• Experience Taste

Fiesta of Flavours Dinner Party

Daniel and I are both big believers that some of the fondest memories are made gathered around the table. This is why we’ve always loved hosting dinner parties because we love bringing people together and sharing our love for food with others. Good food and good company are two of life’s simplest, yet greatest pleasures. We love introducing new food and experiences to others, so when Samantha from Vine & Vintage proposed a joint collaboration, we immediately said yes. We met Samantha back in February when we attended one of her public events: A Valentine’s Day Theme Cooking & Wine Pairing Event.

Vine & Vintage offers very unique experiences, unlike any other in Toronto, where you can learn about cooking and wine in a more casual and social atmosphere. Vine & Vintage hosts many public events, however the majority of V&V events are actually private, and in the comfort of your own home or office space. They specialize in customized experiences for any occasion including bachelorettes, birthdays, anniversaries, corporate team building and dinner parties.

Samantha proposed to join our food and wine passions and collaborate to host a featured dinner for four of our friends. Our task was to create the menu and cook the dinner. Samantha’s task was to select and provide the wine pairings for each course. The event took place at our house, so our task also included preparing our home for guests (lots of cleaning for me, while Daniel marathon cooked 4 courses for 7 people). We love experimenting with new flavours, so we viewed this dinner as an opportunity to step out of our comfort zone and get creative. We decided to create a Latin/Spanish menu and came up with a Fiesta of Flavours dinner event.

We did not make it easy for Samantha to select wine pairings, as the courses we selected all had very unique and strong combination of flavours. We were so impressed with her attention to detail in her selection to ensure the flavours of our food stood out with the perfect wine pairing. She also did a great job engaging all our guests with interesting stories about the history of the wines and providing us with helpful knowledge on wine selection for dinner.

Here is a summary of the dishes we created along with the Vine & Vintage wine pairings:

1) Course #1: Vine & Vintage Charcuterie Board with Fita Azul Intense Red Sparkling

2) Course #2: Tequila Shrimp Ceviche Tostada with 2016 Casa Rojo La Marimorena Albarinõ

3) Course #3: Sweet Potato Chicken Tacos with Avocado Crema and Salsa with

2016 Piccini Chianti Black Label

4) Course #4: Mixed Paella with 2012 Domaine Queylus Pinot Noir

5) Course #5: Crème Caramel + Coconut Caramelized Plantains with Borges Reserva Porto Branco

Check out Vine & Vintage’s blog post describing our joint event to find out more details about the wine pairings chosen for our dinner and find out tips on how to pair food with wine.

The evening started with a charcuterie board curated by Vine & Vintage, which we enjoyed in our living room with introductions and great conversation. The charcuterie board included many delicious specialties made by Hawley Crescent, such as curried cauliflower and red pepper jelly. If you like spicy, I highly recommend checking out their red pepper jelly, it’s incredible! An absolute must-have for cheese and wine night!

We then moved to the dining room for course #2: a tequila shrimp ceviche on tostada. This is one I was worried about when Daniel first mentioned he wanted to make it for the dinner because he had only ever had it once and never cooked it before. You wouldn’t ever know it though, because it turned out absolutely delicious. It was a crowd-favourite and an absolute shock to everyone when they found out it was a brand

new dish for him to make.

Next up was the sweet potato tacos, which is a common dish in our house and one of our favourites. Daniel came up with sweet potato tacos when we were on the Whole30 and he has made many variations since then. He decided to try yet again a new variation, making sweet potato pulled chicken tacos with two secret ingredients tequila and cinnamon.

It may sound like a strange combination, but we promise it works! Just ask our guests ;) He received lots of compliments for this dish.

The main meal was a mixed paella with chorizo, chicken thighs, prawns, lots of vegetables and a whole lot of spices, served in a traditional family-style dish on the table. While all the other dishes were plated and served by Daniel, paella is meant to be on the table for guests to help themselves. Our guests loved the spices and enjoyed helping themselves to a second serving, but they made sure to still leave room for dessert.

For dessert, Daniel made a traditional crème caramel with fried coconut caramelized plantains and a berry purée. It was heavenly and a perfect way to end the night. The plates we cleaned up were completely empty.

Every single wine was delicious, but our top two favourites 2016 Casa Rojo La Marimorena Albarinõ and the 2012 Domaine Queylus Pinot Noir.

Thank you Samantha, and Vine & Vintage for the perfect wine pairings and the memorable stories. Thank you for your dedication in creating unique experiences for people to learn about wine in a fun environment.

The following thank you note we received afterwards from a guest captures what Daniel and I believe, that bringing people together with food leads to unforgettable memories: “That awesome medley of flavour from Saturday night is still dancing around in my mouth! Thanks so much to you and Daniel for inviting us to enjoy that delicious food and wine with that fun group of people.”

Fiesta of Flavours was truly a night to remember.