I am sorry for my tardiness in posting June’s pairing event. I was home in Missouri visiting my family while all of you were munching, gulping and chilling at the warehouse. In my absence a brave volunteer documented all the fun. Take it away Gulp Volunteer! (click here for the pictures!)
GULP! Food And Libations--Summer Wine Dinner, Lake Park, Fla.
It was hot and muggy when I arrived at the GULP! Food and Libations Summer Wine dinner. Everyone seemed busy including the guests who were clumped in small groups both inside and outside the floral decorated warehouse. All were there to taste how the barbequed food of Chef Romain Dagot went with the summer wine selections of LeBeau Kpadenou, co-owner of GULP! Food and Libations.
The other co-owner Coreen Gottschalk entered the room. “We are sharing the warehouse with Palm Beach Organics. You all know Chef Chris, Right?” The guests clapped wildly. “Chef Romain's opening up a restaurant in Delray and wants to use you as a guinea pig,” continued Coreen, “We have never had a crowd this big before, sort of yeah!”
Jazz music played softly in the background as Chef Romain described his first course, “It is a duck confit amuse-bouche with potato skins, and summer greens.” He used a Carolina style barbeque sauce, “Because of the vinegar it has more of a bright flavor. Hope you enjoy,” he said.
Florida born Chef Romain spent all his childhood summers in France and later attended a culinary school in Lyon. This was his first catering event and I could tell he was nervous from how fast he explained each dish.
LeBeau served Two Vines Gewürztraminer (2010) which was high in acid to cut through the duck grease. He said, “Barbeque is something to do more with summer. Gewürztraminer means spicy. It is a cold climate grape. This particular wine is from Washington State and is lower in alcohol.”
The delicately hollowed out potato skins were filled with crispy fried duck fat, tender duck meat and bacon flavored dark greens. Unfortunately the Gewürztraminer got lost in the flavor of the duck.
I sat at a table with some ladies from Dublin, Ireland. There was Audrey Farrelly, manager of O'Shea's Pub on Clematis Avenue, West Palm Beach; Laura Alonso and her American husband Mike; and Marie Doyle and her American fiancé Nick Flade, a bartender at O'Shea's Pub. Also at the table was Shawn Powell, a server at City Cellar in City Place; and Deb Knepp, a broadcast journalist.
Audrey said, “Coreen kept inviting me to these events. I told her to not stop inviting me because I needed something to commit to. I've been coming for three to four months now.”
Laura said, “I've never been to something like this. Audrey told me about it.”
At the same time Audrey explained, “I dragged them along.” Everyone laughed.
“So far so good for first course,” said Nick.
Shawn said, “I've had Romain's cooking before and it's awesome. And LeBeau's wine knowledge is out of this world. When I heard they were putting on this dinner I had to come.”
The heat index rose to about 90 degrees at the end of this course and many people took a break outside in the tented rear parking lot.
Back inside, the second course of pork ribs came with a new wine, and my table companions started high fiving as it was poured.
LeBeau explained that the Penfolds Hyland Shiraz (2010) wine came from Adelaide, Australia, making it a hot climate wine. He added that the best choices for barbeque were Shiraz and Syrrah. “The same grape is used, for both of those for you who didn't know or don't remember,” He said with a smile, and added, “Australian wines go well with barbeque.”
He told us it was a heavier wine and so would be hotter to drink instead of light. This was not entirely good news because the temperature inside the warehouse was creeping higher. This was when the demand for cold water increased.
Chef Romain said, “You are eating: baby back pork ribs marinated with a ginger beer, fresh ginger and molasses sauce.” He also roasted the potatoes before he mashed them. “I do like a bit of bite on the ribs so the meat doesn't fall off the rib. It's the way they like it in cooking contests,” he said with a smile. “The salad is to offset the heavy meal. The meat's going to knock you on your butt later,” he said, adding, “I don't like to serve people things I do not like. I hope you like them.”
The deep burgundy colored wine had a strong tannin mouth feel and a delicious oaky flavor. The spiciness of the wine made the barbeque meat taste spicier. My impressions of the dish were: creamy, smoky, spicy, and bright.
Then everyone chomped down on the ribs, slathering barbeque sauce all over their faces and hands. I looked around the room and noticed most people were enjoying the ribs so much they forgot to drink the wine. Mike said, “This is one of the top ten things that ever happened to me. This food is amazing.”
There was a discussion at my table about the poor quality of potatoes in America compared to Ireland. The Irish ladies came to an agreement that the mashed potatoes served with the ribs were delicious.
LeBeau called for a Question and Answer session between Chef Romain and the guests.
Someone asked: “Do you like vinegar or mustard more?”
Chef answered, “Mustard.”
Someone else asked, “What temperature did you cook the meat at?”
Chef answered: “Low and slow.
Then Jim Brogan, a regular, asked, “Will there be mats provided so we can take naps?” To which the guests answered with laughter.
After the ribs were licked clean, most of the guests got up and went outside again.
I asked Jim his impressions of the meal. “I don't want to just motor through the food. I want to enjoy the pairings. These guys spent so much time,” Jim said. Then it started to rain and the conversation was cut short. Jim suggested I talk to Wally Lurz another long time fan.
I asked Wally how he learned about these dinners. Through friends he told me. “The pairings have always been new and interesting. I like learning about different styles of wines and different tastes,” he stopped for a breath and then continued, “Do you know how all of this happened? It started with Coreen wanting to learn more about wine. We taste what we taste. It's been very rewarding. We keep coming back. We have a lot of duck this time,” he said.
Back inside, I sat down, just as a cool, wet breeze blew in from the rain. As the break ended LeBeau walked through the rows of tables handing out something, “want one to cool off with an ice pack?” He asked, as he handed me a little package of Arctic heaven. Guests rested the ice packs on their foreheads, necks, and some even wore them as hats.
Once everyone was cooled down, LeBeau said, “A little bit of business we have to do. Can I get a hand for Romain?” The crowd responded with thunderous applause and continued as LeBeau went through the list of volunteers: Chef Chris, Photographer/server Tracey, Coreen, himself, and guest blogger Helen A Lockey. “For the first time ever we are starting a tip jar because everyone is volunteering their time,” he said holding up a large plastic jar. “The next dinner is July 14th,” he said smiling.
The third course came out quickly after the announcements. It was pulled pork butt on honey cornbread with coleslaw. The meat was hickory smoked with ginger.
Chef Romain started, “It is pulled pork butt,” but could not continue over the noise from the guests repeating, “Butt, butt, butt.”
LeBeau came to his rescue explaining that butt did not mean the backside of the animal, but was in fact referring to the shoulder of the pig.
Jim said loudly, “Oh, that's what it is,” then laughed and other guests joining in.
LeBeau introduced the next wine, it was a 2011 Rosé from Bertarose, “Merlot grapes are for red wine,” he said but got interrupted by a small boy walking by who commented, “Correct.”
The audience roared with laughter, and Chef Chris smiled and said, “That's my son ladies and gentlemen.”
LeBeau continued, “All wines are made from the same grapes. Rosés crush grapes with the skin for a short time.”
I turned my attention back to my meal. I sipped some rosé then took a mouthful of cornbread, pulled pork, and slaw. The slaw was made with Brussels sprouts, purple cabbage, and carrots. The rosé wine brought out the sweetness in the bread and brightened the coleslaw. Of all the pairing I liked this one the best.
Conversation about the meal was lively at my table despite the heat.
Nick said, with rivers of sweat pouring down his face, “It's kind of like you're gaining weight but losing weight because you're sweating.”
“This is my favorite course,” Laura said.
I moved to another table and talked to pharmacist Angelique Hazard. She was wearing a light cotton dress because she knew it was going to be hot inside the warehouse. “We've been coming to GULP for over a year. We've been to at least four to five of them,” she said, stopping to take a sip of wine, “The first one my husband treated me. It was an Italian one. It was really enjoyable. They used to have them at the beer depot. It's a great afternoon with friends.”
There was a commotion near a refrigerator. Chef Chris had opened the refrigerator door to reveal a chair inside. He smiled, turned, climbed in, sat on the chair, smiled again and closed the door. Guests started giggling.
Chef Chris eventually opened the door, climbed out and said, “That's my chill spot,” making guests roar with laughter. He offered his chill spot to Coreen and LeBeau, who quickly said, “yes.” Another chair was found so they could both enjoy their refrigerator ride at the same time. When the door opened again people grabbed cameras and phones to click pictures paparazzi photographer style.
When everyone had had their turn at the refrigerator rides dessert was served. It was a pancake battered, deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich made with blueberry compote, bacon, honey, mascarpone cheese, and goat cheese. It was served with Sangria.
LeBeau's Sangria recipe was, “You take wine, hard liquor, in this case Everclear, and fruit juice and combine them together. Then you serve it over ice.”
“Good job LeBeau,” said Shawn, clapping enthusiastically.
“Thanks,” said LeBeau smiling, “Every bottle of wine we had tonight is for sale, we have one of each,” he said, holding up a bottle. “Again thank you Romain and Chris.” And guests agreed with loud clapping.
The dessert was sweet and crispy on the outside with a thin smear of honey. The inside was gooey with warm peanut butter and dark globs of sweet blueberry. The cheese had all but melted into the dessert.
Shawn told me he was a first time diner, “The ability to learn and eat some really good food brought us here. We'll be back.”
Then just as the temperature inside the warehouse cooled down the dinner was over. Later, as volunteers collected plates and glasses Coreen said, “I'm glad people liked this style because there were no leftovers. For July we'll do it somewhere with AC.”
Keep Your Eyes open for these upcoming Events
Check out what is happening October 27th! It's a field trip!
More Info to Come, just starting to gather info now. Plan is to rent a van and have it tote us around, stopping at Tequesta Brewing Company, Bx Beer Depot, World of Beers, Due South and do tastings at each location. Like I say, I am just starting to do the legwork now, so just save the date now.wine-making state.
Let me know as soon as you know you are interested so I can plan accordingly
PAYPAL AT GOTTSCHALK.COREEN@GMAIL.COM.
the cost of this event will be in the range of $30-$35. Purchasing beer at the stops will not be included so that you can budget your flights or single pints for yourself. Your price will include a delicious "lining your bellies" lunch at the Serenity Garden Tea House and your transportation for the day. Timeline and More to come