By Lisa Green
There are few things that make for a lovelier evening than sumptuous food, plentiful wine, and good company. On May 19, Chef Angelo of Tre Galline created a six-course tasting menu inspired by the creative wines of Vinart Wineries for a Winemaker’s Dinner to celebrate the first-ever GastroVino Baja Food & Wine Festival in Todos Santos.
It was “The Best of Baja” as the new vintages from the Guadalupe Valley in Baja Norte met up with the culinary talents and locally sourced cuisine of Baja California Sur. Vinart Winemaker Don Raul showcased three of the boutique winery’s favorites, each culled from grapes harvested in Ensenada. True to their name – Wine plus Art – the label on the 2010 Viognier was as bright, abstract and colorful as the wine itself. It paired beautifully with the two appetizer courses. Chef Angelo combined locally grown beet leaves mixed with herbs and parmesan cheese with his paper thin, home-cured prosciutto. He cleverly carried over the parmesan cheese into the second appetizer, a light and flakey strudel with parmesan, radicchio and mushrooms.
Conversation was lively at the large communal tables appropriately covered in red and white plaid cloths. The charming indoor/outdoor, brick-walled trattoria in the historic center of Todos Santos is lush with greenery and colorful fabrics draped overhead. The gracious staff of Tres Galline provided seamless service meeting everyone’s needs.
The first course featured breast of quail atop hand-made stone ground whole wheat pasta with sauce of quail meat and brandy. This unique creation was paired with an equally unique wine, Vinart’s 2007 Cielo, Mar Y Tierra – Sky, Sea & Land – a metaphor for the Cabernet, Merlot and Tempranillo grapes used in this vintage.
The main course featured two rich and flavorful meat creations. Roast baby lamb, falling off the bone into a pool of creamy polenta paired with veal rolls, stuffed with fresh herbs and crunchy, fresh zucchini in a marsala cream sauce. Don Raul treated us to the winery’s Gold Medal winner, Temple, a spicy 2008 vino tinto mixture of Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah and Verdot aged in French oak.
The meal was capped with deeply refreshing fresh mango and peach ice cream served with a sweet basil sauce and an icy fruit puree. Dessert paired well with each of the wines that were still being poured – wines that were enjoyed well into the evening.
It is quite remarkable to experience the emergence of culinary talent and creativity combined with the abundant natural bounty from the local huertas, right here in our Pueblo Magico, Todos Santos. And now Baja California is on the map as a hot, up-and-coming wine producing region; just another newly revealed, unexpected treasure of life in Baja!
Take a moment to share with us your favorite Todos Santos wining and dining experiences in the comments.
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