Whidbey Island Distillery spirits guide Michelle Molner pours two speciality craft cocktails for customers. The company is releasing Lavender Infused Loganberry Liqueur as part of its Savor Spring offerings. (Patricia Guthrie / Whidbey News Group)

Whidbey Island Distillery spirits guide Michelle Molner pours two speciality craft cocktails for customers. The company is releasing Lavender Infused Loganberry Liqueur as part of its Savor Spring offerings. (Patricia Guthrie / Whidbey News Group)

Savor Spring with tastes of local wine, spirits and food

Six locations will be featured this weekend on the South Whidbey tour.

In the mood for some nettle soup with juniper oil, topped with creme fraiche and infused with a drizzle of gin?

How about a sip of Reserve Pinot Noir and a tapa topped with asparagus, roasted red pepper with fresh tarragon?

Or smoked salmon nuggets followed by lavender-infused loganberry liqueur?

All are on the menu in South Whidbey this weekend during the annual Savor Spring Food, Wine & Spirits Tour.

Sponsored by the Whidbey Island Vintners & Distillers Association, four wineries and two craft distillers have joined forces with some of the island’s best chefs to create delectable duos of food and beverage.

Tickets cost $25 in advance, or $30 Saturday and Sunday, and include tastings at six locations in Clinton, Langley and Freeland.

Celebrating a decade of springs pairing Whidbey’s fine wine with its homegrown farm food, this year’s tour promises to be a palate pleaser.

“We’re putting more energy into it this year,” said Karen Krug with Spoiled Dog Winery. “Every venue chooses their chef to pair with and creates what works best for them. We try to highlight lots of different chefs so people enjoy a variety of tastes.”

Krug reached out to Lis David, an experienced chef who’s just started her Mediterranean-inspired catering business called Magical Feast. After being told about Spoiled Dog’s offerings of unoaked chardonnay and an off-dry riesling, David had an idea.

“It’s spring and I love asparagus and tarragon with eggs so I am doing a tortilla española which is a fancy frittata,” David said.

Spoiled Dog also plans to offer tastings of Escape Blanc riesling blend with Whidbey Island-grown siegerrebe) and Reserve Pinot Noir.

Added David: “I chose a Spanish red pepper sauce with some spice to complement the fruitiness of the Riesling.”

But how do cooks know what to pair and what not to dare pair?

“We just develop a catalogue of flavors in our head that will work together,” offered Trap Landry, who specializes in food of the non-cooked variety at his Langley restaurant, Anthes Ferments, that he runs with his wife, Sonya Tsuchigane.

“I’ve got over 30 years cooking and my background is really fine dining restaurants,” he said.

Rita Comfort of Comforts of Whidbey invited Landry to create a dish to complement the winery’s popular High Tide White, an off-dry blend that takes “structure and fruit from the Madeleine angevine, while being enhanced by the smooth profile of the Madeleine sylvaner.”

Nettles, natch, nestle in his dish as they grow like weeds round these parts. Throw in some pistachios, blend into a pesto and squeeze the paste into gougeres, “a baked savory choux pastry made of choux dough mixed with cheese.”

Also known as a French cheese puff.

Gordon Stewart, co-owner and executive chef at Gordon’s on Blueberry Hill, is pairing with Mutiny Bay Distillery, known for its blueberry liqueur and whiskeys.

But both are spotlighting juniper this time around.

Mutiny Bay is busting out its latest spirit, Strait Gin, described as a “classic juniper forward gin made from a combination of grains, refreshingly dry, with notes of citrus and spice and balanced by a smooth, sweet, subtle flavor made possible by the botanicals.”

Stewart’s nettle soup is made with juniper oil, topped with creme fraiche infused with Mutiny Bay Distillery’s Strait Gin.

Holmes Harbor Cellars will serve wild mushrooms stuffed with short rib and Gorgonzola from Rustica Cafe in Oak Harbor. Blooms is featuring mini crab cakes on a bed of micro greens topped with roasted red pepper aioli. The dish is made by chef Wayne Carter in their own new Freeland restaurant, 5511 Bistro, to pair with its latest sauvignon blanc release.

Blooms is also debuting Blush, a rose made with grenache and malbec.

Last but not least is Whidbey Island Distillery, the first small-batch spirit maker on Whidbey.

It’s showing off a new-fangled still, and, if the spirits allow, a special release of lavender-infused loganberry liqueur made with help from Lavender Wind Farm in Coupeville.

Saltwater Fish House & Oyster Bar in Langley is supplying one of its popular dishes, in-house smoked salmon nuggets.

All this for $25 — a bargain bon appétit!

Savor Spring Food, Wine & Spirits Tour; six local winery and craft distilleries offer tastings and prepared food samples made from local farms and chefs; 11 a.m.-5 p.m, Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19. Tickets $25 in advance; $30 at venue.

Purchase tickets in advance at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4061164

More information: www.whidbeyislandvintners.org/

This story originally appeared in the South Whidbey Record, a sibling paper to the Herald.

Talk to us

More in Northwest

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Seattle.
West Seattle Bridge to reopen after yearslong closure

The bridge will open Sunday, Sept. 18., providing weary West Seattle travelers with a beacon of hope.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Seattle.
Seattle hospital to refuse some patients due to capacity

Harborview Medical Center in Seattle will temporarily stop accepting less acute patients.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Red Flag Warning issued for eastern Snohomish County

The warning issued by the National Weather Service is in effect from 2 a.m. to 11 p.m.

X
Washington ferries to get $38 million to improve services

The money from the Federal Highway Administration will be used to improve the ferry service.

FILE - The Boeing 787 Dreamliner after its landing at Le Bourget airport, east of Paris, upon its presentation for the first time at the 49th Paris Air Show at the airport, Tuesday June 21, 2011. Federal regulators said Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, that they are satisfied with changes Boeing has made in the production of its 787 Dreamliner passenger jet, clearing the way for the company to resume deliveries to airline customers “in the coming days.” (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)
FAA clears Boeing to resume deliveries of 787 Dreamliner

Federal regulators said they are satisfied with changes Boeing has made in the plane’s production.

RETRANSMISSION TO CORRECT STATE - This photo provided by the Washington State Department of Transportation shows smoke from a wildfire burning south of Lind, Wash. on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. Sheriff's officials are telling residents in the town of Lind in eastern Washington to evacuate because of a growing wildfire south of town that was burning homes. (Washington State Department of Transportation via AP)
Washington town told to leave due to wildfire, 10 homes lost

An entire eastern Washington town was being evacuated Thursday because of a growing wildfire.

An EA-18G Growler taxis down the airstrip on Naval Air Station Whidbey Island during the squadron’s welcome home ceremony in August 2017. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Wood/U.S. Navy)
Judge rejects Navy environmental review of Whidbey Island Growler jet expansion

A judge ruled the Navy violated federal law in an environmental study of expanded Whidbey Island jet operations.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Seattle.
Seattle ends COVID hazard pay for grocery store workers

The now repealed policy had required grocery stores to pay employees an additional $4 per hour.

Logo for news use, for stories regarding Washington state government — Olympia, the Legislature and state agencies. No caption necessary. 20220331
Washington judge overturns insurance rate credit scoring ban

The state rule prohibited insurers from using credit scoring to set rates for auto, homeowner and renter insurance.

A damaged Cathlamet ferry sits at the Fauntleroy dock in West Seattle, Thursday morning, July 28, 2022. Authorities say an automobile and passenger ferry crashed into a dock Thursday in Seattle, damaging the vessel. (Erika Schultz/The Seattle Times via AP)
Ferry in Seattle damaged after crash into terminal

Authorities say an automobile and passenger ferry crashed into a dock Thursday.

King County map logo
King County OKs free transit for youth

People age 18 and under will ride buses, water taxis and streetcars for free in King County starting Sept. 1.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., speaks at an event with President Joe Biden on April 22, 2022, in Auburn, Wash., south of Seattle. Murray is being challenged by Tiffany Smiley, a Republican from Pasco, Wash., in the upcoming election. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Patty Murray seeks 6th term in US Senate at new inflection point for women

Her Republican challenger Tiffany Smiley, a former nurse from Pasco, contends it is time for a new senator.