It’s rather rare that we return to a restaurant twice in the same week. Montreal is bursting with restaurants that demand our attention and we rarely feel like returning to a restaurant as soon as we walk out its doors. But that was indeed the case after we visited Estiatorio Milos for Diva #1’s favourite cousin’s birthday. It certainly helped that on our most recent visit to Milos, our attentive waiter Kosta told us about the Ktima Parparoussis Tasting, later that same week. Could we really resist?
Aunty, Diva #1 and Sweet Pea returned for this rare tasting of Parparoussis wines from their winery. The event was 100$ per person, excluding tax and gratuity, a very inexpensive price for such a superior event. Organic world class wines by award winning winemaker Athanasios Parparoussis, and his daughters Dimitra and Erifili, were being showcased at Estiatorio Milos Montreal and New York City. The associated dish to each wine was either a traditional Milos dish, or a dish inspired by the recipe of Vasiliki Parparoussis, to accompany the specific wine.
Our first dish was not particularly Greek but it was absolutely refreshing! Tuna tartare with orange, micro basil and serrano chili was the first course. It came with avgotaraho, a type of caviar, with a dollop of melitzanosalata (eggplant salad) on a baguette crisp. Avgotaraho is harvested roe from flat head mullet in Greece; this is the Greek version of caviar. It’s compressed between two planks of wood to create its subtle flavour. The avgotaraho alone was worth more than we paid for this event, Milos provided a generous amount of this Greek delicacy and it was perfection.
The Parparoussis wine pairing was the ‘The Gift of Dionysos’ Sideritis, imported by Cava Spiliadis, this white wine is perfect with seafood because of its light citrus taste.
We had tried Milos’ traditional octopus dish on our last visit and we were pleased to try their sashimi quality charcoal broiled octopus once again, but this time prepared in a different manner. At the Ktima Parparoussis event it was served on a Santorini fava beans purée that was absolutely delicious, topped with capers and parsley.
The Parparoussis wine pairing with this dish was a Nemea Reserve, 2010. A wine that Diva #1 is very accustomed to, but isn’t in love with. It’s good, but she feels that there are better red wines out there in the same price range and style.
And then came the dish whose days later, its memory lingered on our palate. Traditionally, Greeks leave pasta dishes to the Italians, besides a good pastitsio, Greeks don’t claim to be experts in the world of pasta. Milos adapted the recipe of Vasiliki Parparoussis, and what a recipe it was. Perfectly al dente linguine was in an oyster mushroom cream sauce. It was divine, and we were soon fighting over second helpings. Roasted pine nuts gave it both a textural element and a smokey hint. We are still craving it weeks later!
The waiters at Milos are known for their attention to detail and in the traditional Milos fashion, our waiter served all of us the pasta. And once again we had our favourite waiter, Kosta, serving us. This course came with a tasting of Parparoussis Oenofilos, 2011 wine. This red wine is part Cabernet Sauvignon and part Mavrodaphne, it was divine, and Aunty quickly ordered a case for Uncle, she knew that he would love it.
Sea bass, or lavraki in Greek, is your typical whole white fish in Greek cuisine. Always dressed simply with extra virgin olive oil, lemon, parsley and capers, Milos offers only the freshest fish. We have had their lavraki before and it never disappoints. We weren’t expecting to receive a whole fish at a tasting event but Milos did not disappoint.
And with it came the paired wine, a barrel fermentation has added a heavy oak taste to Greek white wines, like the Parparoussis Cava Barrel Fermented, 2010, that paired well with our fish dish. There is something dry and strong about Greek white wines that helps them rival Italy and Spain. Never a fan of weak or sweet white wines, Greek white wines provide you with a warm satisfaction that is usually only delivered by red wines.
Another dish inspired by the recipe of Vasiliki Parparoussis was the roasted lamb. A very Greek dish, it was made with Canadian flair; roasted apples were cooked with the lamb providing a touch of sweetness. The lamb didn’t require a knife, it was so tender that your fork gently ripped apart the meat. This heavy dish was well paired with a Parparoussis Taos, 2008. Aunty found this red wine too heavy, but it is the type of robust wine that Diva #1 loves. This wine was made with Mavrodaphne grapes which are usually made into sweeter wines but instead it was dry. The wine was smooth and the heavy flavour stayed in your mouth with a hint of cherry.
The dessert platter was quite plentiful, Greek yogurt with honey, baklava, galaktoboureko and the most decadent creamy coconut dessert arrived before us. The Greek yogurt with honey arrived in a martini glass and was exactly as expected; the yogurt was tart and thick like cream cheese, as is the way of traditional Greek yogurt. The Greek honey was thick and a rich golden colour, perfect. Diva #1 is not a fan of Greek baklava because it is just too sweet but Aunty loved Milos’ baklava, probably made by Lambrini, the pastry chef in the kitchen. We had fallen in love with their galaktoboureko on our previous visit, so we were happy to enjoy it once again.
The true winner of the night was a creamy dessert that we should have asked our waiter about, but we were too glutinous to stop eating it and to ask. It was creamy, it had a hint of coconut, it was delicious and it almost wasn’t Greek. The usual custard, honey or phyllo was absent, which is very common in Greek desserts. We only wish that we had asked about it…
The dessert course came with three different cheeses, kasseri which is a traditional buttery Greek cheese, a graviera (or gruyere), and what was described as Gouda but tasted very much like Amsterdam cheddar. The cheeses were a great accompaniment to the dessert wines that we were provided. We started with a Parparoussis Muscat de Rio Patras, 2010, a sweet mellow dessert wine, that’s calm after its initial muscat aroma. Wine and cheese is what the Divas love best!
Our favourite of the two dessert wines that we were provided was the Parparoussis Mavrodaphne of Patras, 2003, a sweet red wine. This wine has hints of dried fruits, figs, walnuts and almonds to create the perfect wine pairing to nutty cheeses. This is the perfect port wine, sweet but with many dimensions of flavour. We aren’t usually fans of dessert wines but we’ll make an exception for this one. It’s complex and a mouthful!
We are by no means wine connoisseurs but we had an amazing time tasting the wines at Estiatorio Milos’ Ktima Parparoussis event, and, of course, each associated dish. Each delicious dish was paired perfectly with its wine and it was rather inexpensive for such large portions and plenty of wine. We left tipsy, with our bellies full, and, as always, looking forward to our next visit at Estiatorio Milos.
Our Rating: Always on Thursdays
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