“Wine and Dine in the Dark” by Head Chef Nitin Gautam, Copper & Spices Restaurant, Navan – Boyne Valley Food Series

If you go out for dinner, and remove the sense of sight from your dining experience, no matter how you good you think your palate is, you will be flummoxed, trust me!

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This event was organised for the Boyne Valley Food Series by the owners of Copper & Spices Restaurant, Ms.Carmel Corrigan, and her Husband, Head Chef Nitin Gautam.

Each dish was perfectly designed to delight, shock, and make each diner question just what exactly they were tasting and eating.  Cutlery was abandoned (by me anyway), and it was all about reaching out, using one’s fingertips and try to name the components while blind-folded, which illustrates just how precious our sense of sight is.

Trying to identify flavours, textures, spicing, shapes, and sauces becomes a complicated event of epic proportions, if the sense of sight is eliminated. A donation is to be made to Sightsavers Ireland, from the dinner ticket sales and proceeds from the raffle which was held at the end of the evening.  Generous prizes were donated by Boyne Valley Food Series, Tankardstown House, The Dining Room, Copper & Spices, Wines Direct, Vanilla Pod Kells, Scholars Townhouse Hotel, Yes Chef Magazine and The Russell Restaurant.

The  4 course tasting menu (with accompanying wines from Wines Direct Ltd.) was served after being greeted by the welcoming and friendly staff and offered a choice of cocktails.  Mr. Owen Murphy, Sales Director, Wines Direct Ltd., was on also hand to talk us through the wine choices when the menu was finally revealed.

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Chef Nitin knows I cannot tolerate chilli and heat-laden spicing.  He delicately spiced everyone’s food to the same level so I could fully experience and enjoy the meal. I was totally intrigued and delighted by each dish. He did make one exception for me, and that was to serve plain popadums with my dips, which were placed on the tables before service began.

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Amuse Bouche  – Minced Cabbage, Garlic & sesame Oil – Diners Guess: Crab, turkey or chicken meatball!

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Indian Street Food– Whole Wheat Pastry, Lily’s Tea infused Chickpeas, Lentil Dumpling, home-made yoghurt, Coriander and Tamarind – Diners Guess:  Minced lamb with sauces on a cracker!

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Seekh Kebab, – Skeaghanore Duck Seekh Kebab, Spiced Pineapple, Duck Egg Curry, Nigella, Curry Leaf – Diners Guess: Spiced pork or chicken (again!)  boiled egg and something sweet!

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Guinea Fowl – 24-hour marinated and slow cooked, Black eyed beans and Red kidney beans, Fennel and Star anise – Diners Guess:  Chicken with kidney beans

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Panna Cotta – Clarkes Strawberries, Alphonso mango, red currants, berries, and meringue – Diners Guess:  Eaton Mess, Crème brûlée,  custard, Panna Cotta

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Wine pairings, which everyone guessed only the first one correctly, were as follows:-

First Course     :  Prosecco, San Simone Verde

Second Course:  Riesling, Paddy Borthwick, New Zealand

Third Course     : Taillefer, Domaine Ollier, Languedoc

Dessert              : Bera Moscato D’asti

(All photos for this event, with the exception of the one I have marked, were taken by Ms. Noreen Walshe)

A fun event, with a serious element, it was revelation to me, as it was my first time at Copper & Spices and tasting Chef Nitin’s food, it certainly won’t be the last.  I look forward to visiting again, without the blindfolds next time!

Disclaimer:  I was a guest at this event for the Boyne Valley Food Series, and my attendance was complimentary.