We have just held our latest food and wine pairing, this time a tour of USA wine regions including Oregon, California, Washington and New York, paired with small plates such as a broccoli salad with lime and mint dressing, pork tenderloin with ginger and honey and an awesome white chocolate and raspberry torte. As I began to put the pairings together I was reminded what great wines we have in the USA; Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from the North-West, Cabernet and blends from Napa and Sonoma, Riesling and Gewurtztraminer from New York and so many styles of Chardonnay from all over. With such a great range to choose from it was hard to pick just 5. Then comes the toughest part, as the team at Portrait Gallery sit down to decide the pairings! Executive chef Brett has his favorites, as does our Events manager Roz and of course I want to put my choices forward. What we’re trying to do is avoid stereotypes, challenge the kitchen, showcase the wines, tempt people to taste outside their comfort zones, entertain and of course have people leave with memories of a fun evening. We are really lucky at Portrait Gallery, our customers are interested enough to listen to me going on for far to long about the wines and pairings, courteous to the servers and each other and unfailingly generous with their opinions. There is no better feeling when someone praises the pairing or when someone suggests an alternative, which maybe you hadn’t considered. These are some of my favorite evenings in the restaurant, when you can really engage with the guests in a shared journey of discovery.
Our next event is a rum pairing, on the 6th of August. In many ways the liquor pairings are more difficult, as the spirits can be so much less accessible, the flavors so much more intense and of course the alcohol sometimes overwhelming. I hope we have done a good job of representing the rums, which include a vegetal Cachaca from Brazil, a pungent Jamaican and a complex heady rum from Barbados. I’m looking forward to seeing our customers reactions to their pairing with chicken, spicy mango salsa, maple pork and dark berries. It will be quite a relief to get back to the relative safety of French wine regions and classic French cuisine for our August wine pairing on the 20th. If you are interested in learning more look out for our postings and photos on Facebook and Instagram.
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