The success of New Years Eve’s delicious seafood dinner party encouraged another recent feast. Our dinner group decided we couldn’t wait another year for such a fabulous meal, so we organized a party for Sunday January 16th.
There are some guidelines we follow to ensure plenty of good eats, sufficient wine and a smashing good time.
1. Choose a ingredient theme.
2. Each dinner party attendee must bring an appetizer sized course and the appropriate wine the match.
3. Dress up – it’s a special occasion.
Mike and Chris hosted the Fabulous Fungus Feast. Here’s a look at the evening’s six courses.
Chris artfully prepared menu cards for each guest’s setting at the dinning room table.
Mike’s Mushroom Toast
2008 Chateau Ligny Chablis, France
Chef Michael Izzo
Mike was the first one to serve. We didn’t realize until the next day, but we missed the opportunity to take a photo of Mike’s dish. It was a combination of it being so tasty, and us that hungry that we just forgot to take a photo. We were also that thirsty because between the first a second course a bottle of Pinot Grigio was consumed. Mike’s Mushroom Toast was an artisinal loaf of bread halved and stuffed with creminis, mozzarella, scallions and garlic. It was then baked and served warm and gooey.
Kristina’s tart was filled with a lemon, goat cheese and ricotta mixture. Finished with lots of creminis and garnished with dill. The puff pastry had great crunch and texture to the dish. The winning combination was the tie of citrus flavours in the wine with the lemon in the tart and the acidity of the wine that cut through the thickness of the cheese.
It was a rich dish well paired with a rich wine. The wine was a real treat, with layers of toasty, spicy, buttery flavours. These matched well the robust, meaty flavour of the portobello, the creamy texture of the crab filling and the sharpness of the Parmesan cheese.
This soup was loaded with flavour. The combination of mushrooms, (beech mushrooms garnished the soup) and the aroma of truffle oil was amazing. The soups secret ingredient was French tarragon, giving the course a little “je ne sais quoi”. The overall warm woodsy flavours and the beef stock worked well with the soft Pinot Noir.
Alex was up util 4am the previous day making hand made gnocchi. Well worth the time put in, they were perfect little potato pillows. She put just as much effort into the presentation, finishing the dish with toasted pine nuts, a balsamic drizzle and an edible flower. So precious.
Once the mushroom theme was chosen, we all assumed there would be no dessert. I googled “mushroom dessert” and found the cutest little mushroom meringues. I knew I had to make them. Once that was decided, I took a look in my cellar for a dessert wine. I saw the Banyuls. Then course started to come together in my mind. Chocolate molten lava cakes are easy to prepare ahead of time and the dark flavour matched with the wine. My vision was to create a mushroom patch growing out of the chocolate cake. The mint garnish added to the forest floor look. The raspberry coulis below the cake tied in the dish to the wine. The Banyuls was a special wine. The aromas had distinct fruit character of blueberry, strawberry and raspberry.
After six mushroom courses, six wine pairings and six cheers, we all retired to the living room for a game of charades. It seems like we have the making of a dinner party club in order. There is a plan for another party already. I can’t wait to see what the next theme is.