Thursday, March 4, 2021
March 4, 2021

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Food & Drink: Bleu Door founder brings home taste of Italy

March dinner will feature Tuscan-themed food, wine

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Bleu Door Bakery in Vancouver will host a prix fixe Italian wine dinner.
Bleu Door Bakery in Vancouver will host a prix fixe Italian wine dinner. (Columbian files) Photo Gallery

Bonnie Brasure’s Bleu Door Bakery in Uptown Village feels like part of Champs Elysees drifted onto Main Street. Long crusty baguettes, flaky croissants, and a framed painting of the Eiffel Tower can be found behind the blue door of this popular spot.

Given the Parisian ambiance of her bakery, it’s hard to believe that Brasure’s first trip to the City of Lights was last summer. Upon arriving at her hotel in the Latin Quarter, she threw open the doors to her hotel room balcony and caught a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. As it says on Bleu Door’s coffee mugs, “She believed she could so she did.”

After savoring the food, the art and the vibe of romance that swirls around Paris like an expensive perfume, Brasure and her two traveling companions continued on to Italy. She wandered the ancient streets of Florence. Floating in the salty waters of Southern Italy, Brasure had this intense feeling that she had found her place in the world. The azure skies, the briny sea, and the warm glow of the Mediterranean sun felt like homecoming.

At an agriturismo in Citta Della Pieve, south of Florence in the province of Perugia, she stayed in a house built in the 1800s and took a cooking class. Agriturismi, or farm-stays, are available throughout Italy. Farmers host visitors in rooms on their property. They serve guests rustic dishes made with fresh ingredients from their farm. These are remote locations where farmers must produce everything they serve guests. Their menus feature produce, like tomatoes and figs, or the chicken that you saw wandering around earlier in the day, or processed foods like olive oil and wine.

Brasure took an unforgettable cooking class at her agriturismo. She discovered the wonders of Pecorino cheese — how it can vary from new and creamy to aged and crystalline. The instructor also made fig jam and used a large clove of mild garlic to flavor pasta.

This European vacation was meant to be the trip of a lifetime, but it only created an aching need for return. “I have to figure out how to do this every year,” Brasure said.

Fortunately for us, Brasure returned to Vancouver with this newfound knowledge of Italian food and drink, as well as a stash of limoncello, wine, garlic and tomato seeds. Her experience will influence Bleu Door’s next monthly wine dinner.

The March dinner has a Tuscan theme complete with Italian food and wine and Tuscan native, Antonio Sanguineti, who grew up making wine in that region. Sanguineti is known as Il Maesto by his colleagues for creating beautiful wines. His passion and knowledge have made him an esteemed distributor of wine from his native region. He will tell diners about the wines as they sip throughout the four-course meal.

The evening begins festively with bubbles — a creamy, delicious Prosecco served with melon, prosciutto, and burrata.

The pasta course is a cacio e pepe (spaghetti noodles bathed in Pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper) with more bubbles, a brut from the Friuli-Grave wine region.

If You Go

What: Tuscany wine dinner.

When: 6 p.m. March 21.

Where: Bleu Door Bakery, 411 Main St., Vancouver.

Cost: $100 per person for a four course meal, including tax, gratuity, and wine.

Reservations: 360-693-2538; catering@bleudoorbakery.com.

Sea bass with tomato paired with a refreshing white wine and a traditional Tuscan stew of beef braised in red wine served with a rare red blend from the Rosso Conero region follow the pasta.

The meal ends with limoncello tiramisu, lady fingers soaked in limoncello layered with ricotta cream and fresh lemon curd, paired with a bright moscato. Brasure was surprised by the lightness of the moscato she sipped in Italy. She expected it to be overly sweet and cloying, but it was light and refreshing. At the very end, everyone will get a sip of limoncello.

Seating is limited to 30 people. But, this won’t be the last Italian-themed dinner for Bleu Door. A limoncello slushy may find its way to a future dinner menu. Brasure speaks fondly of sipping this refreshing intoxicant on a beach at Capri.

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