Michael Covino, president of Niche Hospitality Group, talking to attendees about each wine pairing during Chef's Best: The Champagne Experience at Bocado in Wellesley, MA

Michael Covino, president of Niche Hospitality Group, talking to attendees about each wine pairing during Chef’s Best: The Champagne Experience at Bocado in Wellesley, MA

Mass Foodies celebrated the fifth installment of their popular Chef’s Best dinner series at Bocado Wellesley. Touted as “The Champagne Experience”, eager guests arrived for an evening of food, fun, and education as Executive Chef Steve Champagne created a unique and flavorful dining experience for his guests.

Bocado Tapas Bar has restaurants in Worcester, Providence, and Wellesley and has introduced the concept of tapas dining (small dishes to be shared) to thousands of New England diners each year. In Spain, tapas are a way of life, infusing a sense of home with the social connection so many yearn to create. But for The Champagne Experience, Chef Champagne and his team stepped outside the tapas box, pushed the limits of creativity and delivered a meal his guests will be talking about for a long time.

Pan-Roasted Bacon-Wrapped Short Rib: Charcoal charred celery root purée, mushroom conserve, rioja glaze

Pan-Roasted Bacon-Wrapped Short Rib: Charcoal charred celery root purée, mushroom conserve, rioja glaze

Expectations where high and Bocado delivered as the night began with an elegant display of artisan cheeses and charcuterie, assorted pinchos and tapas. From the start, the dishes became a transformative experience, bringing out the Spanish admirer within everyone. As Chef Champagne expressed his passions for foods and inspirations found in the Spanish culture, Michael Covino, President of Niche Hospitality Group, complemented each dish with a perfectly paired glass of vino.

Diverse, eclectic and true to form, the first three courses inspired the palates of each guest, bringing approval with every bite. The Josper Grilled Octopus Salad – a salad of beet carpaccio, parsnip, carrots, micro arugula, lemon and olive oil blended with a sherry balsamic, Maldon salt and crispy shallots – was a light start to the meals. A delicately presented dish with a fresh scent, the Josper Grilled Octopus Salad was served with a glass of La Cana (Albarino) wine.

 

Kurobuta Pork Loin: Roasted Brussels, buttercup squash, foie gras maple syrup, crumbled house sausage

Kurobuta Pork Loin: Roasted Brussels, buttercup squash, foie gras maple syrup, crumbled house sausage

Diving into the second course, Chef Chamagne’s creative interpretation of a “Spanish Western Omelet” was an easy way to open up the appetite of the room for a savory dish follow-up. Paired with the Muga Rosé from Rioja, Spain, this dish was a great example of the event’s purpose: to blend tastes from Spain and The West. “Rioja, Spain is not seen as a destination for visitors but it is a must if wine is of importance,” said Covino. “The Rose is made from red grapes and a mix of old and new world. While some of the blend is created in oak barrels the other is kept in stainless steel for freshness and youth,” he added.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake: Currata, honey roasted apples, toasted salty caramel

Lemon Olive Oil Cake: Currata, honey roasted apples, toasted salty caramel

The pork was featured next, with two interpretations of the succulent meat for the third and fourth course. First, a Kurobuta Pork consisting of Berkshire pork, roasted Brussels, buttercup squash, foie gras maple syrup and crumbled host sausage was paired with a glass of El Chaparral – a French influenced wine created by a one-woman wine maker in Spain. This medium red wine is bottled in a Burgundy-style bottle to connect to its French roots, and paired perfectly with the pork. Next, a Roasted Bacon-Wrapped Short Rib served over a charcoal-charred celery root puree, with mushroom conserva, rioja sauce and fried capers was served with a glass of Alonso del Yerro. This wine is bottled along the river, in higher temperatures, giving it a stronger structure, deep red color and incredibly rich and powerful flavors which complemented the rich meaty short rib.

Ending the night was bittersweet but delicious as guests were presented with a Lemon Olive Cake lined with honey roasted apples, salted caramel sauce, and burrata cheese.

The tour of Spain presented by Chef Champagne lasted only three hours, but will not be easily forgotten by the folks that attended. At the hands of Chef Champagne, the event truly embodied the concept of Chef’s Best, encouraging Chef Champagne to go beyond the Bocado brand and create dishes he considers his best.

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