Monday, May 7, 2012

Day 813 : Txikifest 2012

Txikifest is the annual celebration for this year's vintage of Txakoli hosted by Txikito, the excellent tapas restaurant in Chelsea. This year's festival promised all the new releases of Txakoli and a wonderful selection of small bites from restaurants citywide with a few institutions traveling from further distances. Each of their bites was to be inspired by Basque street food staples and outdoor markets. A portion of the proceeds of this year's event went to the Department of Neonatology at NYU Langone Medical Center.

What's Txakoli (pronounced Chacoli) you might be wondering?

It is a slightly sparkling very dry white wine with low alcohol content produced in the Basque region of Spain. Traditionally served as an aperitif, it is refreshing and bright! The proper way to serve it is to pour it from about a foot or so above the glass so as to give the wine the opportunity to aerate before it makes it into your glass.

The festival yesterday was held in the alley behind Txikito, right behind 9th avenue between 24th and 25th streets. With about twelve different food stations and multiple different bars serving different types of Txakoli it was the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

So what were the highlights in terms of food?

Pearl Oyster Company had an amazing Scallop Chowder with Pernod and thyme -- luscious and creamy with a nice fishy aromatic herbaceous bent. Perfect with a glass of mineral forward, high acidity Txakoli!

Also pretty fabulous was El Quinto Pino's toasted noodle paella with a shellfish melange and a spicy aioli -- classic street food noodles dressed up and on display specifically for yesterday's event. Great with a fuller bodied Txakoli to balance out the spicy fishiness of the noodles.

The post unusual pairing I found but perhaps the most successful was from the Raleigh, North Carolina based AC restaurant group (Poole's, Beasly's Chicken + Honey, and Chucks) who were serving Dill and thyme infused deviled eggs that were topped with a fried oyster. Decadent, rich, luscious and over the top in just the right sort of way, this was the perfect bite to accompany a glass of our light bubbly Txakoli.

The Hurricane Club had a fabulous shrimp with broken chili sauce and crispy taro small bite that combined the classic flavor profile that become pretty apparent to me was ideal for pairing with Txakoli -- 

1. Aromatic and herbaceous
2. Rich, round, and luscious
3. Fried or sauteed 

The Txakoli will cut right through the fried richness and will find its pairing partner in the aromatic herbaceous-ness of the dishes. So next time I plan to serve Txakoli at home, I will have to make a dish that falls under those flavor profiles! And why not plan a fun Txakoli event -- pretty unknown to most people here, it is a perfect spring and summer drink and you can  !

Overall such a fun way to spend an afternoon, I look forward to next year's Txikifest! 

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