My Birthday Celebration:
Food and Wine Pairing

April 21, 2007

fire pit cookingYes, I'm getting older! The Fire Pit and Grilling Guru had a food and wine pairing afternoon and evening for my birthday weekend. No, everything wasn't planned around pairing the gourmet food and the nice wines, but I always must have good food and wine present, and I can't help noticing and commenting on how they go together!

So, I invited some of my best friends and family members over for an afternoon and evening of fire pit grilled foods and wine. I planned a few dishes and my friends brought others. All told, it was a glorious day of great food, fun company, great grilling, nice wines and some pretty good food and wine pairing match ups! A good time was had by all!


The Food and Wine Pairing

We started off the early afternoon with a Roasted Red Pepper, Pine Nut, and Garlic Dip served with crackers and roasted pita chips. This was made by my friend and it was delicious. Although we didn't plan a specific food and wine pairing, it actually went beautifully with the sparkling wines.

food and wine pairingNext up, once the fire pit was fired up with some nice almond wood we threw a skillet right on the wood fire and started cooking up our next course, a Fire Pit Grilled Quail Eggs Benedict with Andouille Sausage. This was my friend's idea and it was absolutely brilliant. I had cooked with a cast iron skillet on my fire pit before, but never had I made eggs, let alone quail eggs on it! After making the Hollandaise sauce on the stove, everything else was made in the skillet on the open fire pit fire! First the sausages, then the sunny-side-up and over-easy quail eggs, and finally the English muffins. We then assembled it all on plates and it was delicious! I think this was a brilliant food and wine pairing with the sparkling wines, particularly the Huet Vouvray Petillant Recently Disgorged 2000.

Next, I had extra mushrooms and snails from a dish which was to come later in the evening. I decided to not let them go to waste so I threw them together on the spur of the moment in a simple but delicious dish. I sliced the mushrooms, sauteed them in abundant butter, added the sliced snails and then topped them with a hand full of persillade (garlic and flat-leaf parsley chopped finely together) and seasoned them with salt and pepper. This turned out beautifully and I just wish I had had a nice Brioche to serve them with! This Sauteed Mushroom Escargot was stunning with the red Burgundies, both the Delarche and the Pavelot. The meatiness of the wines was a great food and wine pairing with the meaty, earthy aspects of the mushroom and snails.

For the Sriracha Marinated Organic Chicken Wings we didn't think that the red Burgs would be a great food and wine pairing, given the spiciness of the marinade. We went back to the sparkling wines for this one. The intensity of the sparklers held up nicely to the fiery heat of the wings.

grilled lamb chopAfter a break and relaxing around the fire we got some nice embers going to continue cooking. Next up was a bunch of red meat dishes which were all great. We drank the Burgundies with the meats as well as the Ravenswood Los Chamizal Merlot and the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. The Prime Lamb Loin Chops with Fresh Oregano was delicious, particularly with the Pavelot and Ravenswood. Next up was the Organic Beef Meatball Surprise. These were skewered meatballs each stuffed with a mushroom and cheese. A few had an Italian Gorgonzola which was salty and savory. The others had a French cheese called Raclette which when melted is meaty and rich. A few also had a whole Escargot inside as well! They were all delicious. Next up were both a Prime Dry-Aged New York Strip Steak and a Prime Flat Iron Steak with Bercy Butter both grilled to a beautiful medium-rare. The New York steak practically melted in your mouth. grilled steakThe Flat Iron steak is a bit firmer in texture but has a great bold flavor. The Bercy butter, named for a region in Paris, is a sauce made of a combination of butter-sauteed shallots, white wine, poached veal marrow, lemon juice and softened butter. Melted over the Flat Iron steak it was delicious. The Pavelot, Ravenswood and Montepulciano were all great food and wine pairings with the red meat dishes. In particular, I loved the Pavelot with the more tender prime New York steak and the richer, darker Merlot and Montepulciano with the meatballs and Flat Iron steak.


The Wines

  • Huet Vouvray Petillant Recently Disgorged 2000 - Bright tangerine and other citrus and pit fruit aromas lead to a vibrant and spicy, mineral-imbued wine with a hint of sweet fruit flavor. Absolutely charming and delicious. You can't go wrong with Huet!
  • Australian Sparkling Wine - I don't remember the producer or specific wine name but this was a simple and rather bland bubbly. It was pleasant but nothing more.
  • Delarche Pernand-Vergelesse Les Boutieres VV 2005 - Ripe tart cherry and other red fruits were abundant in this wine with earth and mineral notes in the background. Silky on the palate, it has a soft and pretty feel to it which is elegant. Not a big wine but a very pretty one, it needs a few years to fully show its stuff.
  • Pavelot Savigny-Les-Beaune Les Dominodes 2004 -
    Pavelot is one of my favorite producers of
    Savignys. They are pure, unadulterated and alive.
    This was no exception! Beautiful meaty aromas
    with mushroom, strawberry and pepper were
    followed by a pure expression of the Earth with
    great acid, intense vibrant minerality and almost
    a blood-like iron finish. This is almost painfully
    young but it is absolutely intriguing and has
    tremendous promise for its long future.
  • Ravenswood Los Chamizal Merlot 1994 - I've had
    this wine in my cellar for many years now, since
    release. It is not a wine Ravenswood typically
    makes, I can't say how many vintages they have released. It is now mature and has deep, rich fruit with chocolate overtones. Very tasty and went well with the meat.
  • Valle Martello Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Alma Mater 2004 - Dark...black even. Rich and meaty flavors, yet simple and not too complex. This is great food wine, inexpensive but has great density for a wine this cheap. Great inexpensive meat wine!

Another great food and wine pairing Chez Moi! Yes it was my birthday, so not much could go wrong, but I can't think of a better way to celebrate the anniversary of my birth than great grilled food and delicious wines to wash it down!



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