I have had the good fortune to visit Niagara’s newest premium winery – Two Sisters Vineyards – three times recently. You may ask, with so many wineries to visit in Niagara, why go back to the same one three times in quick succession? Well, because it is a good one. Because each experience convinced me to come back for another, and each was consistently good. I had been meaning to get over to Two Sisters since they opened. But what finally got me through their doors was their pairing for Days of Wine and Chocolate. Savoury pairings are the keys to my heart, and what a pairing they had. Listen to this. They were serving Roasted Mushroom Crostini with Gorgonzola, Arugula and Agrodolce sauce. I believe the chocolate was in the Agrodolce sauce. This was paired with their Eleventh Post wine – a red meritage blend, made with 52% Cabernet Franc, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 23% Merlot.
Honestly, chefs amaze me – they truly are gifted. I love mushrooms, arugula and Gorgonzola, but I would never think to put these three items together. They are all strong flavours,and if matched up with my kitchen skills, I think this combo would be quite overpowering. This wasn’t. You could taste each of the ingredients, but they all blended together in such a way that no single one was dominant. It was delicious. The big test, though was Ken. If I made this for Ken he would not touch it – he would rather eat anything in the world than blue cheese. But he liked this. (You could have knocked me over with a feather. What has Niagara done to us?) It was beautifully matched with Eleventh Post.
After our tasting, we walked around and poked our noses in a couple of places. Our hostess showed us the wine cellar, which was stunning.
And I took a quick peek into the restaurant, Kitchen 76
The aromas coming out of the restaurant were so enticing. “We have to come back,” I said to Ken. “How about this week?” I got my way, and we made a reservation. So before our dinner, I decided to come back for a wine tasting. What a gorgeous tasting room.
I totally fell in love with Lush, their sparkling wine – bubbly, creamy, delicious. I wish the bottle came with a straw. But that would not be very responsible or classy of me, I guess.
Capturing Lush-ness for Instagram.
I also loved the Cabernet Franc.
I decided to take another peek into Kitchen 76, for some more photos. Lunch service was finished, and the staff kindly let me wander around and snap away. I am still in a learning curve for taking pictures in the dark, so I wanted to get some good shots, in case the dinner ones did not turn out. I love the atmosphere here – elegant and upscale, but also relaxed.
But I needn’t have worried. I think I got a few nice shots at dinner.
This is my lovely Mummy, who just turned eighty last month.
I LOVE this fireplace. All the way there, I was hoping we would get a table in front of the fireplace. I got my wish. Ken and I both started with Arancini – Sicilian rice balls with smoked mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil. My Mom had their soup of the day. Both dishes were scrumptious. It’s been a looong time since I’ve had Arancini.
So good. Cheesy, with a light, crispy coating. The tomato sauce was absolutely wonderful – the flavours so fresh and delicious.
In my opinion, tomato sauce should be one of the simplest things to make, but so few of us get it right. When I was a kid, my best friend was Italian. I remember the first time I tasted her Mom’s tomato sauce….I had never tasted anything like it. It was light, full of flavour, and clung to each pasta strand perfectly. I still swoon when I think about that first taste of perfect tomato sauce. That is really my very first foodie memory.
With this sauce at Kitchen 76, I felt like I was right back in Mrs. Bertulli’s kitchen. For me, that is the highest praise.
Onto the second course, my Mom and I both had Bistecca – Grilled AAA rib eye, potato croquette, swiss chard, roasted carrots and red wine. Ken went for the Salsiccia and Peperoni pizza with tomato, sausage, roasted peppers, grilled onions and Parmigiano.
But before I show you the food, look at the magic happening in the pizza oven.
As you know, pizza is almost a distinct food group for Ken and I. So if the pizza was good, then Kitchen 76 would have two forever fans.
The verdict? It was excellent. And so was our Bistecca.
My mother was the only one with room for dessert, and she had the Panna Cotta which was light and creamy. Ken sipped his latte, and as the other patrons began to head for home, I took a few more shots.
Kitchen 76 – and Two Sisters Vineyards – I think you’ll be seeing a lot of us this year.
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