As Bobby Gidda looks out over the bare vines of his family’s estate winery, he’s dreaming of warm, sunny days on the outdoor patio of Lazeez, Volcanic Hills’ restaurant. Last year, he was a neophyte restaurateur working with veteran chef Stefan Pimenta to create an Indian fusion menu. High on the list of favourites were Butter Chicken, Vegetarian and Chicken Samosas and Indian-spiced Burgers. Pimenta’s signature Chai Tea Crème Brulée was also a big hit.
This year, Gidda and his crew are expanding their repertoire; they’re moving into catering as well as a regular lunch service starting in May. They’ve designed a special wedding package and will customize menus for other events.
Gidda supports the “eat local” movement. This year, in his one-acre garden he grew enough to supply the kitchen and even some of the locals with fresh produce. “There were a lot of tomato plants,” says Bobby, “But that’s OK. It takes a lot of tomatoes to make a good butter chicken!”
Gidda’s looking forward to creating this year’s menu and wine pairings with Chef Pimenta. It may seem simple, but each dish has to be prepared then tasted with different wines. It takes time to get it right. “It’s fun, and someone has to do the hard work!” laughs Gidda.
One pairing might include the newly released Lava, a 2011 off-dry blend of Zweigelt, Marechal Foch, Michurinetz and Zweigelt Icewine. It’s a 2 on the sweetness scale, the perfect match for extra spicy Indian dishes. Lazeez offers reasonably priced wine and fusion food – taste for yourself.
Also new for this year is Volcanic Hills’ Wine Club. Subscribers will receive 4 packages (4 bottles each) per year and can choose from red, white or a mix. For more information visit the website (http://volcanichillswinery.com) or drop into the winery.
~ Sue Harper