Cynthia Peters

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Winter Wonderland in Wine County

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By Cynthia Peters


A visit to the Country in the wintertime can be a great get-away from the city. From the numerous wineries, exceptional restaurants and art galleries – a trip to Prince Edward County offers a host of activities for foodies and art and wine lovers. 

Recently, I had the opportunity to dine at a special Winemaker’s Dinner at Oeno Gallery, which officially opened its doors on January 30th. Located next to Huff’s Estate Inn & Winery, it is the leading Contemporary Art Gallery in the region.

Home to some of the most provocative and interesting contemporary artists from across Canada and internationally, this structure shines with light and talent. Design features for the new gallery are exquisite including its belvedere roof that creates a vessel for showcasing the art in natural light. 

Gallery Owners, Carlyn Moulton and Barbara Basille, worked closely with Huff’s owners to create a structure that both complemented and enhanced the other properties on the site.  “Lanny and Catherine Huff started talking with us two years ago about how great it would be to have an inn, the gallery, the winery, the patio and jazz all in the same spot. We thought it was a great idea – I don’t think there is another setting like this anywhere in Canada”, says curator and gallery co-owner, Carlyn Moulton.

Also as part of the opening celebration weekend, Oeno Gallery hosted its first Winemaker’s Dinner with Huff Estates award-winning winemaker Frederic Picard and chef Michael Hoy from the Claramount Inn and Spa.  Upon arrival, we were delighted when Huff’s sparking 2004 Cuvee greeted us at the door. Guests enjoyed a sampling of simple, yet tasty canapés while wandering the gallery and enjoying the works of art.

Seated in the main room of the gallery, 36 guests were treated to a five-course dinner with wine pairings. First course was Betty Chambers’ Jerusalem Artichoke and Leek Bisque with Leek Frites. The subtle flavor of the artichokes stood firm to the sweet leeks and the velvety texture married nicely with the sparking bubbles. Frederic entertained and educated the guests at each course with the selected wine pairings.

Next came the Belgium Endive and Watercress Salad with Cambazola Fritter and Wine-Poached Pear and Black Current Hazelnut Vinaigrette – A great combination of flavors, especially paired with my favorite Huff Estates Chardonnay – Lighthall. This 2006 vintage offers a light oak finish with hints of minerals and fresh apples.

The top dish of the evening went to the next course – Pure Springs Rainbow Trout Gravlax with Caperberries, Buckwheat Blini and Red Onion Confit. The fish was delicate and danced when combined with the rest of the offering. Huff Estates 2006 South Bay Chardonnay, fermented its entire life in French oak, matched the bold, clean flavors of the dish.

A scoop of 2007 Riesling Off-Dry Granite presented in a Martini glass, cleansed our palate before the main course was served – Flintshire Farms Breast of White Pheasant, Muscovy Duck Roulade with Pistachios, local Blueberry Gamay Reduction and Yam Pomme Anna. This course was served with Huff Estates 2006 South Bay Merlot. The pheasant was perhaps a little tough, but the roulade and Yam Pomme Anna made up for it. The merlot grapes, still in its early years of growth, provided a fresh fruit flavor accompanied by some cherry notes.

The finale consisted of a Waupoos Apple Frangipane Tart with Caramelized Pecan and Cinnamon Crème Fraiche Ice Cream. A little rich for my taste buds, but it was certainly devoured by my table companions. The treat at this course was the glass of Huff Estates 2004 Ice Wine!

On a snow swept evening, dining amongst engaging art in such an intimate setting, certainly created a magical evening. Beauty and taste on so many levels – a winning formula for foodies that appreciate art in all its forms.

More Winemaker’s Dinners are planned this year. For tickets ($125/person, including taxes and gratuities) and more information contact Huff Estates, recognized as one of the top twenty wineries in Canada, at 1-866-484-4667 (toll free), www.huffestates.ca

Beginning February 8th, the Gallery will be hosting “The Gift Exchange” – a lecture and discussion series exploring ideas about art and creativity, which runs for 12 weeks, Sundays at 2pm. Notable artists, art writers and curators will be speaking on a variety of art-related topics. Call 613-393-2216, email cmoulton@oenogallery.com Oeno Gallery www.oenogallery.com, 2274 County Road 1, next to Huff Estates Inn and Winery.

Beyond Oeno, there are many artists homes and galleries open to the public throughout the County. So many in fact that last year the “Arts Trail” was launched to showcase many of the locations Go to www.artstrail.ca

For wine lovers, many of the wineries are open for tastings and tours on a daily basis, while some are restricted to weekend hours.  Winter Cooking classes are also offered at The Waring House Cooking School (www.waringhouse.com) and Harvest Restaurant  (www.harvestrestaurant.ca).  Many of the inns are offering special packages for weekend stays.

And for those who want to wear off a few calories from the weekend festivities, the cross-country trails at the Sandbanks are amazing. For a full line up of all County winter events, restaurants, hotels, wineries, galleries, etc….go to www.pec.on.ca

 

 

 



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