8.15am,Wednesday 13th April, Plum Drive, Urbandale, Iowa
Evening folks, and we’re in the Corn and Pork state now. In the airport shops, all the t shirts were things like ‘I love bacon’, ‘Got Pork?’, ‘Got Corn?’…..so it looks like those are the two top flavours in this part of the Midwest – which suits me down to the ground! I’ve always been a big fan of corn on the cob, and never seen it done quite like they do at the Minnesota State Fair, where I was lucky enough to catch the last Sunday of the fair two years ago.They have massive grilling ‘elevators’ to get the corn hot, they finish them on a charcoal fire, strip the leaves down into a hand grip, dip the whole thing in a tube of salted butter, and the whole thing is served to you in a paper holder! If this is eating vegetables – then I’m in!
But we’re in Iowa now – The Corn State – and it’s spring time, so they’ll be looking for clear sunny days like yesterday and today to kick start their corn growing season.
With these dinners, sometimes you end up working with chefs that produce three dimensional food sculptures, and I’m convinced they’ve tried to include every possible ingredient alpahabetically! Well, last night we were lucky enough to have the complete opposite at the stoves – Chef Terry Boston. As soon as I saw the menu, you could see that Terry had tasted the wines – nailed a feature aroma, flavour, or texture – and put the matching dish together accordingly. This was evident on the plate as soon as the canapés came out. With our 2015 Y Viognier looking quite apricot and tropical at the moment, something as simple as the dried apricot topped goats cheese was a mini flavour bomb! And we are going to take the tempura avocado wedges back to the winery as a canapé for our kitchen – spot on!
I apologise for not taking a single photo of the food – I was a very busy bee getting around all the tables last night – everyone wanted to have a yarn and ask 20 questions! So I’m just going to give you the highlight crossovers – please use the menu below as the guide!
When it says ‘pineapple carpaccio’ for the Roussanne – take one pineapple, skin it, rub in brown sugar and spice, and slow bake it in the oven, basting with brown butter and sugar every hour or so, until the core is soft. Then cool, cut into paper thin slices and drape it over the chunky creamy monkfish! Yes….is the easy answer to ‘how did this match the wine’.
With the Strapper being a Grenache + Shiraz + Mataro blend, Terry has picked up on that initial lifted raspberry over Rosemary that’s all the Grenache, and matched it with the raspberry touch up to the risotto.For a lot of folks – this was their top combo of the evening.
It didn’t end there though. Our Yalumba ‘The Cigar’ Cabernet from Coonawarra loved the mushroom tomato salt sweet Prosciuto thing, and that was the other contender for top combo……..before the meaty main event of the lamb and velvety smooth Hand Picked Shiraz Viognier. I didn’t even get to the dessert, but I can vouch for the fact that all glasses and baby skillets went back into the kitchen empty.
And the best news? The Des Moines Golf & Country Club are the hosts – in August 2017 – for one of the world golf calendar main events ….the Solheim Cup……for professional women golfers. Now the last Sunday of the golf carnival coincides with the last day of the Iowa State Fair. Then, after the dust from both events has settled, we may be the folks doing the ‘Recovery Dinner(s)’ for the locals!! Good as gold – I’m free that week!!
5.11pm same day – Gate A3, Des Moines International Airport, Iowa, The Midwest
What a great 28 hours on the ground in Iowa! Nice people, nice place, great Pork, great corn! I may very well move in! Thanks a million Des Moines, and we’ll see you all when its 2017