Ah, COVID-19, the gift that just keeps on taking and taking.
No parties, no family BBQ’s, no leaving the house much, just a wild, wild ride.
I actually can’t remember the last one of these that we had; I would literally have to look it up in previous blog posts. This was originally scheduled for mid-April, but we had to cancel when COVID upended all of our lives.
Now that we know a little bit more about how this virus reacts, and what is dangerous and what is less-so, we rescheduled this event for last weekend. I was the host, in that I prepared the food and supplied the wine, but we are very fortunate to have friends with a huge HUGE backyard, so we had the event there, so that we could all enjoy the evening without getting too close, or spending hours inside. The weather cooperated, and we had a lovely evening.
This was the second time we have featured Germany, but I decided to throw Austria in there as well as it would be challenging to find enough food and wine specific to Austria to use them as a standalone. To be clear, they make TONS of wine in Austria, but it might be tough to source in the current climate, especially being unable to hop down to our PO Box in the USA to pick up bottles we could order online. I had a couple bottles from Austria, and a ton from Germany, already purchased, so the wine supply was in good hands. The pairings were set up by moi, and honestly I mostly just tried to wing it. On to the event!
Pickled Beet, Onion and Pepper Salad
Total coincidence, I had pickled some beets, onions and peppers about three weeks ago. I had no idea that I was going to come across this traditional German recipe. It was actually pretty decent, although the vegetables weren’t totally pickled yet – they were still a bit crispy. I think everyone liked it, though.
Today I pickled some more beets and onions, so now I know to wait 6-8 weeks to eat them.
This pairing actually worked quite well, I must say.
Kielbasa and Cabbage
This was about as traditional a dish as I could serve, I think, and it was pretty good. I am not a huge fan of cooked green cabbage, but others likes this dish more than I did.
Another pretty good pairing.
I must say, the first two wines have made BC wine look really, really good. We just had a Pinot Blanc from BC (Screaming Frenzy – Black Swift) that is much better than the first wine, and the Grüner Veltliner from Culmina Family Winery is miles above this one.
Chicken Fricassee & Rice Pilaf
As I was putting this food together (the morning of the event, and in some cases the day before) I said to my wife “with all the work it is making all of these dishes, the star of the show is going to be the freaking RICE PILAF!”. It was that good.
Fortunately, the Fricassee turned out just as good. This was the dish of the night, and it wasn’t close, IMO.
This dish was paired with two wines. The first one, the one I was looking forward to most, as it was the most expensive and well-regarded. The second one was what a lot of people would consider a dessert wine, and only a crazy person would pair that with this dish…but I had a hunch (and noticed a comment by Jancis Robinson that she had paired this wine with a creamy dish).
What a huge disappointment the first one was, and what a great hunch on the second one!
The second bottle I have previously reviewed, here. St. Urbans HOF 2007 Spatlese Riesling. My score remains unchanged, and it was a surprisingly delightful pairing with the creamy chicken dish.
German Potato Dumplings
So, this was OK. The flavors were good, but I didn’t care for the gummy consistency. Others disagreed and they thought that was how German dumplings were supposed to be like. The wine was better than the food.
This was paired with a wine that we tasted and enjoyed at the 2020 Vancouver International Wine Festival. At that time, I gave it 92+ points, and I would stick with that. It still has time to improve but was tasty now as well.
This was BEYOND BLAND….but not a surprise, I expected that. These were premium veal cutlets but this recipe just didn’t add enough flavor. Some of the guests grabbed some sriracha or mustard to make them better. I just didn’t eat much of mine.
I have a couple cutlets left, this weekend I am going to make the same recipe again, and smother it in an onion gravy. We will see if that does the trick.
This was paired with two wines, the only red wines of the evening. The first was another one that we tasted at VIWF20, and the second was one I just randomly picked up at a BC Liquor store last year.
Assorted German Desserts
Friends supplied the desserts, some assorted German pastries and cakes. Delicious.
The first wine is a perennial favorite, and one that is easy to find in most BC Liquor Stores.
The second one is another from VIWF20, and it’s a beauty that is not so easy to find, but it’s worth seeking out.
That’s it for now, and it was a real delight to spend an evening with my wife and our great friends, celebrating the food and wine of Germany and Austria. Not sure when the next theme night will be, or what the host country will be, but we have lots to choose from!
Up next: Back to the Okanagan trip report, at Le Vieux Pin!