Monday, April 23, 2012

Maison Joseph Drouhin & Napa Valley's La Toque are a Perfect Pairing at Boca Bacchanal Vintner Dinner!

photo credit
Kate Toomey, Me & Sharon Shubin
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Murdoch Titcomb
We recently celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the Boca Bacchanal, a weekend-long celebration of food and wine that benefits the Boca Raton Historical Society. As Chairs of the event this year, I am pleased to announce we raised over $300,000 to benefit the Historic Preservation and Heritage Education Programs of the BRHS. A tremendous thank you to everyone who supported the event this year!

The weekend began with Vintner Dinners held on Friday night in private homes and clubs in Boca Raton and Delray Beach. My husband Steve and I co-hosted a Vintner Dinner with our friends Kate and Ted Toomey and Bill and Sharon Shubin at the Seagate Beach Club. Our dinner featured the renowned wines of Burgundy's Maison Joseph Drouhin paired with the cuisine of Napa Valley's heralded La Toque, recipient of a coveted Michelin star. Representing his family's estate was the charming Laurent Drouhin, a member of the fourth generation of the family perpetuating the legacy of Joseph Drouhin established in 1880. From La Toque, Chef-proprietor Ken Frank created our amazing menu and, along with his beautiful wife Sherylle, graced the kitchen to prepare our fabulous five course meal. The pairing of Chef and Vintner was a splendid match in terms of both flavor and philosophy. 

Chef Ken Frank & Black Truffles
Prior to the event, Chef Ken shipped in some special ingredients especially for our dinner. Two items of particular interest included black  truffles from Italy (some of the last of the season) and Colossal Dutch white asparagus straight from Holland (the first of the season). I had the pleasure of observing him in the kitchen the day of the event and definitely learned a thing or two including how to make perfect lardons - dangerous! I also had the chance to speak with him about the controversial California foie gras ban set to take effect July 1st, 2012. More about that in a future post!

As guests arrived at the Sea Gate Beach Club, located on the shores of the Atlantic in Delray Beach, they were greeted with a flute of Champagne Taittinger Brut La Francaise NV and a delicious assortment of hors d'ouevres including Freshly Baked Gougeres, Smoked Salmon Mousse, Patatas Bravas, and Curried Dungeness Crab. While everyone sipped and savored, the music of our jazz trio provided an atmosphere of relaxed coastal elegance. Steve and I were very happy to have reconnected with one of our favorite vocalists, local jazz legend Samm, since she had performed at our wedding almost eight years before! We were so glad she could join us for this event.

Steve & Laurent Drouhin
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Murdoch Titcomb 
As the Champagne reception drew to a close, guests took their seats at tables adorned with Tiffany Blue tablecloths and vases brimming with coral-hued French tulips. Once everyone was seated, Laurent introduced us to his family's estate and shared some personal anecdotes about growing up among the vineyards of Burgundy. He was also kind enough to speak about each of the spectacular wines as they were poured, giving revelers a better insight into the history and terroir present in every glass. We then had the distinct pleasure of enjoying each wine paired with a dish created specifically to highlight its unique characteristics and nuances:
Tai Snapper with Sweet Garlic Puree and Sauce Verte
Les Clos Vaudon Chablis Grand Cru 2009

Colossol Dutch White Asparagus with Maine Lobster and Fresh Black Truffle
Beaune Clos des Mouches Blanc 2009

Spring Vegetable Salad with Duck Confit and Seared Artisan Foie Gras
Beaune Clos des Mouches Rouge 2009

Bouef Bourguignon "Moderne"
Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2009

Crepes with Blood Orange
Quady Essencia 2010  

Following our fabulous meal, Chef Ken emerged from the kitchen and both Chef and Vintner received an extremely well-deserved round of applause. They were also kind enough to answer a few food and wine related questions from our dinner guests. One of which was, "What's your favorite Drouhin wine?" Without committing to one in particular, Laurent stated he generally prefers wines that are more feminine in style. Chef Frank said his favorite wine of the evening was the Les Clos Vaudon Chablis Grand Cru. Another guest asked about the sourcing of foie gras to which Chef Ken replied he only uses the most reputable domestic producers. Again, more about that in a future post! 

Following dessert guests lingered and relaxed on the balcony enjoying the remainder of the wine and the cool ocean breeze. Steve managed to convince some of the guys it was also the perfect time for indulging in cigars! As guests left, they received a sweet reminder of the evening custom made by the The Occasional Cookie Company featuring our fabulous Chef and Vintner.

On behalf of my husband Steve and our co-hosts, I'd like to thank our amazing Chef and Vintner for a truly magical evening. We'd also like to express our heartfelt thanks to some other very important people including Cathy McNellen and the staff of the Seagate Beach Club for all their hard work and attention to detail; Julia Johnston and Steve Mednick for their invaluable pre-event assistance and for stepping in as sous chefs for the evening; and Elizabeth Murdoch Titcomb and Katherine Regna our liaisons and photographer for the evening. We couldn't have done it without you!



  1. What a fabulous event.... Cant wait for next year!!


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