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Monday, March 28, 2011

The 9th Annual Boca Bacchanal & Auction - Part Deux!

Following the reception, guests adjourned to the dining room and were seated at tables adorned in tropical style. Colors of mango, green and gold; tropical centerpieces; and natural bamboo accents evoked a festive Florida feel. 

After the introduction of our featured Chefs and Vintners, the winner of the Champagne Table was announced and the lucky table was relocated to the elegantly appointed accomodations. Guests were then treated to a performance by our sultry Salsa Dancers and the dinner and Live Auction commenced! 

Fierce competition ensued for lots including fabulous trips to the wine regions of France, Italy and California - among other items. Even during the heat of the auction, everyone managed to enjoy each delicious course. I just had to include the menu (complete with photos!) and wine pairings below - Bon Appétit!

First Course
Allen Susser, Chef Allen's, Aventura, FL
Stone Crab Cobbler with Coconut Milk, Corn & Key Lime
Jacques Lardiére, Maison Louis Jadot, Burgundy, France
2008 Maison Louis Jadot Puligny-Montrachet, Beaune

Second Course
Mark Militello, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Winter Mushroom & Foie Gras Stuffed Quail with Fingerling Potato Puree
Rosa Lee DeLeuze, ZD Wines, Napa Valley, CA
2008 ZD Pinot Noir, Napa Valley

Main Course
Andrew Roenbeck, Executive Chef, Boca Raton Resort & Club
Toasted Fenugreek Crusted Lamb, Seal Cove Farm Feta-Crisp Kataifi, Avgolemono Vinaigrette, Roasted Peppers a la Grecque, Melted Baby Spinach
Kathryn Hall, Hall Winery, Napa Valley, CA
2007 Hall Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Jean Spielman, Executive Pastry Chef, Boca Raton Resort & Club
Fruits "Exotica", Warm Caramelized Champagne Mango Bread Pudding, Chocolate Vanilla Rum Roasted Pineapple, Crystallized Key Lime Ice Cream, Coconut-Orange Graham
Clovis Taittinger, Champagne Taittinger, Reims, France
Champagne Taittinger "Nocturne", Reims, NV

The meal was truly delicious and paired beautifully with the wonderful wine selections. Following dinner, guests adjourned to the "Rock Your Bacchus" after party - a new addition to the evening this year. DJ Will Power spun fabulous tunes into the wee hours and guests and Vintners alike proceeded to bust a move on the dance floor! Please see the slide show in the right column for more, um, photos.

Cheers and thank you to everyone who attended our event - we greatly appreciate your support! An additional thank you to Sarah Flynn, Mary Csar and the Boca Raton Historical Society staff and Boca Bacchanal Planning Committee for helping us create a fabulous event. We are greatly looking forward to the 10th Annual Bacchanal and Auction next year - hope to see you there!


Saturday, March 26, 2011

The 9th Annual Boca Bacchanal & Auction Celebrating "The Era of the Mango Gang Chefs!"

I am happy to report the 9th Annual Boca Bacchanal and Auction has drawn to a close! It was a fabulous evening of food, wine and fun while raising money for the Heritage Programs of the Boca Raton Historical Society. Our theme was The Era of the Mango Gang Chefs, and celebrated some of Florida's most innovative culinary personalities who have really changed the face of Florida cuisine over the past 20 years. Fabulous wines from world-renowned vintners paired beautifully with the cuisine!

As Chairs of the event, Steve and I spent months planning all the details: from native Florida species from Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, colorful tropical decor beautifully created by Boca by Design and Atlas Party Rental, sexy salsa dancers from Dance South Florida not to mention our fabulous DJ Will Power who kept us dancing into the wee hours. It was very rewarding to see it all come together!

Oliver the Owl from Busch Wildlife Sanctuary & Taittinger Rosé Champagne!
The evening kicked off with a fabulous reception complete with a Silent Auction, native Florida wildlife and dishes from four of our Chefs, complete with wine pairings.
I thought I would share our reception menu with you!

Douglas Rodriguez, De Rodriguez Cuba & Ola at Sanctuary, Miami Beach, FL
Maine Lobster Ceviche marinated with Yuzu, Kafir Lime & Coconut Sorbet
Champagne Taittinger Brut La Francaise, Reims NV
Champagne Taittinger Prestige Brut Rosé, Reims NV
Seared Diver Scallops with Morels from Chef Robbin Haas
Robbin Haas, Gulf Coast Kitchen at the Montauk Yacht Club Resort & Bistro Cinq
Seared Diver Scallop with Morels, English Peas, Pea Tendril Salad, Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Yuzu
2008 Fess Parker Viognier, Santa Barbara, CA
2007 Fess Parker Ashley's Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills
2007 Fess Parker Big Easy, Santa Barbara County

Oliver Saucy, Darrel & Oliver's Cafe Maxx, Pompano Beach, FL
Duck Confit Pot Stickers with Orange Chili Sauce
2007 Maison Louis Jadot Meursault, Beaune
2007 Maison Louis Jadot Chassagne Montrachet, Beaune
2009 Maison Louis Jadot Pommard, Beaune

Cindy Hutson, Ortanique on the Mile, Coral Gables, FL
Blue Mountain Coffee and Cocoa Encrusted Pork Tenderloin with Creamy Slow Cooked Sweet Corn Polenta & Chipotle Agave Glaze and Micro Green Salad
2008 Spring Mountain Vineyard Estate Bottled Sauvignon Blanc, Spring Mountain District
2006 Spring Mountain Vineyard Estate Bottled Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mountain District
2005 Spring Mountain Vineyard "Elivette," Spring Mountain District

As you can see, our evening was off to a great start! I think I will save the four course dinner menu for "Part 2" of this post and give you a little time to digest. Stay tuned for more deliciousness from the 9th Annual Boca Bacchanal & Auction!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Guilty Pleasures: Pain au Chocolat at Brix Bakery!

Pain Au Chocolat at Brix Bakery
 This week's Guilty Pleasure is especially dangerous because I can find it within a mile of my house! I snapped these beautiful Pain au Chocolat at Brix Bakery here in Delray Beach. There's just something about seeing these delicious pastries all lined up that just releases endorphins in my brain - YUM!

Pain au chocolat, also known as chocolatine in southwestern France and French Canada, is made from the same puff pastry use to make croissant - with the addition of a piece or two of chocolate (a very critical distinction if you ask me). When served warm, I have to say, it does not get much better! I love the scene in the movie "It's Complicated" when Meryl Streep takes her date, Steve Martin, to her bakery and they have a fabulous time baking these little beauties from scratch. Such a fabulous movie!

Are you a fan of Pain au Chocolat and/or have you ever made them? If you answer "yes" please be sure to include your home address in your comment.

Bon Appétit,

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Open That Bottle Night 2011: 2001 Cos d'Estournel and Rack of Lamb Persillade

The last Saturday in February is recognized by many oenophiles as "Open That Bottle Night."  This vinous "holiday" was created in the late 1990's by long time Wall Street Journal columnists Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher as an opportunity for wine lovers to pop the corks on those "too-special-to-ever-be-opened" bottles in their cellars.

This year, my husband and I opened a bottle from France's Bordeaux wine region, a 2001 Cos d'Estournel. This blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot hails from the Saint-Estèphe appellation, the northernmost of the four major appellations of the Haut-Médoc. Saint-Estèphe is home to two of Bordeaux's "second growths" or deuxième cru as determined by the Médoc Classification of 1855: Cos d'Estournel and Château Montrose. While they are the stars of this appellation, they are definitely not the entire show! Other classified growths in this region include Château Calon-Ségur, Château Lafon-Rochet and Château Cos-Labory. I had tried the 2001 Cos d'Estournel three years ago and was excited to see how it had evolved with a few more years of bottle age.

The wine was a seductive purplish-red color in the glass with aromas of currants, cedar and spice and flavors of sweet, black fruit, cassis and a hint of licorice. The tannins were beautifully integrated and the wine was very well-balanced - it had softened nicely since having it in 2008. The wine really appeared to be at its peak and was positively delicious!

With our special bottle, we served the Barefoot Contessa's Rack of Lamb Persillade, a succulent rack of lamb encrusted with a mixture of parsley, bread crumbs and garlic with a hint of lemon zest. It was both easy to make and mouth-wateringly delicious! The lemon zest added a nice pop and freshness to the dish that was pleasantly surprising. You've gotta love those dishes that offer alot of  "wow" for the effort - this is definitely one of them! Ask your butcher to "french" the racks and remove the excess meat from the ends of the bones for a more elegant look. Once done, we cut the chops into double chop portions and served them atop a pillowy bed of garlic mashed potatoes - YUM!

I am happy to report the pairing was a big success! The flavors of the lamb synergized beautifully with the flavors and texture of the wine and Open That Bottle Night 2011 at Chez Miskew drew to a close with two very satisfied palates. Be sure to mark your calendars for next year - I am looking forward to it already!


Rack of Lamb Persillade
from the Barefoot Contessa's "Barefoot in Paris"
3 small or 2 large racks of lamb, frenched
Good Olive Oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped garlic cloves (3 cloves)
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Place the racks in a roasting pan, fat side up. Rub the tops with olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast the lamb for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the parsley and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until they're both finely minced. Add the bread crumbs and lemon zest and process for a second until combined.
Take the lamb out of the oven and quickly press the parsley mixture on top of the meat. Drizzle with the melted butter and return immediately to the oven and roast for another 15 minutes.
Take the lamb out of the oven and cover with aluminum foil. Allow it to rest for 15 minutes, cut in double chops, and serve.
Serves 5 to 6 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Vintage Vogue: Champagne Taittinger featured at the Boca Bacchanal March 18-20th!

It's no secret I am a fan of Champagne. So needless to say when I heard Champagne Taittinger would once again be featured at this year's Boca Bacchanal I was, how do you say, a very happy girl! As if having the wines of this famed Champagne House weren't enough, Clovis Taittinger, son of Champagne Taittinger President, Pierre-Emmanuel, will also be attending to represent his family's fabulous sparklers!

Champagne Taittinger was established in Reims, France in 1734 and is currently one of the three most extensive estates in the Champagne district. Its history is linked to Thibaud IV, last Count of Champagne, who owned the Abbey of Saint-Nicaise. After a crusade, he brought back a plant vine, supposed to be the ancestor of Chardonnay. In tribute to the Counts of Champagne, the prestigious cuvée of Taittinger "Comtes de Champagne" was created in 1952. This Blanc de Blancs (made solely from Chardonnay grapes) vintage is made only from the Côte des Blancs and aged in cellars for many years. There is even the emblem of Thibaud IV on bottles of this wine. The history of the Taittingers has been linked to Champagne ever since.

Clovis Taittinger & moi
This iconic Champagne house also produces The Taittinger Collection introduced in 1983. The series united art and champagne in a series of very special bottles designed by world renowed artists including Vasarely, Lichtenstein and Rauschenberg, to name a few. These exquisite bottles continue to be produced in great vintage years, and perpetuate Champagne Taittinger's long standing association with the arts as patrons and benefactors.

For more information on this storied Champagne House, you can visit the Champagne Taittinger website OR you could attend next Saturday's fabulous Bacchanal and Auction and sip some Taittinger with an actual Taittinger! Guests at the event will also be able to purchase a chance to have their entire table relocated to a gorgeous and regally appointed "Champagne Table" where you will dine with Clovis Taittinger himself. This is a first for the Boca Bacchanal and a very unique opportunity. I guarantee this option will be alot more fun than visiting their website!

For more information, please visit and please let me know if you are planning on attending the event - I hope to see you there!


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Guilty Pleasures: Alain Ducasse's Le Jules Verne in Paris!

This post kicks off the first in "Guilty Pleasures," a series of mouth-watering food photos meant to titillate your tastebuds - yet contain zero calories! Like many of you, I adore beautiful food and greatly respect and appreciate the work that goes into creating it. That said, I couldn't think of a better photo to kick off this series than this exquisite lobster dish I enjoyed at Le Jules Verne in Paris a few years ago. It was breathtaking - I almost couldn't bring myself to eat it. Then, I remembered the cost of said meal and quickly devoured it. It went down very easily with a nice Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc!

Le Jules Verne is located in the second tier of the Eiffel Tower and is the perfect showcase for the cuisine of world renowned chef, Alain Ducasse. The view of Paris is truly spectacular - just be sure to hold on tight during the precarious elevator ride up!

Bon Appétit,

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Boca Bacchanal Vintners Featured at Museum of Art "Wine & Food" Event!

Last Thursday's "Art of Wine & Food" tasting event at The Museum of Art, Ft. Lauderdale, marked my first event back at the Museum since hip surgery. I have to say, it felt pretty darn good! We had a fabulous group of folks turn out and we got to enjoy our evening in the Museum's Marks Gallery which exuded an elegant ambiance. Our theme of the evening was "Wines of the Winter Season: Hearty Wines that Will Warm you Up - Paired with Your Favorite Comfort Foods" - and boy, did they! We enjoyed some wonderful wines that will be featured at the upcoming Boca Bacchanal March 18-20th, and culinary creations by the charismatic Chef Hugh McCauley of Hugh's Catering. It was an evening of some very special pairings!

Butternut Squash Bisque & ZD California Chardonnay
Our first wine of the evening was a 2009 ZD California Chardonnay. ZD Wines was founded in 1969 by Norman deLeuze and Gino Zepponi, two former aerospace engineers who pursued their dream to produce world-class wines. Their goal was to produce wines similar to those from the renowned Burgundy region using the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grape varieties. If tonight was any indication - they  have definitely succeeded! The 100% Chardonnay had aromas of tropical fruit and green apple with hints of vanilla, pear and honey. It had a lovely roundness on the palate with ripe apricot and oak that integrated nicely with the balanced acidity. Chef Hugh created an amazingly delicious Butternut Squash Bisque with Creme Fraiche, Chives and Paprika Oil that paired beautifully with the creaminess of the wine. I have to say, I have never heard so many men (yes, MEN!) express how much they enjoyed a Chardonnay!

Pistachio Crusted Lamb Chops & Louis Jadot Santenay
Second, we poured a 2007 Domaine Louis Jadot Santenay "Clos du Malte" Burgundy. Founded in 1859, Maison Louis Jadot focuses on the classic grapes of Burgundy: Pinot Noir for reds, Chardonnay for whites and Gamay for Beaujolais. The vineyards of Maison Louis Jadot are scattered across 154 hectares (385 miles) of Burgundy, from the Cote d'Or to the Maconnais and down into Beaujolais. Santenay is the southernmost commune of the Cote d'Or located in the southern part of the Cote de Beaune, just after Chassagne Montrachet. "Clos de Malte" is actually a 7 hectare (17.5 mile) "Monopole" (meaning Louis Jadot is the sole owner) situated at the foot of the Montagne des Troix Croix. This 100% Pinot Noir was rife with warm spice, candied cherry flavors and subtle earthy notes. With it's polished tannins and food friendly acidity, this wine was a fabulous pairing for Chef Hugh's Pistachio Crusted Lamb Chops and Parsnip Puree. A perceivable hush fell over the crowd as participants savored this mouth-watering duo!

Beef Rossini Tenderloin & Hall Napa Valley Cab
Finally, we served a 2007 Hall Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Hall Winery was established by Craig and Kathryn Hall in 2005 amid the legendary Sacrashe Vineyard in the hills of Rutherford, California. The Halls specialize in making single vineyard and limited production wines with their extensive estate vineyards encompassing more than five hundred acres of classic Bordeaux varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. The 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc aged for 18 months in 60% new French oak. It was a deep, luscious garnet color with aromas of blackberry, plum, chocolate and spice. On the palate, this was a BIG wine! Flavors of blackberry, cassis and semisweet chocolate were accompanied by very firm, youthful tannins. This wine could have benefited from more time in the bottle as well as decanting in order to aerate it, and soften it a bit. The Cab lovers in the group were smitten though and the wine paired wonderfully with Chef Hugh's Beef Rossini Tenderloin on Garlic Crostini with Foie Gras Topped with Onion Marmalade

Cheers to Chef Hugh and his wonderful team for a fabulous event! For more information on the upcoming Boca Bacchanal & Auction held on March 19th please click here. Our next event at the Museum of Art, Ft. Lauderdale "Women of Wine: Sample Wines Created by the Fairer Sex. Learn Why Women May Have a Wine-Making Advantage," will be March 24th. For more information, please check the "Events" tab above - hope to see you there. Also, a big thanks to Amy Traiger for the use of her fabulous photos for this post!


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