ARCHANGEL WINE DINNER
Last month Jim and I felt truly honoured to be invited to an amazing dinner in Padstow. Held at The Padstow Seafood School, we were treated to a sumptuous six course feast by chefs Stephane Delourme, Jack Stein and Stuart Pate, with matching wines from Archangel.
Fifteen of us gathered around the gorgeous communal table. We were joined by Jill Stein and her youngest son Charlie, a wine merchant, who had brought with him Mary Zurakowski from the Archangel Winery in New Zealand. Mary regaled us with stories from the vineyard and enthusiastically introduced the wines.
Left, appetisers of warm, crispy coated crab balls on a garlicky aioli were washed down by a delicious sparkling white.
Then for the meal, which started off with sliced salmon with ponzu (a Japanese sauce) and shredded radish (above left). This dish was light and fresh, and really whetted our appetite for more. Mary had chosen the 2012 Halana Riesling to accompany the dish – a medium sweet wine with citrus flavours and, notably, pink grapefruit to match the slices of the same fruit interleaved between the slices of salmon.
The second course (above right) was an incredible plate of queenie scallops with foie gras and apple, accompanied by Archangel Riesling 2011. Warm and buttery, with the sweet sharpness of the apple cutting through the richness of the foie gras and scallops. This Riesling was less citrussy than the first, its apple ripeness matching well with the caramelly scallops and rich foie gras, and a nice minerality to the finish.
Next on the menu was Dover sole Veronique, and if I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, this could well be it. Succulent fish with an exquisite cream sauce and peeled (yes peeled) grapes, with tiny pastry croissants. The 2013 Chardonnay was a wonderful pairing. The rich buttery sauce with the sole was balanced with sweetness and acidity from the grapes; so too with the wine, which was ever so slightly oaky with enough acidity to balance the ripe fruit flavours.
For our fourth course we were transported to Asia with a crab and ginger broth, with fresh mint leaves and crunchy bean sprouts which tasted of sweet summery peas. Zingy, refreshing and a real palate cleanser. There were strong flavours in this Asian-inspired dish for a wine to cope with, but the 2013 Pinot Gris has strong pear and melon flavours, plus a hint of ginger, allowing the broth to shine.
The main/fifth course was a hearty casserole of brill with a rich red wine jus, pancetta, thyme and wild mushrooms. Fish and red wine is a challenge. The woodland flavours from the mushrooms and red wine in the casserole were well matched with the only red wine on the menu, the 2010 Pinot Noir – the cherry, plum and blackberry flavours tempered by smooth tannins.
A farandole is a type of French jig, so we were hoping to see Executive Pastry Chef Stuart Pate dancing across the kitchen. No such luck. Instead he had our taste buds whirling with his dessert: a raspberry macaron base, topped with raspberries, raspberry mascarpone cream and lychee and rose water sorbet, with a salty, sweet, crunchy shard of sesame seed praline. Accompanied by Central Otago Botrytised Pinot Gris, not one of Archangel’s wines, but sourced from one of their Otago neighbours. So fruity, sweet, bliss!
What a meal, we were fit to burst, but could just squeeze in one or two (or three or four) of Stuart’s exquisite petits fours.
Thank you to the team at Stein’s for inviting us to join them for dinner, to the chefs for their wonderful cooking, and to Charlie and Mary for talking us through the delicious wines.
For more information on upcoming events at The Seafood Restaurant and Seafood School see their website or phone 01841 532700.