Rhinebeck’s Pure Mountain gourmet food store, owned by Zak Cassady-Dorian and Charlie Ruehr, specializes in myriad of gourmet olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and other gourmet food products. The store recently held one of their monthly culinary gatherings at their Rhinebeck Bank Plaza location.
The Cuba-themed event focused on pairing select wines from Holly Condina’s California cellar with food prepared on premise using Pure Mountain brand products. Gina von Trapp, charge de cuisine and general manager at the store, prepared, cooked and presented four special dishes for the occasion.
A Cuban guacamole with baked tortilla chips was the appetizer, made with a Tunisian olive oil, and truffle sea salt along with lime, avocado, bacon, habano pepper, and jalapeno . The dish, a harmonious balance of ingredients and texture proved very flavorful and helped to awaken the palate for more good things to come. A Meritage Sauvignon Blanc 2011, appropriately complemented the dish.
Next came a chicken and tortilla soup, a light broth with a good balance of spices, poblano peppers, and tender pieces of chicken with a mélange of sautéed ingredients—garlic, Spanish onions, tomatoes, habanero peppers in chipotle olive oil—as cooking base imparting it a warm and exotic exuberance. A Sommerville Cellars White Meritage 2011, with soft notes of hazelnut, paired perfectly with the zesty creation.
The third dish was the Ropa Vieja , small cuts of shredded chuck roast made width habana sea salt, annatto, and yellow and red peppers accompanied by a fragrant cauliflower rice. The dish, which had a spanish olive oil base, was paired with a superb Sommerville Cellar Red Meritage 2009.
For dessert, the Cuban Vanilla Carmelita, which traditionally uses cuban rum. The soft, moist, small square size pastry made with dates, almonds, brown sugar, chocolate chips, and drizzled with a warm chocolate balsamic coating was quite outstanding. And the sparkling rose wine, Grand Cadeau, with notes of raspberry, orange and floral aromas made an excellent pairing.
All the patrons gathered in the dining area and listening to Cuban salsa music said they enjoyed the evening of food, wine and music immensely and were looking forward to the next event. Ms. Von Trapp and Ms. Condina produced a very special warm and tasty Cuba night at Pure Mountain.