Our new food and wine feature kicks off with a pair of signature menu selections from The Shark on the Harbor paired with a flavorful Italian white from Vallarom Winery
Most dining experts as well as self-proclaimed “foodies” will agree that few elements of a memorable dining experience beat the overall satisfaction of a successful wine and food pairing. But, one may ask, how do you know which wine to pair with your favorite dish either at home or in your favorite local eatery? Ask ten people this question, and you’re likely to gather ten very different responses. Never fear – this process is not nearly as difficult as it seems.
Most restaurants with wine lists are more than happy to help their patrons to make wine selections. Likewise, most wine vendors and vineyard representatives are equally as willing to help restauranteurs to pair menu items and chef’s features with their wines. Advice abounds – don’t be afraid to ask!
To try a popular pairing locally, visit The Shark on the Harbor, in West Ocean City, where Executive Chef Travis Wright and PortoVino eno-envoy Paul Cullen have paired up a few winning combinations.
Paul has chosen to highlight the Vadum Caesaris Alpine White wine from his Vallarom portfolio. This wine is a Super-Blend from lower Trentino, where Julius Caesar crossed the Adige River, thus its name. A product of the Masie Lavine vineyard, this particular varietal is composed of 50% Pinot Bianco, 30% Chardonnay, 10% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Riesling. It’s aged in a stainless container for eight months and in the bottles for approximately an additional six months. This wine possesses a prominent, tropical fruit bouquet and the fragrance of green apples. It carries a taste of the aromatic flavors of dried apricot and clay.
Travis and Paul selected two entrées from the menu at The Shark on the Harbor that they feel are well suited for this fine Italian wine.
The first is the Eggplant Tower. This locals’ favorite is made up of breaded eggplant slices layered with sautéed jumbo shrimp, colossal lump crab, oven roasted tomatoes, roasted red peppers, shitake mushrooms and shaved parmesan cheese tossed in a sun-dried tomato and roasted red pepper pesto sauce. The breaded eggplant and olive oil in the pesto are countered nicely by the acidity of this wine selection, while the bright flavors of the roasted tomatoes highlight the fruit flavors.
The second menu selection the duo featured is the Blackened Scallops Alfredo. This dish begins with local day boat scallops which are blackened and served over whole wheat noodles and tossed in a spinach and artichoke alfredo. This tasty Shark on the Harbor staple is then finished with tomato relish and shaved parmesan cheese.
This is a perfect example of two very different dishes that both pair nicely with the flavors of this same wine. So, use this as an example and feel confident as you embark upon your own food and wine pairing journey. Have fun! The world is your oyster – even literally so at times.
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