Above: No big-screen TVs showing sports, no specials on a blackboard, and nobody yelling “Dilly Dilly!” as they crack open a Bud Light. Still and all, one could make a nice evening of the Iron Somm event in the grand ballroom of the Temple for the Performing Arts Feb. 24.
By Wini Moranville
Iron Somm 2018 will be held Feb. 24 in the grand ballroom of the Temple for Performing Arts. At this lavish gathering, which is now in its fourth year, attendees enjoy a five-course dinner, and two sommeliers choose a wine to pair with each course. Diners then vote on which wines best complement the food.
Defending the Iron Somm title is Kelsey Seay. When she won last year, she was the wine pro at Gateway Market. These days, she works with importer Best Case Wines, whose Iowa City-based owner, Robert Morey, specializes in finding great French wines at reasonable prices.
Competing against Seay is Blair Zachariasen, whose career in the wine industry began more than 12 years ago when she landed a job in a New York City wine shop. Zachariasen is now the wine pro at the downtown Court Avenue Hy-Vee, where she’s dedicated to finding bottles her customers love. She once told me, “I’ll do anything legal to get you the wine you want.”
The most enjoyable part of the evening—besides savoring great food and wine—is trying to guess what you’re drinking. All wines are served blind; diners are not told what they are or where they’re from, nor which sommelier chose them. All is revealed at the end of the night, and there are always some great, “who knew” surprises.
While the featured chefs don’t vie for any title at this event, in the past they’ve all been champs in my book. Returning this year is Dominic Iannarelli, executive chef at Splash Seafood Bar and Grill; Derek Eidson, executive chef at Centro; and Christina Moffatt and Holly Evans, founder of and pastry chef (respectively) at Crème Cupcake. New for this year’s event, the cheese mongers at Cheese Shop of Des Moines will provide the first course.
The event, which begins at 6:30 p.m. and costs $150 per person, has sold out in the past. Reserve your seats by contacting Natasha Sayles, Winefest executive director, at 515-244-0039 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wini Moranville writes about food, wine and dining for dsm magazine and dsmWeekly. Follow her on Facebook at All Things Food–DSM.