Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Explore Canada's 4 Seasons at Sage Bespoke Grill

"Each and every day, Canadian beef is produced and delivered with pride and tradition. As exceptional as the land on which it is raised, Canadian beef is excellence without compromise."

Last week, I was invited to explore Canada's four seasons through a special five-course wine pairing dinner by Chef Sebastian Barcudes of Sage Bespoke Grill.
This was in collaboration with the Executive Director for the Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence Chef Matthieu Paré. Each dish were tastefully tailored to each season and paired with the exquisite wines from the Pillitteri Wine Estates.

For Spring, we had the Le Bouille de Grand Maman - Canadian beef consommé, young vegetables, and truffle celestine. A light yet flavorful dish. Apparently, this is inspired by the dishes Canadian locals make each spring as a restorative food from a long, cold, and dark winter using the first vegetables to appear in their gardens.
The Le Bouille de Grand Maman was paired with Pillitteri Cabernet Merlot VQA 2013.

For Summer, we were presented with a beautifully plated Reef and Range on the Three Summer Sisters. The Reef and Range is their take on what we know as Surf and Turf. In this case, it's confit Canadian spot prawn, beef cheeks tortellini with beans, squash, and corn.

Since summer time tends to be filled with a lot of outdoor activities, Canadians turn to carb-rich and filling dishes that can fuel their bodies and this Reef and Range is one example of that. As much as I love prawns though, the star for me here was the tortellini. So much flavor in one small bite!

We enjoyed the Reef and Range on the Three Summer Sisters with Pillitteri VQA Gewurztraminer Riesling 2017 (pictured above). 

For Fall, we had two very meaty dishes. This season marks the cold weather and hunting season in Canada. As frosty ice crystals begin to form overnight on the long summer grass, locals traditionally start storing preserved meats, fruits, and vegetables. This is also a great time to enjoy barbecue cooked over charcoal with salt-enriched sauces, paired with Brassicas such as the cauliflower.

Now, if they were to ask me for my favorite dish, my answer would be the Beef Chucks 2 Ways, particularly the braised beef. The grilled beef was great, too, sure. But the Braised beef chuck was extremely tender and oozing with flavor. What elevated this dish even more for me was the pommery mustard they served a few bites later. Better late than never!

The Beef Chucks 2 Ways was paired with Pillitteri Exclamation Merlot VQA 2015.

Soon came our final savory dish, the Wood Grilled Prime Ribeye. If I heard correctly, they grilled the ribeye using a barrel cut in half, hence, wood grilled. Overall, this was pretty straightforward. The steak was served with charred cabbage and honey glazed turnips on the side, topped with some light mustard jus.

The Wood Grilled Prime Ribeye was paired with the Pillitteri Riserva Cabernet Franc Appassimento VQA 2012. 

For Winter, they served us this freshly baked Pumpkin Spice Sticky Toffee Pudding with dark beer sorbet, dried fruits, and nuts.

It was soft and moist and almost drowning in toffee sauce, but I'm not complaining. It was so delicious and to my surprise, not overly sweet! Served with it was dark beer sorbet, something to keep you warm during cold times.. so yes, this dessert is definitely perfect for winter!
The Pumpkin Spice Sticky Toffee Pudding was paired with Pillitteri Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine VQA 2013.  

Here's what I learned about Icewine: Harvest of the Icewine grapes occurs when temperatures have reached -8*C or colder. When pressed, these hand picked, naturally frozen grapes yield a juice with an intense concentration of sugars, acids, flavours and aromas. The yield, however, is far lower than for most wines, requiring ten times more grapes per bottle. The resulting wine is high in natural sugar, low in alcohol, has an amazing acidity level, and is intensely sweet and flavourful. Pillitteri Icewine is a unique tasting experience with flavours that can range from honeyed peach and apricot to more tropical fruit like mangos. Read more about Icewine on the Pillitteri website here.

What a dinner to remember. You can still explore Canada's 4 Seasons at Sage Bespoke Grill, Makati Shangri-La until March 28, 2020. For inquiries and reservations, please call (02) 8814 2580 or e-mail rric.slm@shangri-la.com.

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