Hot Dish

Perfect Pairing: Craving Paradise Wine Dinners

BY March 23, 2016


When it comes to good wine, we’re spoiled. The number of sommeliers, brand ambassadors and vintners passing through our beaches is nearly unparalleled, and we’re lucky restaurants plan special dinners around them.

Using that formula, but tweaking it slightly, is the Craving Paradise series, a recent blend of Paradise Wine and Crave Culinaire. The store hosts the monthly multicourse sit-down dinners in its private event space and supplies the pours; its caterer of choice creates dishes to pair with them. To boot, both chef Brian Roland, Crave’s owner, and someone from Paradise Wine (either its in-house certified sommelier, Bert Stewart, or a visiting wine-world figure), lead a discussion throughout the night, giving the evening an educational angle.

Fans who have followed Roland from his days as the chef of M Waterfront Grille know they’re in for a treat when they end up at an event or party where he is presenting his latest gastronomic experiments (think: savory cauliflower-mascarpone clafoutis), so this is a consistent and permanent way to indulge in his sophisticated creations anchored by wines complementing each course.

Two back-to-back dinners in March (demand was particularly high) resulted in one feast focused on various Spanish wines with Stewart speaking about them. The other (pictured here) was a sparkling dinner with champagnes exclusively from the Charles Heidsieck house with ebullient Frenchman Jonathan Boulangeat, Heidsieck’s brand ambassador.

The Continental menu with a clear homage to France was, to Boulangeat, the best overall pairing he had experienced with the wines—and he made it clear that the champagnes are true champagnes from France but they’re first and foremost wine. “We make gastronomic wines that are meant to be paired with food. … We chose the wine glasses on purpose because we’re going to lose a few bubbles but win aromas. The champagne needs time to breathe, like how you decant red wine.”

For photos and information on the dinner, scroll down.

To see a schedule and reserve seats, click here or call Paradise Wine, (239) 687-3155.

First course: Warm aerated salmorejo cordobés velouté with Key West pink shrimp, heirloom tomato confit, amontillado syrup and Iberico ham with Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve


Second course: Spiced vermouth-glazed grouper with an orange-sweetened polenta “gateaux” with melted leek saffron-mussel broth paired with Charles Heidsieck Rose Reserve 


Third course: Melt-in-your-mouth ris de veau (sweetbreads) balanced by torched lemon supremes, fried cabbage and pickled caper berries with a pavé of capellini baked with manchego and Charles Heidsieck Vintage 2005


Fourth course: Duck breast with a burnt rosemary emulsion, savory cauliflower-mascarpone clafoutis, honey-braised lacinto kale and pistachio-vidalia onion soubise with Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires 1995


Fifth course: Saffron-cardamom cheesecake with toasted-almond Chantilly and caramel drizzle with a spiced pear crisp with Belled de Brillet Pear Liqueur


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