Guests of the 2014 St. Croix Food and Wine Experience enjoyed a gourmet vintner dinner at popular restaurant Tutto Bene on April 8. Celebrity chef Sam Choy helped create the four-course menu while sommelier Christina Turley from California’s notable Turley Wine Cellars selected the wine pairings. St. Croix residents attended this dinner to help raise money for the St. Croix Foundation — a nonprofit that seeks to foster economic and social development on the island.
“We have a lot of the same values,” Turley says of the reason why the vineyard decided to partner with the St. Croix Food and Wine Experience. Chief among them was the festival’s dedication to sustainability and devotion to smaller farmers. “We really appreciate farmers — that’s something we hold very dear to our hearts. We consider ourselves farmers.”
“There will come a day when all the food at the festival will come from St. Croix,” says Choy, further reinforcing the idea of farm-to-table cuisine.
The restaurant, a cozy, warm environment complete with yellow walls, lush drapes and big, clear windows that provided generous outdoor views, was buzzing with activity during the evening. The night began with a small glass of crisp Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut along with surprising small bites like the duck pâté with pistachio on bread.
The first course featured a kabocha curry pumpkin bisque with croutons paired with Turley’s White Coat wine. This creamy, rich pumpkin balanced out nicely with the spicy curry and the dynamic flavors made this my favorite dish of the night. The white went down smooth and had a subtle, pleasant aftertaste. While decanting some red wine before dinner, Turley described it as “a white wine for red wine drinkers.” And I could not agree more.