Modifying my Culinary Skills

Now this is something to get excited about! We were given this as a gift from her work. It was 2 tickets to attend a culinary workshop. There are many options on style of food for the evening ranging from Indian to Julia Child’s cookbook. There is definitely something for everyone. But if you do not understand what I’m talking about, this is a 3 hour class where you sit, enjoy and have a chef and his team teach and cook for you. It’s brilliant! What a chance for the average person to go and understand the process and technique involved in creating high end food. Or you can sit at home and eat your canned corned and flavorless mashed potatoes while that turd Emeril says bam 37 times a minute. Yeah, I don’t like that guy……get over it. We were super excited and couldn’t wait to get the evening started!

This is awesome. It’s probably one of the nicest properties to visit in the area for sure. Do go up there and just wonder around during late spring with the flowers and the vineyards and the……..hey! Get that lusty look out of your eyes……kinda creepy. So yeah, it’s wicked check it out. We were greeted and taken to the room where the course was being presented. Flat screens flank the large opening into the kitchen area. And the view into the kitchen is great. Plus the actual kitchen is gorgeous. Tile, stone, stainless…….they’ve got it all! Once the show started it became super fun!

The evening we chose was Switzerland themed and it was not what we were expecting. Our chef was Jan. Yeah, he’s super-deutsche and that is what made the whole evening I think. He was hilarious, insightful and obviously talented. He made all the dishes seem effortless and like you could make them at home with some minor prep work and skill. The way it worked was they work through one course at a time, highlighting the important parts of the prep and cooking for each dish. Not everything is made on the spot because braising takes 6 hours and reductions can take a long time but everything still tasted like it was just made for you. You are also given a nice folder with the menu, recipes and wine list so you can make it at home. During the midway intermission you are invited into the kitchen to explore and ask any questions you have. It was a personable experience we were not expecting. It really added to the whole experience and made us feel very involved in the process. Now the goods…..

Leek and Cheese Waehe – Light, fluffy puff pastry dish that was oozing with cheese.
2010 Reserve Riesling – Crisp and cool. Perfect earthy balance to cut through the cheese.

Poached Seesaibling with White Asparagus and Sauce Bernaise – A perfectly poached arctic char served with an in house canned vanilla white asparagus. That asparagus may be one of the single most delicious items I’ve ever had. Get on the waitlist to buy that stuff……..hell, sell your children if you have to!
2009 Reserve Chardonnay – We are not usually Chardonnay drinkers but hot damn! This is smooth and buttery…..not overpowering. A very well balanced wine. An ideal pairing to such a delicate fish and creamy sauce.

Preserved Lemon and Ricotta Capellini – This was fantastically fresh and light with subtle citrus flavours. Again, the in house canned lemons were phenomenal. And there is nothing better than homemade pasta dough. It tastes completely different than boxed pasta. I could eat a bushel of this stuff per sitting.
2008 Select Lot Collection Sauvignon-Blanc ~ Semillon – This was a beautiful pairing with the pasta course. Light floral notes with a golden smooth finish. Would also be delicious cool on the patio for summer.

Braised Lamb Shoulder and Potato Roesti – The main main course was very exciting. Braised lamb. Not something we would order very often but it was nice to have. It pulled apart with ease and begged to be dipped in jus and devoured. The sauce was magnificent and the roesti was cooked perfectly and made a great companion to the lamb. Probably my only complaint for the whole night was the lamb was a bit dry. Just a wee bit!
2010 Reserve Pinot Noir – This is a stellar Pinot. I mean, it was bloody good. It had deep smokey plum aroma which carried the lamb nicely on the pallette. Give me a bottle of that and leave me the eff alone for an evening….wow! I loved it.

Nuss Torte – Gellatly walnuts caramalized and baked into a tart. What the hell else does one need for happiness……oh wait….
2009 Reserve Vidal Icewine – This….this is what else you need. A perfectly sweet finish to a rather rich but surprisingly light meal. This icewine was sweet syrupy seduction. This stuff stares at you from across the room, bats its eyelashes and bites its lower lip at you……’s that good/naughty.

So that was it people. An absolute amazing evening with my beautiful wife. It was entertaining, humorous and educational. You’re smiling the whole time while your stomach is rumbling with anticipation for each course. The food was exceptional. Definitely some of the best I’ve had in the valley. Even though almost every dish contained handfuls and handfuls of butter, they all seemed so light and easy. The flavors were simple but layered and robust. And one of the biggest surprises was the wine pairings were superb! We haven’t been to this place for wine in years because when we started doing our yearly wine tour we went and didn’t enjoy the wine, didn’t like the pretentious attitude and didn’t feel valued as a visitor. I am going back for sure. The wine was too good not to. It really did taste like good quality high end wine and extremely comparable prices to some other wineries out there. This would be a great Valentine’s Day idea for some of you that wish to spoil your partner. Or instead of having one commercialized day to do it……why don’t you just do something nice because you care……..don’t hate……just sayin’. But it was like $79 bucks each well worth it.

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