Monday, March 17, 2014

Talavera's Pop-Up Events Are A Great Mix of Food, Wine & Good Times

By: The Food Hunter

The idea behind the new pop-up series at The Four Season's Scottsdale Talavera Restaurant is that "one never knows when a wine maker will be in town; so it's good to always be ready." These intimate dinners are limited to 30 guests, eager to experience some off the menu food and wine.

Last week, with only a week's notice Talavera Chef, Mel Mecinas, put together one of the most amazing meals I've eaten in quite some time. Paired perfectly with wine pours from Orin Swift Cellars the impromptu meal tantalized my palate from beginning to end.

Guests enjoyed dinner along with Jared Clevenger, sales manager for Orin Swift Cellars, and Daniel Dillon, wine guy at Quench Fine Wines. We chatted comfortably about wine and food and all things that come up when strangers become friends over a great meal.

Orin Swift Cellars was founded by David Swift Phinney in 1998; Orin is his father's middle name and Swift is his mother's maiden name. With two tons of zinfandel and not much else, he spent the next decade making wine for others as well as himself and grew the company into a multinational brand that now includes 300 acres of vineyards in the Southwest of France.

We began our meal with an Asian inspired lobster, avocado & jicama roll that Chef Mecinas created to pair with the winery exclusive, China Doll Rosé  Topped with small sectioned grapefruit  and basil pieces this was an excellent appetizer that was complimented by the aromatic rosé.

Up next, the plate that left me dreaming of the Italian country side: fricassee of rabbit served with handmade polenta gnocchi, fava beans and morel mushrooms. We enjoyed a pour of the "I" wine as Jared explained to us about the newish trio of wines known as Locations. Like the country code "I" stands for Italy. The "I" wine is a blend of Negroamaro, Nero d’Avola, Barbera and native varietals from Puglia.

The third course was a impeccably presented lamb duo, both a chop and loin section, served with Black Mesa Ranch goat cheese croquette. It was accompanied by the "F" wine (you guessed it for France). Sourced from some of the finest locations throughout France this red blend went well with the distinct earthy flavor of the lamb.

We ended the meal with a glass, or in my case, two of The Mute. Jared is spot on with his description of this port: "the wine with just the right amount of wrong".  It was fantastic and complimented Chef Mecinas dessert course, chocolate cherry custard with caramelized blue cheese, perfectly.

Pop-ups are not easy to execute and the enthusiasm and expertise at Talavera during this event was fantastic. I'm looking forward to another visit soon!

Be sure to follow Talavera on Facebook to find information on the next pop-event.

This meal was provided complimentary. However, all opinions and comments are my own.  

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