Ah, spring! Can you feel it? The smell of fresh flowers, the feeling of finally defrosting and the sudden realisation that you need to start shaving you legs again (no? just me?). It also signals the start of wedding season and what better time to check out one of McLaren Vale’s premier wedding venues for their spring menu launch.
Serafino is a premier wedding destination in the Vale for a reason; as you’re driving up to rolling manicured lawns, a canopy of fairy lights and what seems to be their own gaggle of friendly geese, it is easy to get caught up in the romance of the place.
Last weekend, we were treated to a full 10-course degustation of the new spring menu. We started with a generous charcuterie selection as well as the Stracciatella (a fresh cheese similar to creamy mozzarella) topped with smoked eggplant and pomegranate served with toasted bread. Both were fresh and delicate in flavour, and perfect spring starters. This was matched with the 2014 Serafino ‘Bellissmo’ Nebbiolo.
Following this was the chicken, pork and walnut terrine with pickled pear and gorgonzola. This is not an average terrine; it’s really more like stuffed chicken breast that has been poached, cooled and sliced. Topped with lightly dressed leaves and sweet creamy gorgonzola, the dish is truly a winner. The pickled pear is a puree and I was expecting a bit of sharp acidity, but it really veers on the sweet side. Its adds more of a textural element and a tackiness to allow the other dominant flavours to blend in one bite.
We were also treated to harissa roasted carrots with saffron and caraway labne, pastry and raisins. I am really not the best person to judge this dish as I hate saffron. Surely I am not the only person who thinks saffron tastes like detergent? Despite this, the combination of sweet carrots and fragrant caraway is genius. These courses were matched with both the 2016 Serafino ‘Bellissimo’ Pinot Grigio and the Reserve Chardonnay. The Chardonnay tiptoes that line between new world and old world or acid/fresh and oaked/buttery; it was, put quite simply, very drinkable.
Next up was the slow roasted lamb shoulder with green tomatoes, almond and spring salad tabouli and buttermilk. The slow roasting pays off; the meat pulls apart with seductive ease yet there is still a nice amount of fat to push forward the gaminess and savouriness of the lamb. The accompaniments added a nice clean acidity whilst allowing the lamb to be the hero.
Last of the savouries was the pan seared duck breast with confit leg croquette, pistachio, orange and goat’s cheese. The duck was a beautiful blush pink, firm yet tender with the fat perfectly rendered and overall really expertly cooked. Crumbled pistachio added crunch, while orange and goat’s cheese added an interesting combination of acidity and sweetness. Both of the last courses were matched with the 2015 Serafino Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2015 Serafino GSM.
We finished with four desserts total. A chocolate brownie with touched banana and salted caramel ice cream, a spiced apple crumble with rhubarb, lemon cream and gingerbread and a vanilla bean brulee with poached figs and cognac ice cream were served. By my opinion, the best dessert was the white chocolate parfait with blood orange sorbet and meringue. The levels of sweetness and tartness with the crispness of the meringue coupled with the pink blush tones just spoke to my soul on so many levels.
Leaving Serafino it is impossible not to be left with a sensation of what could be, to envision that special day for yourself (and your husband to be, I guess). A day that is not full of bulk function food and an average party DJ, but a day that is full of romance, friendly geese and desserts that exemplify the essence of your being.