Inaugural JCI Penticton Bishop’s Whiskey Dinner at Bogner’s of Penticton a Tasty Triumph
By Roslyne Buchanan.
The innovative JCI Penticton young professionals’ organization collaborated with Bogner’s of Penticton to launch its new fundraiser – the Bishop’s Whiskey Dinner – and judging by its success, tickets won’t last long for the next one this autumn.
The tasty triumph attracted more than 30 guests to enjoy six delicious courses created to enhance each sip of expertly paired 2cl pours of Select Whiskeys collectively valued at over $1,400. Considering tickets were $147 for whiskey paired seats and $65 for companion seats, it afforded a rare opportunity to taste such exclusive selections. For the companions or highly enthusiastic whiskey participants, optional two-ounce wine pairings were available for $30.
The dinner, hosted by Chef Darin Paterson and Tasting Master Martin Lewis, will be held biannually to raise funds for JCI’s community service work. To create such a high value for guests and maximize net proceeds for JCI Penticton’s causes, each whiskey was sponsored by a “bishop” – a local organization with community consciousness. True to JCI values, the event offered a strong educational component and was accompanied by tasting notes prepared by Lewis. “Many of the pairings were unicorn whiskeys,” said Lewis. “You just won’t see them again.”
He guided us through how to taste whiskey examining the nose and aroma, palate, aroma and flavour, and introduced how to readjust our palates with a full swirl making sure to let some of the magic elixir reach our “retro nasal” area. Plus, he emphatically insisted no one partake of all the liquid libations without a designated driver. Lewis complimented Chef Darin Paterson, Sous Chef Taylor R. Van Ryssel and the entire culinary team at Bogners of Penticton for their creativity and skilled palates. He said, “Beer is the easiest to pair with food, then wine. However, whiskey is subtle and has lots of nuances so to complement each one’s unique characteristics is an amazing accomplishment.”
While guests arrived, Bogners presented an array of delicate appetizers. A cash bar was available that also included a broad assortment of other fine whiskey choices by the glass. For each course of the dinner, Lewis would speak to the spirit, while Chef Paterson would describe the dish:
1. Course 1 – Fennel Green Apple Spring Mint Salad and Catmint-poached Rock Fish paired with Berry Bros. & Rudd Blair Athol Distillery Cask 6333 (23 years). The salad was an utterly surprising fresh medley that highlighted the whiskey well and was actually a palate cleanser.
2. Course 2 – Smoked Duck Ham, Sweet Curried Corn Puree, Asian Duck Confit, Fermented Plum Ketchup and Orange Mirin Slaw paired with Mackmyra Midnattssol Swedish Single Malt. It was fascinating (and flavourful) how the combination of spices and fruitcake tones in the whiskey played well with all the elements of this complex presentation.
3. Course 3 – Pepitas Morita Mole, Charred Squid and Shrimp, Crushed Wasabi Peas, Mashed Potatoes and Briny Olives paired with Scotch Malt Whiskey Society Salt Malt Chocolate Cupcake Cask No 42.35 (Bottle 1 of 205). For me, this was a knockout among an incredible menu. Chef Paterson described how the mole had taken three days of preparation with seven hours of cooking each day and rested in between. With the charring of the squid and shrimp, the ‘peatiness’ was also enhanced. Grapefruit and lemon rinds that had been salted and preserved mingled on the plate with complex flavours to highlight this outstanding single cask selection.
4. Course 4 – Lamb Tagine Sausage, Walnut Feta Gremolata, Raisin Port Puree, Blue Cheese Polenta Gaufrette paired with GlenDronach 1995 Pedro Ximénez Sherry Puncheon Cask 4022 (Bottle 306 of 622 – Aged 20 years). Yet another skillful pairing, admittedly I tucked some of my lamb sausage into a plastic bag to save for the next day when my appetite could better accommodate it.
5. Course 5 – Dessert of Mini Cheesecake, Toffee Drizzle, Brûlée Custard and Spun Sugar paired with NOE Vinum Optimum Rare Signature Pedro Ximénez (30 years). Somehow as this dessert appeared with the aromas of Brûlée custard and toffee wafting in the air, my appetite miraculously returned. A gentle cloud of comfort food accented by the crunch of caramelized candy.
6. Course 6 – Dark Chocolate Callebaut Truffle and Tawny-soaked Dried Cherries paired with BenRiach Tawny Port Finish Cask 10300 (Bottle 379 of 597 – Aged 18 years). Seriously, who doesn’t have room for a flavour bomb as dynamic as this? Beautiful, Okanagan cherries that had been dried at the peak of last season and tawny soaked to reconstitute on a skewer with a rich Callebaut Chocolate handmade truffle added a few exclamation marks to the marvelous meal.
Bishops (sponsors) for the inaugural Spring 2019 event included Jack the Bear Construction, NuVista Chiropractic and Wellness, Kettle Valley Memorial, Omland Heal Chartered Accountants, and Bogner’s of Penticton. To learn more about JCI Penticton, see www.jcipenticton.com and Bogner’s of Penticton, at www.bogners.ca or follow their pages on Facebook.
This collaboration shone new light on what can be achieved when folks come together for a great cause and a talented tasting master teams with a gifted chef. Who knew a whiskey-paired dinner could have such depth?
Featured photo: For the JCI Penticton Bishop’s Whiskey Dinner Spring 2019, Bogners of Penticton also offered for purchase a broad assortment of other fine choices by the glass. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.