We have some absolutely beautiful locations to dine in here in the BVI – but, being a small community, we often find ourselves at the same places with the same menus – so it’s nice when someone decides to shake it up a bit, once in a while!
That, my friends, is exactly what happened this Monday. A wonderful one-off collaboration between my favourite French chef, Regis Bourdon, and Chateau Mont-Redon winemaker, Jerome Abeille, with a six-course paired tasting menu. (Be still my beating heart).
The event was coordinated by wine distributors, Proudly African – hosted by Josh Ridgeway in the beautiful surroundings of Brandywine Estate Restaurant and saw 70 of the BVIs most avid foodie fiends gathered (on a school night) to listen to the experts and learn about the wines of the Rhône region while enjoying some of the finest French food in the Territory.
We had our tasting notes and, after a quick talk from monsieur Abeille, we were ready to eat.
Course #1 was a selection of passed aperitifs including tender octopus, buttery stuffed mushrooms, warm duck tartlets (my favourite), pissaladière (a Southern French tart of caramelized onions with black olives), classic rustic French pâtés and saucisson sec.
(disclaimer: I have no photos of these tasty morsels because I had my hands full of bite-sized treats and wasn’t disciplined enough to put them down long enough for pictures – yes, I’m a terrible blogger… I’m sorry.) These were paired with a very light Rosé Côtes de Provence.
Course #2 was the fish course with a delicate salmon tartar and perfectly cooked sliver of branzino (sea bass) on a pool of saffron beurre blanc with a leek gratin. They paired beautifully with the White Châteauneuf-du-Pape. (Possibly my favourite of the wines).
Course #3 featured the ever-so-slightly controversial frogs legs wrapped in Copa ham and served on asparagus spears. These divided the table – but I enjoyed them, particularly with the inclusion of the salty ham. They were partnered with the oaky White Lirac.
Course #4 is something of a Brandywine classic with melt-in-the-mouth, no-need-for-a-steak-knife tenderloin topped with creamy foie gras and served with a cognac, escargot, porcini mushroom sauce. So good. They busted out the Red Lirac to serve with the steak.
Course #5 was a venison ‘lollipop’ served on a sweet parsnip purée which perfectly balanced the rich venison. Typically I’m not a venison fan as I usually find it a bit too gamey, but that wasn’t the case here. A blueberry mustard demi-glace accompanied the meat and it was expertly paired with the Red Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Robust and full-bodied it stood up well next to the flavourful meat.
Course #6 was the standout for me and I’m not a dessert fan (read: known to skip dessert in favour of a cheeseboard). Dessert was a duo of chocolate mousse served with wonderfully sharp, fresh berries. The white chocolate mousse was beautifully light and the dark chocolate mousse provided the decadence.
Our table chose to round out the dinner with coffee and a few digestifs – whisky for the boys and amaretto for the girls – before rolling home, fat but happy.
Don’t forget to check out my full BVI restaurant guide here for where, when and what to eat while visiting our beautiful islands!
Happy Easter weekend – do you have anything fun planned for the holiday?