REVIEW: Winter Wonderland Gourmet evening, Stadium of Light

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SAFC is serving up more than football these days. Its catering arm, 1879 Events, is going from strength to strength in its bid to score with your taste buds.

Last week I was invited along to a preview of a forthcoming Winter Wonderland Gourmet evening.

Though the feast will be served up at the stadium, in its Riverside brasserie, it’s a world away from match day fare.

Colourful canapes which greeted us on arrival soon make you feel as though you’re in a fancy restaurant.

Appetites well and truly whetted by squid ink cornets stuffed with salmon and crab and other impressive morsels, we were seated at an impeccably laid-out table with blindingly shiny cutlery.

You know you’re in for a good night when each setting has five different wine glasses.

Each course is served with a different wine, specifically chosen to complement the flavours of the dish.

First up was a winter salad, an autumnal kaleidoscope of beetroot, radishes, pickled mushrooms, goat’s curd and walnuts. A fresh, zingy dish, it was served with a gently acidic sauvignon blanc, which worked well with the sharp flavours.

Course two came in the form of a shell fish terrine with herb crème fraiche. It was a sizeable pink slab of delicate flavours, a welcome lightness before the heavier dishes to come.

For mains, cloches were lifted to reveal roasted tenderloin, braised oxtail, celeriac, red wine shallots, potato confit and mushrooms. Knives slid through the tender meat with ease, which was melt-in-the mouth good.

I was feeling full already, but more was to come.

We couldn’t resist making some indent into the palet d’or pudding.

This was a chocolate-lover’s idea of heaven – a rich disc made up of alternating layers of cake and chocolate cream, covered in a chocolate glaze, served with boozy cherries and popcorn.

It was sinfully deliciously and, despite being contentedly full, I kept going back for more.

The gastronomic proceedings were rounded off with a selection of cheeses and fruits, as well as a palate cleansing wine.

Though trophy silverware may be elusive at the stadium lately, when it comes to dishing up fine foods they’re on the ball.

*The Winter Wonderland Gourmet Evening takes place at the Stadium of Light on Friday, November 14. The cost is £54.50 per person. For more information or to book Tel. 0871 911 1555 or email conf&banq@safc.com.