived for a short period after a half hour wait ), the rest of the wines were absolutely magnificent and were surprisingly fresh, vibrant and youthful for their age!!
In particular, the Scharzhofberger and Anheuser from the brilliant Classic 1971 vintage were near to absolute perfection!! What an experience!!
At the end of the evening, we were all stuffed, extremely happy and fortunately still sober enough to drive home!!!
Anything 'sweet' is almost automatic to go with Foie Gras. So having the Auslese with it was great. However, I loved the 1971 Anheuser Auslese with the Bourdin Noir since the freshness of the wine really cuts through the richness and greasiness of the sausage. The 1998 Gunderloch Gold Cap was made like a Beerenauslesen and was sweet and punchy enough to handle the dessert.
Baller meal, and confirming that Splendido is still one of the best choices in the country for high-end dining.
I had to rush out of the city early the next day, so am now catching up.
First, thanks to Charles for doing the summary - saves me the effort.
Secondly kudos to Splendido - a stunning meal, perfectly realized - only complaint was too much food - yet we all valiantly continued eating after we said we coudn't eat any more!
Thirdly, I started taking notes when the first course/wine came out - then gave up as it was just so much fun sitting back and enjoying great food, great wine and great company. If I have a better experience this year I will be both surprised and smug!
The dishes themselves aren't that unusual. Not to take away from this wonderful meal, but many of them are on Splendido's current seasonal menu. You can have food of this quality at Splendido any time - you don't need a special dinner to do so - although the display of amazing Rieslings is outstanding!
Charles - I don't have a cellar so what I buy needs to be consumed within 18months. Unless you think a cool, cold storage would suffice??? The Markus Molitor is excellent IMO.
Having dined at Splendido a couple weeks back, I agree what they put out is excellent and they are highly accommodating, but nonetheless the meal (the whole package) sounds fantastic.
Based on my experience, a cellar is nice but not absolutely necessary!
Years ago, whilst living in Calgary, I stored a couple bottles of 1971 Schloss Johannisberger Riesling Auslese inside a living room cabinet that is subjected to daily temperature fluctuation of at least 5-10c. The wine still drank perfectly after storing in that condition for over 3 years!!