Chefs will demonstrate prowess at Pigs & Pinot 2Written by Amy Campbell | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo-area pork lovers will have the opportunity to celebrate the animal that brings us ham, bacon, ribs and more at Pigs & Pinot 2, a snout-to-tail extravaganza taking place Oct. 12, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Mancy’s Italian Grill.
Fashioned after Couchon 555, a traveling culinary competition featuring five chefs, five breeds of heritage pigs and five winemakers, Pigs & Pinot 2 will allow the chefs of the Mancy restaurants to let their culinary creativity run wild, creating pork dishes to pair with three pinot noirs selected by Adam Mahler, owner of the wine sales and marketing firm ampelography.
George Mancy, managing partner of Mancy’s Italian Grill and a co-creator of Pigs & Pinot, said tweaks have been made for this year’s event, starting with the format.
“Last year, it was basically a wine dinner,” Mancy said. “This will be more small plates, with different tasting stations.”
But that’s just the beginning. In addition to pinot noirs from Oregon and California, two “hog-themed” beers will be available and a craft bourbon bar will feature a signature cocktail, the Bacon Bourbon Manhattan.
Matt Lawrence, chef at Mancy’s Italian, and Chef Rob Campbell of the Bluewater Grille participated in last year’s event, with Lawrence’s pork cheek ragu with gnocchi and braised pork belly just edging out Campbell’s creation. They’re gearing up for competition again this year, but are also working together on an offering.
“The two of us are collaborating on a dessert tray,” Lawrence said. “We’re going to have two or three desserts, and those are all going to have some form of pork in them as well.”
ampelography’s Mahler said the pairing of pork and pinot noir is a testament to the versatility of both. Just as pork can be prepared in various ways and ostensibly for any course, pinot noir’s attributes can vary widely as well.
“Pinot is a versatile grape,” Mahler said. “It can have acid, it can have tannin; it can be earthy, it can be fruity.”
This year’s Pigs & Pinot wines are Wild Hog and Drew Family Gatekeeper, both from California, and Sineann Primal, made in the state of Oregon but bottled exclusively for the Ohio market.
“The Wild Hog is more of a dark fruit, almost a sweeter fruit profile. The Gatekeeper has a beautiful, light texture and the Sineann is very earthy and rustic,” Mahler said. “So we’re going to have three very different styles of pinot.”
For those who find a new beverage favorite at the event, the featured wines and beers will be available for retail sale at Pigs & Pinot 2.
This year’s Pigs & Pinot is a break-even proposition designed to let the Mancys’ chefs step out of their usual cooking “genres” and play with their food. But Mancy can envision more.
“This is only our second year but if we can continue to do this, it can get bigger,” he said. “I’d like to make a name for this event, maybe even include a local charity, get more chefs.”
Ticket sales are capped at 70 to ensure a comfortable atmosphere for guests. The event is $80 per person, all inclusive. Reservations can be made by calling (419) 882-9229. Mancy’s Italian Grill is located at 5453 Monroe St., Toledo.