Bacon. Love it … or not. Actually, I am not acquainted with anyone who doesn’t eat good bacon like the end of the world is near.
I even have a friend who married a vegetarian and eliminated all meat from her diet. But here and there, she still indulges in bacon, because it’s the one thing she cannot live without.
To be clear, I don’t consume much bacon at home, but it’s a staple when I dine out.
And so I dined well at the VIP (“Very Important Pig”) dinner last Friday that kicked off the Bacon & Barrels celebration, held this year for the first time in San Luis Obispo County.
That evening took place at Biddle Ranch Vineyard, located on the road of the same name, just off Highway 227/Edna Valley Road.
Ryan Deovlet (of Deovlet Wines, and also of Refugio Ranch Wines) has been the winemaker at Biddle Ranch since the 2014 vintage. Chef Maegen Loring crafted the meal. She’s the owner of Maegen Loring Catering and a longtime favorite on the Central Coast for her knack pairing area wines with fresh, local fare.
The Biddle Ranch winery’s tasting room is surrounded by ample outdoor space that Bacon & Barrels’ staff put to good use that evening. The walled-in side yard, deck and courtyard protected us from the afternoon breezes as we commenced with appetizers and wines.
First up was the Biddle Ranch 2015 Rosé, a delicate but flavorful blend of 60 percent sangiovese and 40 percent syrah. Soon making the rounds were paper cones full of popcorn dusted with chicharrones dust, a finger-licking delight when paired with the rosé.
Next in line came my favorite for the evening: Candied bacon “cracker” with whipped feta cheese, grapefruit and herbs. By this time, some of us had estate chardonnay in our glasses, which also married with this delightful bite of rich herbs plus savory bacon. Pure deliciousness.
The first course, steamed clams with butterbeans, pancetta, orange aioli and oregano showcased the freshest clams soaked with essence of orange and bacon sauce. The accompanying wine was the Biddle Ranch 2014 pinot grigio.
Then came second: Flatbread topped with chevre, prosciutto-wrapped beets and pickled greens, and paired with pinot noir.
The evening’s entrée was served with a 2014 syrah and featured bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin with basil mashers and plum-blackberry salad. About those mashers? Yes, they were green, and I had three helpings …
… which meant I had zero room left for dessert: Bourbon-bacon pecan pie with orange caramel.
I appreciated Loring’s effort to keep the dinner “family style,” which for me translates to smaller servings all around. When meals are plated, one often ends up with too much food, which means we often overeat, and/or food gets wasted. Kudos all around to Loring and Holly Holliday, owner of Create Promotions, organizer of Bacon & Barrels.
Copyright Central Coast Wine Press for www.centralcoastwinepress.com