What better way to kick off a new year than with a 5 course Italian dinner paired with fabulous Italian wines? That is exactly what we did along with several of our friends and scores of others lucky enough to have a reservation at the 5th Avenue Cafe for their annual New Years wine tasting dinner. 5th Avenue Cafe proprietor and host Leigh Love along with Chef Jesse Thomas and staff treated us to a fine dining experience that will only be surpassed by next years event!
The evening commenced around 9:00pm with a generous pour of sparkling Prosecco to welcome us. Live entertainment and a super charged atmosphere led to laughter and good times the entire evening. All of this with the backdrop of over 2 million holiday lights in Donnelly Park from the annual "Light Up Mount Dora" festival to add to the ambiance. The arrival of the new year at midnight was almost anticlimactic!
The first course of the evening was Prawn Pizazz, a dish of seasoned timbale of fresh prawn with watercress and apricot scented creme anglaise, which lived up to it's name in every respect paired with the Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Veneto (N/V)-Frizante.
This was followed by the second course of Proscutto slices with fresh melon, aged Parmesan cheese, garnished with asparagus foam in a dish known as Antipasti d' Amore. The wine pairing was a lovely Tenuta Guada al Tasso Vermintino, Bholgeri DOC (2005).
The third course of Pasta with Panache was gnocchi made of hand rolled classic potato dumplings, served in a bed of fontina and asiago cheeses with tomato coulis which received immediate accolades from everyone around the room. The dish was paired with a Badia a Pasignano Riserva, Chianti Classico DOCG (2001).
The fourth course and main entree was a choice of Tantalizing Tail or Festive Fillet. The Petite filet migon was accompanied with porcini ravioli, fresh asparagus spears, finished with a black truffle creme fraiche. The lobster tail was served with truffle infused risotto and finished with roasted cherry ragout. Both entrees were paired with an utterly magnificent Marchesi di Barolo, Barbaresco Piedmont DOCG (2003), often called the king of Italian wines according to Craig Bissell who was the featured wine speaker for the evening.
Last but not least the evening was topped off with a desert consisting of white chocolate tiramisu trifle with poached pears, and fresh raspberries. The wine pairing was the fruity and sparkling Marenco Brachetto d' Acqui, Piedmont (2006)
I would recommend you reserve your seat early for next year's event!