At Latin Roots, an LA Food Bowl event, Latin cuisine by way of South America was the focus of a four-course food and wine pairing by Chef Ricardo Zarate and Cattleya winemaker Bibiana González Rave. Their take on Peruvian-Colombian food also had a mestizo flair – blending the Latin with European influences, like Spanish. Mestizo-style Peruvian cuisine is Zarate’s specialty at Los Balcones in Studio City, where the event was held.
An amuse bouche was enjoyed prior to the four-course dinner. A shucked oyster in a blend of oil and citric juices, charcoal powder and herbs. This was paired with a 2017 Alma de Cattleya rosé of pinot noir.
This was followed by the first course, Un nuevo comienzo: Scallop ceviche tostada. The crunchy corn tostada had a layer of Amaebi (sweet shrimp) mousse and it was topped with poached shrimps, scallops, and cucumber-cilantro leche de tigre. Leche de tigre (tiger’s milk) is a citrus marinade that is the base of Peruvian ceviche. This tangy, seafood-forward dish was paired with a glass of 2014 Shared Notes “Les leçons de Maîtres” Sauvignon Blanc.
The second course, No Te Detengas Ahora: Colombian seafood ajiaco. The base of this dish was a creamy potato and rice congee. This was served with marinated salmon, guascas nori powder, charcoal soy oil, caper chimichurri, and roe. This deconstructed stew was so vibrant in color and flavor. Just take a moment to appreciate its plating and then mix everything up. The combination of flavors and texture was incredible. The creaminess of the congee with the popping roe, the brininess of capers with the complex-flavored guascas, an herb native to Colombia. This intricate dish was paired with 2017 Cattleya “Cuvée Number Five” Chardonnay.
For the third course, Termina Como Un Campeon: Chancho tamales. Not your typical tamale, the osso buco-style pork was fall of the bone tender and served with a scoop of garbanzo masa. It was topped with a whole hardboiled egg and salsa Criolla: red onions, tomatoes, cilantro and canchitas in a citric dressing. This hearty dish was paired with the 2016 Cattleya “Cuvée Number One” Pinot Noir.
The final course, Final Feliz: Pan de yuca. Colombian profiteroles made of cassava and queso. They were rolled in chocolate and coconut flakes and served with two scoops of lucuma ice cream. The profiteroles were cakey and had a subtle cheese flavor that was more apparent with every bite. The lucuma ice cream added an extra level of sweetness as the flavor of the fruit resembles maple. This was paired with a glass of 2015 Cattleya “Soberanes Vineyard” Syrah.
The food and wine pairing experience was superb. Great selections from start to finish. For those unable to attend this event, check out Los Balcones for Zarate’s other creations on his regular menu. A selection of Cattleya’s wines are also available on their beverage menu.