Dinner Out: Icewine Festival Collaboration Dinner

Nova Scotia Icewine Festival Collaboration Dinner, 2020
Scott Campbell

On February 22, Lightfoot & Wolfville Winery pulled out all the stops (again) and hosted an impressive Icewine Festival event in their spectacular barrel room dining room. The sold out event was attended by some very avid food and wine connoisseurs who were treated to a phenomenal display of fantastic Nova Scotia wines all expertly paired with delicious entrées created by three of our local and well-known winery chefs.

We were all welcomed with live music in the lobby of the grand Lightfoot & Wolfville Winery and offered fresh oysters and a selection of brilliant local sparkling wines. After a few moments (and several oysters) we were invited to go downstairs to the barrel room and find our seats. Lightfoot & Wolfville Winery co-owner Jocelyn Lightfoot welcomed us all to the fantastic Icewine Festival event and introduced us to the chefs who would be preparing our feast.

The first course was a delightful savoury treat created by Lightfoot & Wolfville’s own Chef Brady Bertrand. Chef Bertrand created an amazing pork and Lightfoot & Wolfville Chardonnay lees sausage with braised cabbage, all served on top of a roasted onion oil and jus. The hearty sausage and cabbage worked fantastically with the sweet onion oil and jus. This entrée was paired with a delicious 2017 Sainte-Famille Wild Seyval.

Next up was a wonderfully creative dish by Restaurant Le Caveau’s Chef Jason Lynch. He presented us with a squid ink orecchiette with rock crab, white wine, and a garlic whey emulsion. The potent colouring, yet mild flavour, of the squid ink made for an exciting visual experience before we ever tasted the dish, but the taste was indeed the highlight. The tender crab meat blended effortlessly with the perfectly prepared pasta. The wine white and garlic whey emulsion made the ideal backdrop for this tasty and visually intriguing dish. This was paired with a 2018 Gaspereau Vineyards Riesling, a great choice for this rich flavourful seafood.

Our third course was prepared by Luckett Vineyards’ Chef Mark Lambert. Chef Lambert brought us a warm duck confit salad with cranberries, fennel, savoy, walnut crumb, lardon, and green goddess dressing. Again, we were treated to a rich savoury dish with an amazing flavour profile. The rich fullness of the warm duck confit was superb atop the tart cranberries and fresh fennel. Pairing this with a 2018 Mercator Vineyards Compass Rosé was brilliant.

Our next course was baked rainbow trout with Nova Scotia red corn polenta, coppa cream, and julienne radish. The smooth-tasting trout was lovely with the rich polenta and coppa cream, and the julienne radish added just the right crunch and punch to the otherwise delicate flavours. This was the creation of Chef Jason Lynch. One of my all-time favourite wines was paired with this course. It was the 2017 Planter’s Ridge Chardonnay.

The entrées just seemed to get richer as the evening went on and our last savoury dish of the evening did not disappoint. Chef Mark Lambert presented us with grass-fed beef short ribs with wine gastrique, squash purée, fondant potatoes, onion frites, blistered tomatoes, and persillade. Amazing. The short ribs were falling-apart tender and the wine gastrique helped pack them with rich, beefy flavour. The pungent roasted tomatoes and hearty fondant potatoes displayed over the plate were perfect accompaniments to the beef. The rich persillade, a type of parsley sauce with rich seasonings, was interspersed around the plate, adding just the right variety of flavours, but the squash purée was incredible. It was a perfect plate mate to the beef. It was everything I could do not to lick the plate. This was paired with our first red wine of the evening: the NV Old Bill from Luckett Vineyards. The full, dense flavours of the Old Bill were perfect with the rich, meaty short ribs.

The finale of the evening – the dessert – was not to be outdone. Chef Brady Bertand masterfully created a dessert that was worthy of topping off all the dishes that came before it. He created a Cortland apple mille feuille, a dessert consisting of layers of puff pastry and custard, with meadowsweet whipped cream. A delicious Cortland apple sauce was placed in small dollops on the puff pastry and custard, all alongside the meadowsweet cream. This sweet sensation was made all the more sensational when it was paired with not one but two sweet ice wines. After all, that is why we were there. We topped off the evening with a 2016 Lightfoot & Wolfville Vidal Ice Wine and a 2018 Domaine de Grand Pré Vidal Ice Wine. Both of these delicious libations had very distinctive and sweet flavour profiles and each worked very differently with the dessert. Both were spectacular.

Hopefully you had a chance to take in some of the other Nova Scotia Icewine Festival events that were going on all week here in the Valley. If not, I hope to see you at one of these fun events next year. Cheers.

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