Pig and Fig’s owner, Chef Laura Crucet Hamilton. Courtesy photo
The Pig + Fig Café is hosting a wine dinner Jan. 10 … but it is sold out.
Pig and Fig’s owner, Chef Laura Crucet Hamilton, has hosted more than 60 wine dinners over the past few years. Every one of them has sold out in less than two hours.
Luckily, there are four more scheduled in the next two months. But you have to be on her email list to get a table. (Sign up for their newsletter here).
Why are these wine dinners so special?
It could be the wines that they choose. They often feature California, Washington or Oregon wineries specializing in Rhone varietals.
“It’s just a very food friendly style of wine,” Crucet Hamilton said.
Although she has no formal wine training she graduated from Le Cordon Bleu, and while she was living in Paris, her love of wine took off. But the story of her wine dinners doesn’t start in Paris. It starts in White Rock where she got together with sort of an underground group of hard core wine nerds and big time wine collectors. This group, which includes Tom Hill and Glenn Magelssen, has been getting together for years just to taste wines and see what they go well with.
“From there the idea for these wine dinners started,” Hamilton said. “They’ve just taken off, and now I’ve got all these people advising me and helping me and supporting me.”
The dinners are very intimate. The first dinner had 12 or 16 people. Since then they have grown, but they have to cut it off at 44 people because that is how much their space will allow.
The dinners sell out very quickly, one sold out in about 15 minutes and every single one has sold out in less than two hours.
Customers get mad when they miss it. They complain, because they didn’t get to their email quickly enough. People will reserve a table for four and call their friends afterward, just to save their spot.
“There are a lot of people in this community who can afford good wine and want to have a special experience. They love that they don’t have to drive all the way to Taos or Albuquerque for something like this.”
The dinners start with a pre-tasting event at her house where she tastes all the wines with her small group of trusted wine nerds. That’s where she decides what to cook. But how does she decide?
“The wine tells me,” Crucet Hamilton explained. “We taste through the wines. If it’s got vanilla and blackberry and herbs, then that’s the direction I take with the food.”
While she tastes the wine they sample different breads, cheeses, fruits and nuts. Doing this takes them in surprising directions.
“At our last tasting, we were tasting wine that smelled like canned peaches,” Crucet Hamilton said. “I had these little fruits cups for my kids’ lunches, and so there we were drinking wine and eating little pasteurized school lunch fruit cups.”
From the initial ideas to the final event, Crucet Hamilton pours a lot of work and creativity and logistical planning to pull it off. The dinners are always very special. With their close-knit group of enthusiasts, the dinners have an underground, speakeasy vibe.
Feb. 9 they will host a wine dinner fundraiser for the Pajarito Women’s Weekend, where a portion of the proceeds will go to the Anita Salas Memorial Fund, an organization that helps help men and women who are suffering from breast cancer in New Mexico, and all the money stays local and it goes directly towards helping cover their medical expenses.
There are more dinners being planned, but they won’t announce them until they’ve confirmed the details. Visit the Pig + Fig website to sign up for the newsletter and be the first to hear about upcoming events. http://www.pigandfigcafe.com/
The Pig + Fig is at 35 Rover Blvd., Ste. G in White Rock and can be reached at 505.672.2742.