Last weekend while we were out at Travaasa Austin we signed up for a culinary class and a wine tasting.
We each had our own cooking station and immediately got down to work. First up on the menu: Almond & Cranberry Scones with Honey-Banana Cream Cheese and a salad comprised of Blueberries, Strawberries, Cinnamon Honey, and Fresh Mint.
Scones are a baked good I’ve steered clear of in the kitchen so I was excited to learn how to make them. They were much easier than expected!
Next was Seared Steel Head Trout with Grilled Heirloom Tomatoes, Asparagus, Basil and Toasted Pine Nuts.
Trout isn’t my favorite fish and asparagus is a vegetable I never eat, but I devoured every bite. We kept the flavors very simple (salt, pepper, white wine, lemon juice) and everything came together perfectly. This is definitely a recipe I’d recreate in my kitchen at home.
Huge thanks to Ben Baker for opening his kitchen to us Saturday afternoon and showing us how to prepare this sweet and savory breakfast in bed menu!
After the cooking demo we headed down to The Spur for our wine tasting.
Our master sommelier (or as he preferred, “wine geek”), Edward, was AWESOME. He was super knowledgeable, had a great sense of humor, and really kept the conversation flowing throughout the class.
We tasted two sauvignon blancs: Sancerre (France) and Jules Taylor (New Zealand). I preferred the latter, which is considered a New World wine.
New World: The Americas (United States, Canada, South America), Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa
Old World: France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, and Austria
I’m a sucker for strong grapefruit notes in my SB and generally lean towards the bottles from New Zealand.
Next we tasted two reds: Chateau Laplagnotte-Bellevue (Bordeaux, France) and Deerfield Ranch “Merlot Cuvee” (Sonoma). Again, I preferred the latter, as did the majority of the room. It was a very smooth, rich red. (We were planning on ordering a bottle of the Deerfield with dinner but later decided on a bottle of malbec instead.)
Edward provided each of us with a packet of information that included the distinction between Old and New World, common questions + answers, detailed notes on each of the bottles we tasted, wine region maps, and a scent wheel.
Our discussion throughout the class ranged from glassware to sulfites to why wine hangovers can be so painful. For a reason I can’t remember (I blame it on the wine…) the conversation turned to Riesling and then Edward decided there was a bottle we needed to try. So we did.
Look at all those wine corks, we did some damage!
This was the first real wine tasting we had ever attended (there were a few informal ones I went to while bartending in Florida) and we were both really impressed. At first I was nervous it might be a bit too pretentious but once Edward introduced himself, my worries disappeared! He was very personable and is incredibly passionate about his job. I would love to attend another wine tasting out at Travaasa since their wine list is pretty extensive and unique. I highly recommend putting this on your to-do list during your stay.