- For full coverage of the 2014 Margaret River Gourmet escape, click here.
FRIDAY night marked the first of the Siemens collaboration dinners.
Held at the picturesque Aravina winery the evening began with Sauvignon Blanc Semillon on the deck.
The light rain that fell couldn’t dampen the spirits of the rich and fabulous as an acoustic duo set the scene with feel good tunes.
The tuna sashimi canapé invoked soft, delicate flavours with a delightfully salty citrus finish on the palate.
Tiny miso and yuzi icecreams were inventive but didn’t quite hit the mark.
The stand out of the pre-dinner pleasures was the blue cheese filled walnut served on a sliver of green apple.
Although many diners found the logistics of balancing a wine glass, plate and fork difficult the effort was entirely worth it.
Guests were invited in to the elegantly styled private dining room and individually escorted to their tables.
It was a personal touch but one that left many waiting on the rainy deck for more then ten minutes.
Once inside our host Max Veenhuyzen opened the event but that was the last we saw of him until question time with the chefs after dessert.
It would have been very beneficial for diners if he’d popped up between courses to explain the wine pairings.
Two Michelin star chef Claude Bosi created a marron tartare with potato and sage cold soup for entrée.
The delicate smokey flavours were balanced with fresh mint but the unusual dish was lost on many diners with one woman describing the taste as akin to ‘stale kettle water’.
Renowned local head chef of Aravina Toney Howell stole the show with his rare roasted Margaret River venison accompanied by baby heirloom beetroots, tuna mayonnaise and Albany asparagus.
The dish highlighted why the Gourmet Escape is such a fabulous event. The local produce of the South West area is truly world class and the pairing with the 2011 Aravina Cabernet Sauvignon was pure perfection.
Masterchef judge and restaurateur George Calombaris finished the evening with chocolate cake. However the simple description on the menu did not reflect the dinner theatre that Calombaris had planned.
Once diners had received their elegantly presented layers of chocolate Calombaris went from guest to guest spooning a dry ice sugar crunch onto plates.
Another chef pouring a rich chocolate sauce completed this truly decadent dessert.
The evening was beautifully executed however many diners wished the wine flowed more freely and the service lacked when it came to ensuring water and wine glasses were promptly topped up.
Overall it was an elegant way for many to begin their Gourmet Escape weekend.