February 25, 2015

McClelland Premium Imports at Origin St. James

Last week I was invited out to Origin St. James for a private, intimate dinner with McClelland Premium Imports. Never having been to Origin, and only trying limited McClelland Imports, I was excited to see what was in store. 

I was the first to arrive, and if you know me - you know that NEVER happens! So I took some time to capture some shots before everyone else showed up. We had a private room in the back of the restaurant set up for our event. This worked out well later on because Guy McClelland, of McClelland Premium Imports was the one walking us through the seven (yes, seven!) course dinner pairings. 

Having the private area made the whole event more intimate.

The beginning of the night...clean, clear table...

As I mentioned, dinner was a whopping seven courses! Now, another fun JJ fact, and if you know me or follow me on Twitter - you'll know that I have been somewhat of a picky eater. I haven't tried many different dishes and this is something I am actively trying to work on. So I went into this dinner thinking to myself, "Whatever comes out - you're trying. No more hesitating!" And that is exactly what I did! I tried, and ate every single one of the dishes served. 

Next I want to try Indian food!

Loaded lobster potato skins + Delirium aioli paired with Stiegl Lager

First Course

A loaded lobster potato skin and Delirium aioli paired with a Stiegl Lager. Well, of course the first dish would be served with something I despise (mayo). But, alas, I dig in anyways and to my surprise - I didn't hate it! LOL

Stiegl Lager is an award winning Austrian lager made in accordance with the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516. Meaning - it only has 3 ingredients: barley malt, hops and water. 

Burrata + pumpernickle + Erdinger Weissbier pickled beets + kale paired with Erdinger Dunkel

Second Course

Burrata, pumpernickle, Erdinger Weissbier pickled beets and kale paired with Erdinger Dunkel. Cheese? Yes, please! I find myself loving different cheeses now, and this one was no exception.

Erdinger Dunkel is a dark beer and I was a little hesitant at first because when I think of dark beer - I think of Guiness. But - the Erdinger Dunkel is light and refreshing and even has a bit of a chocolate taste! The dark colour comes from the roasted wheat malt used in the brewing practice.

Spicy lamb sausage taco + pickled turnip + mustard seed + Affligem mojo paired with Affligem Blond

Third Course

Spicy lamb sausage taco, pickled turnip, mustard seed and Affligem mojo paired with Affligem Blond. Of course, more mayo. LOL This was a delicious, somewhat spicy lamb sausage. 

Affligem Blond is an all natural beer with a light beer and is fermented twice, which increases the alcohol count.  

Stiegl Grapefruit Radler granita paired with Fruli Strawberry beer

Fourth Course

Stiegl Grapefruit Radler granita paired with Fruli Strawberry beer. Tie for a bit of a palate cleanser! Chef Claudio Aprile and his team referred to this as snow, but with a twist! After the mix of different flavours and spices from the previous three courses, this was a nice treat to cleanse the palate.

Fruli Strawberry beer is made with only four ingredients: water, hops, yeast and malt and is absolutely delicious. I first tried this at the TO Beer Festival last year and loved it just as much back then! Blended with coriander, orange peel and pure strawberries, this is a sweet beer that would be perfect on a patio in the summer! 

This was the table top situation half way through dinner...
Seared scallop + parsnip puree + brown butter, bacon & Affligem vinaigrette paired with Erdinger Weissbier

Fifth Course

Seared scallop, parsnip puree in a brown butter, bacon and Affligem vinaigrette paired with Erdinger Weissbier. Scallops are yet another dish I had never tried - until this night. When the dish was served - I was actually very excited to dig in - it smelled so good! Once I dug in, I couldn't stop - this was one of my fave dishes, if not my fave - of the night. 

Erdinger Weissbier is bottled and fermented like champagne, so I knew I was going to like it! Oh, and no big deal or anything - but the Erdinger Weissbier is the number one wheat beer in the world. That might have a little something to do with the fact that the water used comes exclusively from two of Erdinger's 106m deep springs. 

Cornish hen marinated in Stiegl + carmalized root vegetables + Erdinger Dunkel reduction paired with Delirium Tremens

Sixth Course

Cornish hen marinated in Stiegl and carmalized root vegetables in an Erdinger Dunkel reduction paired with Delirium Tremens. This was the first dish that came out that I knew I had tried previously. LOL Perfectly cooked and juicy - the cornish hen and Delirium were a perfect match. 

Delirium Tremens, aka The Pink Elephant has been referred to as the "Best Beer in the World" by beer writer, Stuart A. Kallen

“The name Delirium Tremens speaks for itself. Words simply cannot describe the intricate flavour of this beer, but that won’t stop me from trying. The color is golden and the head creamy and light. The first sip warms my throat and belly like an old woodstove does a log cabin. It’s lightly hopped and surprisingly malty for such an airy, sunshiny beer. The aftertaste is fruity, almost cherry. A warming alcoholic glow works its way down the throat to the stomach. This beer must be sipped slowly so you can revel in each sweet drop. Delirium Tremens has a big body, a rich mouth feel, and a long sweet aftertaste.”

Chocolate Crunch Bar + Fruli sorbet + macerated strawberries + meringue paired with Mort Subite Kriek

Seventh Course

Chocolate Crunch Bar, Fruli sorbet with macerated strawberries and meringue paired with Mort Subite Kriek. Dessert, yes! After six courses - all paired with delicious and surprisingly light beers - I was ready for dessert. The chocolate crunch bar was amazing, but I couldn't get enough of teh Fruli sorbet. #NomNomNom

Mort Subite Kriek is an all natural beer that is actually aged for up to 5 years. Bottled like champagne, with a cork and all - this beer is made using the oldest method of brewing known to man: spontaneous fermentation

"Though the styles and histories of each of our beer brands are unique, they all have one important thing in common: they’re healthy. All MPI beers are ‘pure,’ all natural beers free of artificial flavouring and preservatives."

If you're not normally a fan of beer, The Beer Knight noted it is most likely because you have been drinking the wrong beers. Beer should not make you feel bloated and heavy. Each and every one of the beers that I tried this evening were light and delicious.

You can learn more about McClelland Premium Imports HERE

Follow The Beer Knight himself, Guy McClelland on Twitter HERE

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