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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Aug 28/11: Tasting menu at Tempest Restaurant, Wolfville NS

The Time and Date: Sunday August 28, 2011 7 PM to 11 PM
The Event: Tasting menu at Tempest Restaurant, Wolfville NS
The Venue: Tempest Restaurant
The Target Audience: seven diners, at two separate tables.
The Availability/Catalogue: wines were available in NS
The Quote/Background: tasting menus are available for four or more at
about $75 a person, plus wines. We split the wines by seven people,
about 3.5 oz each, and about $43 each (plus tax and gratuity).
Disclaimer: Tempest Restaurant is owned by my daughter and son-in-law.
The Wines:
-Benjamin Bridge Nova 7 Gaspereau Valley
-Grand Pre Tidal Bay 2010 White blend Nova Scotia, 11% ABV
-Blomidon Tidal Bay 2010 White blend Nova Scotia, 10.6% ABV
-Saladini Pilastri Falerio 2010 DOC, 13% ABV, organic
-Casa Patronales Sauvignon Blanc 2008 Maule, 13.5% ABV
-Louis Latour Pinot Noir 2009 Burgundy
-Castello di Bossi Chianti Classico 2004, 13.5% ABV
-Grand Pre Pomme d'Or, 10% ABV
The Food: Here was the tasting menu, as prepared by Chef Michael Howell
– always based on what he has on hand.
* Focaccia, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, with Nova 7 as
* Warm shrimp sushi with house-made ginger pickle, Tidal Bay
* Roasted golden beet cappuccino, decorated with red beet foam, Falerio
* Caprese salad (fried basil leaf and pancetta, 3 kinds of tomato,
fresh local mozzarella, baby arugula, 25-year old balsamic).
* Pork cheek, layered golden beet and goat cheese, with the Sauvignon
* Arctic char with smoked tomato and lobster mushroom risotto, basil
oil, Pinot Noir.
* Leg of lamb (centre cut) with blackberries and salad, Chianti
* Trio of desserts: Jamaican rum cake, chocolate bunuelo, strawberry sorbet,
with iced cider Pomme d'Or.
* Coffees, etc.
The food, of course, was terrifically laid out and garnished with
thought. The wait staff was first rate, with a full explanation of the
wines. Chef was busy, but he appeared to chat with both tables during the
dessert. The service of the plates was leisurely and unhurried. Plenty
of time to talk and discuss the food and life. The wines were pretty
good accompaniments to the food, considering that (apart from the
aperitif) they were modestly priced. It has always been my belief that
good food will always pick up a modest wine (but great wines will not
do the same to modest food). Tidal Bay is a new designation for Nova
Scotia. Each winery can make one, but it has to be a blended white, about
11% ABV, slightly off-dry, and so forth. Variations would be allowed in
percentages of grape varieties used. Certainly Tidal Bay(s) would go
well with sushi. I sipped at the beet cappuccino since I am not a fan
of beets. But my wife is, and she loved it. Falerio is an off-dry white
that perfectly matched an earthy taste. With the impressive caprese
salad, we had the leftover wines up to that point. The local pork cheek, crisply fried.
was stacked like a pagoda. It must have taken quite a while to do seven
of these! The pan-fried char, always a fave of mine, was slightly dominated by
the smoked tomato, but the texture of the lobster mushrooms was a punchy
addition to the risotto. The entry-level Pinot Noir was the weakest wine of the menu,
low in flavour. But it is a big seller because of its price. At least
it did not dominate, unlike the heavier Chianti Classico. But the lamb
stood up to it, or at least the blackberry sauce did. Desserts were a
treat, especially the chocolate bunuelo with the iced apple cider.
The Marketing Effectiveness/Execution of the Event(numerical grade): 91

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