As soon as my local book club (the fabulous Sleuth Sisters!) first heard about special wine pairings being offered at The Canebrake Resort and Spa in Wagoner, Oklahoma, we knew we needed to “book” one for our group as soon as possible. And the day DEFINITELY did not disappoint!
Right before Christmas, we attended an educational “Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate” session (with hands-on eating and drinking of course!) at the dining room bar overlooking The Canebrake’s kitchen. Not only was it a truly delicious day, but we all learned a lot from the oh-so-knowledgeable Chef Sam Bracken.
Here’s a listing of most of the mouth-watering pairings and combinations we ate our way through…
1) We started off with a glass of Prosecco, an Italian white sparkling wine, with a pesto and goat cheese stuffed Peppadew– a small, bright yellow, semi-sweet pepper. Yum! We were off to a great start.
2) Next, we were given a sliver of smoked cheddar as a palate cleanser. Note: Canebrake buys a block of regular cheddar and then smokes chunks of it themselves. Although alone I found it a little overwhelming, it paired nicely with the Prosecco.
3) Next, we switched to a chardonnay from A to Z that I didn’t really like (but then I very rarely like chardonnay wines). However, I LOVED the mozzarella cheese and creamy BelGioioso buratta cheese with black truffles that was supposed to be paired with it. Wowza!
4) We also had bites of milk chocolate with the chardonnay, which was okay, and with the Prosecco, which was wonderful. And this was followed by bites of blackberry and mixed nuts.
5) Next, we had brie on a cracker with plain salami and the chardonnay. Meh. But then they replaced the wine with Peachy Canyon Zinfandel, which was much better. (I love the reds!)
6) Somehow, I was then convinced to try a combo of brie, salami, and an anchovy on a cracker, which was horrible. But the very next combo made up for that mis-step – a piece of organic dark chocolate with strong orange flavoring, from Equal Exchange. Mmmmmmm.
7) A briny tasting combo was next – a cold dolma, or grape leaf wrapped around a tasty rice filling, was paired with the Zinfandel. This was quite good, but we were told that any briny food will also pair nicely with beer.
8) My favorite cheese came next. We were told to place a slice of Lorelei from Briar Rose Creamery on a piece of peppered salami on a cracker and then to take sips of the Zinfandel. Seriously, I could have stopped and just had an entire meal of this. You guys, this cheese is “washed” in a beer called Steam Fire Stout. And it’s fantastic!
9) Other food and wine alone and in combinations: some very dark and bitter chocolate from Oregon, blueberries, artichoke dip, spinach dip without mayo (we were told to never pair wine to anything with mayo in it!), Cocobon red blend wine, pitted cherries, blue cheese, and many pieces of a dark chocolate/peanut butter bar.
Overall, this was such a fun experience. Almost everything tasted great and Chef Bracken patiently answered all of our questions. It wasn’t cheap (running about $55 per person), but made for a great outing for our group. And yep, we’d like to go back for other events!
Canebrake, which used to be a 250-acre family ranch, now has luxury rooms and suites (with complementary yoga classes), an award-winning spa, convention facilities, and of course a big bar and dining room. It also offers special dog-friendly Thursday night dinners out on its patio during warmer weather.
In other words, there’s a lot more to explore at this beautiful, yet fun and laid back resort. I’ll be seeing you again soon Canebrake!