Wine and Food Pairing Dinners at Whole Foods

You go to the market to shop and plan a meal. Or maybe you are feeling lazy and pick up a prepared meal. But, ever thought about getting full service dining at the market? Well, at some Whole Foods stores in California, you can do this, as I recently did at Whole Food Venice.

Whole Foods Venice (1)

Whole Food Venice hosts pop-up wine pairing dinners twice a month. For $30 per person (or 2 for $50), you can get a four course meal, paired with wines. The Venice store has been offering wine (and beer) pairing dinners in their wine bar for three years. Each dinner has a theme, such as sustainability or Icelandic fish and beers, or features a winery.

Whole Foods Venice

Executive Chef Derek Harrison, who has been with Whole Foods for 13 years, is responsible for the wine pairing menus. Using fresh ingredients straight from the market, he creates dishes based on the theme of the dinner.

Chef Derek Harrison

The theme of the dinner that I attended was Moroccan and featured the wines of Ouled Thaleb, the oldest winery in Morocco that is still producing wine. There are only ten wine producers in the country of Morocco and Ouled Thaleb, which means Son of the Preachers, is a tribe in Morocco. Morocco is the second largest producer of wine in Muslim countries. Located at the tip of Africa with both the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea on either side, Morocco is at the same latitude as Santa Barbara and a great climate for wine production.

Tuna Tartare with Radishes paired with Ouled Thaleb Moroccan Rose (60% syrah, 30% grenache, 10% cinsault)

Tuna Tartare with Radishes Ouled Thaleb Moroccan Rose

Cous Cous, black beans, mesculin greens, roasted peppers and tomato salad paired with Ouled Thaleb Moroccan White Blend (60% faranah, 40% clairette)

Cous Cous, black beans, mesculin greens, roasted peppers and tomato salad Ouled Thaleb Moroccan White Blend

Charred salmon with mussels, lobster butter and risotto cake paired with Ouled Thaleb Moroccan Red Blend (60% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot, 10% syrah)

Charred salmon with mussels, lobster butter and risotto cake Ouled Thaleb Moroccan Red Blend

White chocolate pound cake with lemon mousse paired with Ouled Thaleb Moroccan Syrah

White chcolate pound cake with lemon mousseOuled Thaleb Moroccan Syrah

Great value, healthy food and learn about wine

Check out your local Whole Foods to see if they are hosting wine dinners. Currently the Venice, El Segundo, Newport Beach and Arroyo Parkway locations in Southern California offer wine dinners. And, the new Whole Foods locations are building restaurants inside the stores.