We just had our 2nd Annual Gumbo Smackdown this past Saturday. What more can you ask for on a cold winter day than hot gumbo and great wine? We had close to 200 guests who enjoyed several different styles of gumbo from local chefs.
Some of the gumbos were thick, some were thin. There were gumbos made with dark roux, some were made with light roux; some were thickened with filé, some were thickened with okra – the fun thing about gumbo is that there are so many variations. The quality of the ingredients — including Liberty duck, Willie Bird turkey, Caggiano sausage, Marin Miyagi oysters, Florida shrimp and Maine lobster – really let the chefs showcase their favorite types of gumbo.
In honor of our new Avant Chardonnay, we added a raw oyster bar to the Gumbo Smackdown this year. This station was a big hit – Chefs Taki and Eric shucked over 600 oysters during the event. We received great feedback from the guests about this exciting new wine.
Everyone really enjoyed how the crisp, clean Chardonnay paired with the sweet, briny oysters from California and the Pacific Northwest. Chef Eric demonstrated how to properly shuck an oyster and pulled off the feat without injury.
And since this was a Smackdown there needed to be a winner. To keep it interesting we gave the power to the people to cast their vote for their favorite gumbo and wine pairing. Upon arrival each guest received a strand of purple Mardi Gras bead to adorn their favorite gumbo chef. We are happy to announce that the Kendall-Jackson trophy has come back home this year. The crowd favorite turned out to be our Sonoma County gumbo featuring a dark roux, Willie Bird turkey, local Dungeness crab, Caggiano sausage, a hint of filé powder and a garnish of cornmeal crusted fried okra paired with our Grand Reserve Malbec.