In early February, Julia and I attended a wine and food pairing event at Vero Bistro. Still recovering from a 6-day stomach flu, I was prevented from fully partaking in all six wine pairings. For this particular event, wines were selected from Enoteca Liquor and Specialty Wine Store. At the end of the evening, we were given the opportunity to preorder any of the wines we sampled at a discounted price.
The first appetizer of the night was the Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta. The bread was very nice – it had a thick crusty exterior with a chewy interior. The tomatoes tasted fresh and bright, while the chopped garlic and basil really made the bruschetta pop with flavour. The bruschetta was paired with a South Africian white wine, Spier Creative Block 2. This environmentally friendly and sustainable wine turned out to be my favourite pick of the night. We learned that the acidity in the tomatoes and wine cancelled each other out – which made for a sweet pairing.
The next course was the Kale Caesar Salad. The salad consisted of slices of pear, quinoa, pine nuts, kale and heirloom carrots. I could have easily eaten a huge bowl of this salad. I loved the combination of the dressing with the different textures of the ingredients. The salad was paired with an Italian white wine, Campo al Mare Vermentino – a soft, fresh wine with hint lemon and a tart after taste.
The third dish was a winner – Pan Seared B.C. Salmon with Cannellini Bean and Parsip Puree. Topped with tomato bruschetta, the salmon was beautifully cooked. The fish was crispy on the outside while the flesh was moist. The salmon was paired with another Italian white wine – Villa Matilde Falanghina. The colour of the wine was a cloudy, dark yellow.
The next dish was a pasta – Paccheri Bolognese with Berkshire Pork Ragu with Reggiano. The flavours in the ragu were subtle. I thought the pasta was a little on the soft side. I enjoyed the easy sipping red that Garson picked to pair with the pasta- Castello di Farnetella Chianti Colli Senesi (Italy).
The fifth dish was the Slow Braised Natural Short Ribs with Baby Arugula, Parmasean Reggiano and 25 Years Aged Balsamic Reduction. I thought the meat was fatty, though I suppose that’s just the nature of short ribs. I enjoyed the seasoning – it reminded me of Chinese five spice. The meat was paired with an Italian red, Bisceglia Aglicnico.
The last course was Vanilla and Dark Rum Panna Cotta with Raspberry Sorbet and House Made Coconut Granola. I wasn’t planning on eating dessert, but after one bite, I was sold. The flavour of the raspberry sorbet was refreshing and the panna cotta wasn’t too sweet. I was tempted to buy several bottles of the dessert wine – Marcarini Moscato D’Asto DOCG (Italy). It was light and syrupy, sparkly and bright. However, as I was still weak from the flu, I thought it best to lay off the sauce until I was back to my old self.