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Santé & Food Network's Ultimate Winemakers Dinner 2007 

by Steve Thurlow

Ten award-winning wines, four Food Network celebrity chefs, and a magnificent Toronto setting – these are the ingredients that have been combined to create what will surely be one of Toronto's gourmet delights this year. I am talking about the Santé & Food Network's Ultimate Winemakers Dinner on Wednesday, May 9th, 2007, at Toronto's Four Seasons Hotel.

In November 2006, Gord Stimmell, Billy Munnelly, Tony Aspler, Zoltan Szabo and I gathered to judge the over 100 wines entered for the Santé wine competition. It was a long day of tasting wines by style to achieve a balanced collection: sparkling, light and bold whites, light and big reds and dessert wines. Once we had winners in each category, we started to think about a dinner menu. Our ideas percolated for a while with Lynn Crawford, contributing host of Restaurant Makeover on Food Network and Executive Chef of New York's Four Seasons Hotel, who coordinates the menu. Finally all the chefs tasted the wines as a group helping each other with the creation of their dishes.

For the pre-dinner reception Champagne Taittinger Brut Reserve and Cape Campbell 2004 Limited Edition Marlborough Pinot Noir have been matched with appetizers created by each of the chefs. Following the reception, the Santé 2007 Ultimate Winemakers Dinner will feature five courses and a further eight wines.

Konrad & Co 2005 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Penfolds 2005 Eden Valley Riesling have been matched with "Warm Tournivent Chevre Creme Brulee with Beet and Diakon Salad" created by Ricardo Larivee, host of Ricardo and Friends on Food Network.

For the second course we selected KWV International Cathedral Cellars 2005 Western Cape Chardonnay, which will be served with a "Veal and Tuna Tonatto" created by Lynn Crawford. Her dish also accompanies Château des Charmes 2004 Chardonnay Paul Bosc Estate, Niagara 2004.

For the third course, "Beef Three Ways" has been created by David Adjay, contributing host of Restaurant Makeover on Food Network, to be served with Diemersdal 2004 Shiraz and Graham Beck The Ridge Syrah 2002, both from South Africa's Western Cape. Both wines really show off the dish by balancing the beef's richness with elegant fruit, firm tannin and refreshing acidity.

A savoury cheese dish will be served with Galpin Peak 2005 Pinot Noir Walker Bay South Africa. Anna Olson, host of sugar on Food Network, has created an Artisanal Palette featuring three Canadian cheeses.

Finally Taylor Fladgate, 30 Year Old Tawny Port will be served with Sticky Toffee Pudding with Devonshire Cream, Dark Chocolate and Caramel Sauce created by Robert Bartley, Executive Chef, Four Seasons, Toronto, who will also head the team that will deliver the dinner to 500 guests in May.

I hope your appetite has been sufficiently stimulated for you to reserve now. Assuming that unsold tickets still remain, you may purchase them for the Ultimate Winemakers Dinner including all ten wines for $150 per person solely by contacting the Bloor-Yorkville BIA offices at 416-928-3553 ext. 25. The dinner will be held in the magnificent ballroom of the Four Seasons Hotel, Toronto. For info on the other 70 or so events at Santé 2007, go to

Steve Thurlow is Wine Access Senior Editor and Education Director for Santé.




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