The Cincinnati Bailliage celebrated its annual holiday dinner in early December at the View on Mt. Adams Event Center. The venue commands a breathtaking view of the Ohio River, downtown Cincinnati, and the northern shore of Kentucky. With a panorama of city lights, the entire region seemed ready to celebrate the holiday season.
Michael “Funky” Forgus of Funky’s Catering transformed the event space from its previous role as home to the Celestial Restaurant. He and his staff, including COO Jerin Dunham and Executive Chef Amy Main, now operate the center under the ownership of Vonderhaar’s Catering.
Sparkling flutes of Charpentier ‘Tradition’ Brut Champagne took the edge off a blustery December evening. While the Champagne flowed, members and guests enjoyed passed appetizers including Sugar Cane Shrimp, Duck Confit Wontons, Stuffed Mushrooms, and Venison Meatballs. As might happen only in football-crazy Cincinnati, the conclusion of a Bengals game played on a big screen TV. (They won!)
The highlight of the evening came when Bailli George Elliott announced the winner of the coveted Bronze Star of Excellence which is awarded once a year to a member who has demonstrated outstanding, selfless service to the Chaîne as well as the Cincinnati community. Vice Conseiller Gastronomique Chuck Hong has given countless hours of his time as well as resources to numerous Chaîne events and many local charities. The Cincinnati Wine Festival and Cancer Family Care’s annual wine auction fundraiser are just two of those charities.
The five-course dinner started with Mussels and Clams served in Lobster Broth, plated with a small salad of winter greens, Iberico chorizo, citrus segments, “holiday” goat cheese, dressed with a vinaigrette of dried cherries and persimmon seeds. This course was paired with a 2020 Emilio Moro Godello ‘Polvorete’ from Bierzo, Spain, one of many global gems selected by Echanson Provincial Mary Horn and her wine committee for the holiday dinner.
For the second course, Funky served a Champagne Poached Glacier 51 Toothfish, named for its source near a glacier in the Australian Antarctic. The 2020 Louis Jadot Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre was a perfect companion. The next three courses showed Funky’s playful side: “Dirty Duck Ricke served with Duck Livers and a Cured Egg Yolk (paired with 2018 Kanzler Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley); Black Coco Crusted Elk with Chestnut Puree (paired with a 2019 Pahlmeyer Merlot); and a cleverly deconstructed fruit cake (paired with a 2021 Michele Chiarlo ‘Nivole’ Moscato d’ Asti.
Graig Smith, Vice Chargé de Presse