Lamb the star of caboose wine dinner

The Grand Old House dusted off its traditional caboose grill and teamed up with Blackbeard’s Fine Wines, Beers & Spirits to host a unique wine dinner featuring lamb.

A little rain couldn’t dampen the spirits – or taste buds – of those who came to the Grand Old House Lamb Caboose Dinner on Friday,

3 June.

After a welcoming cocktail, Grand Old House General Manager Martin Richter welcomed guests and gave them a little primer on caboose cooking, saying the general method was used widely in the Caribbean and Pacific Rim. He said the Grand Old House had been using its caboose for many years.

“But we’ve never used caboose cooking for a wine dinner before,” he said.

In Cayman, the caboose is a traditional, sand-bottomed barbecue grill that uses local woods as fuel. Unlike many caboose grills, the Grand Old House version creates an oven chamber under the burning wood.

Mr. Richter said the whole lamb cooked for a long period at the relative low heat of 200 degrees.

“The meat comes out very, very juicy and very, very flavourful when it cooks down at the low temperature,” he said.

The dinner featured three courses of lamb, a palate-cleansing mango granite and dessert. Blackbeard’s provided five different wines to accompany the courses.

Just as guests were finishing their first course – a lovely seared lamb carpaccio with shaved Cablanca goat cheese with Sparkling Brut Trivento Rose – the skies opened up. The guests, who were meant to enjoy a seaside dining experience – were forced to grab their wine glasses and dash for the covered part of the Grand Old House deck. Not to be deterred, the Grand Old House staff sprang into action and quickly moved the tables under cover, too, and then quickly reset the tables.

The second course was truffle risotto with a chef’s-made lamb chorizo sausage that had quite a spicy kick. It was, however, served with Batasiolo ‘Souvrana’ Barbera, a versatile food wine with good acidity that handles spice very well.

The iced chili sweet and sour mango granite was served with Eroica Riesling from Columbia Valley in Washington State. The elegant off-dry wine from Chateau Ste. Michelle was a perfect accompaniment to the sweet and savoury elements of the granite.

The lamb roast from the caboose was served buffet-style, with guests getting their meat carved right off the bone. It was served with local summer vegetables and Charles Smith “Boom Boom” Syrah, a big, fleshy wine also made in Washington State.

Blackbeard’s wine specialist Lee Quessy loved the Boom Boom Syrah with the caboose lamb.

“Syrah and lamb is match made in heaven,” he said. “It’s a classic pairing.”

The dinner wound up with dessert, Illy Espresso Tiramisu Mousse served with Fonseca Bin 27, Reserve Ruby Port, a perfect finish to a tasty evening despite the rain.