Friday, May 5, 2017

Dietz & Watson #ChooseTheTable: Top Chef Nicholas Elmi

Dietz & Watson is a Philly-based institution of premium & artisanal delicatessen foods. They notably ensure that no artificial flavors, colors, fillers, or extenders are ever used. Founded in 1939 by Gottlieb Dietz, the company passed on to daughter Ruth "Momma Dietz" Eni to become a national brand. It's now in its fourth generation under Dietz' great-grandchildren. Employing over 1,000 people, Dietz & Watson continues to do Philly proud. 

Dietz & Watson Choose the Table - Nicholas Elmi

This past Monday, they kicked off their #ChooseTheTable campaign, which is their commitment to bringing everyone together, starting at the dining table. And with #ChooseTheTable, Lauren Eni, VP of Brand Strategy, is encouraging people to spend more quality time - and food - together: "With today's hectic pace of life, finding time to connect with family and friends can sometimes seem like a struggle." To support their campaign, Dietz & Watson partnered with No Kid Hungry to connect children across the U.S. with 1.5 million meals. And at this kick-off event, we started off with drinks and a kaleidoscope of Dietz & Watson products that certainly whet our appetites! 

Dietz & Watson Choose the Table - Nicholas Elmi - Cocktails
Spicy Bourbon-Citrus Cocktail & Blackberry Mojito

The spicy bourbon-citrus was definitely my favorite of the night's specialty cocktails - smooth with the undertone of dry vermouth. There was plenty of citrus from the grapefruit juice and lime, along with some heat from the fresno chiles, which helped provide a bit of kick on the finish. The GF's mojito was effervescent, with the foundation of rum and a freshness from the muddled blackberries and mint.

Dietz & Watson Choose the Table - Nicholas Elmi - Cocktails
Whiskey Pomegranate & Spicy Bourbon-Citrus Cocktail

The whiskey pomegranate featured rye, with wonderfully warm spice notes from the freshly ground cloves and Peychaud's, as well as some sweetness from the Luxardo maraschino liqueur and honey simple syrup.  

After the pre-dinner drinks and snacks, we were welcomed to the communal table, where dinner was served, along with a wine pairing.

2013 Cotes Catalanes D66 Grenache [Maury, France]

Speaking of wine, in true family style, generous pours (and re-pours!) were had by all. We started off with a wonderful Grenache blend. The nose was fruit and cocoa, with spice notes that finished with jam.

Dietz & Watson Choose the Table - Nicholas Elmi

And with the vino poured. Chef Elmi came out to introduce his first Dietz & Watson-inspired course, which he humbly described as "just a salad."

Grilled Butter Greens
Pistachio, cured egg, crumbled wurst

Dietz & Watson Choose the Table - Nicholas Elmi - Grilled Butter Greens

If this was just a a salad, I'd definitely be eating more greens! The light grill on the butter greens imparted subtly savory undertones, with the cured egg offering up weight and depth. Pistachio provided texture, along with the the crumbled wurst, which was was the baco-bits of your dreams. Crunchy, and crisp, they brought forth salty flavor bombs to each bite.  

Fresh Ricotta Gnocchi
Fine herbs, green garlic, sopressata

Dietz & Watson Choose the Table - Nicholas Elmi - Ricotta Gnocchi

Elmi's well-known for his ethereal gnocchi and I was glad to see them here, but with a green garlic kick to your palate. Veering towards an enjoyably raw flavor, the rich sauce and sopressata helped to temper any abrasiveness. And the gnocchi themselves? Pillowy clouds of heaven, as per usual.

Rosemary Ham & Sottocenere Panini
Truffle Potato Bisque

Dietz & Watson Choose the Table - Nicholas Elmi - Grilled Cheese

Dietz & Watson's rosemary ham was showcased to great effect in one of the best grilled cheese's I've had. First off, the bread was deftly drowned in butter and then crisped perfectly. And within, the ham and mild sottocenere created a meld of flavors that paired well with the accompanying truffle potato bisque. Comfort food easily elevated by Elmi.

2014 Chateau de Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc [Sancerre, Loire Valley, France]

It's clear why sancerre's a favorite, especially now that it's getting warmer. Citrus forward, with a crisp acidic tang on the finish, this was easy drinking that served as a nice intermezzo between the grilled cheese and the next dish.

Kielbasa-Wrapped Pork
Mustard, bacon-braised kale

Dietz & Watson Choose the Table - Nicholas Elmi - Kielbasa Wrapped Pork

For our final savory course, moist pork was wrapped with ground Dietz & Watson kielbasa, with the bacon-braised kale offering up the primary punch of flavor and mustard crisps providing the perfect foil.

Moet & Chandon Brut Rose Imperial Champagne [Champagne, France]

Dietz & Watson Choose the Table - Nicholas Elmi - Moet Rose Imperial

Always an elegant end with Moet, the Rose Imperial emanated rich raspberry and strawberry, with an effervescent and lingering finish.

Green Apple Espuma
Horseradish, yuzu curd 

Dietz & Watson Choose the Table - Nicholas Elmi - Green Apple Espuma

Even Elmi's dessert showcased Dietz & Watson, with their horseradish providing an interesting and "biting" counterbalance to the sweet tang in the green apple foam and the citrus custard. Expected no less from our city's Top Chef! 

Curious as to how you can #ChooseTheTable with some of the best Chefs in your city? Just enter on the Dietz & Watson website! Phoenix, AZ is up next on June 13th, with Chef Cullen Campbell highlighting his coastal Italian takes while utilizing premium Dietz & Watson products. The campaign extends as far west as Seattle, WA, so be sure to regularly check their website! 

FTC Disclaimer: Many thanks to Lauren Eni and the entire Dietz & Watson family for hosting this amazing event. Regardless, my opinions are mine alone and, therefore, unbiased.

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