They came from near and far, as far as The Bahamas in fact, to attend the 2012 staging of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs membership black-tie induction event, held Saturday last at the Sandals Whitehouse European Village & Spa.
The induction ceremony, conducted by Ron Overend, Bailli Provincial (Caribbean Regional Head), saw 10 persons being admitted to the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs and about seven persons inducted into Société Mondiale du Vin.
The Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is a global organisation whose members are devoted to preserving the camaraderie and pleasures of the table, and to promoting excellence in all areas of the hospitality arts.
In that same organisation, the Société Mondiale du Vin was created to promote the enjoyment, knowledge and understanding of fine wines and crafted beverages. The Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is the oldest and largest food and wine society in the world.
Executive Chef Adrian Weichenberger treated the guests to a most sumptuous six-course wine dinner, paying tribute to a beloved Jamaican favourite — the versatile breadfruit. The staple was first brought to Jamaica from Tahiti in the 1700s by Captain William Bligh as he sought to win a prize for finding a low-cost, high-energy food that was badly needed in the Caribbean for the enslaved British workers.
He did win the prize, but sadly the slaves did not eat the breadfruit. We, however, certainly enjoyed the various expressions of breadfruit prepared by the Sandals Whitehouse culinary team with a wide range of wines.
A delightful range of wines
To accompany the ceviche, "three ways" with crispy Breadfruit Wafer, we began with a simple, yet refreshing Sunrise Sauvignon Blanc produced by Concho y Toro Chile. This is a vibrant and fresh wine with elegant fruit and citrus flavours that delivers a crisp and fresh flavour.
One of my favourite wines for the night was the Farnese Casale Vecchio Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. This wine is a deep ruby colour with earth, spice, cherry, olive, and berry aromas; dry-medium to full-bodied, with ripe plum, spice and fruity flavours, firm tannin, good length. This was served with the delicious hot appetiser of Breadfruit Croquettes with Tamarind BBQ Pork Ribs, Soursop Relish.
Our soup course was a Miso-Breadfruit Cream Soup with breadfruit croutons. The rather lively Beringer Stone Cellars Pinot Grigio accompanied this dish. This wine has delicate aromas of citrus and orange blossom followed by tropical fruit flavours with a smooth finish.
Aromas and flavours of green apple and tropical fruits, balanced by subtle oak, cinnamon and vanilla from barrel aging, is how Wente describes their Morning Fog Chardonnay. With a mouth-filling body and balanced acidity, this wine delivers a medium-long, refreshing finish. The Sandals team served this fine wine with the Seared Jumbo Scallop with Breadfruit-Truffle Mousse, accompanied by sweet peas and wasabi sauce.
After a 10-minute break, with two courses to go, the next wine to be poured was a Ritterhof Crescendo Cabernet Alto Adige Riserva, which is made in Switzerland with grape juice transported from North Italy. The wine has the classic red fruit aromas of black currants and blackberries. On the palate it is a tasty, smooth full-bodied wine that we enjoyed with "Trilogy of Beef": Breadfruit-Cowfoot Ravioli, Butter Beans Ragout, Smoked Tongue with Breadfruit au Gratin, Cognac Cream Sauce Blackened Steak with Breadfruit Achar.
I have always thought that one of the most important courses during dinner is the dessert. My explanation is that it is the last thing that you taste, and usually what most people remember about the entire event.
So, I tend to nudge the chefs with whom I work to ensure that they end with a bang. The Sandals Whitehouse Culinary Team did just that with the Breadfruit Pudding served with Bourbon Vanilla Bean Ice Cream tossed in Candied Breadfruit. The Tommasi Villa Danzia Prosecco was a lovely Prosecco enjoyed by most, but in my opinion it was not sweet enough to create that synergistic explosion on the palate that a sweeter wine could have done.
Sandals Whitehouse European Village & Spa is a sprawling beautiful property tucked away on Jamaica's rustic south coast. It is a perfect getaway spot for you to take that special someone — check it out!
Christopher Reckord — Businessman, Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on twitter: @DeVineWines @Reckord