Idaho Wine and Food Tasting

One New Yorker's delicious introduction to the wines and foods of Idaho.


As a member of The Daily Meal's Culinary Content network, I get some fabulous foodie perks. The most recent was an invitation to an intimate dinner at Corkbuzz (a NYC wine bar) showcasing Idaho wines, paired with Idaho-inspired cuisine. My first thought was: "Idaho makes wine?" My second was, "How many potatoes are we going to eat during dinner?"

Yup, I'm a jerk who really knew nothing about Idaho other than the aforementioned potato crop and that lots of skiing fanatics love to go to the state. I've never been to Idaho nor had I ever really considered it. But, heck, I went to check out the dinner and wine tasting. Why not?

Those of you who follow Full Belly Sisters on Instagram got to experience the dinner with me. For those who didn't, check out this fabulous menu:



Let me tell you, the wine tasting and dinner were eye-opening for me! The first thing I tasted was the Coiled Rizza Sparkling Wine. It was wonderfully light and crisp, with just a touch of sweetness. I won't tell you how many times throughout the evening the sommelier refilled my glass. And lovely, bite-sized potato croquettes were the passed hors d'oeuvres. Did I mention I love potatoes? And, truly, I would've been happy if they'd somehow included them in every course. Alas, potatoes were only in two of the courses...


I'm not really a fish person. And I always have a semi panic attack when I'm at a dinner party that someone is going to serve me fish and how will I respond without seeming rude and lame? Of course, the second course was fish. Trout—which I learned is the state fish of Idaho—with spring peas and a lovely pile of mashed potatoes (yay!). Since I'm a grown-up and I have to act like it, I tried the fish. And it was actually pretty darn yummy. Not fishy (my greatest seafood fear), very delicate and mild. I kept taking one bite after another and gobbled almost the whole thing. Aren't you proud of me? I texted my husband during dinner: "I'm eating trout!"
 

   
Mmm...mashed taters...

One of my dinner companions from the Idaho Tourism Board told me that, if you're eating trout anywhere in the U.S., it's probably from Idaho; it's one of the state's big exports. One of the wines even featured trout on its label. I'm telling you, it's a thing!

There are actually 52 wineries in Idaho right now. It's a small but growing wine region with the natural resources to sustain world-class vineyards. The warm climate, well-drained soils, and direct access to water sources provides Idaho with key ingredients for great wines.
 
Speaking of water sources, I learned that Idaho has amazing hot springs. At that point, I was basically like, "How soon can you transport me there?" But I played it cool. Dinner wasn't yet over.

We were served a fabulous grilled lamb with a merguez sausage paella—a nod to the state's Basque community, who moved to Idaho originally as shepherds. Cheers to that delicious course!


Then we had a fantastic cheese course from New York City's legendary Murray's Cheese, alongside that rich Trout Trilogy Syrah I mentioned earlier. The perfect marriage of NYC and Idaho food and wine!

Dessert was a Huckleberry Swirl Buttercake—huckleberries are apparently a hot commodity in Idaho and let me tell you...I GET IT. Those little buggers were delish. We toasted some more with a Late Harvest Viognier that was not too sweet and paired perfectly with the cake.
 

Throughout dinner, there was lots of chatting with the Idahoans about the fantastic skiing, film and music festivals, whitewater rafting, and dude ranches in the state. We also talked about how all these adventures are more affordable in Idaho than in other, more-traveled states. All the New Yorkers were seriously like, "Where do we sign up?" Not sure if it was the tales of the state's fun and beauty, or the delicious (and free-flowing) wines, or those tasty huckleberries, but I was on board. On the train ride home, I texted my friend about my new Idaho plans:


Thanks to Visit Idaho and the Idaho Wine Commission for the wonderful—and eye-opening—evening. For more info, check out their websites or follow them on social media! @visitidaho @idahowines #VisitIdaho #IdahoWines

And thanks to @TheDailyMeal for sending me!

Comments

  1. This was a fun post to read. As for your fear of fishy fish, I can recommend that you not get fish in most restaurants. That's where I've had the worst fish. When I cook it at home it's great! I love the idea of visiting Idaho as well. Cheers to Idaho and their wines!

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  2. Now I would say that makes you about the luckiest blogger I know! I have to visit a beautiful state and drink their wine? Oh darn it. Fish kind of freaks me out. I have a fear that it's going to me served with the head on it. Yikes!

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  3. How much fun was that?!! And all of the great new experiences, awesome! Glad you liked the trout, fresh trout is amazing! Cheers to Idaho, time to plan a trip!!

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  4. It sounds like it was a really fun event. I like fish...but not fishy fish. We make it at home a lot. The only time it freaked me out in a restaurant though was when it was served with the head on. No thank you!! After reading this, now I want to plan a trip to Idaho...I haven't been there in years!

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  5. This sounds like such a fun and fabulous evening! Lucky you!!

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  6. What a fun event! Who would guess Idaho has so many wineries! Worth a trip there for sure :)

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  7. And here I thought all they had was potatoes:) Now I definitely need to schedule a trip out there!

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  8. This looks so good! i wish I had gone!!! AWESOME!

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  9. This looks like such a fun meal! I had no clue trout was one of the big things that Idaho is known for; I would've just assumed potatoes as well! Glad you had a great night!

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  10. Sorry for sounding redundant, but I thought potatoes too!! Looks like a fun time!

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