Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cooking with Liquor Dinner - 12 people, 6 courses, 11 bottles of wine, and 1 liqueur!

Another fantastic gourmet dinner club get-together! This time, each dish needed to cooked using some kind of liquor.

First Course - Appetizer
  • Tequila Lime Wings - organic chicken wings, lime zest, lime juice, tequila, agave syrup, adobo sauce, cumin, salt, pepper
Wine Pairings
  • Domaine Pichot Vouvray 2010, Loire Valley, France - $14.99
  • Château du Basty Régnié Beaujolais 2009, France - $13.75
I purchased the Vouvray (varietal: Chenin Blanc) because it was recommended by the Austin Wine Merchant staff as the best white wine pairing for the Tequila Lime Chicken Wings. It tasted tiny bit sweet, floral with a hint of pears, not too acidic, but crisp enough to cut through chicken fat (Mel, thanks for the help with the tasting notes for this wine).

I purchased the Beaujolais (varietal: Gamay) at the suggestion of the Austin Wine Merchant staff as the best red wine pairing for our first course. I tasted red fruit, black tea, soft tannins, and a very slight floral finish. Interesting, but not my favorite. See my updated tasting notes for this wine.

I liked the white better overall, and with the chicken.

Second Course - Cheese
  • Cypriot Saganaki Haloumi (sheep's milk cheese dipped in flour to form a crust when fried, then flamed with brandy before serving)
  • fresh mission and brown turkey figs
  • assorted olives
Wine Pairing
  • Elios Mediterranean White Wine 2010, Greece - $10
This wine is a blend of four white varietals - 50% Moschofilero, 30% Chardonnay, 10% Roditis, and 10% Savatiano. It retails for $10/bottle online. I tasted light citrus fruit and a slightly bitter aftertaste. The finish is nice and dry. It was good with the salty cheese, figs, and olives.

Third Course - Soup
  • Butternut Squash Soup with Calvados (apple brandy) and Cinnamon Sour Cream
Wine Pairing
  • Nine Walks Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Marlborough, New Zealand - $9
This wine retails for $9/bottle online. It tastes of light citrusy fruit, some tropical fruit, and has a nice acidity.

I really loved the cinnamon cream that topped the soup - gave it that extra little kick! And apparently, this soup is often served with a shot of calvados on the side, which would be poured into the soup just before eating - talk about a kick! This course was so warm and inviting - a great way to welcome fall.

Fourth Course - Salad
  • Shiitake and Portobello Mushrooms in a Sherry-Rum Sauce over Goat Cheese and Mixed Greens
Wine Pairing
  • Joseph Drouhin Saint-Véran Chardonnay 2009, Burgundy, France - $13.75
This wine was purchased from the Austin Wine Merchant. I tasted light green fruit, a little wood, and a little vanilla.

It pairs well with the salad, which I absolutely loved - the saltiness of the mushrooms with the creaminess of the goat cheese over a slightly wilted salad (from the warmth of the dressing) - absolutely perfect!

Fifth Course - Main Course
  • Spicy Tequila Bison Balls in a Robust Tomato Sauce over Fusilli Pasta
Wine Pairing
  • Dönnhoff Riesling 2009, Nahe, Germany - $19.99
This wine is slightly sweet and fruity. It retails for $19.99/bottle online, but I believe it was purchased at Whole Foods. It was good with the pasta and meatballs. The wine was chosen because its low alcohol content and slight sweetness helped to cut through the spiciness of the dish. Loved the meatballs (love bison!) and the sauce! Main course was perfect!

Sixth Course - Dessert
  • Chocolate Rum Torte
Wine Pairing
  • Luxardo Amaretto
Yummy! The almond flavor of the liqueur is reflected in the crumbled topping of the scrumptious torte. The torte itself was chocolate heaven - literally a melt-in-your-mouth-sinfully-delicious-can't-eat-another-bite-but-can't-leave-it-on-my-plate-either showstopper!

These aftermath photos don't really do our dinner justice. Our wonderful hosts were washing dishes and plates all evening long to keep up with the 6 course meal and all of the wonderful wines. The dinner was an amazing experience! Bravo to all!!!

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