Does anyone else fall asleep dreaming about themed dinner parties and new recipes? No? Just me? Best kind.
I am certainly not a chef or sommelier, but I am someone who enjoys event planning, trying new wines, and making food for others. Over the last couple of years, my sisters and I have been hosting wine pairings for family and friends. Not only does this provide us with a unique social activity, but it also allows us to sample wines that we have never tried before. I am partial to reds from Chile, California & Germany, but I would hardly highlight those when we have local bottles filling the shelves of our stores.
Auk Island is an amazing company producing bottles with a cultural flare. Their winery, situated in Twillingate, is home to the creation of unique berry blends with the most fabulous marketing design. They have remained true to the culture of Newfoundland & Labrador in every step of production. There is a special story behind each bottle that they create, be it the iceberg water it was made from, or the phrases that shape the distinct dialect of our province. Bottles such as 3 Sheets to the Wind, and Wreckhouse pay tribute to unique pieces of our province’s language and history. For these reasons, I was so pleased to partner with them and pair their wines with some of my favorite local bites.
We began the evening with welcome cocktails – a sangria made using Auk Island’s Half Cut dandelion wine. I had never tried this bottle before, but was pleasantly surprised by the sweetness which lends itself perfectly to mix with strawberries and white cranberry juice. To curb our hunger, I served fresh dinner rolls with homemade brown sugar butter (my apologies for the lack of picture as the whipped butter promptly disappeared into the mouths of guests).
Up next came a perfect picnic board of meats and local cheeses from Five Brothers. With this, we sampled bottles of Jelly Bean Row, Crooked Cod, Ice Blue, and Fifty Shades of Bay – the latter being a crowd favorite.
I planned the main plates around Auk Island’s bottle of 12 Gauge which pairs specifically with wild game. For this, we slow cooked a moose roast for 10+ hours, pulled the meat, and then let it bathe in a honey garlic sauce on low for another hour or so. This was sandwiched between fresh slider buns to enjoy. For a second option, we prepared moose sausages and topped those with partridgeberry chutney from Saucy & Sweet by Andrea Maunder. As predicted, 12 Gauge was a perfect accompaniment as well as Moose Joose, a blueberry-partridgeberry blend.
No event would be complete without dessert. Luckily, we had the sweet and light Iceberg wines for this course. My favorite place for purchasing local desserts when hosting dinner for a larger crowd is Belbin’s Grocery. While there, I picked up two varieties of cheesecake (bakeapple & partridgeberry), as well as chocolate cupcakes with caramel buttercream.
The Gift of Vino
With the holiday season approaching, I cannot think of a better way to bring family and friends together. Furthermore, Auk Island wines serve as the perfect present. Purchasing local products shows that you have put extra thought into gift-giving. A bottle from Auk Island, wrapped with The Gab Sister’s tags & a card is sure to put a smile on any Newfoundlander’s face. Your credit card will rejoice as well since the gift costs under $20.
If you’re ever in the Twillingate area, be sure to visit the winery, take a tour, explore the gift shop and see all that they have to offer for yourself.
It’s Some Shockin’ Good.
P.S. They also make wine-flavoured ice cream. Okay, I’m done now.