A few Friday’s ago, the Pumphouse Pub in Richmond BC invited me to experience another one of their fantastic Long Table Dinners. This time however, it was a Wine Long Table Dinner which was created around a lavish Italian menu. Trust me—I know what a lucky foodie I am to have been invited!
The menu was created by none other than the brilliant Italian Chef Daniela Iaci. Each of the five dishes was cleverly paired to a wine (all under the $20 range) and which can be easily located at your local liquor store.
The first dish I got to try was Crisp Apple & Prosciutto Salad with a Lime Vinaigrette. It was by far my favorite dish of the night. The crispiness of the granny smith apple, the saltiness of the prosciutto and the sharp acidity of the lime vinaigrette was absolutely mind blowing. If it’s even possible—each bite was better than the last.
This light & refreshing salad was brilliantly paired with a crisp Bollini Trentino Pinot Grigio. This Pinot can be found in your local liquor store in the $14 price range. Though I am not a big pinot grigio fan, I can say with confidence that the fruitiness and smoothness of this wine is a great pair to any summer salad.
The second dish was a Wild Mushroom Risotto with Smoked Chicken. It was paired with my favorite wine of the night: Bodegas Ateca Garnacha de Fuego. Please don’t ever ask me to pronounce the name for you, I will surely fail at its Latin Roots. When I went to the liquor store the other night to buy a bottle of this brilliant red I described it as “the bottle with the red flame” and thankfully the lady knew exactly what I was talking about! It sells at the BCL for $15, and let me tell you- this is a steal!
This Garnacha had a medium-full body, a rich earthiness and just the perfect touch of acidity. It played exceptionally well with the saltiness of the risotto.
The risotto was excellent. Coming from a foodie who eats out a couple times a week- it’s hard to find a good risotto. I that with risotto it often has to be ‘in your blood’ (aka Italian!). Lucky for me Chef Iaci comes from Italian roots and her risotto really meant business
The third dish I got to try was the Slow Roasted Italian Meatballs and this dish was paired with a full bodied red wine called Bodegas Olivares Altos de la Hoya. Again, I won’t be able to pronounce this wine but what I can do is describe it for you. It’s was a deep, full bodied, dark wine with the ability to maintain a sort of elegance. It was surprisingly quite smooth and had a blackberry-like finish to it.
Pairing a full bodied wine to a hearty dish such as the comforting classical Italian meatball was a very smart choice. Only a protein can withstand the boldness of such a wine.
The final main dish of the night was a Cassoulet with slow cooked Pork, Sausage Bacon & Beans.
This dish is the epitome of what I would call a comfort meal. Personally, I found the meat trio to be a little overwhelming; however, if you are a meat lover, your taste buds will be in an extremely happy place.
The dish was paired with Razor’s Edge Shiraz Grenache. It was a great bold wine that finished with hint of spice. It matched with the dish nicely because it was strong enough to withstand the meat trio in the Cassoulet without overpowering it.
We ended the night with a divine Dark Chocolate Creme Brule that was topped with blackberries & accompanied by Henry’s Drive Morse Code Shiraz. This was my first time having a chocolate crème brule, and I must admit, I’m not sure if the regular is going to do it for me anymore! It was absolute heaven. I heavily suggest that the Pumphouse incorporate this desert to their every-day menu.
For those of you who are dying to have a similar foodie experience–i got some good news for you! The next Long Table dinner will be on June 15th! It will be an ode to our loyal friend bacon–as your 5 dishes will be infused with bacon and paired with 5 craft beers from Beerthirst. As if it can get any better, the money will be donated to sponsor one special Richmond athlete for the PGA tour.
Thank you again to the Pumphouse Pub for having me! It was a pleasure as always and I would like to give another thank you to all the lovely Vancouverites, and Richmond Locals whom I had the privilege of meeting, eating & drinking good wine with. You were all excellent company.