May 21, 2011

Diner Amical – Post Hotel – Saturday, May 21, 2011

Our spring event this year brought us once again to Lake Louise and the Post Hotel for two adventures – a l’Ordre Mondial event in the wine cellar and a magnificent Diner Amical.  The l’Ordre Mondial event is discussed in a separate entry.  Please see the photographs page of our web site.

The Post is always a treat to visit.  Reminders of la Chaîne are everywhere.  The Bronze medallion decorates a post in the Reception area and plates from previous visits overlook the stairwell.  Also a treat to look forward to is the famous Lemon Gugelhopf.

The reception was held in the Post Hotel’s library – always a very pleasant location to start an evening.  Everyone arrived promptly at 6pm.  Perhaps it was to take advantage of the Pommery NV Brut Royal, or perhaps to enjoy the plentiful hors d’oeuvres, or perhaps just to mingle and chat with everyone, or perhaps to do all three.  Whichever, a good conversation was had by all.

As always, the reception had to come to an end and so we wound our way down the staircase to the private dining room.  Once again, we found the room set with chairs and circular tables covered in white linen. The table linen was topped with a gauze cover interlaced with a gold flower pattern. The table settings were simple, yet elegant, with an attractive flower arrangement that was decorative, yet not too high that it blocked the view of the rest of the company at the table.

Following a few brief remarks, the service started with a Spicy Tempura of Alaskan King Crab accompanied by a baby spinach salad and Shiitake mushrooms drizzled lightly with an Asian Vinaigrette.  It was paired with a 2009 Domaine Zind-Humbrecht from Alsace.  The acid and fruit of this Riesling presented a blend of richness to tame the heat of the tempura.

The second course was Blackened wild BC Salmon topped with a Rooibos tea foam paired with a sancerre from Alphonse Mellot of the Loire Valley.  The wine had a slightly smokier nose which allowed it to assert itself to the salmon.

Next up was a sautéed Atlantic Lobster on fresh BC Morels with a white port wine Lobster beurre blanc graced with a 2006 Domain Latour–Giraud from Burgundy.  This Mersault was a full bodied chardonnay balanced in acid and nature and provided support to his excellent dish.

We then returned to Alberta for a pan-seared Pheasant breast with creamy Savoy cabbage and Yukon Jack game sauce.  This paired wonderfully with a rare 2001 Domain Bouchard Pere e Fils Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru of Burgundy.  This course proved that you can take a difficult bird, nest it in a bed of common vegetables, sauce it with some bad boy Canadian whiskey based sauce, pair it with a noble wine and create a little bit of heaven.


Our main course continued with a Canadian-sourced theme.  It was whole roasted Quebec rack of milk fed veal accompanied with a dry sherry sauce, Porcini mushrooms, risotto and fiddleheads.  A 2000 well oaked Tuscan Saffredi from Fattoria la Pupille made a beautiful pairing for this course.

The cheeses were very interesting and unusual.  From the left, a double cream Delice d’Argental from Burgundy.  In the centre, a slice of Sbrinz from Switzerland one of the oldest European cheeses,  To the right, a very hard cheese from the highlands of France – Beaufort.  They all met their match with a very classic 1995 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve from Robert Mondavi of Napa Valley.

In Post tradition, the granité followed the cheese course.  It was an apple soup with the Granny Smith granité perched above on two tasty supports.  A bit of maple syrup was drizzled in the granité to make it just a little bit richer.

Dessert was a chocolate and raspberry mousse paired with a Chambord coulis, most delightful.  One of our members commented that the Chambord brought back fond memories of university when everyone had to have a bottle of that special raspberry liquor with the crown on top.  This was helped by a 2000 Terra Vinya grenache from M. Chapoutier of Banyuls, France.  This is an incredibly rich wine. Only a month of fermentation, then fortified with added alcohol and barreled for 16 months.  A perfect blend of sweet and alcohol when served with dessert.

Once again, the petit pans arrived at the end of the meal with beverages.  These small pop-in-your-mouth treats are the best way to end a gorgeous meal.

The accolade was delivered by Jürgen Bahr, Vice Argentier as our Bailli was in Italy conducting a tour for some of SAIT’s promising young chefs to be.  The plates were presented by Jürgen and assisted by Fritz Painsi, Bailli Provincial.  The recipients were Sylvain Cote representing the service brigade and Bruno Baumgartner representing the kitchen brigade.

Again, in Chaine tradition, several hardy souls retired for additional beverages and other treats.  The whole evening was in full Chaîne tradition – food, beverage, companionship and camaraderie and the best part – a slow stroll to your room – no driving or having to call a cab.

I would like to thank Jürgen for his assistance with this write-up and I need to extend my apologies to all concerned for taking so long to prepare this document.

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