Homewood has been visited by Frankie and me in previous posts but tonight they hosted a Wine Dinner featuring wines distributed by Rosenthal Wine Merchants matched with an 8-course menu designed by Chef Matt McCallister. The food was designed to showcase fall flavors and offered the opportunity to taste 11 wine selections from around the world. The doors opened at 6:30 with the dinner beginning promptly at 7:00. Wines were for sale in addition if you wished. A brief introduction preceded the first course but there were no further comments during the meal. Each seat had a menu for the evening with the corresponding wine/s and on the back was a list of the wines for sale. I couldn’t see an empty seat in the entire restaurant. That made for a moderate wait between the courses. Wines were brought first and no refills were offered. The wine rep and her distributor did stop by each table to chat and answer questions. The event lasted about 3.5 hours.
The first course was made with tuna, apple, peanut, and curry leaf. The larger raw chunks of tuna were surrounded by small diced apples that matched the size of the peanuts in a milky liquid with a bit of spiciness. There were hints of ginger in the mix. While the dish was quite good, it was almost too flavorful to pair well with the mild wine.
Honey-roasted carrots were on bee pollen creme fraiche. The perfectly cooked carrots were covered with greens, seeds, and herbs. This lovely vegetable course did match nicely with the wine.
Chicken liver ganache and spiced peach compote were plated alongside brioche bread, fresh from the oven. This course came with 2 vintages of the same wine, the 2014 having a more amber color than the 2017. The older vintage paired much better with the creamy ganache and peach. The sweet smooth liver was great mixed with the spicy sweet peaches and especially good with the buttery brioche. This one was best eaten with all components at the same time.
Goat cheese mousse was topped with grilled radicchio, pear jam, and spiced walnuts. This one also came with 2 wines but different varietals, one more amber colored than the other. We had seen the radicchio prior to being served so we knew it had been grilled but the flavor of that process was not evident in the final product. There was a ton of the radicchio on top but underneath was the good stuff. The pears and crispy nuts absolutely made this dish. The pairings enhanced the dish, but not sure I preferred one over the other.
Scarpinocc was served with duck ragu, apple, and preserved porcini. We saw the freshly made pasta waiting to be cooked and they were excellent. Stuffed with the traditional Taleggio, a washed rind cow’s milk cheese, they were good with the slightly salty and strongly flavored ragu. The porcini had a firm texture but was more that than taste. The apple added a slightly sweet component and another element of texture. This was a good one. The wine was fun and different but I’d call it only an okay pairing, as far as enhancing the food.
BBQED pork belly was on butternut squash purée and topped with fried sage leaves. The pork belly was nicely caramelized on the outside with a good mix of fat and meat on the inside. The purée was supplemented with some chunks over the top and into the sauce. Unfortunately, the sauce was a bit greasy which you don’t really need with pork belly. Another okay pairing with an interesting wine.
Beef strip loin was with pommes fondant and Sungold tomatoes. The medium rare beef was dull with a slightly smokey flavor. The potatoes were mostly dull also with a wonderful caramelized exterior but not much creamy potato flavor on the inside. Unfortunately, the beef course in meals like this is often the least appealing, and this one stuck to the pattern. The better wine was the saving grace of this course.
Hazelnut dacquoise with quince and brown butter mousseline was the dessert. Go out on a high note, and that they did. The excellent buttery tower had enough sweetness, buttery flavors, and textures to satisfy anyone. The light cake with sweet mousse was crowned with crispy bits of nuts and fruit with a most delicious texture. I loved it. I also loved the Vin Jaune wine but didn’t really like the two together but separated I could appreciate both for their goodness.