Vancouver's historic Hotel Georgia has been recently opened and newly renovated with a price tag of $120 million—almost 100 times its original cost—restoring it to its former levels of luxury. Built in 1927, it hosted stars such as Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, among many others, before closing for refurbishment in 2007. The beautiful Spanish Ballroom retains its original styling, complete with minstrel's gallery, and was the location for the annual Christmas Dinner of the Vancouver branch of the IW&FS on December 15.

Our dinner was well-attended, with several guests joining us, and started with a reception featuring Champagne Duval-Leroy Brut accompanied by Emmentaler Gougères, Smoked Salmon Cornets and Foie Gras Crème Brulée—a tasty beginning for our evening. Our first course was an Oxtail Consommé "Charolaise" en croute with Pearl Onions, Carrots and Savoy Cabbage paired with a delicious Broadbent Madeira "Rainwater", the talk of the evening and an excellent match with the richness of the consommé, followed by a Side Striped Shrimp Terrine and Scallop Tartare with a Horseradish Remoulade paired with a 2008 Château Mont-Pérat, white Bordeaux.

Between courses, we enjoyed a Cox Orange Pippin and Ginger Granité, freshly prepared and stunningly presented in a solid ice bowl. Roasted Venison Loin and Braised Lamb Cheek Strudel with Celeriac Gratin and Sauce Périgueux was the next course, accompanied by a 2006 Beaune Premier Cru from Louis Jadot. Our cheese was a Camembert de Normandie from les amis du FROMAGE, with peeled grapes and walnuts, accompanied by a perfectly mature 2001 Château Belle-Vue from the Haut Médoc. We finished with a glass of the fabulous 1998 Château Rieussec Sauternes and a Crispy d'Anjou Pear and Milk Chocolate Cake with Poire William Gelée and a roasted Vanilla Sorbet, a delicious ending for a wonderful dinner—both the food and the service were excellent.

Our thanks go to Executive Chef Ken Nakano and his team, to Cellar Master Jim Esplen for his selection and comments on the wines, to Photographer and Historian Milena Robertson and to member Nick Wright for his excellent accolade.

Click on photo to enlarge or click HERE to view slideshow
Photos by Milena Robertson & Larry Stefan
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