October 2, 2010

Dîner Amical – The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise – October 2, 2010

Saturday was a picture perfect day. The sky was cloudless and such a marvelous shade of blue.  Many of our contingent took the opportunity to venture to the Glacier or simply wander about the grounds.  For a couple of wedding parties, they had the best of weather for their outdoor event.

Our evening started in the Lake View Lounge.  It is situated on the main floor of the Chateau overlooking the magnificent Lake Louise and the Victoria Glacier.

Chef Felix Pfister continued on his creative excellence with a mouth-watering array of five hours d’oeuvres.  They were:
Bison carpaccio and Caper remoulade
Porcini mushroom ravioli
Ratatouille shooter
Pheasant confit spring rolls.
To accompany them we were treated to a choice of three wines:
Nino Franco Rustico
St Francis 2006 Sonoma county Cabernet Sauvignon
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2007 Columbia Valley Chardonnay

As the reception came to an end, I managed to persuade our host – Robert Flatt and his lovely wife Kimberly to pause for a second before the view.

We then adjourned to the Alpine Room for dinner.  It was set in classic “railroad” style – simple, yet elegant.  The candelabra was sufficient for a centerpiece and did not obstruct the view of our tablemates.  The menu cover featured a portion of an old Canadian Pacific railroad poster.

The meal started with a Smoked Guinea Hen Consommé with Sauterne poached Foie Gras and Bergamot Air.  It was served with a Vineland Estates Brut VQA, 2007 from the Niagara peninsula.  Many of the guests pronounced this dish as the highlight of the evening.

Pianist Truman Stanyer provided soothing entertainment throughout the evening.  His many and varied strains were appreciated by the guests and also his volume was kept low enough for conversation and yet could easily be heard by all.

The second course was a trio of Tarragon sea salt cured Wild Coho Salmon, Shrimp Praline, and Fennel with milk dust.  A Pierre Sparr Riesling Grand Cru, 2003 from Alsace was the accompaniment.

Third on the menu was a marvelous Berkshire Pork Trotter sausage with a Braised Belly & Tongue.  With these were an Organic Polenta, Savoy cabbage & Greens.  The wine trip continued with a David Bruce Pinot Noir 2006 from the Russian River Valley of California.  This course was easily my favourite.

Our Intermezzo Granité was a frozen “Martini” soda in a block ice carving which featured the Chaîne logo.

However, the main course was without a doubt, the highlight of the evening.  Walnut crusted Alberta Elk Tenderloin, served with Stupfnudeln, Porcini mushrooms, charred strawberries and game jus.  To help it down to our tummies, a Castello Romitorio Romito del Romitorio, 2005 from Tuscany was served.

Our dessert was an Orange & Dark rum Savarin.  Also on the plate were a Milk chocolate sorbet and a chocolate chilli Crémeux.  A gorgeous Marchesi di Barolo Moscato d’Asti, 2009 from Piedmont came along with the dessert.  Shortly after, the Mignardises, coffee and tea were served.

The kitchen and serving staff were then brought out to a standing ovation.  Plates were presented to Trevor Cool, director of Food and Beverage and to Glen Chang, Executive Pastry Chef.

As there was little reason to hurry home, many engaged in conversation.  While these were being enjoyed, a portion of our l’Ordre Mondial choir joined round the piano for a few songs.

Unfortunately, our faithful four-footed friend could not enjoy our great evening, but he did have the luxury of his own bed courtesy of the hotel, along with food and water bowls on their own place mat.  Actually, during the event, he had two friends – JoJo, the faithful friend of our Argentier and Julie one of Concierge attendants.

I leave you with a picture of the Victoria Glacier on Sunday morning when the sun was somewhat absent, but the glacier was prominent against the dark clouds.

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