Last night my friend Katie and I hit up one of the best events of the year: ZAP’s Epicuria night. We tasted a lot of delicious bites that were paired with stellar Zinfandels. It was crowded, but not overly so and most of the people, winemakers, chefs, and party-goers, were friendly. The new location, at the Concourse (previously ZAP was held at Fort Mason), was festively decorated with giant balloons and wine barrels. It was warmer than Fort Mason and sort of felt like we were in a giant wine cellar!
Every year there is a trend in the food and last night, there were tons of duck dishes. Duck chili, duck pozole, duck terrine, seared duck breast, etc. The duck chili from Central Market and the duck terrine with pistachio on bruschetta from A16 were among the top preparations. I also really enjoyed Componere Fine Catering‘s crispy pork cake with smoked potatoes and pickled fennel, Bin 38‘s pork rillette crostini with onion jam, and Il Davide‘s porcini tortellini. However, the best dish was from Wayfare Tavern: melt-in-your mouth lamb shoulder with black pepper spaetzle. It was so good Katie and I were speechless!
In terms of the pairings, I found that the most harmonious ones featured food items that included the Zinfandel in the dish. For example, Bin 38’s rillette was served with a jam made with the Zinfandel that Dry Creek Vineyard was pouring. Naturally, the two components complimented each other perfectly.
Another pairing that stood out was Dogwood Cellars and Sift Cupcakes Zinfandel French macaron. The macaron was delicate and sweet with a subtle wine flavor. I asked a couple of chefs how they decided what dish to serve and most of them said that the wines they paired with are bottles they serve at the restaurant. A16’s duck crostini was paired with a Zinfandel from D-Cubed and it was a wonderful combination. The terrine was topped with a little bit of huckleberry jam which really brought out the huckleberry flavor of the wine. Although we got super full at one point, the event was, as it has always been, spectacular.