GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)- Foodies are in for a culinary adventure at 10th Annual Grand Rapids Wine, Beer and Food Festival set for November 16-18th at DeVos Place. The festival highlights 1,800 wines, beers, ciders and spirits. In addition to great drinks and small plates festival-goers can be wined and dined at one of the special pairing dinners offer by local restaurants.
WOTV 4 Women has the chance to get a preview of these incredible pairings and we wanted to share our experience with you!
Rockwell Republic offers 6-course pairing menu
Wondering what the heck a pairing is? Let us give you a first hand account that will make your mouth water! We dined at Rockwell Republic and the chefs led us through a culinary adventure. We actually felt like we were on an episode of Top Chef! The menu felt a little intimidating at a glance. We weren’t quite sure about jellyfish, rabbit and a few things we couldn’t pronounce but that was all part of the excitement!
The idea behind the pairing is to enjoy a unique dining experience and try new things! Every course is paired with a cocktail and the chef will walk you through exactly what you’re tasting!
Course 1- Soup
Plate: Egg Drop Soup, Hot and Sour Pork Dumpling
Pairing: Bells Lager of the Lakes
What we thought: This dish was a hit with our party of 10! After the dinner concluded many of us named this our favorite dish of the evening. This was actually a soup inside a soup! Inside that beautiful little dumping was a hot and sour soup. When you use your spoon to dig into the dumpling the hot and sour soup pours out and mixes in to the egg drop soup providing a delicious duo! It was spicy but not overwhelming. It was a fun surprise and a favorite for many!
Course 2- Sushi
Plate: Big Eye Tuna Nigiri, Truffled Shishito Pepper, Yuzu Black Tobiko, Rosemary Gel
Pairing: Champagne Cocktail – Moutard Brut Champagne, Angostura soaked sugar cube, bruleed lemon peel, pounded rosemary stalk
What we thought: This beautiful presentation packed a punch. The notes of ginger and wasabi woke us up and the raspberry gel was a nice complement. The best part of the dish for me was the champagne cocktail! It even had a sugar cube at the bottom soaked in liquor. The rosemary was a fragrant note without overpowering the lightness of the bubbly.
Course 3- Chef Board
Plate: Duck Prosciutto, Berber Rabbit Balantine, Lamb Boudin, Jalapeno Lime Marmalade, Asian Pear Chutney
Pairing: Orchards Negroni – Lairds Applejack Brandy, R&R Sweet Vermouth, Aperol, Campari, St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur, orange twist
What we thought: The chef board had me nervous but it turned out to be delightful! It was a great experience mixing and matching the various meats, cheeses and chutneys! I can now say that I enjoy duck and have tried rabbit! The Jalapeno marmalade stole the show on this plate. We spread it on everything! By the end I was just spooning up the Asian pear chutney it was so good! For many at the table the rabbit and lamb were amazing and a favorite. Who knew?! Thanks Chef for introducing us to something new.
Course 4- Salad
Plate: Jellyfish Cucumber Salad, Wafu, Frisse, Arugula, Poached Egg, Pickled Sprouts
Pairing: Water of Life – Long Road Old Aquavit, Lillet Blanc, Cointreau Orange Liqueur, fresh lemon juice, R&R honey syrup, orange wheel, R&R Brandy Cherry
What we thought: We had no idea to what to expect when the “jellyfish” course came out. It ended up being a huge hit! The jellyfish was served two ways and we loved the crispy bits of fried jellyfish that topped the salad. The poached egg added the perfect richness to the salad. The veggies were crisp and flavorful. The cocktail was bright and fresh and a wonderful pairing.
Course 5- Entree
Plate: Gyudon Marinated Cow Tenderloin, Parsnip Puree, Sugiyaki Broth, Scallion
Pairing: Manhattan Spice Trade – Elijah Craig Bourbon, Orange Spice Tea infused with R&R Sweet Vermouth, angostura bitters, flamed lemon peel extract, Brandy Cherry
What we thought: The tenderloin melts in your mouth! Though a bit rare for some the flavor was outstanding and the sweet and savory bed of parsnip puree was really delicious. The cocktail was rich and strong and held up nicely to the richness of the dish.
Course 6- Dessert
Plate: Carrot Walnut Cake, Aquafaba and Coconut Frosting, Rum Cherry Gastrique, Candied Walnuts, Salted Almond Caramel
Pairing: Holiday from Real – Vanilla infused Old Forester Bourbon, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, fresh lemon juice, pineapple juice, simple syrup, bruleed clove studded pineapple wedge, R&R Brandy Cherry
What we thought: What’s not to like here! This sweet dessert was a tropical finish to our meal. The cake was moist and dense and the frosting and mounds of toasted coconut had us licking our plates! We loved the roasted pineapple wedge served with the cocktail too!
Thursday: 5:30pm, 7:30pm
Friday: 5:30pm, 7:30pm
Saturday: 2pm, 4pm, 6pm, 8pm
PRICE: $65 per person