“After the Fire” was a profound theme for a magnificent evening at TOCA, the beautiful restaurant on the mezzanine at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Toronto. Signorello Estate, in partnership with Michelin Star Chef Oliver Glowig of Rome, who happens to be the Executive Chef at TOCA, hosted a dinner to introduce the newest labels from the winery, literally after the fire that devastated so much of California.
Stephanie Power, the International Sales Manager for Signarello Estate, represented by Profile Wine Group, introduced each of the wines, while Chef Glowig detailed each dinner course.
Foie Gras Torchon
The opening dish, a foie gras torchon, wearing a coat of crushed California pistachios, could not be legally served in California. Unless, by now, they have repealed the Zero Tolerance for Foie Gras in that state. To create a balance of land and sea, a very large scallop, so perfectly seared, it was a shame to cut through it. But I did, happily, and enjoyed the dish with its dollops of avocado puree and grapefruit chutney.
Glasses of Hope’s Cuvee Chardonnay 2016 were poured, and the scents of Granny Smith apple, Asian Pear, apricot and lemon curd with a hint of white flowers and baking spice was a perfect pairing for our land and sea first course.
Risotto, Amatriciana Style
Fine Carnaroli rice made a luscious risotto, Amatriciana style with tomato sauce, and was well paired with a 2016 Edge Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine surprises with it’s mouthwatering black fruit aromas of black plum, black cherry and black currant. With its rich backbone of tannin it was hand in glove with the tomato-y risotto.
Can I handle another course? When it is beautifully seared duck breast on a puddle of celery root and white pepper sauce, I will certainly try. Admiring the deep red, medium rare duck, I ask a dining companion, “Is duck a red or white meat?” What does Dr. Google say: “In culinary or cultural contexts, veal is often considered a white meat and duck or goose are classified as red meat.” Color aside, this delicious dish is further enhanced by it’s pairing with Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2014. This wine was age for 21 months in 80% new French oak and was not filtered prior to bottling.
The Cheese Course
A special bottle of Padrone Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, created in honour or Ray Signorello Sr. sourced from the best blocks of their extremely rocky hillside vineyard, was offered with the Cheese course.
Dinner over, yet no one is in a rush to leave, not when there is still Signorello wine on the table to be enjoyed.
Sara Waxman, OOnt, is an award-winning restaurant critic, best-selling cookbook author, food and travel journalist and has eaten her way through much of the free world for four decades, while writing about it in books, newspapers and magazines. She is the Editor in Chief of DINE and Destinations magazine.