Showing posts with label winery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label winery. Show all posts

The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette (Jordan Station)


A day of sipping wine in the Twenty Bench region should end with some sustenance, why not a lovely dinner at The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette? Although Pearl Morissette is a winery, a low supply of wine means all tastings are cancelled “for the foreseeable future”, which means to try their wines you need to visit the restaurant.

One option is to add the wine pairing ($60) to your meal. Having already sampled a fair share already, I opted for two produced by the winery at dinner. To begin, a glass of the 2016 Cuvée Roselana ($11 for 5oz), a vibrant red rosé that’s just as fruity to match, in an aromatic but not sweet manner. Even their 2014 Cuvée Madeline ($10.50 for 3oz), a cabernet franc, had big bursts of cherry notes that when combined with a savoury main calms down and mellows into a lovely finish. Pearl Morissette makes vibrant and easy drinking wines.


The meals are tasting menu only ($85 a person, inclusive of gratuities), which changes daily. Located in the Niagara Escarpment, it’s no surprise the dinner includes a lot of produce, showcasing the bounty from the local environment. The first dish, a braised eggplant, covered with plum slices, fig leaves, and basil is the sexiest eggplant I’ve ever seen (no emoji pun intended). While the eggplant’s flesh looked white, the texture was soft and creamy accentuated with bursts of floral, sweetness, and licorice (a flavour I’m not normally a fan of but somehow works in the dish).


After all the wine tasting, I was ecstatic to see the wedge of crusty sourdough bread, served warm with a side of butter. Pearl Morissette mixes corn meal into the dough so the bread has that sponginess of sourdough but a wonderful sweetness as well.


A palm-sized bean tartlet continues the meal. On the bottom, a creamy and tangy chevre goat cheese topped with diced butter beans that adds a lovely crunch against the thin buttery tart shell. Give me more!


A scallop is lightly warmed and cubed amongst a Doe Hill pepper purée, which is surprisingly flavourful... to the point that it covers the delicate scallop. Learning more about the pepper, it’s described as very sweet. For me there was a slight bitterness mixed with a rich capsicum flavour, which pairs nicely with the sweet corn but less so with the seafood. Personally, I enjoyed the scallops plain with flecks of marigold petals.


While I don’t mind the scallop undercooked, the grilled hand-caught line cod was too rare. The outer edges were fine, flaking away and cooked through, but the thicker section had a slightly gummy texture and fishy essence – it needed another minute on the grill. Maybe if the accompaniments were stronger the fishy taste could be covered, but the tomato juice and razor clam broth were so light that couldn’t mask the undercooked fish. The best part of the dish was the freshly picked tomatoes, simply amazing. Oh, the bounty of Niagara!


While the first half of the meal was light and summery, the following wild mushrooms was a nice progression towards the main. I can see why the lobster mushroom gets its name with the red outer skin and the inside being white. Moreover, it even has a meaty texture and slight seafood essence. Along with black trumpet mushrooms, they are tossed with a bread miso so the dish has an Asian flair with a hint of smokiness.


I urge the chefs to rethink the crumble topping in the mushrooms as it adds a grainy texture to the dish, so it feels like you’re eating sandy fungi. Moreover, the dish would have benefited from a grain (like barley or a parsnip/potato puree) as it was too salty on its own. As a plus, it went wonderfully with the Cabernet Franc, the earthiness tempering the cherry notes of the wine.

Two pieces of roasted rib of beef ended the savoury courses. The Longhorn beef was wonderfully flavourful and delicious. I felt guilty that it was so enjoyable; just moments before the dish arrive I  watching two calves in the field, nuzzling each other and play fighting. Even the vegetables were fantastic: pan fried zucchini that had a lovely caramelized crust on the cut end and just cooked through retaining a crunchy texture; and lightly pickled onions that kept the meaty main bright.


The first dessert acted as a palette cleanser, a rich strawberry sorbet with a tart sweet grass sabayon that’s surprisingly light for something made with egg yolks. It’s a dish with many tastes and textures as sitting on the bottom were salted strawberry pieces dotted with herb oil.  


A goat cheesecake followed for a richer dessert, flavoured with blueberries that were plump and sweet. A side of goat cheese verbena granite added a cool element. 


After the cheesecake, we thought the meal was over - at this point, we were satisfied but not stuffed. Then two freshly baked shortbread arrive, still hot so the butter is melted throughout creating a cookie with crunchy edges but a sinfully soft centre, with peach preserve and spicebush giving it flavour. If it weren’t rich enough, a side of butter is given – great for those who like a salty and sweet combination.


Twenty Bench is such a tranquil environment that you can’t help but be present and in the moment. At Pearl Morissette there’s so much wildlife surrounding the winery: the ducks in the pond kept us entertained – the baby ones diligently swimming and so cute that it’s hard to look away. The elevated dining room with the large windows creates such an airy environment that you almost feel like you’re eating outdoors, with the benefit of central heating and cooling.

The two hours just flew by, I couldn’t believe the meal came to an end. During late August/early September, don’t be afraid of the cannon/gunshot sounds that pierce through the air every few minutes. It’s simply compressed air used to deter birds from eating the ripe grapes. I just don’t know about the effectiveness of the machine, it certainly didn’t scare away the ducks, those little fellows could swim forever. 

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Jordan Station, Canada
 Address: 3953 Jordan Road

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

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You can Taste the Season in NOTL this November with this #contest!


As Mother Nature gives it bounty, you can enjoy what the land has to offer with wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake with their annual Taste the Season event. Twenty wineries across the region are serving up holiday appropriate bites with a taste of their VQA wines.

Having attended a similar event in the spring, Sip and Sizzle, it was a great time - hiring a touring company to bring my husband and around as I ate and drank the day away. Here are some of the highlights of what we sampled, you can get the complete re-cap here.

Since Peller Estates was one of the first stops, we were spoiled by the full-sized wild boar sausage – you’re not leaving hungry. The gaminess of the wild boar was mellowed with grainy maple Dijon mustard and the salty crispy shallots were an excellent addition. With an equally generous pour of the 2015 Private Reserve Gamay Noir ($19.95), which pairs nicely with the meatiness of the dish, we could have stayed at the winery longer if they had tables to lounge in.


Château des Charmes had the most optimal pairing, in my opinion. Their 2016 Sauvignon Blanc ($14.95) was not quite as tart and mellow in a refreshing way. The creaminess of the citrus aioli on the cold sweet grilled shrimp and the strong herbs in the shoot and sprout salad went nicely with the light wine.


I even discovered something new while making return visits given the Sip and Sizzle tastings were often held in areas separated from the traditional tasting rooms. The best location goes to Ravine Vineyards: guests head downstairs to cellar’s private dining area where curing meats hang in a climate controlled room and barrels filled with aging wine line the walls.


You can experience a similar tasty day every weekend in November (Friday, Saturdays, and Sundays). Pick up the touring passport for $45 (plus taxes and fees) or a designated driver’s version for $25 (plus taxes and fees) that includes non-alcoholic drinks and you’re entitled to a taste of food and drink at each of the 20 participating wineries, valid all month long.



The Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake want to give a Gastro World reader a chance to experience it themselves. The winner will receive two passes (valued at $90 plus taxes and fees) to use anytime during the event. Please note, transportation and accommodations are not included. Simply enter below.

Entries will be accepted until October 28, 2017 at 12:00 AM. Sometime the following day, I will contact winners through email with further details. Accordingly, please make sure you enter a valid email address in Rafflecopter contest site. Cheers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How To Find Them
 Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog

Norman Hardie Winery (Prince Edward County)


Despite being a city girl at heart, as the snow melts and the mercury rises, an overwhelming desire to get out of town and into nature comes over me. In Toronto, we’re blessed to be within a 2-hour drive of two wine regions: Niagara-on-the-lake is the better known of the two, but Prince Edward County is becoming increasingly developed and offers a fair collection of wineries, without the crowds. After all, while lounging in nature, the last thing I want to do is battle a throng of tourists.

During sunny days, being outside in a vineyard is serene – basking in the sun and taking in the greenery and rows of vines. At Norman Hardie, you can do this in comfort while enjoying a glass of wine and a hot wood-burning oven pizza. Ah… relaxing perfection.


Before tackling their pizzas, our foursome shared a large portion of their organic greens ($15), tender lettuce leaves with crunchy heirloom carrots dressed in a light tangy oven roasted shallot dressing. It feels like you’re doing something healthy and dampens any hunger pains as we wait for the mains to arrive – given the pizzas are made-to-order by one person in one oven, it can take a while.


Ordering a margherita ($14) pizza is a great way to gauge a restaurant’s quality. It’s just tomato, cheese (in this case fior de latte) and basil – no overly strong flavours to detract from the tried and true ingredients. The crust made me swoon: despite being paper thin the bottom was crispy and allowed slices to be held without becoming a droopy soggy mess. Yet, the dough still has a soft chewiness to it and didn’t become a crispy cracker. If you’d prefer a meat version of the margherita, try the di taleggio ($17), which has the same base but also incorporates salty cured speck and mild taleggio cheese.


Yet it’s the salsiccia ($17) white pizza I yearn for with its plump pieces of crumbled sausage, sweet caramelized onions, spicy hot peppers, garlic, and fior di latte. The pizza is satisfyingly rich and flavourful; it went particularly well with the glass of County Gamay ($12).


Do yourself a favour and set aside at least an hour and a half for the meal – you may need to wait for a table and the freshly made pizzas take time. But most importantly, enjoy the time just being outdoors amongst the vineyard, sipping wine and tucking into a hot pie. Road trip anyone?

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Wellington, Canada
 Address: 1152 Greer Road

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


Norman Hardie Winery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato