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  • Enrique Balestrini

Winemaker dinner at The Chophouse, Manchebo Aruba

The Chophouse at Manchebo has partnered with La Scolca to bring the finest Italian wines to Aruba. Last month the gourmet restaurant held a winemaker dinner, offering foodies the chance to sample their range of delicious vino. I was invited to the event to try the vintages and learn how the world-renowned importer TEC established the collaboration.

(Originally published on Destination Magazines September 2019)

Manchebo Aruba Enrique Balestrini

I have always been fascinated by the art of winemaking and finding out that Manchebo was organizing a winemaker dinner made me curious about the experience that night would bring.

Sun was setting that Thursday, my friend (and photography extraordinaire) David Troeger and I arrived at the Manchebo Resort lobby where the staff arranged a welcome moment, handing glasses of Gambino prosecco, perfect to refresh after these warm August afternoons. Having a friend there who can give me a different input was key and fun. Maybe that’s a recipe for a good life: friends, food, and wine.

Manchebo Aruba Enrique Balestrini

The Chophouse can be described as a fine dining restaurant, where a well put together front of house, white tables, shining glassware and steel cutlery make a splendid display. Once inside, TEC’s Sommelier Kavey Yarzagaray formally welcomed us and explained how this occasion came about, which is a really fun story. While in Orlando at a wine trade show, he met Chiara Soldati, from La Scolca winery and his interest to bring their wines to Aruba was born. Ms. Soldati had planned a vacation in Aruba, staying at The Manchebo Beach Resort, and they agreed that it was the perfect chance to organize something to introduce the winery to foodies and wine lovers.

A gift came to our table, a Salmon Nigiri from Omakase, the sushi bar inside The Chophouse. The perfect fresh bite to kick things off.

Dish: Scallops | Wine pairing: La Scolca Gavi

Scallops make the world a better place and this combination with couscous and red beet puree is work of a mastermind.

Dish: Halibut | Wine pairing: Scolca Gavi dei Gavi Black Label

Picture this, generous Halibut filet on top of the most glorious red pepper sauce… it was the favorite of all our table. Some asparagus served as base and a silky cauliflower puree was on the side. All the flavors complemented each other very nicely.

Dish: Sirloin au Jus | Wine pairing: Daou Cabernet Sauvignon California

I’d never had anything prepared sous vide before and now I understand the hype from meat lovers. I don’t think I can compare the tenderness and juiciness to anything else. It was served with onions, bacon, and mushrooms. What a great dish. The wine was wildly acclaimed by all my table mates, bold red, heavy upfront and smooth finish.

Dish: Sorbet dessert

Simple things will always win me over. This time the chef came up with what I could describe as a “walk through the freshest selection of forest berries and flowers” to encounter a La Scolca wine sorbet in the center. Just look at it!

To end the night Ms. Soldati came over to our table to humbly introduce herself and tell us stories about the wines and how they are appreciated all over the world. We left feeling lucky and grateful to be able to have made these memories.

Thank you Manchebo Resort and the chef Sandro Herold for this treat! Until the next time.

To reserve a table at The Chophouse or to find out about upcoming special events click here.

For more culinary adventures and travel inspiration check out my Instagram channel


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