March 7, 2010

Dîner Amical – Il Sogno- March 7, 2010

Our second event of the 2010 season was hosted by Patricia Koyich at her restaurant – Il Sogno.  She and her staff chose to create the evening based on some of their favourite dishes or musical “notes” and to present them with matching musical compositions.  Indeed the menu was presented as the liner notes of a CD.  The jewel case also held a CD of the original recordings.

The reception began with musicians Peter Manley and Kodi Hutchinson – a guitar and bass duo playing in front of the restaurant bar.  The musicians provided live renditions of the music for the food that would be served during the evening.

To start, we were treated to a glass of Bellavista Franciacorta N/V accompanied by Hors d’oeuvres consisting of
Mushroom tortellini with pecorino
Beef tartare on potato crisps
Arancini with cheese fondue

We were honoured at this event by the presence of Dr Wolfgang von Stetten, Bailli Délégué d’Allemagne Membre du Conseil d’Administration a special guest of David Tetrault.

The tables were set as rectangular seating for ten persons – five on each side.  Simple, yet elegant white linen table cloths were used with great effect to highlight the table décor and the various dishes as they were presented throughout the evening.  The crystal centrepiece vases were rectangular to echo the table shape and contained Tiger Lilies, Gerber Daises, Tulips and Roses.

To start our evening of dining, we were presented with a bowl containing a white pellet about the size of a marshmallow.  Hot water was poured over it and magically, a hot towel appeared!

The first course was labeled “Antipasti” and consisted of four treats presented neatly on a large square dish:
Rabbit Terrine
Pickled Ewenique Farms lamb tongue
Chicken liver parfait
Marinated Quail eggs.
A glass of 2007 Pinot Gris from Leon Beyer of Alsace accompanied the dish, while Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” accompanied the course.

Throughout the evening we (or at least, yours truly) were pleasantly distracted by the fleet of wine that was being poured for the next course.  In the case of the nearby photo, it was for the “Pasta”, a bowl of Ricotta Gnocchi with Shitake mushrooms and Brussels sprout leaves, marinated in a butter fondue and drizzled with porcini oil.  While we enjoyed this course, Oscar Peterson’s “Wheatland” wafted through the air.

The fish dish or “Primi” was a brilliant arrangement of Monkfish, seated on top of a roasted tomato coulis, coco bean ragu and pancetta oil.  Kurt Elling’s “Tight” swam about us as we enjoyed  the dish.  The “Intermezzo” was a bowl of frozen grapes with 12 year aged Balsamic vinegar dripped over top.  The grapes were the perfect consistency for the palate cleanser – solid, but not crunchy.  It is shown here with a present from Dr von Stetten – the official German National Bailliage pin.  To keep it in sync, “Satin Doll” by Joe Pass was played.

The “Secondi”, which turned out to be the main dish, was duo of Alberta Wild Boar: a roasted loin and a shoulder “Bolognese” in crespelle, with celeriac puree and fondant, and edged with natural jus to provide definition from the white plate.  This crescendo was bolstered by a gorgeous 2003 Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG from Poggio Bonelli of Tuscany and the sweet sounds of “Senor Blues” from Horace Silver.

The cheese plate (“Formaggi”), was served au natural – a combination of Taleggio and Grana Padano, with Truffle crostini and Glazed chestnuts.  A tart presentation of “Skylark” by The Clayton Brothers kept this plate in check.

The dessert or “Dolci”, was a beautiful pair of delights.  Moe Koffman and his “Swinging Shepard Blues” was the treat for this course.  To the left a traditional vanilla bean panna cotta in a pool of blood orange consommé, while to the right was an orange infused sugar tuille stuffed with chocolate pastry cream.

The Good Night treat was the “Buona Notte” – a tray of Hazelnut Fritters.  This time, it was not the fault of the Vice Charge de Press, but rather one of his table mates who purloined one of the fritters before the picture could be taken.  It was truly “The Quintessence” of the evening, by Phil Woods expressed in the music.

To start the evening’s wrap up and presentations, a quick shot of the kitchen brigade was taken as they started their own celebration of our successful event.  It was photographed in black and white by Patricia’s guest photographer.

Patricia, her Front Section staff and the Back Section staff were brought out to a standing ovation from the guests.  Patricia was presented with one of our plates, while Chef Christopher Picek was presented with another.  Pictures were taken of the recipients with members of our Bailliage and as well asone special picture of Patricia with her proud parents.

At this time Dr von Stetten delivered his own accolade.  He praised the extremely high quality of the dinner, the restaurant and the high standards of the Calgary Bailliage.  He then gave out special gifts to a few selected members and presented a plate to our Bailliage from the Bailliage d’Allemagne.

As we left Il Sogno, we were presented with a little parting gift – a box of “La Dolce Sogno” made by pastry chefs Assunta & Anna.  In all, it was a wonderful evening and an excellent debut for Patricia and Il Sogno.  We look forward to future presentations at this establishment and we are sure that our members will return to Il Sogno in future for their for their personal dining pleasure.

I must thank Patricia’s photographer for some of the photos presented in this write-up.

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