Wine Tasting for the Birds

While reminiscing about the South African Wine Dinner we held at our restaurant last night, I began thinking about one of our most unusual caterings that actually occurred a month ago.  For those of you familiar with the eastern North Carolina area, you may have heard of or even visited Sylvan Heights Water Fowl Park and Eco-center.  For a better idea of what it’s about, please visit  If you live in this area and you haven’t visited, make a plan to get there…it is truly one of North Carolina’s greatest attractions.

But I digress.  La Chaine des Rotisseurs of the Triangle asked our restaurant, On the Square, to cater a walk-around wine and food tasting at Sylvan Heights so members could enjoy the cuisine of our restaurant as well as have the opportunity to explore the treasure unbeknownst to so many.  It was a wonderful opportunity, and we loved getting to entertain at such a magical place. 

Because Sylvan Height’s birds are arranged by continents, we tried to make the menu flow at each station as well as provide appropriate wines, possibly with bird-themed names or labels.  While we weren’t able to be 100%, we almost made it.

The reception consisted of Bloody Mary Beausoleil Oyster Shooters.  These kicked off the event and gave everyone a jumpstart before they began their culinary adventure.

Australia was the first stop.  It was here where they enjoyed Shrimp on the Barbee and New Zealand Mussel Gratin with the Banrock Station Sparkling Chardonnay.

Africa delivered a small dish of Fried Carolina Quail over Moroccan Couscous paired with Kanu Chenin Blanc.

In Eurasia, everyone ate a variety of dishes such as Sliced Duck Breast Risotto, Asian Tuna Salad on Wontons and Truffled Deviled Eggs with Rainbow Trout Caviar.  My favorite wine appeared at this station:  Domaine Moillard Beaune-Greves 1er Cru 2005.

Of course, North America wasn’t a bust, either.  It was there where the Wagyu Sliders with Fried Quail Egg and Open Faced Lobster Rolls made their introduction.  The Biale “Black Chicken” Zinfandel from Napa stole the show for most people.

In South America, the group feasted on Braised Short Rib Barbacoa over Locro with Las Perdices Malbec from Mendoza.

Dessert at the Treehouse ended the afternoon culinary extravaganza.  This finale is held dear to my heart as the wine was from Scotland Neck and made my a family friend.  Ventosa Estates’ Magnolia White, an off-dry wine made from Scuppernong, smells just like the grapes that grace so many yards in the area, yet has a spritzyness that loves apples, pecans, carrot cake and sweet potato fritters.  In this case, we paired it with a Local Apple Tart Tatin, Apple Cider Fritters, Spiked Apple Milkshake.  What a blast!

Ventosa Estate Magnolia White, Scotland Neck

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