Ever wondered what it would be like to experience cuisines from various parts of the world with intricate attention to detail?
This was part of a press dinner invite by 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel. All opinions as always, are my own
Being a foodie at heart, I’ve always enjoyed exploring diverse cuisines. It helps me to get out of my comfort zone and experience a world that not only tantalizes the taste buds but also elevates the visual senses.
Last week, I had shared about our wonderful weekend getaway at the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel in upstate New York. The breathtaking view of the partially frozen St.Lawrence river and the overall serenity of the place gave us a much-needed break.
As if this was not enough, the Hotel had a fabulous event called the International Fusion Dinner Series on that weekend.
The dinner event held at this AAA-awarded hotel was a 6-course meal incorporating exotic flavors from all over the world. It was like going on a virtual world tour and getting to experience a bit of everything.
It was attended by food and wine enthusiasts and even had a couple who had come all the way from Canada! As for me, I had been looking forward to this event since a long time since it’s always interesting to see how different cultures can come together in the form of food by incorporating various ingredients that can bring out remarkable flavors in a dish.
Let the Feast Begin!
Our dinner began with the Hotel’s General Manager Todd Buchko welcoming all of us.
By taking inspiration from various countries, Sous Chef Joshua Johnston along with Chef Patrick Leibacher and his team had created a unique experience for all of us by combining exceptional flavors from all around the world.
Before every dish was brought out, Sous Chef Joshua & Laura from Eagle Beverages explained the dishes and the wines that were being paired with each dish. This was definitely a fun way of keeping everyone engaged.
Course 1: Thailand/ Hawaii
Hand-Breaded Jumbo Coconut Prawn Served over Hawaiian Cucumber Salad, Charred Greens & Penang Curry Aioli
Wine: Lonely Cow, Sauvignon Blanc
We started our course with this beautifully plated and delectable dish of fresh jumbo prawns. I really enjoyed the chef’s take on the Penang curry aioli – which gave a tropical touch to the dish. An innovative medley of two cultures.
Course 2: Brazil/ England
Bangers & Mashed Plantain
Wine: Castel Greve, Chianti
For the second course, we were served Linguisa Style Sausage which had a kick to it (not that I’m complaining – I love my spices!) To make things even better, it was served with Mashed Plantain along with Poblano Chimichurri which complemented the sausage really well. This was the hubby’s favorite!
Packed with flavor and spices, this dish was definitely not for the faint-hearted!
Course 3: Vietnam/ Greece
Greek Spring Rolls
Wine: Vallons, Dry Rose
I cannot even begin to explain how fresh these Greek Spring Rolls tasted! It was as if Spring was being served on a plate!
Greek cuisine happens to be one of my favorite cuisines and seeing a Vietnamese-Greek fusion was definitely interesting.
The soft outer cover of the spring rolls and the deliciously fresh filling of Marinated Feta, Artichokes, Tomato, Roasted Red Pepper, Napa Cabbage and Pepperoncini Slaw made the dish truly extraordinary.
After the first 3 courses, they asked us which our favorite dish was. But hold on – this quickly changed once the other courses followed. I mean, isn’t it unfair to choose a favorite when the menu just keeps on getting better and better?
Course 4: Japan /Norway
Smoked Salmon Lox Sushi accompanied by a Caper Dill Crema, Pickled Mustard Seed & Apple Kimchi
Wine: Leonard Kreusch, Riesling
While the sushi in itself was excellent, for me, the star on the plate was the Apple Kimchi! If we wouldn’t have been told that it was apple – I would have probably never guessed it correctly on the first guess. The pickled mustard seeds also gave it an exquisite twist. I was thoroughly impressed by the way this dish was created.
A perfect harmony of flavors!
Course 5: Australia/ Austria
Lamb Jägerschnitzel – Served with Spätzle & Mushroom Vegemite Gravy
Wine: Dragonfly, Shiraz
Let me tell you – I’m very finicky when it comes to eating lamb. It has to be tender and juicy otherwise it just doesn’t make the cut for me. In this case, the meat was so succulent, tender and juicy, that my only regret is not knowing when I would get to have such a phenomenal dish again!
Since Chef Joshua Johnston is from Australia, he wanted to incorporate something from his own heritage – in this case, the famous Australian Vegemite. Now, many of you might be aware of Vegemite – which is an Australian spread mainly used on toast or sandwiches.
Well, I had never tasted Vegemite before although I have heard quite hilarious stories about its taste. So I was a little apprehensive about it – but let me tell you – the mushroom Vegemite gravy with the Späztle tasted phenomenal.
A true blend of different flavors coming together to make one exceptional dish. This was my favorite pick!
Course 6: Mexico/ Switzerland
Kirschtorte – Traditional Cherry Flavored Torte Served with Chili Spiked Chocolate Mole Ice Cream
Wine: Philosophy, Prosecco
No meal is complete without dessert and they definitely kept the best for the last.
This dessert was a total surprise for all of us since we were told that the ice cream had cayenne pepper and cumin in it! Now I’ve tasted spiked chocolate before, but never a spiked ice cream!
So although we were quite full, I couldn’t wait to dig in and experience a flavor explosion in my mouth! The delicious chocolate ice cream was perfectly sweet with a subtle hint of spice in it.
And well, what can I say about the Torte? It was a rich, muli-layered cake and the recipe was not just any other recipe.
It was Chef Patrick’s family recipe which made the experience even better!
A Happy Ending
At the very end, we were served a special cocktail with Gin and Lavender syrup specially made by the General manager who also showed us how to make it. I loved the fresh flavors very much and I’m looking forward to making it during summer!
We ended our evening chatting with the Chefs, asking them questions.
I would like to give my special thanks to General Manager Todd Buchko, Sous Chef Joshua as well as Chef Patrick & their entire team for organizing a perfectly fabulous event!
Chef Joshua also shared a funny story with us about how he thought of combining the countries together.
Apparently, they could not decide how to pair up the countries. Wanting to make an unbiased decision, they decided to go online on sites that help you pick random choices – kind of like when you play Roulette and random choices just pop up. And that’s how the different countries ended up together for this Fusion Dinner series.
I was hoping the International Fusion Dinner series would be amazing but it honestly surpassed all of my expectations! To be honest, I’ve had my fair share of ‘fusion cuisines’ over the years but this was definitely a one of a kind experience. The presentation, the ambiance and of course the food & the wine made me fall in love with it.
To serve a unique multicultural experience under one roof is something not many can boast of. Hats off to 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel for their effort. I honestly can’t wait to go back and attend yet another event hosted by them!
If you’re a foodie, you should definitely consider attending these kinds of events organized by 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel. Trust me, it’ll be worth it! For upcoming events, you can check out their website or their social media where they regularly post updates.
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