While “Kevin and Evan” may sound like a vaudeville act, they are in fact two talented wine and food professionals whose true art lies in their ability to create exceptional farm-to-table meals using locally grown ingredients. They brought their expertise with them from SALT Bistro in Boulder to the 20th Annual Colorado Mountain Winefest in Palisade.
Friday afternoon, September 16, chef Kevin Kidd and wine guru Evan Faber presented “Farm to Table Wine and Food Demo with Kevin and Evan” at the DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton in Grand Junction. Kevin and Evan discussed the philosophy of creating wine and food pairings based on the idea that “what grows together goes together,” or that ingredients sourced from local wineries and farms pair well naturally. Faber credits the same soil, sun, rain – terroir – as the basis for genuinely regional cuisine.
The food demonstration included “The Sound of Flavor,” or the idea that five tastes – sweet, sour, bitter, salt, and umami – can be conveyed through music. For example, sweet (e.g., dessert wine or milk chocolate) has a rounder tone, like a piano. Sour (e.g., Sauvignon Blanc or citrus) is more brash, like slide guitar. Sour food requires a high-acid wine to match. Bitter (e.g., big Cabernet Sauvignon or pepper) is a distorted guitar. Umami (e.g., Burgundy or mushrooms) is a Hammond Organ, while salt (e.g., Unoaked Chardonnay or capers) is percussion.
Chef Kidd combined these elements in a salad made of radicchio (bitter), sweet basil (sweet), shiitake mushrooms (umami), Prosciutto (salt), and lemon-buttermilk dressing (sour), which demonstrated the synergy of these five tastes. Delicious!
A memorable wine dinner –“Dinner with Kevin and Evan” – followed the food demonstration:
Course 1: Boulder Creek Winery Dry Rose paired with Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with a confit of golden tomatoes, basil pesto, and toasted almonds. Made from 100% Merlot grapes, the rose’s dry crispness paired well with the creaminess of the soup.
Course 2: Whitewater Hill Vineyards Riesling paired with Roasted Beet Duo, comprised of roasted red beet, shaved golden beet, micro radish, fresh chopped thyme, Gorgonzola, hazelnut, and pomegranate vinaigrette. The earthiness of the beets was a good complement to the off-dry Riesling. The spice of the radish offered another layer of interest to the palate.
Course 3: Guy Drew Vineyards Unoaked Chardonnay paired with Seared Sea Scallop on a bed of Olathe corn, bacon, basil, fried green tomato, in a lemon beurre blanc. The wine’s complex minerality and bright acidity were a wonderful complement to the meatiness of the sea scallop and bacon.
Course 4: Canyon Wind Cellars Cabernet Franc paired with Honey Rosemary-Glazed Colorado Lamb served on Parmigiano creamy polenta with wilted Swiss chard and crispy carrot. The herbaceousness of the wine enhanced the herbal notes in the glaze and polenta, while the aroma and taste of blueberries and blackberries brought out the sweetness of the honey.
Surprise Wine: Diners were treated to a taste of Kahil Winery’s 2009 Malbec, which won “Best in Show” at this year’s Winefest. The wine is testament to Tyrel Lawson’s skill as a winemaker, as the 26-year-old produced the Kahil Malbec while serving as winemaker for not one but two other wineries, Two Rivers Winery and Colterris Wines.
Course 5: Garfield Estates Winery Vin de Glace paired with Cinnamon Marsala Poached D’Anjou Pear with plum-lemon compote, Drambuie whipped cream, and almond tuile. The succulence of the Muscat wine made in the ice-wine style added a layer of richness to the elegant dessert, which proved to be a warm-up for the many diners who attended one more event that day, the Enstrom’s Chocolate and Wine Pairing.