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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hotel Diamond – Italian Wine Dinner

~A good cook can catch a feller.~
~May Kalab 1905~

Way back on October 9, My Man and I enjoyed an evening with my cousin and our neighbors, western romance novelist Paty Jager, her husband, brother, and father. The annual wine dinner at my all time favorite restaurant Hotel Diamond is an event not to be missed!

I wrote the following for my Horsefly publication and wanted to share it with you!
Buon Appetito!!

After last year’s spectacular wine dinner at Hotel Diamond, my husband and I decided that we had to do it again; and we got that opportunity on October 9. It was another fabulous evening filled with good food, friends and wine; accented with the rustic yet charming feel of the one and only Hotel Diamond. We met folks that were at last year’s dinner, and we also met folks from John Day and Canyon City who came this year because they had read about it in the Horsefly a year ago!! I love meeting our Horsefly readers!

Because I couldn’t give an introduction to the evening any better than what was printed in the menu, I’ll quote:

“Italy offers more culinary specialties than any other country. La cucina italiana is a miscellany of regional, provincial, local and family dishes that vary from season to season and cook to cook. Recipes are modified by the produce available and enhanced by knowing hands.

Italian meals may progress through multiple courses, but even a simple repast would not be complete without vino in the country that produces more wine than any other in the greatest variety of types and styles.

Tonight we again present traditional and innovative Italian dishes. These offerings are paired with wines from the regions of Sardinia, Sicily, Puglia, Abruzzi, Latium and Tuscany. These cover central, southwest, and the islands of Italy.

We hope you enjoy your ‘travel across Italy’ this evening. BUON VIAGGO!”

And enjoy we did!! We were seated in the “Ice House” which is probably my favorite part of the Hotel. From the original stone ice house walls to the historic photos on the wall, one steps back in time to the late 1800’s when the area was first homesteaded.

The historic "Ice House" makes for a very memorable dining experience.

Our first of seven courses was the appetizer; Cannelloni, stuffed with spinach, and Zucca Alla Parmigiana ~ parmesan pumpkin. In Italy, pasta is often a first course at dinner. A very delicious wine was served: Danzante, 2007, Chianti DOCG, Toscana-Italia. Along with this were huge slices of warm, homemade bread…to die for!

Cannelloni and Zucca Alla Parmigiana...and that huge chunk of warm, crusty bread!

The next three courses were considered Primi “first course.” Primi-Soup was Zuppa di Pomodori Fraschi e Secchi ~ fresh and sun-dried tomato soup, served with Mozarella in Corrozza ~ fried cheese sandwiches. In American terms, this would have been a fancy grilled cheese with a very fancy tomato soup! The wine: Falesco Est! Est!! Est!!! di Montefiascone COC, 2005. Everything about this course was absolutely delicious.

Primi Soup: Zuppa di Pomodori Fraschi e Secchi with Mozarella in Corrozza. One word describes this: YUM!
Ramonda Thompson visited each table and explained the history and regional significance of the food and wine as each course is served. Education can go right along with food and wine!

Primi-Salad: Insalata di Pomodori e Mozzarella ~ tomato and mozzarella salad. It is said that Italians as well as other Europeans seldom use green leafy vegetables such as lettuce in their salads. This flavorful salad combined several popular ingredients of the Italian table-mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, olive oil, basil and garlic. Simple and refreshing! The wine: Buon Appetito, Nero D’Avola, 2008, Sicilia JGT.

Primi Salad: Insalata di Pomodorie Mozarella ~ it tasted just as good as it looked!!

Primi-Fish: Fritto Misto di Pesce ~ deep-fried seafood. This lightly battered and quickly fried course of calamari and shrimp was served with a creamy dipping sauce. The wine: Cantina Santadi Vermentino de Sardegna, 2009, Villa Solais DOC

Primi Fish: Fritto Misto di Pesce ~ both the calamari and the shrimp were wonderful. This is something My Man and I don't get to eat very often, so it was a real treat.

Sweet Shirley (who reminds me so much of my mother) poured the vino for us.

Ahhhh…the Sorbet. I loved the Granita al Limone ~ lemon granite. This was a fresh, fruity midsummer dessert served as the palate cleanser. Personally, I could have taken seconds!

Sorbet ~ Granita al Limone   This was a delicious, tart palate cleanser. It makes my mouth water just thinking of it!

Secundo Piatte and Contorno (main course and vegetable): Sausage with vegetables and Polenta and peppers. Every region of Italy is fiercely proud of its charcuterie (cured, smoked meats) and seasoned sausages. The main course of the evening paired two types of sausages (one spicier than the other) which were topped with tasty veggies along with Polenta (a soft, creamy corn meal) stuffed red pepper topped with cheese and garnish. Polenta is used in Italy in almost as many different ways as pasta. The wine: Farnese, 2008, Montepulciano D’Abruzzo DOC.

Secundo Piatte and Contorno ~ Sausage with vegetables and Polenta and peppers. Colorful and flavorful.

At this point, I’m so full that I could only take test bites of the main course; I had to get a “to go” box. But, one should always leave room for dessert!

Last, but not least, Dolce. Biscotti di Signora Tigani, Fruit Pizza, and Cassata Alla Sciliana. Yes, three desserts on one plate, and after a couple of bites, I had to put those in a “to go” box also! Sicily produces the most lavish desserts in Italy, and no doubt Hotel Diamond did the same. The wine: Angioletta Moscato, Moscato di Puglia. Most wonderful! And I can’t forget to mention the coffee. My favorite coffee in the county comes from Hotel Diamond, and I did finish my cup of coffee!

Dolce ~ Briscotti di Signora Tigani, Fruit Pizza, and Cassata Ala Siciliana

My favorite coffee!

Hmmmmm…did I have a favorite wine? I did, but I’m having a hard time remembering which one it was! But, I believe it was the Buon Appetito, Nero D’Avola, a light tasting, deep red wine; perfect. What I like most about the wine dinner is that we are treated to samplings of both red and white wines and are served quality food that we don’t normally find in these parts. Our hosts Gretchen, David, and Shirley along with all of the staff at Hotel Diamond go all out for this event. Thank you!

We’re on the list for the next wine dinner. You can be too by calling the Hotel at 541-493-1898, and you can visit them on the web at

Full to the brim!!! A great evening to say the least.


Cheyenne said...

Well I`m so damn hungry! I`m off to cook me some pasta!

The photos great, the food looked scrumptious!....I could have bitten the laptop!!!

DarcC said...

Wow, what a feast!

jane augenstein said...

What a great post!!! Yummy looking food, looks like everyone had a wonderful time too. Lucky you; I would LOVE to try the sorbet! Looks sooo refreshing!!!

CTG Ponies said...

Looks fabulous!!!

Patches said...

Oh my goodness! That looks and sounds like an amazing experience! The food is all just beautiful and I'm sure tasted just as good as it looked! Mmmm! What a wonderful evening!

wilsonc said...

They would have had to carry me home if I had all the wine they poured there that night! Even with all that beautiful food!

Crystal said...

Wow Im feeling full just reading this! But it sure looked good, would be neat to try that one time.

Reddunappy said...

Oh Wow!!! What a meal! Dang now I am hungry! LOL LOL

gowestferalwoman said...

siiiighhhhhh... that was lovely.

Thank you for sharing...and being an excellent "reviewist"!

Linda said...

Okay I'm wiping up the drool! Great post, you should be in advertising;)

Paty Jager said...

It was a fun night and we all went home stuffed to the gills! Great photos!

5 Starr's Farm said...

New Hat ?...... ha ha

Shirley said...

Another awesome meal- well written too! I'd like to try some of those wines someday.

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