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ST. CROIX – A gourmet dinner featuring Southern cuisine was one of the highlights of the six-day St. Croix Food and Wine Experience benefit event for the St. Croix Foundation.
Dubbed the Gourmet Vintner Dinner for the last 12 years running, it was one of the annual events that provided some of the funding to help restore Sunday Market Square after it was destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
Three-time Top Chef contestant Tiffany Derry of Dallas was the celebrity chef tasked with choosing a menu that pairs perfectly with wines from the Prestige Wine Group. Hundreds of people were willing to pay $250 a plate to sample her fine cooking.
The evening began with a live band and an even livelier glass of Taittinger champagne, as Chef Derry started with a locally-caught fresh tuna appetizer on a green bed of avocado and tomatillo puree along with slices of radish. The tasty treat was paired with a light Chardonnay blend called Orin Swift Mannequin.
The Southern influence was on display as smoked salmon with salmon roe and a tangy sauce ravigote and fried green tomatoes was brought out along with a Kongsgaard Chardonnay.
Next came Chef Derry’s salad in which jumbo sizes of fried pork belly sat on a bed of fresh melon, basil, and chili. A sturdy pinot noir from Sea Smoke Cellars was the finishing touch.
Somehow palates still watered as braised short ribs were next on the menu with a side of mashed sweet potatoes, carrots and horseradish gremolata. A full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon from Lewis Cellars Napa Valley was the wine of choice.
A fresh take on the tropics was featured at dessert as a banana heated crème brulee style was served with vanilla custard, pineapple chutney, macadamia crumble and cilantro. A glass of Martinelli Jackass Muscat with it didn’t stop your taste buds from tingling.
As always, Auctioneer Willard John was on hand to accept bids from diners willing to donate even more by buying items up for the charity auction that benefits the St. Croix Foundation.
Chef Tiffany Derry currently appears on popular TV shows like Hungry Investors and Bar Rescue.
Feature Image: Chef Tiffany Derry at her Dallas restaurant, Private Social
Image Credit: Eats Blog
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