The Cayman Islands National Trust recently benefited from a donation of US$20,000, the proceeds from a very special dinner held at The Ritz-Carlton’s 7 Prime Cuts & Sunsets in conjunction with Jacques Scott as part of the fabulous Cayman Cookout weekend. Business Editor Lindsey Turnbull was in attendance and reports.
The night was filled with anticipation just a few weeks ago as Cayman’s wine enthusiasts and National Trust supporters looked forward not only to a lovely evening at The Ritz-Carlton’s well-loved high end steak restaurant, but also because the rare opportunity to own some true treasures was just the flick of a board away.
Jacques Scott and Certified Angus Beef worked tirelessly alongside The Ritz-Carlton to bring a stylish and entertaining event to fruition, with many internationally well known and highly respected experts from the wine world on hand to keep the proceedings moving with a swing.
Guntram Merl, Director of Food & Beverage at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman confirmed: “The immense success of this auction must be attributed to the team at Jacques Scott who curated an auction list that has never been matched in depth, rarity and excitement in the Cayman Islands. Jacques Scott’s Peter and Paula Dutton and Lee Royle really set the benchmark for future Cayman Cookout wine events.”
Robert Sleigh, Vice President and Head of Sotheby’s New York Wine Department was a fine conductor for the evening’s post dinner auction, while winemakers and suppliers to Jacques Scott Laurent Drouhin and Violet Grgich gave introductions to their own special wine donations to the proceedings. Also on hand to keep the proceedings going with a swing was Gail Simmons, Special Projects Editor at Food & Wine Magazine and permanent judge on Bravo’s popular Top Chef programme.
The 7 Prime Cuts and Sunsets culinary team, led by Chef Frederic, Executive Chef of The Ritz-Carlton, excelled themselves with a dinner to delight the senses. An appetiser of CAB tartar was served with a che che salad and pommes Pont Neuf alongside a fruity 2007 Josef Drouhin Beaujolais Villages. Next on the menu was an unusually-named tonka bean seared diver scallop and asparagus risotto serves with a 2007 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Arthur Chardonnay. The organisers were taking a slight risk with this dish, as asparagus is notoriously bad for pairing with wine; however the light touch of the asparagus and the delicacy of the scallops made for a great pairing with the Chardonnay.
A pan seared duck foie gras served with sourdough toast, mango chutney and aged balsamic went immensely well with the 2007 Schloss Johannisberg Rosalack Auslese Riesling, the sweetness of both the dish and the wine marrying perfectly.
A venison-style CAB filet mignon graced diners’ tables for the magnificent mains, served with baby root vegetables and a chestnut puree. A heavyweight wine was needed to match the meat’s depth of flavour and diners were not disappointed with a 2005 Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, with just the right balance of fruit and tannins to set the dish off extremely well.
A 2006 Grgich Hills Violetta Late Harvest was the stellar dessert wine, with just the right balance of sweetness and acidity to offset the sweetness of the crispy meringue vacherin with a tropical sorbet and fresh cream.
In conjunction with the sumptuous dinner, diners could also bid in a silent auction, the highly sought-after contents of which dotted the room, tempting individuals with their luscious contents within. Such delights included a three litre bottle of Conundrum, a double magnum Columbia Crest Grand Estate Merlot from 1998, a Friar John Cor Quincentenary Scotch Whiskey and two magnums of Cannubi Barolo by Marchesi di Barolo.
The fast-paced live auction which took place as soon as the desserts had been served was a memorably and lively affair with decisions as to whether to bid or not assisted by the professionalism of the auctioneer, Robert Sleigh, whose witty banter and acute observations meant everyone was more than happy to part with their cash.
Bids flew around from one side of the dining room to the other, with guests all eager to participate and enjoy some of the unique offerings, which included a VIP tour, tasting and lunch for four at Domaine Drouhin in Oregon, two passes for the Food & Wine Aspen Classic in June of this year, a six bottle vertical of Solaia by Antinori and one bottle of Appleton Estate 30 year old rum signed by their Masterblender Joy Spence.
Erika Walton, Development and Marketing Officer for the National Trust for the Cayman Islands was in attendance at the event and explains the important cause for which funds were raised:
“During the famous hurricane of 1932, the Eldemire House on Cayman Brac, though battered and pushed off its foundation, remained intact, protecting the 32 people sheltered there. Donated in 2005 to the National Trust for the Cayman Islands, the historic home was in the process of being restored when Hurricane Paloma struck Cayman Brac in November 2008.”
Erika says the funds will be put towards restoring the house so future generations can enjoy this important Caymanian treasure.