Celebration Dinner-11

A highlight of our weekend at Taste of Tulalip was the Friday evening Celebration Dinner. Tulalip Resort’s Orca Ballroom was stunning, each table gracing a collection of wine glasses for the food pairings, a colourful porcelain dinner plate, and festive lighting.

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The collectable Taste of Tulalip plate was cleared away and packaged for guests to take home as a keepsake of the evening.

Pre-Dinner Reception-9

Before the dinner got underway though, a pre-dinner reception flowed through the lobby outside the ballroom and over to the Oasis pool area, with passed appetizers and featured event wines.

Pre-Dinner Reception-7

Several vine-adorned characters on stilts gracefully posed and moved about the room. These creatures bent over, took giants leaps toward guests, and added to the already-festive atmosphere.

Leslie Sbrocco with Allan, event photographer
[Leslie Sbrocco with Allan, Taste of Tulalip event photographer]

The sold-out dinner was hosted by Leslie Sbrocco, aka Thirsty Girl, a vibrant personality who I had the pleasure to chat with over the course of the weekend’s events.

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[An ever-stylish Chef Marcus Samuelsson arrives at the dinner]

Pre-Dinner Reception-10 Pre-Dinner Reception-5 Sparkman Cellars Taste of Tulalip wine

Honourary winemaker Christopher Sparkman of Sparkman Cellars created a beautifully etched bottle of wine that was as gorgeous to taste as it was to admire.

Here are the seven dishes that were served, along with their paired wines.

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Holiday Lobster Wedding

Lobster terrine, Chanterelle mushrooms, Peppadew peppers, vanilla shallot foam, micro greens
Pumpkin lobster bake with pear chestnut relish
Vignalta Pinot Bianco ‘Agno Casto’, Veneto, Italy

This dish paired with a relatively acidic wine. I found it a bit too far removed from the lobster terrine’s rich and decadent flavour. The micro greens were a lovely palate-switcher. Simply by lifting the the pumpkin’s lid, an aroma of pumpkin pie, chestnuts, pears and lobster came to the nose. This was a delightful starter dish.

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Asian Soup Duet
Lime, Galangal, daikon, coconut, tarragon, thai basil, dungeness crab, miso, gyoza ravioli stuffed with maitake, porcini and shitake medley, sesame twill

Famille Perrin Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape ‘Vielles Vin’ Blanc, France

This was my favourite course, by way of the chef’s suggested combining of the two soups, one hot, and one cold (after tasting the wine and the two soups separately). I tasted this Rhône Valley wine’s strong components much better after the soup. The wealth of ingredients in both dishes were a feast for the mouth.

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Micro Green Salad with Duo of Duck
Smoked duck sausage, stuffed honey crisp apple topped with quail egg
Pancetta-wrapped duck sausage, arugula, micro beet greens with lavender-balsamic mist
Penner-Ash Pinot Noir ‘Pas de Nom’, Willamette Valley, Oregon

I greatly enjoyed this pinot’s earthiness, together with the smoky quality of the pancetta, although I didn’t eat the sausage (not a sausage fan). My husband enjoyed the pairing though. The wine developed nicely in the mouth after a few sips.

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Salmon Two Ways
Orange-tarragon cured sockeye with lemon oil and basil dipping jar
Naked King salmon with bellavitano gold pesto
Woodinville Wine Cellars Cabernet Franc, Washington State

The basil really punctuated the cabernet franc. Dark cherries and medium body on the wine balanced the delicate king salmon perfectly.

Grilled fresh pineapple with touch of chili powder, cayenne pepper and sugar, with green apple mint swirl sorbet

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Snake River Farms wagu filet mignon pair
Cave bleu huckleberry demi, gremolata gelée chive-red peppercorn aroma drop
ZD Wines, Reserve Cabernet, California

This wine wasn’t too overpowering on first whiff, but wow, what a gorgeous, velvety finish!

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S’More flourless chocolate cake, honey-vanilla marshmallow, liquid chocolate, graham cracker sticks
Eroica Riesling Ice Wine, Washington State

A definitely sweet ending to a decadent evening of wine and food. The cinnamon sticks dipped into the liquid chocolate together with the ice wine was divine. I loved the toffee flavour in this Columbia Valley Riesling.

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And speaking of a sweet finish, Taste of Tulalip presented a $5,000 donation check to Food Lifeline during dinner. Food Lifeline works with over 300 food banks in Western Washington to provide hunger relief as well as keeping a sustainable and scalable operation of 60 employees and 9,000 volunteers, distributing over 35 million pounds of food yearly.

Pre-Dinner Reception-3

A big round of applause to Executive Chef Perry Mascitti and his Tulalip culinary team who worked nearly around the clock to make this a fabulous event for a great cause! Chef Perry oversees 150 kitchen staff, including chefs, sous chefs, and cooks on a daily basis, and is a 1990 Culinary Institute of America graduate.

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