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Food & Wine Festival
Lunch & Learn Program
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Odyssey Chef's Showplace
with Chef Dede Wilson,
host of PBS's "Seasonings,"
author of numerous cookbooks and
contributing editor to "Bon Appetit" Magazine
Featuring Beaulieu Vineyards Wines
less than 10 minutes of introductions and remarks, Chef Dede Wilson
began what was to be an absolutely delightful way to spend a morning
at Epcot's Food & Wine Festival. Chef Dede is a wonderful presenter
with a crisp, clear voice that probably would not have needed a microphone.
She started the morning with a few remarks about freshness of ingredients
and then started preparing the first course, a cauliflower soup with
thyme croutons. The soup served was made with white cauliflower
and garnished with fresh thyme and a floret of orange cauliflower, something
I had first seen the day before at a local Publix store. The soup was
paired with a crisp Beaulieu Vineyards Napa Sauvignon Blanc (2004).
The crispness of the wine cut right through the creaminess of the soup
for a perfect taste combination.
Next on the menu was the main course, a pumpkin seed crusted trout with cabbage-cilantro salad and a rice pilaf. This was a very simple preparation for a dish that tasted and looked sensational. Basically, chop cabbage; chop cilantro; add salt pepper and lime juice and let the "salad" sit for a while. For the fish, chop pumpkin seed kernels in a blender, baste the flesh side of the fish with a beaten egg and top with the pumpkin seeds. Fry in oil, skin side down for a few minutes, flip and fry the "crusted" side. And contrary to popular "white with fish/red with meat" theory, the fish paired perfectly with a BV Carneros Pinot Noir (2003).
The dessert course presented an interesting surprise for both Chef Dede and attendees. The recipe for the pear-gingerbread upside-down cake called for ginger preserves, but too late to make any changes, Chef Dede realized that the dish had been prepared with ginger pepper jelly. Served with vanilla ice cream and a garnish of poached pears and fresh mint, the "bit more spiciness than intended" dessert paired perfectly with the BV Reserve Tapestry (2001), their medium bold red meritage with plenty of ripe tannins, dark fruit and herb aromas.
In addition to the culinary instructions and commentary by Chef Dede, a representative from BV Wines was also on hand to explain a bit about each of the wines, their characteristics and why they had been chosen for the particular dish. Questions were taken from the seminar attendees, both during and at the end of the presentation.
My husband and I have attended a number of Food & Wine Festival events and we both agreed that this was one of the most enjoyable and informative of any we've attended, a perfect pairing of culinary instruction and great food. What more could you ask for!