A celebration of community and collaboration over a five-course beer-pairing dinner.
The White Whale’s first annual Brew Valley Dinner provided the perfect avenue for bringing the community together to celebrate creative local food and beer. Chef Jeff and his team delivered a social and interactive dining experience that not only delighted palates, but brought diners together to enjoy the culture and bounty of the Comox Valley.
Each of the five courses was created to pair with a specially crafted beer from the Valley’s talented line-up of breweries, with Cumberland Brewing, Gladstone, Land and Sea, New Tradition, and Ace all finding a place at the table.
From the outset, the kitchen team demonstrated its ability to integrate creative techniques and intriguing flavours to make the most of familiar foods. Juicy bratwurst was transformed into a tantalizing starter with the addition of crispy lemongrass, sharp mustard, and spiced ketchup. Paired with a refreshing German lager from Cumberland Brewing, it was a surprisingly light yet substantial start to the dinner.
For the second course, local sockeye salmon was given the royal treatment with perfectly poached filet, shockingly crispy skin, and rich belly mousse. Clever little wine pearls dotted this seafood dish, delighting diners as they popped the roe-like orbs in their mouths. The dish paired wonderfully with Gladstone’s wine Saison, which was light and complex with a crisp, bitter finish.
Despite the challenges of the season, Jeff was able to utilize local produce in playful yet sophisticated dishes. Smoked wild mushrooms provided depth and character to a ricotta ravioli dish, which was paired with Biere di champignon, an exclusive Land and Sea brew infused with locally foraged smoked chanterelles. Local micro mustards brought a sharp contrast to an unctuous broiled dark lager cheese sauce with malted toast, complemented by the roasted malt flavours of New Tradition’s Schwarzbier.
Dessert was an impressive finale to the evening; an enticing chocolate globe was melted table-side with hot citrus caramel to reveal a chocolate stout brownie and swirl ice cream. It was decadent, fun, and interactive, and felt like a fitting conclusion to the evening. The creamy richness of Ace Brewing’s chocolate orange coconut porter was the perfect accompaniment.
Special praise is reserved for the service staff who seamlessly delivered five courses to 80 patrons with friendly and attentive service. Even as the crowd became increasingly convivial, they never missed a beat, and their service reflected the festive atmosphere of the gathering. It was a wonderful night of celebrating inventive local food and beer with our wonderful community, and we look forward to more successful collaborations between Comox Valley producers and businesses.