Terroir Tour Wine Dinner Series at Brick Farm Tavern
Brick Farm Tavern is one of those restaurants you visit and wish you were close enough to frequent more, a sediment we often have when we travel. For one, we are fortunate to have Brick Farm Tavern within a half hour drive. With their own farm and other locally sources ingredients, the menu is constantly evolving and challenging creative limits of food. Not to mention they have a kill wine and beer list, featuring Troon Brewing.
When we got an email advertising a terroir series exploring France, Spain, South America, Italy, and California we immediately signed up for all sessions very excited at the wine pairings and interpretations of traditional cuisine with local ingredients.
We loved our gastronomic diary in Barcelona. The paella, the tapas, the wine- everything was always incredible and reliable. As with the France Wine Dinner, the menu was a surprise. I was much more nervous about having a spicy dish I could not eat at this meal, but was hopeful for a more seafood focused meal. Since our experience with Spain to date was only Barcelona, we knew it was only a fraction of what Spain has to offers. We were looking forward to learning more about this country through food and wine.
Course 1: Cornmeal Bread and Fried Calamari- lemon aioli, roasted fennel, squid ink macaron, piquillo pepper romesco
Pairing: Antxiola Bianco Getariako Txakolina 2017, Hondarabbi, Zurri
We were hoping for a seafood focus menu so we were delighted to see calamari as our first course. What made this version unique is the calamari was breaded in cornmeal so it made a thick batter for the perfect crisp. The dollops of lemon aioli were aggressively lemon but was much more palatable when paired with the calamari. The roasted fennel had a great char. The most interesting part of this plate is the squid ink macaron with piquillo pepper romesco in the middle. A savory macaron? We were intrigued and impressed! The wine was very different than what we expected. It was naturally bubbly as if to wake you up. This would be good for a hot summer day due to the refreshing characteristics.
Course 2: Pincata Rojo Farm Egg- shaved sfrrano ham, spanish chorizo, fingerling potato chips
Pairing: Bernabeleva Navaherreros Tinto de Madrid 2017, Granacha
There was a lot going on in this dish and resembled a chili. We were certainly not surprised to find Brick Farm’s signature Red Star egg and expect to see it in future dinners as well. The tomato base with the chorizo was quite spicy so I did not eat much but Kevin absolutely loved the dish as it was very hearty and flavorful. The shaved sfrrano ham was my favorite and the portion was very generous. Similar to iberico ham, it was salty and fatty goodness, perfect with the wine!
Course 3: Grilled Pasture Raised Lamb- tomato marmalade, rosemary polenta, padron peppers, flor de garum, lamb jus
Pairing: Hermanos de Pecina Senorio Reserva Rioja 2011, Tempranillo, Graciano, Granacha
We were both surprised that lamb was the showcase course for the Spain Wine Dinner. I do not think I have ordered a lamb entree for myself before so I was excited to try it. The lamb was very yummy! It had a great char on the outside and cooked to a nice medium. I felt the portion was generous as well. It was a great lamb dish but perhaps was not as creative as we would have liked for exploring Spain. One thing that blew us all away was the rosemary polenta. Now I dislike rosemary- probably my least favorite of the herbs- but it did not overpower the polenta. The polenta itself was so cream with a mashed potato texture. We could have easily had more of this- so good! Thank goodness the peppers were on the side- they were very spicy and Kevin enjoyed them.
This wine was a great pairing. Since it was a Reserva, it spends much more time aging and in this case 3 years in oak and 4 years in the bottle. This gave the Rioja a more full bodied texture and was quite drying on the palate- it needed the food and it really elevated the flavor profile. Almost drank as if it was a Cabernet! Great selection all around.
Course 4: Quince Espuma Almond Cake with Blood Orange Sorbet
Pairing: Bodegas Baron Xixarito 30yr PX, Pedro Ximenez
We had some great chocolate desserts in Barcelona so my hope for a chocolate extravaganza was still high. But alas, no chocolate was found. But once again, the non-chocolate dessert was fantastic. This almond cake was such a great texture and the blood orange sorbet was the perfect combination with this almond goodness.
We had a sherry tasting in Barcelona that gave us a basic understanding of sherry but I am always a little nervous trying fortified wine. The smell reminds me of cough medication so it is difficult to foresee something tasty on the back end. But I have to say, this was actually a very pleasant sherry- dare I say, enjoyable! It tasted just like raisins! Another great reason why these wine dinners are great- an opportunity to new things and you never know what favorites may come your way.
We really enjoyed this meal and the variety of wines it allowed us to try. The wine selections were all high quality and paired delightfully with each dish. I think if we had to compare the two, we give the France dinner the slight advantage to Spain for our favorite. Looking forward to March’s journey to South America!