Thursday, November 5, 2009

Something Fishy at Acacia

Last night, chef Dale Reitzer brought together food lovers, wine lovers and marine science geeks to focus on the sustainable seafood movement for an evening.

Marine Educator Vicki Clark and Fisheries Biologist Dave Rudders went table to table sharing their passion for sustainable fishing practices in Virginia and answering questions from the less scientific-inclined among us.

If you're going to get a science lesson, though, how better than accompanied by a three-course wine dinner at Acacia?

First off was a scallop flan with mixed field lettuces and a shallot and caper vinaigrette; it was served with a 2008 Montinore "Almost Dry" Riesling.

The flan was much like a seafood terrine, smooth, creamy on the tongue and tasting of local scallops, in other words, lovely.

Next up was layered scallop and black truffles, baked in house made puff pastry with port wine cream sauce, a rich and decadent dish, served with the 2006 Montinore Gewurztraminer.

The wine's sweetness only added to the lushness of this course.

Finally we had potato-wrapped rock fish on local greens fondue with local crab sauce.

When my friend inquired about the significance of "local crab" sauce, we learned from our science geek visitors that blue crabs are not just a Chesapeake Bay find, but are caught as far north as Cape Cod and as far south as South America.

The point of labeling the sauce as local was to highlight the fact that the crabs used in this sauce were not from those more distant locations, but MD/VA crabs.

The dish was served with a 2008 Montinore Pinot Noir, a beautiful match with the local favorite, rock fish.

Montinore Estate Wines, from a family-owned winery in the Willamette Valley, Oregon, were chosen as part of the focus of the evening for their organic and sustainable practices.

They make wine only from grapes that they grow and all 230 acres of grapes are farmed using the strict methods of Bio-dynamic farming, which utilize ethical-spiritual considerations.

It's as groovy as it sounds, with all the attendant implications that term brings up (Horsetail tea? Check. Valerian flower juice? Yep.).

It was hard to tell from the lively dinner crowd how many people were there for the science lesson and how many just wanted to enjoy another of Acacia's excellent three-course wine dinners for $35.

To be honest, I wanted it all and was amply rewarded with both a learning experience and delicious food responsibly fished.

I believe business types call that a win/win situation.

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