Posts Tagged ‘Chatham Vineyards’

“Corks & Forks”- The 4th Annual Fundraiser On Eastern Shore Virginia

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

My husband loves to tease me-  he always says that if an event has the word  “Fork”  in it,  I’m sure to be interested.  Well, that’s probably true,  and especially true for the wine tasting fund-raiser which we attended Saturday evening.  Now an annual “foodie” event,  “Corks and Forks”  this year benefited the  truly worthy project  of the Hospice of the Eastern Shore,  the establishment of  the Fragile Heart’s Children’s Camp to help Eastern Shore Virginia children aged 7-14 who are struggling with loss and bereavement, .

Aqua’s Restaurant in Cape Charles,  with its spacious, open layout  and gorgeous views from the long wall of windows overlooking the Chesapeake Bay,  was the  absolutely perfect venue for this year’s event,  I don’t think there could have been a better choice.    Tables `were beautifully decorated with large candles  and bouquets of yellow tulips.   Aqua’s nearly full-room length bar,  glowing with large bowls of  fiery candles floating above large sea shells,  (a theme which nicely complemented the restaurant’s location along the sandy Chesapeake shoreline ),  served as  the  MicroBrewery  Station as well as the official Cheese Station,  which  included a particularly delicious Danish blue as one of the selections.


Picking up a glass and plate at the entrance,  we  swirled along with the crowd towards one of the five Wine Stations  that had been spread out  around the restaurant,  offering  plenty of room for guests to flow among them,  picking up a nibble here and a taste of  another wine over there.  In total,  fourteen different Virginia wines were included in the tastings,  with Chatham Vineyards in Machipongo as the Eastern Shore appellation’s contribution to the evening,  with owner Jon Wehner serving as the event’s wine consultant.   We started at the Cabernet Franc Station, which featured wines from Chatham, Philip Carter Winery and Barren Ridge Winery, enjoying a taste of each and then a half glass of  the Chatham to accompany the food.  Offerings at the Cabernet Station  included beef tenderloin sliders plus one of my three absolute favorites of the evening,  mushrooms stuffed with an intriguing mixture of andouille sausage,  roasted tomatoes, garlic and bread crumbs,  absolutely delectable.  Wandering on to the  Chardonnay Station,  we  tried a lightly oaked vintage from Varitas Winery,  located near Charlottesville, VA ,  served with my second favorite food of the evening,  a  creamy and delicious butternut squash bisque garnished with cinnamon-honey creme’  fraiche.   Quite a delectable  pairing.   Also served at the Chardonnay Station was  smoked whitefish on focaccia,  which my husband particularly enjoyed.

Before continuing on to the Merlot Station,  we stopped to peruse the  many items on the Silent Auction table– a diverse collection of donated services and travel packages as well as many beautiful items  by local artists,  including  a lovely original acrylic, “Water Lilies”   by  Thelma Peterson .   Also by Thelma was an  original watercolor,  sure to enliven any room,  the  very colorful  “Oysters Caribbean”,  a  special  “Corks and Forks”  auction item.  Other interesting art items included a handcrafted leather handbag by well-known local artist,  Miguel Bizzotto,  a  William Turner sculpture entitled “Bronze Otter” and a small table topped with a  marble mosaic  donated by New Revenna.  For sports lovers,  there were several bidding opportunities including  a Sky Suite at Perdue Stadium, large enough for 20 people,  to watch the Delmarva Shorebirds, ( a  Single A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team),   a fishing trip for two on board the Miss Jennifer,  plus assorted fishing gear for the trip from Eastern Shore Outfitters and  a  round of  golf and lunch for four  at the Eastern Shore Yacht and Country Club in Melfa, VA.

From there,  we pressed  onward  to the Merlot Station,  where vintages were presented from ChathamRosemont Winery and Veritas Winery.  Merlot is among my husband’s favorite wines,  although not mine,  and he enjoyed a tasting from each winery,  enjoyed them all.  Nearby, a separate carving station for  grilled pork tenderloin served with a fig demi-glaze was doing a brisk business,  the pork was fork  tender and paired well with both the sauce and the wines.  I especially enjoyed the  offering of  asparagus wrapped in puff pastry,  local asparagus  grilled to perfection,  the puff pastry  buttery with just the right crunch,   number three on my top food picks of the evening. For seafood lovers,  the nearby Viognier Station was the place to be,  with plump Virginia’s  Eastern Shore seaside oysters the stars of  that  Station.  Served on the half shell,  deliciously chilled,  nestled into a deep bed of  crushed ice,  these meaty local oysters  are prized for their briny zing,  a perfect balance of sweet meat and salty liquor.  I’m not really a fan of oysters,  my husband prefers them in a rich stew rather than au natural,  but for those who love a freshly opened raw oyster,  these were prime.   Along with the oysters,  the Viognier Station offered pastry cups stuffed with a very tasty shrimp salad and crunchy crostini topped with goat cheese and a chutney of  olive-artichoke-roasted peppers.   The Barboursville  Vineyard Viognier was especially fine,  I’ve bought it several times when I’ve visited their winery outside Charlottesville, VA ,  near the foot of the Blue Ridge mountains.

Definitely not to be missed,  the final station was,  you guessed it,  the Dessert Station.  Featuring a luscious chocolate torte and  a very light angel food cake served with a blueberry liquor sauce,  it was the perfect ending to a wonderful evening.   Both a red and  a white dessert wine were available for pairing- I tried a taste of both,  liked  them both.  Although in general I prefer red wines,  I usually like a very sweet white dessert wine best,  no exception here,  my husband and I both found the Barren Ridge Vineyard’s  offering  quite destinctive and delicious.    Bravo !   Hats off  to Aqua’s  Chef Shelly Cusmina and her talented staff,  the food was delicious,  they really did a superb  job !   And the ambience of the entire evening could not have been as interesting as it was without the delightful live music of the Russell Scarborough Jazz Trio.   I’ve read that the Trio has been voted as  “Jazz Artist of the Year”  by several regional magazines and it’s easy to see why.  Reminiescent of the George Shearing Trio,  their  mellow  music and  elegant piano added so much to the entire event,  helping make the 4th annual  “Corks and Forks”  one of the  most successful  to date .