Last weekend I had to opportunity to try a five-course vegan tasting menu with wine pairing, prepared by the incredible Chef & Somm! They’re a private chef and sommelier duo based in Toronto, who create not only delicious meals but a flawless dining experience. Their plates are truly works of art, which is an expression of their unique ideas, stories and history. No two experiences with them are the same, as they don’t have a set menu and create from scratch for every individual occasion. I learned so much about food, the origins of the wines we drank and the importance of the connection between the two. Look, I’m hesitant to upload photos of their beautiful creations next to my own recipe photos (suddenly mine don’t look as appetizing?) but I just have to show you guys.
The first course was called Heritage. It was a crispy falafel ball, served with hummus, a fresh vegetable confetti and lavash! We started with a white wine for our first pairing – a 2015 Stanners Vineyards Chardonnay.
The second course was my favourite (pictured above!) because of the lentils! It’s called Further East, and was a vegan scallop with a beautiful arrangement of daikon, carrots, red beets, Le Puy lentils, and a coconut curry. The pairing for this was a little different but everyone loved it! A 9.4% coffee-infused stout beer, which had in it hints of bourbon and vanilla.
Course three was called Break! Seriously, how cool is this bowl? The bowl was created by Chef & Somm themselves, and inside was almond milk panna cotta, topped with green pepper and jalepeño granité. The texture of the panna cotta was thick but light, which made the jalepeño flavour known without being overpowering or too spicy.
For our fourth course, we had a dish called Options v2.2 paired with a 2012 Priorat Vins i Llegendes – a red Spanish wine which was my personal favourite of the evening. This dish was unbelievable; a mushroom tarte, frisée, avocado créma, shaved cauliflower and hazelnuts. I’m a huge mushroom fan, and they were sooo flavourful and juicy! The tarte was flaky like an authentic pastry sans butter! It was a perfect dish to lead up to dessert.
The final dish, fittingly titled Last, was possibly the best dessert any of us have had – I’m serious. A tapioca soup with a chocolate croquette which was coated with toasted coconut and a passion fruit sorbet. The tapioca soup was like a pudding, and the croquette was crispy on the outside but when you break it open was filled with warm, creamy chocolate. This dessert was paired with a dry red wine for contrast which worked very well. The 2015 Collepiccino from Orcia, Tuscany was smooth and flavourful and finished the evening nicely.
Please don’t take my word for it!
Check out Chef & Somm:
@chef_somm on IG and Twitter