Food

The Rainforest Wine & Seafood Experience

At The Wine Rack

with Christopher Reckord

Thursday, June 15, 2017

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The curtains came down a few weeks ago on the most anticipated gastronomy event of the year, The Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards , and what an exciting night it was on the south lawns of Devon House. The enhanced parking arrangements and new layout of the lawns served to quiet all doubters who said that the venue is too small — it was expansive and very comfortable, leading these same doubters to say it was too spread out; a clear demonstration of the diversity of the Devon House venue.

I was obviously biased in seeking out all booths that were featuring good wines or, more importantly, great wine and food experiences. When I found out that Rainforest Seafoods created a wine and food-tasting menu, I made it a priority to visit them as soon as the awards formalities were over.

The menu

Their menu consisted of seven different seafood offerings including freshly shucked oysters, fried conch, conch ceviche, jerked lion fish chowder, smoked salmon and my favourite, the Bourbon-flamed scallops.

Rainforest worked with local wine importer Select Brands to choose four wines to accompany the seafood dishes. The wines included the fresh, light and flirty Nottage Hill Pinot Grigio which was paired very well with the conch dishes; the aromatic, flavourful off-dry Charles Smith 'Kung Fu Girl' Riesling, which paired well with the Jerk Lionfish and the smoked salmon capers; the B&G Chardonnay from France on the menu was substituted with a Nottage Hill Chardonnay from Australia to accompany the scallops and the pan-seared fresh fillet. The zingy, fresh, very fruit-forward Da Luca Prosecco was a delightful pairing for the oysters.

Wine & Food pairing

Magical wine and food partnerships, where both the wine and food taste better with each sip and each bite, take some work; the chefs and the wine team need to conduct tastings in order to do the necessary tweaks for the magic to occur.

The age-old suggestion of “white wine with fish and red wine with meat” provided a good starting point, but the globalisation of food has pushed these guidelines for a review. The primary factors to consider in doing a pairing are the flavor and intensity of the food to the flavour and intensity of the wine. The more powerful and flavourful the food, the greater the flavour and intensity the wine will need to be for the pairing to remain in balance.

Hats off to the Rainforest team for conceptualising this tasting experience, as it was a hit with the many patrons who, like me, made a beeline to their booth to sample what they had to offer. Rainforest also leveraged social media to create awareness around their offering before the event and this succeeded in bringing many patrons in to experience their delightful pairings.

Christopher Reckord - Information Technology Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to creckord@gmail.com. You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram @chrisreckord and on Twitter: @Reckord

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