An opportune alignment of exceptional talent and good taste inspired the creation of a rare culinary event that took place recently, in the Palms Restaurant at the Hyatt Regency. The event, titled California Nights, offered up a six-course gourmet dinner, inspired by Arion Wine Company and Jackson Family Wines.
Hosting the dinner was Jackson Family Wines’ Master Sommelier Jennifer Huether, the first female Master Sommelier in Canada, recognized by the Court of Master Sommeliers. Huether poured the winery’s top-of-the-line wines, pairing them with exquisite offerings conceived by award-winning executive chef Vincent Pellegrini and lovingly prepared his culinary brigade. Heather also provided ongoing commentary throughout the event, sharing her deep knowledge of all things related to wine. Govert v/d Hout of Arion Wine Company expertly oversaw the wine pairings.
To start the evening off on a fun note, guests were welcomed with a black wine glass, meant to hide the color of the wine, and were asked to sniff, taste and examine the contents of the glass in order to figure out if it was a red or a white wine. They then had to give a description and divine the origins of the wine, which turned out to be a Sauvignon Blanc from the Napa Valley.
After having sparked the guests’ appetite for a magical evening, the menu of layered, complex and surprising food combinations kicked off with a Burrata Cheese appetizer paired with Galarie Naissance Sauvignon Blanc, 2013, Napa Valley, followed by a Duck Confit, escorted by the popular Byron Pinot Noir, 2012, Santa Maria Valley. Diners then delighted in the Roasted Cigar Salmon, chased by Stonestreet Chardonnay, 2012, Sonoma Valley. For the Intermezzo, an exotic passion fruit sorbet with a splash of Arrowood Chardonnay, Sonoma Valley, paved the way for the arrival of the main course, Seared Tenderloin with roasted garlic, shitake mushroom ragout, charcoal artichoke and porcini reduction, served with both Stonestreet Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 and the highly Robert Parker rated Cardinale, 2010, Napa Valley, which encouraged the discussion of personal preferences among dinner guests. The dessert featured one of the chef’s signature specialties Cream of Papaya, with blueberries, hibiscus Cabernet dressing and melt-in your mouth Pistachio Macaroons, which was enhanced by an exquisite golden elixir, Kendall-Jackson Late Harvest Chardonnay, 2007, Monterey County.