Dining at Devonshire, an Erickson Living community at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens is always a culinary treat. Each day, community members enjoy delicious, restaurant-quality meals at five on-site dining venues, specially themed dinners, and monthly culinary discussions led by Executive Chef Joe Marinelli.
In addition, Devonshire "foodies" enjoy the highly anticipated annual wine dinner, featuring a cocktail hour and hors d'oeuvres followed by a decadent four-course meal with wine pairings. Each wine dinner focuses on a unique wine region. Last year, attendees were led through a "Tour de France" featuring French wines and cuisine.
This year's wine dinner treated guests to the best in California cuisine alongside a variety of wines from Napa Valley.
"It's a special evening for adventurous diners who want to try new dishes and a variety of hand-chosen wines," says Marinelli.
Tastiest ticket in town
This year's "reservation-only" Napa Valley experience began with a sparkling wine cocktail hour featuring a variety of carefully executed hors d'oeuvres, including crispy phyllo cups with brie and fruit; bruschetta with prosciutto, California grapes, and ricotta salata; and blackened shrimp on a cucumber cracker topped with crème fraîche.
"The whole experience was out of this world," says community member Shirley Diuro. "We enjoyed cocktail hour on the balcony [of the Devonshire Clubhouse] with the sun shining and light music playing. The service was impeccable and the hors d'oeuvres were delicious."
Dressed in cocktail attire, guests were then invited inside to the beautifully decorated Cambridge Restaurant for the evening's four-course adventure.
The meal began with a fresh strawberry avocado salad over red oak served with a 2017 Heitz Cellar Grignolino Rose followed by the second course intermezzo of lemon sorbet to clear the palate. The third course offered dinner guests a choice: a bone-in grilled rib eye with asparagus and shitake mushrooms and purple mashed potatoes paired with a 2016 Stags Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Artemis, or lobster tail Thermidor served with fingerling potatoes and asparagus and a 2016 Ferrari Carano Chardonnay Reserve.
"Everything was excellent, including the wines," says Bob Frasier. "I most enjoyed the Stags Leap 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Artemis. It's the best red I've ever had. I bought three bottles to bring home."
A fourth course of pineapple crème brûlée paired with Terra D'Oro Zinfandel Port completed the experience.
Sharing a meal
Like Shirley and Bob, other community members soon discovered that after attending their first wine dinner they were hooked.
"It is a fabulous experience and a wonderful way to enjoy a delicious meal," says Shirley. "Everyone is friendly and warm, we get dressed up a little more than usual, and the food is a treat. I've been to many of the top restaurants nearby and these dinners are not only just as good, I think they are even better."
Bob has attended all but one wine dinner since moving to Devonshire five years ago.
"I don't often go out to eat anymore because the food is so good here at Devonshire," he says. "I can't think of another local restaurant where the food, presentation, and company are as good."
For their part, Marinelli and his team enjoy the opportunity to provide the Devonshire community with a unique culinary event every year.
"The other chefs and I truly enjoy seeing how much our community members enjoy this evening," he says. "As you walk the room after the meal, you can really see and hear how much the effort is appreciated. That really makes it all worthwhile."
Community members are thankful for the dining staff's hard work.
"The wine dinners are wonderful experiences, from the delicious hors d'oeuvres to the last bite of dessert," says Bob.