Often recommendations for Port and food pairings are limited to blue cheese, nuts and chocolate. A modern generation of sommeliers is seeing Port in a new light, bringing it to the table to match dishes to start, finish and in the middle of a meal. Some like Alex Allardyce’s combination of Late Bottle Vintage and chicken mole and Mark DeWolf’s smoked salmon and dry white Port pairings are out of the box approaches for dishes that might be otherwise challenging to pair. Christina Hartigan, Andrea Eby and reigning Master of Port Canada winner Gabrielle Plastre take a more classic approach but without falling back on old standards, thus proving there are new ways to look at classic Port and food combinations.
Wine Style: Dry White Port
Pairing: Smoked Salmon
Sommelier: Mark DeWolf
About Mark: Mark DeWolf is Past-President of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, a sommelier instructor with CAPS Atlantic, Director Marketing, Association de la Sommellerie Internationale, Director of Sponsorships for Tasting Climate Change and Creative Director, Food and Drink, The Saltwire Network.
Smoked Salmon with Fennel, Apple & Pistachio
5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic minced
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 fennel bulb, cored, very thinly sliced
2 yellow apples, cored, very thinly sliced
1 side cold smoked salmon
1/4 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
Directions: Place cider vinegar, mustard and garlic in a large bowl. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Add the fennel and apple and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Place on plates and top with slices of smoked salmon. Sprinkle with pistachio pieces.
Wine Style: Late Bottle Vintage Port
Pairing: Blue Cheese & Walnut Galette
Sommeliers: Christina Hartigan
About Christina Hartigan: Christina is the Wine Director for Gooseneck Hospitality where she oversees the wine programs at Wildebeest in Gastown and Bufala Restaurants in North Vancouver & Kerrisdale. A Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced Sommelier, Christina has also completed the WSET Diploma and French Wine Scholar. She placed second in the 2020 Best Sommelier of British Columbia competition.
Christina’s Pairing: Blue Cheese, Pear & Squash Galette
Recipe inspired by New York Times “Food with Wine” by Florence Fabricant & Eric Asimov
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, plus more for rolling
½ tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, in pieces
1 clove garlic, peeled, minced
16-oz Castel blue cheese
¼ red onions, sliced
1 apple, cored, thinly sliced
1 cup roasted squash cubes
2 tbsp thyme leaves
Freshly cracked pepper
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 F. Place flour and salt in bowl of stand mixer and combine. Add butter and combine until pea sized lumps form. Separate one egg and combine the yolk with 7 tablespoons water. Add to flour and blend until dough forms. Form into a ball. Place the garlic, along with 12 ounces of the cheese, remaining egg and egg white. Blend until smooth. Roll the dough into a 14-inch diameter circle and place on a baking sheet or pizza pan. Top with cheese mixture leave a 2-inch border, red onion, apple, squash and thyme. Fold over the edge of dough near you to the center. Rotate pan and repeat until all edges are folded in. Sprinkle with remaining blue cheese. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.
Wine Style: Late Bottle Vintage Port
Pairing: Blue Cheese & Walnut Galette
Sommeliers: Alex Allardyce
About Alex Allardyce: Alex is a graduate of WSET Level 3 and earned her sommelier title via the CAPS Diploma Program. After three years working in retail with Banville & Jones she realized that her true passion lied in the service industry, particularly fine dining, so she left her position at Banville & Jones, and is now working at the Manitoba Club as a server and Sommelier. She also works as a sales representative for Elevage Selections in Winnipeg and is part of the Communication Team for CAPS Manitoba, running their social media.
Serves 6 to 8
4 tbsp vegetable oil
4 chicken legs (thigh and drumstick)
3 cups orange juice
3 cups chicken stock
1 large Spanish onion, finely sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup almond slices
1 cup pumpkin seeds*
1 tbsp each cumin, coriander seeds, oregano
2 dried ancho chiles, roughly chopped
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 cup raisins
4 oz dark chocolate, chopped
Directions: Set a large pot over medium heat. Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil. Generously season chicken legs with salt and pepper. Add chicken legs, in batches if necessary, to the pot. Sear until brown on both sides. Remove from pot and set aside. Repeat until all the legs are browned. Return chicken along with the orange juice and the stock to the pot. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove chicken from the pot, let cool and lightly shred or chop. Once cool remove meat from the bones. Keep the braising liquid. Place a second pot over medium-low heat. Add remaining vegetable oil and onion. Sauté until onion slices are soft and translucent. Add the garlic, spices, chile, almond slices and pumpkin seeds and sauté until the spices are fragrant and the nuts lightly toasted. Add the shredded chicken and reserved braising liquid, along with the diced tomatoes, raisins and chocolate to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for up to two hours. Season to taste. Serve with rice and garnish with fresh cilantro.
Wine Style: Douro Tinto
Pairing: Portuguese Octopus Stew
Sommelier: José Luis Fernández, Best Sommelier of Ontario 2019
Master of Port semi-finalist José Luis Fernández recommends a medium-bodied Douro red wine for this dish. According to José Luis Fernández, this style wine compliments the dish with its savoury component and vibrant acidity cutting through the richness of the dish making for a harmonious combination.
Serves 6 to 8
2 lb octopus
1/2 white onion, diced
4 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced
3 medium potatoes cut into quarters
1 tsp tomato paste
1 tbsp red pepper paste
1 tbsp red pimento paste
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 pinch fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp cumin
1 1/2 cups water
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Directions: Wash and cut octopus into bite size chunks. Sauté the onions with the garlic in olive oil at medium heat in a medium-sized pot. Add the octopus and sear it slightly, then add the wine, water and the rest of the ingredients. Cook at medium heat until everything is tender and cooked through.
Wine Style: Vintage Port
Sommelier: Andrea Eby
Andrea Eby is currently an Italian Wine Scholar Program Developer and Online Instructor for the Wine Scholar Guild and an Educator Training Program Assessor for WSET. She previously held the title of Director of Operations for CAPS Manitoba.
Juniper Crusted Venison
1 ½ lb venison loin
1 tbsp juniper, crushed
1 tsp each ground coriander, ground cumin, sea salt and cracked pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 sprigs thyme
2 tbsp butter
1 shallot, finely diced
1 cup Ruby Port
2 tbsp blackberry jam
Directions: Remove venison loin from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Combine ground spices on a plate. Roll venison loin in spices to ensure even coating. Place a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, lay in venison loin away from you. Add the 1 tablespoon butter, garlic and thyme, and baste the venison while searing on all sides (including ends) about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set on a rack to rest. Reduce pan to medium-low heat. Add the shallots and sauté until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the Port and jam and reduce until half of original volume. Finish with remaining butter. Strain the sauce. Slice venison into medallions and drizzle sauce over top.
Wine Style: Colheita Port
Pairing: Apple Tart
Sommelier: Gabrielle Plastre
About Gabrielle :
Gabrielle Plastre is Canada’s reigning Master of Port. She has worked in the hospitality industry for over a decade. She is a sommelier at Chez Victoire and hosting SAQ’s workshops for the general public. She graduated in 2016 with three distinct diplomas: DEP (Diplôme d’études professionelles) from Institut du tourisme et hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ), level 3 with distinction - Wine and Spirit Education Trust and certification level - Court of Master Sommeliers. Her other achievements include winning the following competitions : Wines of Argentina (2016) and German Wine Institute (2018), both of which were organized in collaboration with ITHQ.
Apple Frangipane Tart, Roasted and Caramelized Almonds
1 sheet all-butter puff pastry, thawed*
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
5 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into slices
1 large egg
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
4 Granny Smith apples, cored, finely sliced
3 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp sugar
1 tablespoon w
¼ cup roasted almond slices
*thaw overnight in refrigerator.
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 F. Roll out puff pastry to form a 10-inch diameter circle. Make the frangipane by place almond flour, sugar, salt and butter in a mixer. Blend until combined and no large pieces of butter are remaining. Add the egg, almond extract and vanilla. Blend until well incorporated. Spread this mixture (the frangipane) over the puff pastry, leaving a ½-inch around the edge. Place apple slices in concentric circles around the pastry. Brush apples and outer edge of pastry with butter. Sprinkle apples with sugar. Bake in center of oven for 18 to 20 minutes. With 4 minutes, spread almond slices on a cookie sheet. Place in oven and roast for 4 minutes until lightly brown. Remove tart from oven and sprinkle with the almond slices.