Elmhirst’s Culinary Corner
New Year’s Eve Winemaker’s Dinner
Nearly every culture in mankind’s history has celebrated the passing of the old year and the arrival of the new. Here at the resort in recent years we’ve created meals that partner Canadian winemakers with our kitchen, farming and gardening teams. This year we matched up with Benjamin Bridge Winery from Nova Scotia. Their location in the Gaspereau Valley on the Bay of Fundy provides a near identical climate to the champagne region of France, allowing them to create their award-winning Nova7 sparkling wine, as well as a line of fantastic whites and a popular red wine.
In honour of our partners from Nova Scotia, our kitchen team put together an East-coast inspired tasting menu. They matched the down-home styles and flavours of the Maritimes with locally raised and sourced products including several of our “Elmhirst’s Own” menu items.
We gathered in the conservatory, decorated with wooden wine boxes, oars, rowboat bookcases, and fishing nets. There was house-smoked trout and salmon, smoked duck breast, duck liver pate, wild boar pastrami, elk salami, cooked shrimp, steamed mussels and freshly shucked raw oysters. Guests grazed the charcuterie board while enjoying Nova7 sparkling wine. The crisp acidity of the wine complimented the rich and salty hors d’oeuvre.
Everyone made their way down to the dining room. Our tables were decorated with thick, sturdy grapevines, grapes and candles. The stemware was polished and the cutlery was lined up in regimental formation. 60 guests meant we used about 360 pieces of glassware, 600 pieces of silverware, and nearly 400 plates. Our dishwashing team deserves full acknowledgement for a stellar effort that evening.
We like to think wine-matching events should start with light and subtle flavours and work their way up to a crescendo and then slowly subside back down to a low hum. Starting with Bruce’s home-style dinner rolls with lobster pate and whipped butter, we worked our way through chowder, fish and chips, beef stew, toffee pudding, and cheese and crackers. (See the menu for details!) The kitchen put their own creative spin on each course, serving it with style and finesse that served as a base for the wines.
The crowd was energetic and engaged, creating a buzz in the room that lasted throughout the evening and into the night. The service team was quick on their feet and confident in their delivery. Gillian from Benjamin Bridge stewarded our guests through the evening with knowledge and poise. Guests loved how the flavours of the wine changed and developed with each course.
Food is important. Wine is important. But it’s the people that make a memorable meal, and at Elmhirst’s our guests, farmers, partners and staff are what make it special.
From our table to yours, wishing everyone a very Happy New Year.
Culinary and Service Team Leader
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