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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Provenance Food & Wine: What a Pear!

In May, Provenance in Collingwood held one of their semi-regular seasonal produce events. The latest was an autumn degustation to celebrate local pears, held over three evenings, with 7 courses for $75 and matched wines for an additional $22. Alastair and I rounded up Dany for a peary peariffic evening.

Provenance Food & Wine - pear degustation

The first course was a Gorgonzola dolce pannacotta with salt pear coulis and crispy prosciutto. Interestingly, the panna cotta was fizzy on the tongue, which was a bit distracting. Apart from the fizziness, it was rich and creamy and sharp with the Gorgonzola, which I really enjoyed with the sweet pear coulis.

Provenance Food & Wine - pear degustation

Next up was a pear tarte tatin with parmesan crisp, watercress, and rocket pesto. This was a gorgeous little tart – good flakey, buttery pastry and sweet pear. While the pear was sweet it wasn’t a dessert dish and managed to find that balance. The rocket pesto was a tad too bitter for my tastes, so I left most of it.

Provenance Food & Wine - pear degustation

After the tarte tatin, we received a whole quail that had been partially boned, with a pear and pecan farce on cavalo nero and jus gras. This was the best savoury course of the evening. Thankfully the quail had been partially boned, so it was tender and easy to eat. The pear and pecan stuffing was great and the cavalo nero helped cut through the richness of the meat and jus.

Provenance Food & Wine - pear degustation

This was a pear and Roquefort millefeuille with walnuts. Instead of pastry layers, slices of crunchy pear were used, with dabs of Roquefort in between and a bit of lemon zest on top. This was fantastic, and yet so simple.

Provenance Food & Wine - pear degustation

The final savoury course was described as a partridge in a pear tree. On the plate was partridge breast that had been braised in pear cider, served with pear confit, and a few pear and ginger tortellini. The partridge wasn’t quite as nice as the quail, and the pear was strangely salty. I quite liked the pear and ginger tortellini.

Provenance Food & Wine - pear degustation

The first of the desserts was a caramel pear pudding with double cream. This was a wonderful dessert, perfect for winter and cold nights and deserved to be eaten while sitting by a fire. Gorgeous! It was a real comfort pudding - soft, cinnamony goodness in a cup.

Provenance Food & Wine - pear degustation

And finally, our last course and second dessert was coffee assiette – espresso poached pear, a rich, dark chocolate espresso mousse, and “pear-fogato” (ahh, we love a pun in this house. Sad but true.).

The espresso poached pear was decorated to look like a Xmas pudding, with the white chocolate and fried mint leaf on top – ahh so cute! It was a bit hard to eat with a spoon though as the white chocolate was very hard to break. And the espresso for the pear-fogato was REALLY strong. I wish I hadn't poured it over the ice cream and just eaten the ice cream plain.

We had a great time, although at four hours it was a long night. The timing at the beginning seemed a bit slow, but thankfully things picked up at the end.

Read about a previous visit to Provenance here – the Valentine's Day degustation featuring berries and an indoor picnic!

Provenance Food & Wine
288 Smith Street
Phone: 03 8415 0700

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