Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What A Night in Durham

All I can say is, “what a night”… the food, the wine and of course, the company!Last night I did a wine dinner in Durham, North Carolina at Nana’s Restaurant, hosted by Nana’s Chef /Owner Scott Howell. From the outward appearance, Nana’s appears to be a very good local restaurant in the beautiful Raleigh/Durham area, or at least that was my first impression! But what took place in the kitchen was not just the preparation of local fare for the average sole, it was unbelievable. Because of the winery, I’ve had the opportunity to taste some pretty good food from some pretty good chefs over the years, but this was right up there with those TV chefs (just kidding Scott)! If you have a minute to check Scott’s website, you will see the results of night were not by accident; he and his staff are talented. The Wild Boar & Ricotta Agnolotti, paired with our Syrah blend, Le Thief, or the Lamb Tenderloin Wrapped in Prosciutto, paired with our Châteauneuf du Pape styled Cuvée des Cinq, this is what food and wine pairings are all about, bring the best out in both. Enough about the food and wine!

There are not many nights that I get to do these fabulous dinners and be introduced by a family member. Last night was the exception. My brother Peter (yes, his name is Peter Sellers) and his lovely wife Sara Foster were there to enjoy a marvelous dinner and to catch up. It was great to have family at the table. Seated next to me during the dinner was a gentleman by the name of Ed Mayes. With him was his wife, Frances Mayes, you may know her as the author of “Under the Tuscan Sun”. We talked about one of their projects, Italian olive oil, it’s awesome. He wanted to talk to me about wine, all I wanted to do was ask him about olive trees and oil pressing (we have 200 baby olive trees on our property). If you have a spare minute, take a look at their website, you’ll enjoy it.

Here is Scott’s Menu:

Gravlax with Crème Fraiche and Paddlefish Caviar
Goat Cheese and Peppered Pear Jelly on Crostini
Voignier, 2006

Warm Porcini Egg Custard

Shallow Poached B-Liner Snapper
with Local Fennel
Blanc du Rhone, 2006

Wild Boar and Ricotta Agnolotti,
with Broccoli Rabe in a Foie Gras Emulsion
Le Thief, 2005

Lamb Tenderloin Wrapped in Prosciutto,
over Local Crowder Peas with Black Pepper – Vodka Sauce
Cuvee des Cinq, 2005

Chocolate Budino Tartlet
with vanilla sea salt and caramel
Syrah Selectionne, 2005
Tomorrow, off to the Highlands of North Carolina!

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