Last month, the beautiful Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North hosted a special “Unwind, Revive & Ignite" weekend. Guests could partake in a range of special health and wellness activities such as yoga, seminars, classes, wine tasting, and an exclusive #GirlBoss pairing dinner with Chef Samantha Sanz of Talavera and guest chef Rochelle Daniel of Scottsdale's Fat Ox.
I registered for both Saturday seminars, and took a seat in Talavera's lounge, Onyx, for the noon “Modern Mixology” class led by cocktail mavens Samantha and Kyle. We started with Sam's refreshing Southern Belle, made with peach-infused Hendrick's gin, housemade peach-strawberry-basil shrub, Lillet Blanc, Amaro Nonino, Carpano Antica vermouth, fresh basil, and grapefruit zest. We were given recipe cards, and I can't wait to make this delightful punch for my next house party.
Kyle then taught us how to make a refreshing Hibiscus Mule with hibiscus-infused bourbon, ginger beer, lemon juice, simple syrup, Cinque 5 aperitivo, and grapefruit bitters, while Sam finished with #TheSpritz, combining Aperol, Yellow Chartreuse, herb-peach syrup, lime juice, and sparkling rosé. Look for me to include this in a future Spritz cocktail feature for Experience Scottsdale.
Next, sisters Giovanna and Regina Garcia lead a “Balanced Health” seminar featuring their Live a Lot Chocolate. Giovanna, a chef and nutritionist from San Francisco, described the holistic approach to their chocolate - "it's refined-sugar, soy, and dairy-free, but really amazing stone-ground, creamy chocolate. It's nourishing, healthy chocolate with super-food ingredients." All three are made with unroasted organic 100% cacao sweetened with coconut sugar and ingredients meant to "enhance joy, boost energy, and relieve stress." After sampling Ignite (made with goji and schizandra berry extract, lucuma, cardamom, cinnamon), Unwind (infused wtith a blend of 30 medicinal mushrooms, mesquite powder, and lucuma), and Revive (matcha green tea, mucuna, and ginger), they were so good, I bought two of each!
She also demo'd a delicious chocolate pie that was vegan, gluten free, and raw with a creamy melted Unwind chocolate and coconut cream filling and a crust made with ground Medjool dates, coconut, and almonds.
Afterwards, I joined my husband for lunch at Proof before returning to Talavera for a complimentary wine tasting. We started with the 2013 Bridesmaid, a sauvignon blanc and semillon blend that would be poured with the first course at that night's dinner, before moving on to a Napa Valley 2014 Iconoclast cabernet sauvignon, an exclusive wine to Four Seasons that is poured at every one of their properties around the world.
After a cocktail at the Onyx Lounge, it was time for the main event, a dinner featuring the immense talent of two of my favorite chefs: Talavera Chef Samantha Sanz and guest chef Rochelle Daniel.
We took our seats and admired the view, which was a perfect setting for the spectacular dinner we were to enjoy.
A Strawberry Shortcake ice cream bar was the inspiration for these talented women's collaborative amuse. "Sam and I were talking about the ice cream man and what we used to get, and we both grew up eating and loving this," Chef Rochelle told me. But this wasn't anything you might have had as a child. We savored a decadent Strawberry Shortcake "Foie-sicle" - a creamy foie gras cylinder rolled in a coating made from ground dehydrated chiffon cake and strawberries and served with strawberry gelée. It was the perfect palate teaser for what was to come.
Our first course by Chef Rochelle brought art on a plate. I'm still thinking about the octopus carpaccio with cherries, fennel, and black olive dust, paired with the 2013 Bridesmaid White I had enjoyed at the wine tasting earlier.
Course two was also by Chef Rochelle. We were poured a California Cenyth Rose of Cabernet Franc to accompany her silky carrot cavatelli with gouda and tender, thinly-sliced duck pastrami.
Sam sent out a stunning plate of seafood for course three. I loved her creative combination of flavors with lobster and king crab, a tangy hibiscus mole, avocado, cubes of mezcal-infused watermelon, nixtamal masa balls, and candied hibiscus. Merry Edwards Chardonnay Olivet Lane was a perfect partner.
Sam's main course was another winner, showcasing juicy dry-aged New York strip with a velvety corn and quark cream, squash blossoms, purple Peruvian potatoes, grilled peaches, and a bright tomatillo chermoula. This was expertly paired with an Elio Altare Barolo from Piedmont, Italy.
To end our decadent evening of wining and dining was this wonderful duet - pastry chef Calena Sutrowski's dulce de leche chocoflan with mango-pepper chutney and mango sorbet and a glass of Robert Mondavi Late Harvest Botrytis Sauvignon Blanc.
I received a media invitation and my experience was complimentary.