Hi friends! Jon here, owner and chief cook & bottle washer at the Old Caledonian Bed & Breakfast.
You know, I was an executive chef for nearly 25 years before opening the B&B with my wife, Penny. During my career I’ve cooked for everyone from Hollywood stars to famous politicos to people house-bound by illness to world renowned scientists to garbage men. The places I’ve worked range from fine dining/white tablecloth restaurants to work camps. My time in professional kitchens has brought me some of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of my life. I thought I’d done it all.
But a fairly common experience among many chefs eluded me: the winemaker’s dinner. I’d simply never spent much time in areas, nor in environments, where wineries and food/wine pairings were really a thing. I’d seen chef friends of mine working together with wineries and their owners to create beautiful menus around a vintner’s creations, and host events for the public to showcase these incredible combinations of flavors. It’s a tradition showcasing a classic culinary collaboration: the complimentary pairing of great wine and delicious food. I really admired the idea and the execution of these events.
Well, now I am in the thick of one of Missouri’s burgeoning wine regions. There are several established vineyards nearby and wine-centric tourism is picking up in our area; and the varietals are different than those of California, Washington or the Finger Lakes which makes trying these wines an experience even seasoned wine lovers are starting to show interest in.
We were recently approached by one of our local wineries, Edg-Clif Farms and Vineyard, to collaborate on a Valentine’s Day wine-pairing event here at the Old Caledonian. It came together very quickly, and before I knew it I had my first winemaker’s dinner on the schedule!
I went to Edg-Clif to meet one of the owners, Steffie, to try the wines and to work with her to put together a menu to highlight the wines, our food, and the pairing of both. When it was all said and done, here is the menu I created for the dinner, along with the pairings masterminded by Steffie:
- Pasta- Butternut agnolotti, house-cured and smoked bacon, pecans, maple butter
- Wine pairing- Edg-Clif Chardonel
- Salad- Greens, tomato, cucumber, smoked catfish, lemon vinaigrette
- Wine pairing- Edg-Clif Vignoles
- Appetizer- Chicken rillettes, house-made flatbread, cheddar gougere, mulberry jam
- Wine pairing- Edg-Clif Chambourcin Rose
- First- Crispy pork confit, honey-cornbread cake, sorghum molasses
- Wine pairing- Edg-Clif Chambourcin
- Second- House-made za’atar spiced lamb sausage, minted farro, vegetable sauté
- Wine pairing- Estate Bottled 2013, Edg-Clif Reserve
- Dessert- Raspberry mousse profiterole, chocolate fudge ganache, rosewater anglaise
- Wine pairing- Edg-Clif Showbarn Red
We opened the doors of the Old Caledonian on Valentine’s evening to eight couples for the dinner, and it was a lovely success. Cyndy from Edg-Clif was our sommelier for the evening, describing in detail each wine served with each course. I made the rounds describing each dish and my thoughts as to why the pairing was chosen and why we thought each one worked. It was a fun, happy and tasty Valentine’s dinner!
So the best news is… There are more wine dinners to come! Please keep your eyes open for other wine pairing events between the Old Caledonian Bed & Breakfast and Edg-Cliff Farms & Vineyard. The dates we have scheduled for the remainder of 2017 are:
- April 28that the Old Caledonian Bed & Breakfast
- June 23rd at Edg-Clif Farms & Vineyard
- August 11th at Edg-Clif Farms & Vineyard
- October 20th at Edg-Clif Farms & Vineyard
- December 8that the Old Caledonian Bed & Breakfast
Mark your calendars and make your reservations early by contacting Steffie@edg-clif.com. Hope to see you at our dinners!
Cheers from the Old Caledonian Bed & Breakfast!