Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Passport DC 2014

By: Laurie Wallin
Capital Cooking Contributor
Proclaimed the “Month of International Cultural Awareness in Washington, DC” Passport DC May 2014 kicked off on Thursday, April 23 with a cocktail reception held at the Melrose Hotel in Georgetown. Presented by Cultural Tourism DC, the month-long celebration (May 1- 31, 2014) will feature international programs and events around the city, featuring the opportunity to experience international culture with tours of more than 70 embassies and hundreds of events and programs including street festivals, performances, and exhibitions.

Keeping with this international theme, I loved how the cheese tables were arranged and guests educated of each cheese’s origin. The cheeses were also accompanied by different flavored honeys (the lavender was my favorite, with the amaretto a close second), which was a unique touch.

The sophisticated event was held at the Melrose Hotel in Georgetown. A 4-piece jazz band delighted guests with their upbeat, jazzy tunes and guests had the opportunity to try a number of different food items. My favorite food item of the evening was steak tartare with fried capers and a quail egg. Other items that I really enjoyed included were the lollipop lamb chops and duck confit wrapped in puff pastry accompanied by truffles.

Continuing with the cultural theme, several wines were featured, including a Pinot Grigios from Italy and Australia, and a Pinot Noir from Australia. There was also an exceptional seafood spread which included cocktail shrimp, stone crab, and swordfish ceviche, which accompanied the two Pinot Grigios nicely. 

I'm not usually a dessert fan, and even less a chocolate fan, but the desserts I sampled were delectable. I never thought I'd say this, but my favorite dessert was the chocolate rum balls - soft, buttery, and just melted in your mouth. I also really enjoyed the lemon meringue tarts.

Celebrating its 7th year, Passport DC aims to spread cultural awareness across the DC area and beyond, given the active foreign diplomatic community we have present right here in DC. Through this partnership with the Department of State, 6 continents are represented during this event. This year, 52 nations are participating (up from 41 last year) and one particularly exciting event coming up is the Embassy Chef Challenge on May 15. At this annual fundraiser, attendees will have the opportunity to sample the same cuisine served to heads of state and regional delicacies from around the world as 15 embassy chefs battle it out! Please visit for more information on this international celebration.

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