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Rate and Review
International Food & Wine Festival
September 30 - November 13, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
10:30 a.m. - noon
John Stewart and Duskie Estes
Zazu in Santa Rosa, CA and Bovolo in Healdsburg, CA
Castello Di Querceto
Joe Tracy, Representative
Ribollita, a Tuscan Bread and Bean Soup + Extra
Virgin Olive Oil
Castello de Querceto Chianti Classico
Slow-Roasted Balsamic Pork Shoulder + Buttermilk
Castello di Querceto Chianti Riserva
King + Queen of Pork Bacon in the Batter Waffle Maple Gelato and Black Pig Bacon Toffee
Castello di Querceto Vin Santo del Chianti Classico
Review by John Bowers
The 2011 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is off and running. For many years there has been a Friday lunch series during the Festival. Over the years, the series has gone through a number of name-changes, but the format has stayed essentially the same. This year the new name is Kitchen Memories. The guest chef(s) relate interesting or funny stories about their culinary careers, while demonstrating how to prepare the three-course lunch that everyone is served. The cost is $110-$150 per person plus tax. The event is held in the former Wonders of Life Pavilion, which serves as the Food and Wine Festival Center. While we await some autumn weather in Orlando, the Festival Center is an oasis, filled with fun things to buy, seminars, meals, and demonstrations. It's easy to spend an entire morning or afternoon in there.
On Friday, October 7, the guest chefs for Kitchen Memories were John Stewart and his wife, Duskie Estes. John and Duskie own a farm in Sonoma County, California. They also own two restaurants, Zazu in Santa Rosa, and Bovolo in Healdsburg. When they originally moved to the farm from Seattle, they grew grapes and made some outstanding wine, good enough to be served at the French Laundry. But Duskie said that Pierce's Disease destroyed their vines, and she cried as they were forced to pull it all up. John had always been a fan of all things pork, but Duskie had been a vegetarian for 22 years. John suggested they turn their former vineyard into a "Pig Palace," where they could raise pigs, chickens, turkeys, and rabbits.
Love won out, as Duskie relinquished her vegetarian ways, and the Pig Palace was born. Now they raise animals, including Heritage Breed Pigs, in beautiful pastureland where the animals have healthy, well-cared-for lives, and as John said, "only one bad day. But they don't even see it coming."
John and Duskie produce a range of products from their animals. One of the most well-known is their bacon, which is available at blackpigmeatco.com. They are also involved in a national traveling culinary competition called Cochon 555, dedicated to sustainable farming of Heritage Breed Pigs and (of course) cooking delicious pork dishes. The website is www.cochon555.com. John and Duskie were recently crowned "2011 King and Queen of Porc" for taking first place in the Grand Cochon competition in Aspen, Colorado.
Castello Di Querceto, the well-known Italian winery, was the featured winery for our lunch. Castello di Querceto is located in the northeastern side of the Chianti Classico area, in a small valley in the commune of Greve in Chianti. Joe Tracy, the winery representative, brought along a Chianti Classico, a Chianti Classico Riserva, and a terrific dessert wine known as a Vin Santo. Robust Italian wines and two chefs who love pork. Let's eat!
Our first course was Ribollita, a Tuscan Bread and Bean Soup + Extra Virgin Olive Oil. (The recipe is HERE.) A delicious and savory, truly rustic soup of white beans, kale, and day-old bread chunks, the soup is finished with a spoonful or two of olive oil floated on top. Duskie said if you're cooking with olive oil, it's economical to use a less expensive oil, but if you are adding it to food right before serving, or maybe using it for dipping, go with the best you can find.
The soup paired nicely with the chianti. Good chianti always has that dark cherry, blackberry, and smoky oak flavor pattern which tends to soften and open up after it has been in your glass for a few minutes. You could hear people scraping their soup bowls with their spoons to get every last delightful bit. On those chilly autumn evenings (that we only hear about in Orlando!), the Ribollita and a juicy soft chianti would be a homerun pairing.
Back to the food! Our second course was Slow Roasted Balsamic Pork Shoulder and Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes. (The recipe is HERE.) Simple as can be to prepare, juicy and tender pork cooked with caramelized onions and served with mashed potatoes. So simple, in fact, that John said he wasn't going to show us how to make mashed potatoes, he figures everyone can make those. It was served with several leaves of escarole, if you look at the picture the escarole is the green leafy things that you see.
Chianti Classico Riserva was served with the pork shoulder. And it was nicely chilled a bit, bravo to Disney! Sometimes red wines are served a little too close to room temperature. Joe Tracy said that room temperature in parts of Italy can be about 65 degrees, whereas room temperature in Florida is 90! That got a laugh. A knowing laugh, of course.
The Classico Riserva was darker and richer than the Classico, and once again it was so good it made your mouth water. Fruity, soft, blackberries, dark cherries, wow. I believe Joe said the Classico retails for about $18, and it's $25 for the Classico Riserva. Well worth it.
Our dessert gave John and Duskie a chance to show off a little bit. Having been crowned 'King and Queen of Porc' (yes, the Cochon people spell it with a 'C'), we were served "King and Queen of Pork Bacon-in-the-Batter Waffle" Maple Gelato and Black Pig Bacon Toffee. The recipe is HERE, and this one would be a challenge. The small waffle was in the shape of a Mickey head, naturally.
When you're making the waffle, you stick a bacon strip on top of the batter before you close the waffle iron. Gelato looks pretty easy to make, but of course you can also buy it! And the 'black pig bacon toffee' is stuck into the top of the gelato in the photo. The recipe notes that you can substitute a Heath bar for the toffee.
Our dessert wine was a Vin Santo, a wine unfamiliar to me until now. Two grapes go into the wine, malvasia and trebbiano. The grapes are dried for 2-3 months which concentrates their sugars. The wine matures in small barrels for five years, and the result is a beautiful golden, sweet dessert wine. Dessert wines don't get as much attention in the wine world as plain old reds and whites. Maybe they should, because they are usually a lovely surprise when paired with the right dessert.
All in all, another nice event at the Food and Wine Festival. It's clear that both John and Duskie enjoy their Pig Palace, even though it meant Duskie had to give up being a vegetarian, and go "over to the Dark Side," as she said. I'm sure their two restaurants in Sonoma County would be exciting places to visit.
Kitchen Memories (formerly Celebrating Family & Friends in the Kitchen)
This delightful three-course lunch touches upon the joyful memories we have "cooked up" in the kitchen. A celebrated chef will demonstrate how to prepare an appetizer, main course and dessert. A notable winery representative will pair each course with a selection of their wines.
Where: Festival Welcome Center
Price: $110 or $150 per person, plus tax, gratuity included – Theme Park admission required.
|September 30||$110||Scott Hunnel, Victoria & Albert's and Erich Herbitschek, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa|
|October 7||$110||John Stewart & Duskie Estes, ZAZU Restaurant|
|October 14||$110||Alan Wong, Alan Wong's Restaurants|
|October 21||$150||Robert Irvine, Robert Irvine's Eat! SOLD OUT!|
|October 28||$110||Charles Mattocks, "The Poor Chef" (Cat Cora has cancelled.)|
|November 4||$110||Art Smith, Table Fifty-Two|
|November 11||$110||Suvir Saran, Devi Restaurant|
For additional coverage of this year's Food and Wine Festival, be sure to visit our friends over at the Disney Food Blog.
2 cups fresh shell beans (or dry white beans)
2 bay leaves
4 cloves peeled garlic, divided
2 stalks celery
2 carrots, peeled
1 onion, peeled
1 leek, white part only
good quality extra virgin olive oil
1/2 savoy cabbage, cut into thin ribbons (chiffonade)
1 bunch lacinato kale, stemmed and cut into chiffonade
6 cups water
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 loaf day old rustic bread, crust removed
1. If the beans are dried, cover the beans with water and soak overnight.
2. Cook the beans with the bay leaves and 2 of the garlic cloves until soft, about 1 hour. Strain, reserving 1 cup of the liquid to add to the soup.
3. Process the remaining 2 cloves garlic with the celery, carrots, onion and leek until very fine, but not wet (still with tiny pieces of the vegetables, not a puree)
4. Saute' the vegetables in about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil on medium-low heat until fragrant and slightly browned, about 10 minutes.
5. Add the beans and their cooking water, cabbage, kale, and water. Let simmer approximately an hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. Crumble the stale bread into chunks and place a handful of the bread in each bowl. Ladle soup over and let sit a few minutes for bread to soften and broth to be absorbed.
7. Finish each bowl with more extra virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.
Slow Roasted Balsamic
1 pork butt
4 onions, peeled and julienned
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 cup olive oil
2 and 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously season the pork butt with salt and pepper.
2. In a large oven-proof skillet on medium-high heat, sear the pork butt on all sides, until browned, about 15 minutes.
3. Remove from the pan and add the olive oil, onions, and garlic, lower heat and caramelize onions, about 20 minutes.
4. Return the pork to the pan on top of the onions, pour in the balsamic, cover with foil and cook in the over for 3 and 1/2 to 4 hours, until tender.
5. To plate, scoop a spoonful of mashed potatoes (see below) into each bowl. Top with a tong of pork, a mound of onions, and a ladle of the balsamic jus.
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes:
1-1/4 pound russet potatoes, peeled, cut into large chunks
1-1/4 pound yukon gold potatoes, not peeled, quartered
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
6 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Bring a pot of the potatoes and salted cold water to a boil until soft, about 25 minutes. Drain and food mill.
2. With a spatula, fold in the buttermilk, sour cream, and butter.
3 cups milk
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup bourbon
1. To make the gelato, combine the cream, milk, and sugar in a sauce pan on medium-high heat. Cool in an ice bath.
2. Once cool, add maple syrup and bourbon. Spin in your ice cream maker according to its directions. Let set in the freezer overnight.
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablesppon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs, separated
1-3/4 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons melted butter
12 ounces quality bacon, parcooked (ours is available at www.blackpigmeatco.com)
We make bacon toffee, but you can substitute 1 Heath Bar, chopped maple syrup
1. Preheat your waffle iron.
2. Sift the flour, baking soda and powder, sugar, and salt.
3. Beat the egg yolks until they are pale yellow. Add the buttermilk and butter. Combine with the dry ingredients.
4. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold the whites into the batter.
5. Ladle into your waffle iron and lay 2 slices of bacon across each waffle before closing the iron.
6. Once golden, plate the waffle and do another. Repeat until all batter is used. Top with a scoop of maple bourbon gelato, sprinkle with toffee, and drizzle additional maple syrup.