There is no better date night in Toledo than participating in Wine by the Glass, a program combining wine tastings with the fine art of glass at the Toledo Museum of Art's Glass Pavilion.
Each wine tasting is a good primer on how to pair winter reds or pinots with appetizers and foods. Plus, there are glass art demonstrations to enjoy. Once your glass of wine is finished, you could walk across the street to the main art museum and enjoy the It's Friday events and extended hours until 10 p.m.
Glass-blowing demonstrations in the Hot Shop are featured during the Wine By the Glass. Radiant Ensemble: Jewelry from the Nancy & Gilbert Levine Collection is also in the Glass Pavilion of the Toledo Museum of Art through March 1.
'You can take in the Glass Pavilion and enjoy your glass of wine in the corridor,' says Sara Stacy, public information officer. 'It's a great venue. You can be in the corridor and see into the galleries. We don't have any other space where you can be eating and drinking and still enjoy the art.'
Wine by the Glass will be held from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on six Fridays beginning Jan. 9. There will always be a theme, and wines will be paired with hors d'oeuvres, thanks the culinary efforts of Chef Erika Rapp.
For the winter wine tastings, the chef is selecting different types of rillettes and pates, charcuterie (smoked meats), fondues, and assorted appetizers.
Rillettes are meat (usually pork but also rabbit, goose, poultry, or fish) that is slowly cooked in seasoned fat and then pounded or pulverized into a paste. The mixture is packed in small pots or ramekins and covered with a thin layer of fat. The appetizer is spread on toast.
Pates are a well-seasoned smooth and spreadable mixture of finely ground or chunky mixture of meats. Pates may be cooked in a terrine dish; when unmolded it becomes a pate. Today the terms terrine and pate may seem almost interchangeable but a food expert like Rapp knows exactly what she's talking about.
She was the executive chef at the former Diva's located in downtown Toledo. She has been the director of culinary and special events at the Toledo Museum of Art since April.
Early in December she prepared a sampling of foods she plans to serve at the January Wine by the Glass events.
'This rillette is made with beef and duck. It's potted meat sealed with duck fat,' says the Culinary Institute of America-trained chef. 'These are very rich foods. A rillette is a braise. It's fun to make if you have leftover pot roast or short ribs.'
She serves the spoon-size amount of rillette on a slice of bruschetta topped with several pear wedges sauteed in brown butter and black pepper.
Duck Confit and Liver Pate is made in a ring mold and then put in the refrigerator to set. To remove it from the ring mold, the chef uses a hot wet cloth around the outside. 'It's like a cookie cutter,' she says.
The disc-shaped pate can serve 10 or 12 by slicing small wedges. The chef topped each wedge with a couple tablespoons of Kumquat and Pomegranate Chutney and then garnished with 'sugar figs' a half fresh fig dipped in sugar and then the sugar is melted to a brulee consistency with a blow torch. It is delicious.
Both of these appetizers are great served with a Cabernet-Merlot blend.
A winter cheese tray made by Rapp is likely to have hearty cheeses and breads. Don't be surprised to see apricot stilton, dates, Saint Andre triple creme brie, Amish blue cheese, and morbier cheese. 'I like to add dark chocolate dipped dried apricots,' she says. 'It goes really well with red wines with dark chocolate undertones.'
Crusty breads, bread sticks, and little pieces of bread are served as well as salted almonds.
A tray of fresh mozzarella balls seasoned with sun-dried tomatoes and marinated in balsamic vinegar and red chilies might be paired with a Sangiovese or Merlot
Or oven-roasted mushrooms prepared with wilted arugula and garlic oil add another delicious accompaniment to pinot noir wines.
Thinly sliced herb seasoned winter sausage is another item perfect for tasting with hearty red wines.
Rapp consults with Adam Mahler of the Cutting Edge wine distributor in selecting the wines. The wines for each week can be ordered through The Andersons.
'When we started the wine tastings last summer, it was very fruit-forward,' she says of the wine and hors d'oeuvre pairings. In the fall, the line-up included wines from Argentina, sake, wines from South Africa, Italy, Old World Wines, Bordeaux, Autumn Ales, and Robust Reds.
With the beer tasting, Rapp served small smoked roast beef and blue cheese pizza, each cut in eight pieces. 'Sometimes I make a chardonnay and camembert fondue,' she says.
Now, in winter, heartier wines and richer foods will be featured. White wines may well be paired with Asian flavors, fish, and citrus. Sparkling wines will have lighter flavored foods.
The upcoming themes are:
Jan. 9: Great Finds for Under $10
Jan. 16: Perfect Pairings
Jan. 23: The 4 Pinots (Grigio, Gris, Blanc, and Noir)
Jan. 30: Winter Reds
Feb. 6: Old World vs. New World
Feb. 13: Sparkling
'People can come and go at these events,' says the chef. 'It's a great date night. There are so many things they can enjoy at the Glass Pavilion and the Toledo Museum of Art.'
Tickets for four wines, light snacks, and glass art demonstrations are $15 for members and $20 for nonmembers. They may be purchased in advance or at the door. The Toledo Museum of Art is located at 2445 Monroe St. For information, visit
Kathie Smith is The Blade's food editor.
Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-615