February Special Events at BC Liquor Stores

Here is your inside track to some of the upcoming events in February. There are a wide range of exciting events this month to celebrate Chinese New Year, the Oscars and the Winter Olympics.

PARK ROYAL

GRAND MARNIER ENGRAVING EVENT – CHINESE NEW YEAR
Friday, February 2nd  & Friday, February 9th
4:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Experience the taste of Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, an alchemy of fine aged cognacs and exotic wild oranges, while having the opportunity to engrave your purchased bottle with a personalized message.

CELEBRATE THE NEW YEAR WITH WINES FROM CHILE!
Saturday, February 3rd & Saturday, February 17th
12:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Chile is well known for making great quality wines at unbeatable value, but where they truly over deliver is in their premium wine offerings. Premium Chilean wines have been gaining more awards in international competitions alongside wines from the world’s most celebrated wineries. Join Wines of Chile to taste and learn more about these age-worthy wines that are sure to impress your guests as you celebrate the New Year.

CELEBRATE THE YEAR OF THE DOG WITH MARISCO!
Thursday, February 8th
3:00 – 7:00 p.m.

From one man’s golden vision to one winery’s golden achievements, celebrate Chinese New Year with Marisco!

CELEBRATE THE NEW YEAR WITH JOHNNIE WALKER
Saturday, February 10th
2:00 – 5:00p.m.

Join Master Reserve Brand Ambassador, Joel Virginillo, for a tasting/educational tour through the Johnnie Walker Family of Scotches.

BC LIQUOR STORES NEW & EXCLUSIVES
Thursday, February 15th
5:00 – 6:30 p.m.

Looking to excite your palate with something NEW? Join our Product Consultants each month for an opportunity to taste new and exclusive wines – only available at BC Liquor Stores. Come and try products hand-picked by our experts in an informative tasting session. This is your chance to talk one-on-one with our Product Consultants to learn about the latest and greatest products that will be the perfect accompaniment to your everyday meals or that special occasion.

CHEER ON TEAM CANADA – CELEBRATE THE OLYMPICS
Friday, February 16th
3:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Shoppers will sample the Molson Canadian Victory bottles and receive a Canadian Flag blanket with purchase of a 24. A top chef from PICA will feature Canadiana inspired snacks perfect for your own Olympic viewing party.

CHAMPAGNE AND THE OSCARS
Friday, February 23rd
3:00 – 6:00 p.m.

This event will celebrate the Champagnes from Piper-Heidsieck, the official sponsor of the Oscars.  There will be a tasting of Charles Heidsieck Champagne. Champagne will be paired with appetizers that are inspired by the cinema. Kyle Kaplan, Certified Sommelier and Business Development Manager for Piper-Heidsieck will walk you through the Champagne flight and talk about the history of these Champagne houses and the relationship between Piper-Heidsieck and the Oscars.

CÎROC ULTRA PREMIUM
Saturday, February 24th
2:00 – 5:00p.m.

This will be a freestanding mixology session hosted by Diageo’s Reserve Brand Ambassador, featuring Cîroc and Tanqueray. Customers will have an opportunity to try premium spirits in a simple yet inspiring cocktail format that is easy for you to replicate at home.

BRIGHOUSE

BC LIQUOR STORES NEW & EXCLUSIVES
Thursday, February 15th
4.00 – 6.30 p.m.

Looking to excite your palate with something NEW? Join our Product Consultants each month for an opportunity to taste new and exclusive wines – only available at BC Liquor Stores. Come and try products hand-picked by our experts in an informative tasting session. This is your chance to talk one-on-one with our Product Consultants to learn about the latest and greatest products that will be the perfect accompaniment to your everyday meals or that special occasion.

CELEBRATE THE NEW YEAR WITH JOHNNIE WALKER
Saturday, February 16th
5.00 – 8.00p.m.

Join Master Reserve Brand Ambassador, Joel Virginillo, for a tasting/educational tour through the Johnnie Walker Family of Scotches.

CELEBRATE THE YEAR OF THE DOG WITH MARISCO!
Saturday, February 17th
3:00 – 7:00 p.m.

From one man’s golden vision to one winery’s golden achievements, celebrate Chinese New Year with Marisco!

LANGLEY

CHEER ON TEAM CANADA – CELEBRATE THE OLYMPICS
Friday, February 9th
3:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Shoppers will sample the Molson Canadian Victory bottles and receive a Canadian Flag blanket with purchase of a 24. A top chef from PICA will feature Canadiana inspired snacks perfect for your own Olympic viewing party.

BC LIQUOR STORES NEW & EXCLUSIVES
Thursday, February 15th
4:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Looking to excite your palate with something NEW? Join our Product Consultants each month for an opportunity to taste new and exclusive wines – only available at BC Liquor Stores. Come and try products hand-picked by our experts in an informative tasting session. This is your chance to talk one-on-one with our Product Consultants to learn about the latest and greatest products that will be the perfect accompaniment to your everyday meals or that special occasion.

ALBERNI & BUTE

BC LIQUOR STORES NEW & EXCLUSIVES
Thursday, February 15th
4:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Looking to excite your palate with something NEW? Join our Product Consultants each month for an opportunity to taste new and exclusive wines – only available at BC Liquor Stores. Come and try products hand-picked by our experts in an informative tasting session. This is your chance to talk one-on-one with our Product Consultants to learn about the latest and greatest products that will be the perfect accompaniment to your everyday meals or that special occasion.

CÎROC ULTRA PREMIUM
Friday, February 23rd
5:00 – 8:00p.m.

This will be a freestanding mixology session hosted by Diageo’s Reserve Brand Ambassador, featuring Cîroc and Tanqueray. Customers will have an opportunity to try premium spirits in a simple yet inspiring cocktail format that is easy for you to replicate at home.

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Tasting Plates Chinatown – A Few Photos to Tantalize You

Tasting Plates Chinatown wrapped up last week.  All the restaurants were around Main street and it was a short walk to each one, which was good as parking is difficult in this area.  Added bonus was the sunny weather.  Below are a few photos from my foray and some comments on the food.  Enjoy.

Note that the Downtown South Tasting Plates is coming up on September 16.  Details here for Tasting Plates Downtown South.

Tasting Plates - Sai Woo dumpling fritter and drumette

Tasting Plates – Sai Woo dumpling fritter and drumette

Sai Woo has been nominated as one of the best new restaurants in Canada.  Not a traditional Chinese restaurant, this one had 3 very tasty bites for us to try.  I particularly liked the Crispy Drummettes with peppercorn glaze.

Le Tigre Kickass rice with freaken chicken

Le Tigre Kickass rice with freaken chicken

Le Tigre Food Truck always delivers with their dishes.  This one is no exception.  You do need to be able to handle a bit of spice, or at least pick out the slices of red chilies.  I really liked the soft poached egg, when I break the yolk and add it into the rice.  It also has the chicken.  Which did I try first?  The chicken or the egg?

Treasure Green Tea Company - White Mojito Oolong with Orange and Lavender Pu-erh iced teas

Treasure Green Tea Company – White Mojito Oolong with Orange and Lavender Pu-erh iced teas

Treasure Green Tea is also not what you would expect in Chinatown.  Most would think of traditional teas, served hot.  These teas were iced, and combined with lavender, orange and mint+lime (Mojito).  All of them delicious.

Floata Seafood Restaurant - BBQ Pork Bun Vegetable Spring Roll Sesame Ball Soya Sauce Chow Mein

Floata Seafood Restaurant – BBQ Pork Bun Vegetable Spring Roll Sesame Ball Soya Sauce Chow Mein

Floata Seafood Restaurant.  This is traditional Chinese food to fill you up.  Nothing really outstanding.  I was a little disappointed as they are a “seafood” restaurant, and there was no seafood served.

Propaganda Coffee - Cappuccino and cold brew coffee

Propaganda Coffee – Cappuccino and cold brew coffee

Propaganda Coffee served it up right with both cold brew and hot coffees.  I have tried cold brew coffee before and it did not thrill me, but I must say that this coffee did have some nice flavour and would try it again.  The cappuccino was also very good.

Torafuku served up their Rye so messy chicken wings and This is not tortellini Negitoro on Brioche.  A big line up to get into this restaurant for a good taste of what they offer.

Did You Know October 20 is Wild Rice’s 12th Anniversary?

Wild Rice logoHave you ever been to Wild Rice downtown? It’s located just to the NW of Tinseltown by the Stadium skytrain station.  I’ve been there many times, including twice for Dine Out Vancouver.  I didn’t realize the restaurant has been around for 12 years now.  And they are having a special anniversary dinner.  Details from Wild Rice are below. Enjoy!
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Sunday, October 20 will be Wild Rice’s 12th Anniversary. We can’t believe it’s been 12 years since we opened our doors and were the first restaurant to introduce modern Chinese cuisine to Vancouver. How the hood and the local dining scene have changed! For this very auspicious birthday Chef Todd has created a special 12th Anniversary Prix Fixe Dinner – 4 courses for only $40 (including a $5 donation to the BC Hospitality Foundation). Check out the menu below and call us to make a reservation:
MENU
Sidestripe shrimp and crab sui mai
truffled honey
***
Oceanwise tartare duo
Coho salmon, cucumber, chives and grilled lemon
Albacore tuna, longan, water chestnut and black vinegar reduction
Served with wonton crisps
***
12-hour Braised Pork Belly
cauliflower puree, celeriac salad & kohlrabi kimchi.
***
Lemon Tart
Mountain Berry Tea-infused whipped cream

 

Bao Bei dumpling cook off

WIld Rice and the Dumpling Cook-Off Challenge

Bao Bei dumpling cook off

Bao Bei dumpling cook off

Wild Rice downtown/Chinatown has two offers during the month of August.  One that I’m excited about is Bao Bei, or steamed dumplings. Here is their announcement.

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The pans and cocktail shakers are sizzling hot this month at Wild Rice. We invite you to join us for all or some of the following tasty offerings.

AT PENDER STREET


Every Friday to August 30  – We’ve partnered once again with the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden to present pre-concert dinner packages for the Garden’s Enchanted Evenings Concert Series.   We’re offering a value-priced three course dinner for only $22. Check out the menu and book your table now.

August 16 – Cheer on Chef Todd as he competes in the Dumpling Cook-Off as part of the first annual Dumpling Party at the Chinatown Night Market. Tickets are available for $12 onEventBrite if you want to try all the dumplings, or just meander back to Wild Rice for dumplings and cocktails with us.  Event details here.

 

Sen Bistro – A New Restaurant Opening For Chef Zhang

Upscale interior at Sen Bistro

Upscale interior at Sen Bistro

Sen Bistro on Broadway @ Burrard (1788 W. Broadway), has had a soft opening, but last week, they had their official opening with a Media Dinner kickoff.  I was fortunate to be invited to attend.  Sen Bistro is the sister restaurant to Chef Zhang‘s nearby Lin Chinese Cuisine and Tea House.  Both feature Northern Chinese cuisine, which is different from the Southern Chinese restaurants that populate the Lower Mainland. I find that the Northern cuisine has more beef and lamb for example, as well as other spices like cumin being used.  Chef Zhang opened Sen Bistro so that he could experiment with the Northern Chinese dishes; fusing food or spices from other parts of the world.  I think all chefs like to experiment and grow.

This evening we also had wine pairings to go with the specific dishes served to us.  Another nod to fusion; east meets west.  In the reception, I enjoyed the cumin spiced lamb cubes.  At first I saw large numbers of dried red chilies and thought that this might be a very spicy dish, but I was quite surprised that it was fairly mild.  Also served was a beef curry spring roll. Our wine pairing was a St. Hubertus Rose from the Okanagan.  Made from Gamay fruit, this rose burst with red fruit and red cherries.  Off dry, it tasted a bit like candy. An OK wine, but may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Salad Trio

Salad trio

Salad trio

There was a Salad Trio, was really nice, with contrasts in flavors and textures.  The celery & dried scallop and the lotus root dishes were tied for my favourite of the three dishes.  The celery was crunchy and I enjoyed the sesame oil taste.  The lotus root dish was very different. Thin slices of lotus root, marinated in a Chinese red vinegar, along with some sweet component.  So you get crunchy, sweet and sour in each bite. Nice. The pairing for this was a Cono Sur Viognier 2011 (Chile).  Cono Sur has been producing some good quality wines for many years.  This Viognier was full bodied, nice and round mouthfeel, with lots of tropical and stone fruit.  Along with the Salad Trio, we were served a Broad Bean & Sherchai Mash.  It looked very similar to guacamole, but different flavour profile. The texture was similar to guacamole, but it was dried, and had a salty and spinach flavour to it.  I had never heard of Sherchai, and was told it was similar to spinach.  I did a quick search on Google but did not see it; perhaps I should head out to Chinatown to investigate!

Broad bean and sherchai mash

Broad bean and sherchai mash

Hot Appetizers

For hot appetizers we samples a Chicken, enoki & shitake mushroom soup, Lormi Xiaomai, and salt & pepper crunchy tofu.  The tofu was fabulous.  If you like dry ribs and beer, the salt & pepper crunchy tofu would be a great replacement.  Nice crunchy outside, spicy from crushed chili pepper, but not too much; just right.  If you have gone for dim sum, you probably have had xiaomai (mixed ground pork and shrimp in a flour wrapper).  The Lormi Xiaomai was stuffed instead with sticky rice. I do like sticky rice in lotus leaf.  This is a bite size version, sans lotus leaf flavour component. The Chicken with enoki & shitake mushroom soup, was calming. The mushrooms added an earthy component to the soup. There were small chopped green vegetables, still with a bit of crunch to them.

Salt and pepper crunchy tofu

Salt and pepper crunchy tofu

Lormi xiaomai

Lormi xiaomai

Chicken with enoki and shitake mushroom soup

Chicken with enoki and shitake mushroom soup

Entree

I think the entrees showed most of the fusion component of the evening.  The dishes were:

  • Flambe salmon
  • Braised pork with pumpkin in soybean paste
  • Double prawns delight
  • Wok-fried vegetables
  • Steamed crepes & buns

Salmon, the patron fish of BC, was served on a hot plate, then flambeed at our table.  The salmon was cooked perfectly, nicely soft in the centre.  I really enjoyed the braised pork with pumpkin.  The pork belly had nice layering of fat and meat and too that the soybean paste had 5 Spice powder seasoning.  The pumpkin slice that accompanied too went well.  Nice and soft, and of course matching with the 5 Spice powder (which has cinnamon and cloves). We paired the entrees with a Lucky Star Pinot Noir 2011 (California).  The acidity in the Pinot Noir cut through the fattiness of the pork belly.  Our table really liked this Pinot Noir.  It had flavours of sour red cherries and a hint of violets.  Light body, dry with low tannins.  The steamed crepes & buns were good to sop up the soybean paste sauce from this dish.

Flambe salmon

Flambe salmon

Braised pork with pumpkin in soybean paste

Braised pork with pumpkin in soybean paste

The double prawns delight featured prawns cooked two ways; one deep fried and coated with a honey mustard sauce, and the other wok fried with a smokey / sweet / chili sauce.  I preferred the latter, but several people at my table also liked the honey mustard version.

Double prawns delight

Double prawns delight

The last dish was the wok-fried vegetables, mainly consisting of thin slices of eggplant, mushrooms, and scallions. It was spiced with ginger and sauteed. Quite tasty.

Wok fried vegetables

Wok fried vegetables

Dessert Duo

There were two desserts.  The first was “pumpkin sticks“, but it was more than just a “poki” style stick that you see at T&T.  To this there was a yellow yam? pudding topped by a purple yam ball coated with dried coconut.  The purple yam ball was a hit. The pudding was also good, not too sweet, but may be bland to some people not familiar with Asian style desserts. The other dish was the blackbean paste Lormi-zhi.  We were presented with what appeared like Japanese mochi balls, that were each in a different colour.  Each one had a different filling.  One was the traditional blackbean paste, while another that I tried had 3 types of chopped nuts (peanut, cashew and almond I think).

Pumpkin sticks dessert

Pumpkin sticks dessert

Blackbean paste Lormi-zhi

Blackbean paste Lormi-zhi

I wish Chef Zhang best of luck in his new endeavor at Sen Bistro.

Wild Rice Celebrates Year of the Snake With Special Menu

Year of the Snake

Year of the Snake

Chinese New Year is coming up fast.  I’m starting to look at my annual wines to serve for Chinese New Year.  That post should be coming out soon.  But in the meantime, you may want to think about enjoying some celebratory dinners for Chinese New Year.  If you don’t want to cook, you could try the Year of the Snake Menu at Wild Rice, at both their New Westminster and Vancouver locations.  Here is their menu announcement.  Enjoy!

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Wild Rice Vancouver

Wild Rice Vancouver

(Vancouver, BC) –  In western culture, the snake has a bad rep – tempter of Eve, denizen of the underworld, and just generally a slimy, slithery, creepy reptile. However, in China, the snake is honoured as wise, charming and decisive. As the snake transforms and renews itself by sloughing off its skin, Snake Years are seen as times of change and renewal. Things don’t stay static in The Year of the Snake.

Chinese New Year’s Eve on February 9th, heralds the Year of the Water Snake or lunar year 4711.  Anyone, who has been counting New Years for that long, should know a thing or two about how to celebrate it in grand style.

Inspired by classic Chinese feasts, Wild Rice Proprietor Andrew Wong and Executive Chef Todd Bright are offering a special menu that pays homage to the Year of the Water Snake. The Year of the Snake Menu will be available at both locations February 8, 9 and 10 for the auspicious price of $38.88 for two people (a very lucky number symbolizing ever-increasing good luck).

Year of Snake Platter

Year of Snake Platter

As in traditional Chinese banquets, each dish is rich with symbolic meanings meant to convey wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous year. Some of the symbolism is based on homonyms where the word for a dish or ingredients sounds like another Chinese word with an auspicious meaning. Others derive their symbolic connotations from the colour or the fact that they look like another good luck object.  Wild Rice’s Year of the Snake Platter for Two is over-flowing with good wishes and great flavours. On it you’ll find:

  • BBQ Eel and Bean Sprout Sui Mai with watercress puree. Eel has always been considered a ‘snake of the sea,’ so it’s most appropriate that it is the first dish served in the Year of the Water Snake. Bean sprouts convey the wish for a ‘good start to the new year’ while the fresh green of the watercress connote thoughts of growth, renewal and balance
  • Glass Noodles with black moss, water chestnuts and crispy dried tofu. Noodles in Chinese culture convey the wish for long life. It is considered very back luck to cut noodles as that symbolizes cutting short the life span. Black moss (‘fat choy’) sounds like ‘fat cai’ meaning increasing wealth while the word for ‘water chestnuts’ sounds like the word for ‘unity.’ Dried toufu connotes ‘blessing the household’ and ‘fulfillment of wealth and happiness.’
  • Roasted Chicken Breast on Cabbage Rolls Stuffed with Cashews accompanied by bamboo shoots, green onions, jasmine rice and walnuts with shitake jus. The chicken breast is a bit of fun in homage to the western expression that ‘snake tastes just like chicken.’ The roasted crispy skin is symbolic of the sloughed snake skin. Cabbage rolls are stuffed packets and similar in shape to ancient Chinese gold ingots so they symbolize ‘prosperity’ as do the cashews and the bamboo shoots. Green onions signify ‘intelligence,’ rice symbolizes ‘fertility’ while the shitake mushroom symbolize ‘longevity. ‘ Walnuts express the wish of ‘happiness for the entire family.’

All Chinese New Year banquets end on a sweet note to wish participants sweetness in the coming year and this dinner is no exception. Chef Bright has created his own house-made version of the iconic Fortune Cookie.

Wild Rice is also featuring a special drink – the Red Envelope Cocktail. During Chinese New Year, children traditionally receive gifts of money tucked into red envelopes (lai see). Wild Rice’s Red Envelope is strictly for grown-ups – a lucky combination of raspberry vodka, vodka, cassis, cranberry juice, fresh lemon all for the auspicious price of $6 (the number six sounding like the word for ‘good luck’).

People born in the Year of the Water Snake are influential and insightful. They are motivated and intellectual; very determined and resolute about success. The long list of famous Snakes is studded with beautiful women and great idealists. Snakes are uncommonly attractive, wise and intense. However, their beauty can lead to vanity and self-centredness.

According to an ancient Chinese proverb “good fortune of the mouth is no mean thing.” We invite you to give your palate a treat and your year a lucky ‘sssstart’ by ‘ssssavouring’ Wild Rice’s Year of the Snake Menu February 8th through 10th, 2013.

Reservations are a good idea at www.wildricevancouver.com or 604-642-2882 (Vancouver) or 778-397-0028 (New Westminster).

Sun Nin Fei Lok!

My Top 5 Wine Blog Posts for 2011

Chinese New Year Golden Rabbit

Wow, a whole year has just zipped by.  I was really busy tasting lots of wines at all the fantastic venues here in Vancouver, as well as across the border at the Taste of Tulalip (which you should sign up to attend next year.  It’s excellent).  Thanks to WordPress for compiling my stats and letting me, and you, know these were my top 5 blog posts.  Which do you think?  The answers are below!

I knew my Chinese New Year post was super popular as I watched my stats leading up to Chinese New Year hit the roof. Stay tuned for my wine selection for the upcoming Chinese New Year.

My #2 post really caught me off guard.  But I’m pleasantly surprised.  Spicebox is an easy to drink whiskey, on the ice, or mixed in a drink.  Check out the post.

Lulu Island Riesling Chardonnay Ice Wine

For #3, I was happy to see Lulu Island Winery, a local winery, located in Richmond, BC.  They produce both grape-based and other fruit-based wines.  They also produce a selection of ice wine, so drop by one weekend to Lulu Island Winery if you live in the Vancouver Lower Mainland. 

#4 should be hot right now too, seeing that it is New Years Eve.  I hope I helped many people figure out which caviar and Champagne they would like to nibble and toast with the family and friends.  Wine is a social drink.

And last, but not least #5, about the Rioja region of Spain.  This article came out before the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival.  Spain was the Theme Country this year, and I think the Vancouver readership had a thirst for knowledge about this region and what to expect at the Festival.  Stay tuned for my articles on Chile, as they are the next Theme Country for the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival next year.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

Dragon Feast of the Century Luncheon at the CCFCC 2011

Today the Rainflower Restaurant in Richmond, BC was the site of the Canadian Culinary Federation Culinaire Canadienne Chef’s Conference luncheon, “Dragon Feast of the Century“. We were taken through 5 appetizers a savory seafood dish and a dessert. No wine was served, but maybe I can suggest some wines that could have went with these dishes.

Dragon Feast of the Century Menu

  • Drunken Squab Breast and Arctic Char Nanjing Style
  • Dungeness Crab & Lobster in Jade Purse
  • Braised Fraser Valley Duck Breast, Empress Style
  • Tenderloin Teaser in Filigree Cup
  • Yin Yang Steamed Eggplant
  • Seafood Siu Bang
  • Longevity Date Cake

My favorites of the luncheon were the:

  • Braised Fraser Valley Duck Breast, Empress Style
  • Tenderloin Teaser in Filigree Cup
  • Yin Yang Steamed Eggplant
  • Seafood Siu Bang

The Fraser Valley Duck Breast was served cold on a piece of deep fried tofu.  A mixture of enoki and other mushrooms accompanied the duck breast. The duck breast was very full flavoured and the mushrooms had an earthiness.  I would serve this with a slightly chilled pinot noir.

The Tenderloin Teaser in Filigree Cup consisted of small pieces of tender beef along with chopped bell peppers and slices of asparagus. A very nice dark sauce with a bit of pepperiness on the finish. I would like to have this beef with an Okanagan Valley or WA State Merlot.

The Yin Yang Steamed Eggplant was quite surprising with a burst of flavour on your palate.  The eggplant was sweet and smooth with a dark soy flavour and green onion bright notes. This could be my overall favorite dish of the luncheon. Pair this with a juicy tempranillo.

The Seafood Siu Bang was a mixture of seafood wrapped inside a pastry, topped with sesame seeds and baked. Quite delicate with the light flavours of the seafood and the flakiness of the pastry. An unwooded chardonnay or a sauvignon blanc could work here.

We also had a live demonstration of noodle making by hand.  A master chef from Hong Kong came to this event and demonstrated his noodle making technique.  Here is a video I recorded of the noodle making process.  It is quite interesting. I hope you have a chance to go to one of the CCFCC events. Enjoy.

Wine and Filipino Food Pairing

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} catch(err) {}Yesterday I held a Filipino food pairing with wines around the world. Filipino food is a cross of many cultures, primarily from Malay, Spanish, Chinese cultures. Foods are not typically spicy, but can have lots of vinegar and garlic (which are 2 ingredients that are hard to pair with wines). My other constraint was to find wines that were not too expensive, e.g less than CAD $20 a bottle.

I selected 3 whites, 3 reds, and 1 late harvest wine for the evening. The white wines were:
* Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling 2006 $16.49 USA (Washington)
* Santa Rita Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2008 $14.99 Chile
* Nk’mip Cellars Chardonnay 2007 $15.99 Canada (BC)

The 3 reds were:
* Mirassou California Pinot Noir 2006 $15.99 USA
* Inniskillin Okanagan – Reserve Merlot 2006 $16.99 Canada (BC)
* Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 $17.99 Australia

The late harvest wine was:
* Sauvignon Blanc – Concha Y Toro Late Harvest 2005 $14.98 Chile

To the white wines I paired:
* Lumpia Shanghai (a deep fried egg roll with dipping sauce)
* Bihon Guisado(a dish made with thin noodles, mixed vegetables and pieces of pork)

To the red wines I paired:
* roast pork with liver sauce
* Chinese bbq duck (made with five spice powder)

The late harvest wine was paired with leche flan (an carmelized egg custard) A recipe for leche flan.

As I hoped the wines showed their varietal characteristics. Some wines were nice sippers on their own, such as the riesling, while others did not, such as the pinot noir. That being said, when we tried the wines with the food, some of the wines, such as the pinot noir paired wonderfully. I particularly liked the Chinese bbq duck with the pinot noir. The pinot really cut through the grease in the duck skin, plus the spices in the 5 spice powder used in the bbq duck brought out flavours in the pinot noir. The late harvest wine was also very tasty on it’s own, and with the leche flan.

I usually ask a group for their favourite white and red wine of the evening, but I decided to try something slightly different last night. I asked the women and the men separately for their favourite wines, and suprisingly they were both different. The women preferred the riesling and the pinot noir, while the men preferred the chardonnay and the cabernet sauvignon. I am going to have to try this at other tasting I host and see if this generally holds true.

I also had another wine to try which I had recently purchased from Pacific Breeze Winery; their 2006 Killer Cab ($22.90), but we ran out of time. I’ll have to save it for my next tasting. For those that are interested, this wine is medium purple/red in the glass, with black cherry and vanilla nose. Cassis, sweet fruit, black cherry liquor and spicy flavours. Nice round mouthfeel, medium tannins and long finish. A buy.

Either way, it was a fun evening had by us all.