Good Taste : A Greek feast for Habitat
Mediterranean's Wine and Dinner Series last Thursday was an intimate gathering of a dozen or so people, seated at one long table in our own room off the dining room. We were traveling to Greece that night, through a selection of five wines, each paired with their own course, while raising money for Habitat for Humanity.
Doug Hewson, restaurant co-owner, greeted the table, asked about dietary restrictions, and encouraged us to have a great time. Delicious bread and olive oil started us off, as well as bruschetta with a cheese made from 80 percent goat's milk and 20 percent sheep's milk.
At one head of the table was Richard Clement of Martignetti Liquors, who described in detail the wines he had selected for the evening. He spoke of Greece's wine history and answered questions about corks and Stelvin enclosures, plastic wine bottles, and cement tanks.
Of the wines, two were red, two were white, and one was a dessert. We began with the Santadi "Villa Solais" Vermentino. According to Mr. Clement, it's a perfect complement to seafood, and we enjoyed a skewer of grilled shrimp and scallops over a marinated cucumber salad.
Next, we enjoyed Codfish Plaki: pan-seared cod in a traditional tomato-based sauce with a pan-fried potato poplette, with an Achaia Clauss Nemea Red wine, similar to Pinot Noir. As the largest export winery from Greece, the Nemea region houses two wineries and an ancient archeological site.
For the third course, we had Haloumi Salad: a firm Cyprian cheese pan-fried over mixed greens, savory fruit compote, and toasted pignolis. Only made in Cyprus, Haloumi is a salty and chewy cheese made with sheep and goat's milk. Because Greece is not a large wine exporter, this course was accompanied by a Lageder "Beta-Delta" Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay blend from Italy. Mr. Clement chose the wine because of its Greek name, and because it is a very popular biodynamic wine made by Alois Lageder.
Since a Greek meal is not complete without lamb, our fourth course was a lamb kebab: grilled, tender marinated lamb with roasted vegetables and toasted farro pilaf. Our fourth wine, Santadi Carignano "Grotta Rossa," was from Sardinia, which used to be part of Greece but now belongs to Italy. From Mr. Clement, we learned that this wine is made in cement tanks rather than oak or steel, a resurging trend in the wine world.
The evening ended with a glass of Achaia Clauss Mavrodaphne red dessert wine, and two types of baklavas. There was the traditional type with pistachio and simple syrup, and a "hairy" baklava made with shredded phyllo dough, roasted walnuts, and honey, both served with homemade lemon ice cream.
The previous dinners have been a success, drawing 20 people on average. Already having done Provence, Mediterranean continues the series this Thursday, Nov. 12, with Morocco, then India the week after Thanksgiving. Mr. Clement would like to continue with Thai, and Germany/Austria. The dinner is $50 per person, with 10 percent of the proceeds donated to Habitat for Humanity; tax and gratuity are not included. For more information, call the restaurant at 508-693-1617.