Friday, April 6, 2012

Esca Bimbadgen Chocolate Degustation

Last night I had the opportunity to indulge in a six course meal with a rare dinner guest, my mother. We traveled to Hunter Valley for the day and signed up for dinner at Esca Bimbadgen.  They were hosting a Easter dinner special by visiting celebrity chef Tamas Pamer from the InterContinental Sydney. The dinner was $80 a person and featured matching wines from Bimbadgen with every course. I thought it was a steal of a price and celebrated degustation extraordinaire for four straight hours, shutting the place down at 11. Below is one shot of every course:

1. Heirloom Beetroot Binnorie feta mousse and wheat pops matched with Bimbadgen NV sparking rose (above).

2. Maroon Lobster cocoa butter confit, brioche mousse, quandong and salted chocolate paper matched with Bimbadgen estate 2011 Chardonnay (above left). Pallet cleansing mango sorbet with white balsamic beads on the right.

3. Hunter Valley Tajima Wagyu Striploin, celerisotto, prcini soil and Valrhona Guanaja chilli sauce matched with Bimbadgen Signature 2007 McDonalds Road Shiraz (above).

4. Esca Garden Figs, yoghurt ice-cream and dehydrated Valrhona Manjari mousse matched with Bimbadgen Estate 2006 Botrytis Semillon.

5. Valrhona P125 Chocolate marshmallow, beurre bosc pear curd and chiboust cream matched with Bimbadgen Estate NV fortified Verdelho (above). I'm not a big fan of marshmallow and attempted to take them home to my children. Unfortunately home-made marshmallows melt very easily in low heat.

6. Petit Fours ivory panna cotta with Kaffir lime truffle hommade valrhona Jivara hot chocolate (above).

My personal favorite was the cocoa butter lobster. The sauce gave the lobster amazing flavor and it was prepared in a mouth melting fashion. The freeze dried berries in course 5 were prepared by adding nitrous oxide then putting them in the oven (I had to ask Tamas). The final course also deserved mention, as I've never had panna cotta made with fresh basil. The Valrhona chocloate truffle was definitely the cherry on the entire sundae meal and I must have held the chocolate in my mouth for a good 30 seconds. You would be hard pressed to find better figs anywhere in the world, and the 2011 Bimbadgen Chardonnay was the best Chardonnay I'd tasted in the valley.  Between the food, wine, and special date with my mom, it was a night I will never ever forget!

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