NOT ALL MUSSELS ARE CREATED EQUAL!

Located in the pristine waters surrounding Prince Edward Island, Atlantic Aqua Farms is the number one grower and processor of rope-grown mussels in North America. They harvest mussels that exceed taste expectations, but don’t just take their word for it …

Mussels pairings from Corporate Beverage Director Ramon Narvaez

Classic White Wine Mussels (roasted garlic, parsley, cream)

Brabo Belgian Pils. Brabo Belgian Pils. Our pilsner creates a fantastic balance because it counters the delicious creamy garlicky mouthfeel of the mussels with its bright, crisp hops and elegant malt flavors.

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin “Yellow Label” Reims-France. For this tasty treat, a bright, crisp and vivacious Champagne will be the perfect accompaniment. Champagne is the most versatile and food-friendly wine. Veuve Clicquot’s is full-bodied, rich, and deep. It lifts up all garlicky goodness of the recipe and brightens up your palate.

Mediterranean Mussels (tomatoes, chorizo, fennel)

Antigoon Belgian Double Blonde Ale. Citrusy and yeasty with moderate alcohol compared to other Belgian ales. The complexity of our beer makes a great pairing with the multiple flavors in the Mediterranean mussels. Tomatoes and spicy chorizo blend perfectly with the hoppy bittersweet flavors.

Spicy Red Thai Curry (peanuts, basil, cilantro)

Riesling Domaine Ehrhart “Herrenweg” Alsace-France 2012Spicy, tangy, and intense, this mussel dish needs to be tamed by this slightly sweet white wine. The wine’s accents of honey, pear, and citrus tempers the heat from the spicy curry.

Wild Mushrooms (applewood-smoked bacon, truffle cream)

Bourgogne-Chardonnay Domaine Xavier Monnot, Burgundy-France 2012. A perfect pairing of white Burgundy and mussels. The subtle smoky and slightly herbal scents on the wine round up and augment the rich flavors on the plate. The bacon and truffle aromas benefit from the wine’s fuller-bodied mouthfeel.

Gigondas Domaine Santa Duc “Aux Lieux-Dits,” Rhone Valley-France 2012. A steamy mussel pot that contains earthy mushrooms, smoked bacon, and intense truffles screams for a wine with similar qualities. This Gigondas is round and meaty with notes of leather, licorice, and pepper. The South of France is renowned for its truffles and seasonal mushrooms.

Chapel Hill Farms Veal Bolognese Mussels (crispy capers, hard-boiled egg, Parmesan cheese)

“La Reserve” Domaine Sainte Eugenie Costieres de Nimes-France 2011. This veal Bolognese is deliciously complex and combines a multitude of ingredients and flavors. Therefore, it needs an equally tasteful and multilayered partner. The wine has a generous bouquet of wild and dark fruits, anise, tobacco, and mocha. It brings the veal-cheese-egg goodness together in great harmony.

Owner and Chef Robert Wiedmaier along with partner Executive Chef Brian McBride offer mussels in all of the restaurants and go through a lot of these bivalve mollusks in a week—thousands of pounds, in fact—especially at the Mussel Bar & Grille and Brasserie Beck locations. Selecting the right mussel farmer with which to work is more than just finding a supplier—it’s about a partnership. As mussels are the centerpiece of many of their dishes, they searched high and low and landed on Atlantic Aqua Farms based on consistent excellent quality, sustainable facility practices, and taste.

“We use a signature Blue Bay mussel that is the cream of their crop,” explains Chef McBride. “It is two and a half centimeters in length or bigger and maintains its mussel meat plumpness on the inside after they are cooked. We present the mussels as simply as possible, and for that reason taste is paramount.” The mussels are cooked in cast iron French pots on induction burners for approximately three minutes before they are presented at the table with a steaming flourish! Chef Wiedmaier’s success with the mussels is a direct reflection of the combined in-house culinary expertise while using the best mussels they can find.

“The RW mussel from PEI has a 70 percent meat-to-shell ratio,” adds Wiedmaier. “They are a tasty, larger mussel that arrives on our doorstep in record time.” Atlantic Aqua Farms has Best Aquaculture Practices certification, and freshness and sustainability are both top-of-list factors that weigh heavily on this full circle chef’s mind.

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