Poutine and wine may seem like an odd pairing at first, but when you've got the right wine to bring out the tasting notes in each dish, you've got yourself a winning combination.
Ask wine connoisseur Sharon Dowhal of Ernst & Gallo and she'll tell you exactly how to determine which wine goes well with which food. When you're looking at pasta, you look at the base. Does it have a cream sauce? If yes, pair it with chardonnay because it gives those soft tones. Anything that you put on the topping of the pasta will completely change what you need to pair with it.
And not often do you ever come across an All-You-Can-Eat Poutine & Wine Pairing event. This delicious idea was inspired by Rey Pan of Eat n Mingle, a meetup dedicated to bring good conversation and good food together by exploring the most unique restaurants Toronto has to offer.
A fee of $26 entitled guests to try three dishes of poutine, each paired with a different glass of wine. Afterwards we were free to order any poutine of our choice from the regular all-you-can-eat menu.
My favourite was the Braised Beef Poutine, which was chock-full of hand crushed potatoes with fresh cheese curds and mozzarella, topped with slow-cooked braised beef and red wine gravy. It was paired with a glass of Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon, an aromatic red with a velvety finish that brought out all the flavours in the braised beef.
Second came the Pulled Pork Poutine, with crispy julienne fries with fresh cheese curds and brie, roasted peppers, corn, topped with pulled pork and bbq gravy. A glass of Apothic Red Winemaker's Blend balanced it out just right, which Sharon described as a party in your mouth because there's just so much going on. You have the style of a Cabernet, chardonnay, and it's much lighter and airy than the first one.
Our third dish was the Vegetarian Delight, which has sweet potatoes with fresh cheese curds, goat cheese, red peppers, grilled zucchini and pepper gravy. It complimented perfectly with the Gallo White Zinfandel, a sweeter and lighter wine that I'd imagine would be a hit with the ladies (or anyone who digs fruity wines for that matter). Saving the sweetest wine for last allows you to savour the taste of more full-bodied wines without having to reset your palette. The sweetness cuts through the spice of the veggie poutine and hence this Zinfandel also goes well with Thai food.
Three servings of poutine later, my table of guests decided to help ourselves to another round, which consisted of the Rocky with Philly steak, onions and nacho cheese. Not so much my cup of tea, but I'll definitely go for the Smoked Meat next time. Olé!
As the first ever food meetup I attended, I had a funtastic time meeting plenty of other people who love food just as much as I do, if not more. Rey Pan is always coming up with the most interesting food meetups, so keep an eye out for more to come! And if you ever need a buddy to attend one, you know who to call.
Please note: the portion sizes illustrated in the images above are sample sizes only and not meant to represent what they look like on a regular night at Poutineville!
296 Brunswick Avenue
Toronto, ON M5S 2M7