Gala at Peel Mansion Museum features gourmet wine dinner

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 111 views 

Soft white lights, Christmas trees and gleaming wine glasses set the mood for The Gala at The Peel Mansion Museum and Heritage Gardens on Saturday night (Dec 13).

“I enjoy getting to see the Mansion lit up with decorations,” Corrin Troutman, director of operations for the Peel Mansion Museum and Heritage Gardens, said.  “It’s a really elegant way to kick off the holiday season.”

The evening began with guests in cocktail attire mingling in a white hospitality tent on the lawn of the Mansion, as they enjoyed hors d’oeuvres such as wild mushroom and ragu croustade, prosciutto puff pastry roulade, and cucumber and herbed cream cheese bites.  These were paired with Menage a Trois prosecco, Menage a Trois red blend, and 2013 Napa Valley sauvignon blanc wines.

Trinchero Family Estates of St. Helena, Calif. provided the wine for the evening and was the main sponsor.  “We’ve been a part of this for the last three years,” Marc Holton, with Trinchero Family Estates, said.  “It’s something we’re glad to be a part of.”

At 7 p.m., the crowd numbering just over 100 people moved from the hospitality tent to the Mansion to enjoy a seated five-course paired gourmet wine dinner, prepared by Pfeffer’s Gourmet Catering. 

The appetizer course consisted of an old world charcuterie plate with hand crafted meats and cheeses, paired with 2012 Amador County barbera wine.

For the soup offering, guests enjoyed chayote squash bisque with persalade of bacon, Manchega cheese and herbs, paired with a 2012 Joel Gott Riesling wine.

The entrée of beef tenderloin filets with caramelized onions and bleu cheese mornay was accompanied by sour crème red jacket mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus with olive oil, lemon and sea salt.  The entrée was paired with 2009 Trinchero Napa Valley meritage wine.

Guests could choose an alternative vegetarian entrée of a baked petite pumpkin stuffed with ratatouille and melted crust of manchego cheese also paired with the
2009 Trinchero Napa Valley meritage wine.

For dessert, guests enjoyed torta tres leches with amaretto extract, paired with Terra d’Oro Zinfandel port wine.

Holton said that all the wines served during the evening would be available at Sam’s Club in Fayetteville.  So if anyone enjoyed a wine during the evening, they could easily purchase it, he said.

Tickets for the event ranged from $125 to $150.  Troutman said that the money from ticket sales would go for general operations and for the maintenance of the museum.

“It also gives the foundation support for the educational programs we do,” she said.  According to their website, one of those programs is School Days, a time when elementary school children come to tour the Mansion and learn about its history.

The Peel Mansion was built in 1875 by Col. Samuel West Peel.  Col. Peel was the first native-born Arkansan to serve as a congressman after the Civil War and he built the Mansion as a gift to his wife Mary Emaline Peel, Troutman said. 

“Because Mary Emaline actually denied his advancements for marriage, he told her he would build her a mansion; and after the Civil War he came home and fulfilled his promise to her,” Troutman said.

In addition to the house itself, the Mansion grounds include about three and one-half acres of Victorian-style gardens.  “We stick to heirloom plants, so they are plants from the time period when the Peel family lived in the Mansion,” Troutman said.  “So it’s almost like having this beautiful Mansion surrounded by a living museum.”

Currently, American Holly trees, covered in red berries, can be seen on the grounds of the Mansion.  Troutman said that at the end of January the Lenten roses would be in bloom.

Next Saturday (Dec. 20), the Peel Mansion Museum and Heritage Gardens will hold a Christmas open house from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The house will be decorated in Victorian Christmas with tour guides dressed in period costumes.  A volunteer dressed as Santa Claus will be in the carriage house and will read Christmas stories to children that come through the house.  The event is open to the public and admission is free.

The Peel Mansion is regularly open to the public for tours Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.