My friend Liz and her husband Ritchie have started a wonderful seasonal tradition. She invited three other couples to dinner at her house and asked each one to bring one course for the dinner, along with a wine pairing. Liz assigned a category but that was all and so the meal was a surprise--but what a wonderful surprise. Here is her table, elegantly set for dinner. The wine pairing with each course is something that I've heard of but never experienced. It was fascinating and really pleasant to have a small glass of different wine to complement the food.
We began the evening with with a flute of Vouvray bubbles and a toast to all the chefs. (See below.)
I intended to take a photo of each of the courses but I was too interested in the food and wine to remember to do that. So I'll just tell you what we ate. The first course was Miriam's Middle Eastern soup with chick peas and chicken served with spicy cracker triangles and a lovely gently sweet Gewurstraminer to balance the spicy soup.
Next up was the salad course and Lynne and Bill served a Caprese salad, slightly warmed so the cheese was soft, served with a New Zealand Savignon Blanc. This wine had a grapefruit flavour the complemented the cheese.
My pasta course was a lemon and cream and herb linguini and I chose an Italian Pinot Grigio as a foil for the creamy sauce.
Liz did the main course of beautiful scallops in a ginger sauce with couscous and pod peas, with a lovely California rose wine, called Chat on Oeuf to accompany it. (The name is a take-off on Chateau Neuf and the bottle has a photo of a cat sitting on an egg.)
For dessert Liz made individual soufflés made with Saskatoon berry syrup, served with the same bubbly wine that we began with.
The meal was leisurely and lovely, lasting about four hours in all as we had breaks between courses when the different cooks got up from the table to prepare or finish their dishes. It was a wonderful way to spend an evening with friends. But I wouldn't want to do it too often. Wine pairing is nice while you're doing it but can lead to drinking a bit more wine than you're used to. I'm feeling less than tip top this morning.
Maybe we'll make it an annual tradition--and try to keep the glasses only half full.