November 16, 2012

Dinner Party: Foods from Chile!

The talented & lovely Alejandra Ramos of Always Order Dessert invited me this week to a dinner party at her home-- featuring foods (and wines) from Chile! I think I replied yes before I even read past "Would you like to.. " I'm in! These parties were happening all over the country on the same night-- fun!

A touch of Chile was in every bit of the evening-- that lovely floral arrangement features sliced clementines from.. you guessed it.. Chile! Foods from Chile sponsored the event, and as their ambassador, Alejandra schooled us on some sweet facts-- such as:

80 percent of the cherries we buy in the US come from Chile!

Chile has to meet the EU standards to sell their products in Europe--and those standards are higher than those in the US!

Chile is the largest exporter of fresh plums, grapes, & fish filets (our entrée that night)

They're the 2nd largest exporter of frozen salmon

Chile's seasons are opposite ours-- so fresh fruits and other delicious things are in season there now (hence the twitter hashtag #nowinseason)

A lot of the juice we drink? You guessed it--from Chile!

Here's a shot of Alejandra working her magic in her kitchen. She's preparing endive spears with Chilean raspberries, Chilean clementines, goat cheese, Chilean olive oil and cracked pepper (I had 3 just to make very, very certain they were delicious). A TV crew from Chile came later, and the gentleman who interpreted for us said that Chilean olive oil has won best in the world for 2 years running. #themoreyouknow
There was a lovely almond & merquen-spiced (smoked pepper spice popular in Chile) gazpacho waiting for everyone. It wasn't until later that I realized I never tried this, but I heard rave reviews.

I might have been distracted by the smooth, lush red wine.. a 2009 Pinot Noir.. from Chile's Kingston Family Vineyards. Their Tobiano was so full, fruity, and velvety. I'll have to see who carries this in NYC!

There were so many delicious bites-- a smoky, slightly-spicy chorizo, a soft and mild goat cheese smothered in a luxurious blueberry sauce, gorgeous grapes and nuts that paired perfectly with a merquen-spiced fig paste. Woooh---that was a fabulous spread! So fabulous that I kept eating instead of taking photos!

I did snap a quick pic of the merquen bottle as we passed it around the room for a show-and-tellsmell. Smoky but not overpowering, this was a delicious spice that wouldn't burn your tongue, but definitely kicks up the heat.
Our main course was an almond-crusted salmon fillet with black sticky rice and a fresh, crunchy, slightly spicy salsa made of grapes, jalapenos, tomatoes and more. Grapes in salsa--never would have thought of it before, but I will now! I ate every single bite on my plate. Tender salmon, crunchy veggies, and nice, chewy rice.

I should mention I had a half-serving, splitting it with another party-goer, as I wanted to have room for dessert. I wish I'd gotten a whole one now! But.. I DID have room for dessert this way....

And dessert was a cherry-berry crisp. The crisp was so good--not overly sweet, crunchy crust, and just enough vanilla ice cream to be melty and marvelous.

There were also merquen-spiced brownies-- I had one at the party and took another home for 'later.' By 'later' I mean 'about 10 minutes after I got home that night!' I had a great time that night! I got to catch up with uber-blogger Yvo (her kick-ass site, The Feisty Foodie, is here)


And I met some fun new people, many fellow bloggers, including:

Lara Ruth of Grits in the City. Her review here.

and Irina of Healthy Latin Food (nice pic here)

Despite the number of bloggers there, we did a good job of actually talking to each other and not staring at our phones all night-- tho we did take a quick group Twitter break here and there.

Alejandra cooked an amazing meal for a large group, which is no small feat on its own, but she cooked such flavorful dishes and flavors I've never tried before, which is a delicious adventure all its own. She also sent us home with goodie bags from the folks at Foods From Chile...can't wait to try everything!

Thank you, Alejandra, for a fantastic night! And thanks to the folks at Foods from Chile!

1 comment:

Kimberly at Hungry Goddess said...

YAY! What great pics and a great write-up! I am SO glad that you were participating and I am jealous that you were at Alejandra's - she is amazing! THANK YOU - we will be sharing!!

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