Celebrating World Chaîne Day 2021 with Mazza Restaurant
By Sue Geary, Vice Charge’ de Presse, FWS, IWS, SWS
Members of the Salt Lake Bailliage could not have enjoyed a more fitting celebration of World Chaîne Day than to sample the cuisine and wines of Lebanon with an elegant dinner prepared by Mazza Restaurant. This is a dinner that was planned for another time and another place. Bailli Sheral Schowe had met with Mazza owner Ali Sabbah over a year ago to plan the dinner that was to be held last spring. Ali placed a special order of wines for this event, and the Chateau Musar in our cellar had been waiting for this meal. Members of the board were excited to gather for an event in the beautiful dining room of the newly-opened Mazza of Sandy, the restaurant that had replaced the Mazza at 9th and 9th. And then, the growing Covid-19 pandemic brought our plans to a jarring halt. More sadly, Mazza of Sandy became a casualty of the pandemic.
Resilience can be a brutal requirement for restaurateurs. During the year of the Covid shut-down, Ali and his staff shifted to providing only take-out meals from the original Mazza Restaurant which opened 20 years ago in the unique 15th and 15th neighborhood. (Some of our Bailliage members are of an age to remember Smokey’s Records which occupied that space.) Our event planning with Ali resumed in February for our April 24 dinner, and to say that the dinner was worth the wait would be a gross understatement.
Several board members were on hand that afternoon to distribute the carefully-packaged meals in front of the restaurant. Bailli Sheral Schowe dispensed color-coded bags of wines from the back of her car. And thus began her new fantasy of driving around in a bright pink truck delivering wine.
Speaking of wine, participants for this event were given the choice of two wine selections with three wines in each. Echanson Kasey Dubler gave a most-informative and interesting presentation on the wines of Lebanon including the long history of viticulture in that part of the world, some of the premier winemakers, and the influence of Bordeaux on the Lebanese red blends. Kasey also described some of the grapes that are indigenous to the area, including Obaideh and Merwah that comprised the blend of the Chateau Musar Blanc 2010 in our offerings.
Ali joined us for this our last event via Zoom to describe the exquisite menu items. The meal began with an appetizer of prawns in spicy garlic and herb sauce. The multiple layers of flavor paired beautifully with both the Chateau Musar Blanc and the Barkan Classic Chardonnay 2018. Ali introduced the Lebanese crunchy garden salad and explained the tradition of eating the salad throughout the meal for a contrasting texture and a means of cleansing the palate between courses. The next course of most delicious lamb meatballs in tomato pomegranate sauce was accompanied by a Chateau Ksara Sunset 2017 Rose’ that carried us to the jeweled rice with fava beans, nuts, and dried fruit. The final course was a duck schawarma with tahini sauce and pita that deserved the Chateau Musar Rouge 2006 and the Chateau Ksara Reserve Du Couvent 2016.
This was the best-attended in our year of remote events, and we are still hearing rave reviews of this beautiful meal. We are grateful to Ali Sabbah for making this such an exceptional event under such challenging conditions. We all look forward to dining at Mazza in person.