Friday 2 May 2008

Chilean wine dinner

The pub had another wine dinner last night. I have come to the conclusion that they shouldn't try to theme the food to the wine, because they get a bit tangled up. I don't know anything about Chilean food, but I do know that the menu last night was a bit odd, and certainly not as nicely presented or cooked as their normal dishes.

To start with - Jerusalem Artichoke Soup. I don't think it was. For one thing, I haven't seen a Jerusalem Artichoke in the shops for weeks, and for another, Jerusalem Artichokes puree so very beautifully that I don't think you could achieve the effect of a clear green liquid with pulverised little hard vegetable bits. My clinching argument is that they are, how should I put it? A very windy vegetable and this soup certainly did not produce the usual effect. It was over-seasoned with black pepper and not a lot of other flavour. The wine was a heavenly 2006 sauvignon blanc which made the soup look better than it was.

The next course was a fairly large portion of very rich, very delicious seafood baked in creamy, cheesy sauce. It had nice chunky pieces of crayfish, mussels and squid, slices of sweet, soft onion and this lovely sauce, which all went very well with a very good chardonnay. And it isn't often that I use the words "very good chardonnay"!

The main course was described as "beef and corn pie". When it arrived it was a casserole of mince with sweetcorn kernels, sultanas and slices of hardboiled egg, served with some rice. One of my companions doesn't eat egg, so she sent hers back and had the vegetarian option, which was described as "tomato and lima bean stew" - which turned out to be a thick vegetable sauce enclosed in a folded wheat tortilla. The beef was tasty, if not at all what I pictured, and went well with the lovely fruity carmenere.

They called the pudding turron del vino - wine and almond nougat. When I think of nougat I think of the white sweet with chunks of nuts through it, wrapped in rice paper. What arrived was a glass with a layer of a sweet, loose almond paste, broken up with flaked almonds, topped by a strawberry puree and a generous amount of whipped cream. It was very nice (but a similar texture to the dish they called "blancmange" at the Sicilian dinner). The wine was fantastic. A 2007 viognier, it stood up to the sweet fruityness much better than I ever would have imagined.

So dinner was pretty good, all things considered, but I just feel that if they hadn't tried to do Chilean food they would probably have been better.

1 comment:

mscrankypants said...

The wine sounds lovingly selected; such a shame the food isn't being presented with the same regard.

I liked your comment about the challenges of finding a 'very good' chardonnay. Where does most chardonnay in UK shops originate?


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