We kicked off our tour of the Savour Food & Wine Festival in Halifax, Nova Scotia last night with a tasting dinner at The Five Fisherman, situated in one of the city’s oldest buildings. Chef Dafydd Williams-Jones and restaurant manager Gary MacDonald treated us to a tasting of Nova Scotia specialties, which were wonderfully enhanced by the presence of sommelier Avery Gavel and Gary Ramey of Blomidon Estate Winery, who guided us through each course with a selection from his and other local vineyards.
Here is a little sampling of what we tasted last night. We wish you could have joined us at the table — it was a meal to remember! We also had the pleasure of dining with friends old and new here in Halifax, including freelance writer Lola Augustine Brown, Christine White from the Winery Association of Nova Scotia, and Emily Kimber from Destination Halifax.
With dinner and wine also came some ideas for a very special project we’re putting together, but you’ll have to wait for that. For now, feast with your eyes.
Amuse Bouche: Digby scallop on pork belly with pea puree
paired with ’07 Nova 7, Benjamin Bridge Winery
Scallops and pork belly are a sublime combination — this dish was a little bit sweet, a little bit rich, and a whole lot of loveliness. Our first bite was served with a local (and very hard to find!) favorite, Nova ’07, made with a hint of ice wine grapes and a hint of sparkle that made it a great match for the scallops.
Barbequed Duck Breast Salad
paired with ’07 Red Eft Pinot Rose, Bear River Vineyards
The duck breast was treated to a spicy dry rub and served perfectly rare with goat cheese, apples and micro greens. The pinot rose wine was new to us, and we were pleasantly surprised by its light fruitiness. We could envision serving this type of rose with a number of different dishes, and are glad to see roses returning to the table.
Pan Seared Atlantic Haddock
paired with ’06 Chardonnay, Blomidon Estate Winery, Annapolis Valley
One thing is certain in Nova Scotia — if you order haddock, it was probably caught within the past 24 hours, and once you’ve tasted the freshest of catches, fish will never be the same for you. This haddock was served with a south shore lobster succotash and asparagus, and Chef Mark was in the kitchen to get some video of it being prepared a la minute. Until then you’ll have to suffice with my little photo, but patience is a virtue.
Blomindon’s Chardonnay was wonderful with the lobster, as it had a smooth vanilla finish perfectly paired with lobster (we are huge fans of that combination).
We do love a nice palate cleanse, so we refreshed ourselves with a glass of Jost, one of my very favorite sparkling wines from Nova Scotia. This twist on a Kir Royale was crafted with a Nova Scotia wild blueberry juice and served with a little knot of lemon rind. I could have danced with this one all night.
Oven Roasted “Oulton’s Farms” Beef Tenderloin
paired with ’07 Baco Noir, Blomidon Estate Winery, Annapolis Valley
Mmm…beef. And beef served with beef cheeks? Color me happy. This sumptuous dish was served with a wintry combination of sweet mama squash, yams and parsnips, as well as Brussels sprouts.
Baco noir has become a new favorite red for me. Lighter than a pinot noir, it has a complexity that holds up to meats without overpowering them. The grape is originally from France, but apparently they don’t like to talk about it. Better for us, methinks.
Farmers Market Artisan Cheeses & Jellies
paired with Barrel Aged Port, Acadianna Reserve, Sainte-Famille, Annapolis Valley
I loves me some port — any time, anywhere. Coupled with garlic and blue cheeses, along with a dash of pepper jelly, we could feel the afterglow setting in as we awaited the final course.
Poached Valley Pear Tart
paired with ’07 New York Muscat, Gaspereau Vineyards, Gaspereau Valley
We were delighted to see this bottle arrive tableside, as we had a wonderful time at Gaspereau Vineyards when we visited in October. This dessert wine was served on my own Thanksgiving table, and it is a sublime dessert wine. A bit lighter than an ice wine, it has just the right level of sweetness to pair with your favorite bite of dessert.
Today we’re off to the kitchens to get a peak behind the scenes as local chefs prepare for tonight’s Savour Food & Wine Festival grand tasting. Look for more updates from this event as well as our other food and wine adventures this week, and we’ll do our best to keep up with it all. I may need to limit my wine intake or the blog posts could get…interesting.
Wish you were here!