Every year in March and November, Signature Kitchens of Niagara-on-the-Lake run an 8-day event called Fabulicious. During this culinary event there are 17 restaurants who participate and this past November none of their menus made it easy to choose where to go. However, having fallen in love with Chef Jason Parson’s home made ice wine marshmallows during IceWine Fest, it seemed a good idea to return for his hand-selected Fabulicious menu. And, fabulicious it was! How else could you describe an opportunity for locals and tourists alike to try some of the delicious food at Peller Estates – a 4 diamond world renown restaurant – for an epic price?!
Best described on the NOTL Fabulicious website:
Fabulicious is an incredible opportunity to dine at some of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s finest restaurants with special three course menus at amazing prices
The sun had already set when I drove up the back driveway approaching the winery. The sky was black yet the courtyard trees were lit up lending an enchanting glow to the night. Inside, the grand fireplace in the foyer was burning bright and giving off a soothing and steady heat.
The welcome I received from the hostess was commendable – she was courteous and friendly and was quick to offer to take my many winter layers. The dining room’s ceilings are vaulted and grande and the decor is warm and intimate. My timing must have been just right because my close friend and I happened to be seated at the head of the dining room right in front of another burning fireplace – the meal hadn’t even started and already I was in heaven.
Watching the Peller Estates staff was like watching a dance – they floated around the room tending to singles, couples, families and friends young and old all celebrating over the Fabulicious menu. As I was observing, one of the ‘dancers’ floated our way and introduced herself as Audrey, put our napkins on our laps, gave us some fresh water, invited us to peruse the menu and made some thoughtful recommendations.
Peller’s Fabulicious menu had three options to choose from for the Appetizer, Main and Dessert courses. There was an option to “add half of a lobster to your main” (which I absolutely did) and you could add all wine pairing suggestions as well. Here’s a peek at the menu from November and the ✪ indicates my choice for that course.
✪ Curried Pumpkin and Lentil Soup
beluga lentils, apple chutney, yogurt panna cotta
Chardonnay Poached Duck Egg
duck confit with a roasted apply, celeriac, chic pea salad
“Pigs in Blankets”
icewine pork belly, smoked mozzarella and puff pastry
I paired my main, at Audrey’s suggestion, with Peller’s 2011 Gamay Noir Private Reserve
6oz Grilled Pork Chop
brussels sprouts, roasted chestnuts and sweet potato
✪ Pacific Halibut and Manila Clam Cioppino
humpback shrimp, black mussel and rapp sausage
Garlic Flower Marinated Beef Striploin
honey glazed baby carrots, red wine spaetzle
pastry cream, oatmeal cookie crumble, cinnamon chantilly
✪ Bread Pudding
caramel custard, roasted pear and caramel sauce
chocolate cremeux, chestnut cream, green tea ice cream
Each dish was colourful on the plate, perfect in texture, full of flavour and the kitchen’s timing was spot on. I don’t know about you but I find, at some fine dining establishments, the portion sizes are incredibly small – like the food is art alone and barely meant for eating. Well, I’m happy to report that at Peller Estates the portion sizes can neither be called pretentiously small or unnecessarily large – which I found incredibly refreshing.
Although this was my first visit to Chef Jason Parson’s dining room at Peller Estates Winery, it certainly will not be my last. The charm of Niagara-on-the-Lake, the beauty of this winery, the quality of their wine, the warmth of the dining room, the excellent service from the staff and the caliber of the menu will keep me returning to Peller for community events, wine tastings and brunches, lunches and dinners for years to come I’m sure.