PARADISE VALLEY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- The Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa is hosting a series of events this summer for dinner and lunch, all paired with refreshing drinks!
The resort located along the north base of Camelback Mountain is giving Arizonans and tourists a summer to wine and dine in comfort through their Master of Taste series and Late Lunch & Learn series. Both series feature the creative minds and talents of Element's Chef de Cuisine Samantha Sanz and Jade Bar's Bar Chef Christiaan Röllich.
The Master of Taste series was held in June, with events on the 9th and the 24th. Guests fortunate enough to snag a ticket in time got to enjoy two iconic wine-paired dinners featuring Napa Valley winemakers. On June 9, the resort hosted winemakers Far Niente and Nickel & Nickel wineries. I attended the Master of Taste event on the 24th, featuring Plumpjack Winery. When it comes to hosting events, Sanctuary Resort doesn't disappoint!
Master of Taste
The anticipation builds when walking into The Views ballroom, located in a building off to the side from Elements and Jade Bar at the Sanctuary. The professional staff was attentive, assigned various roles from greeting, providing wine and hors d'oeuvres, and bringing/taking plates in a timely and non-intrusive manner.
The reception started off warm and welcoming, with guests mingling about at their tables and throughout the room. As snacks started to arrive, it was time to enjoy some phenomenal food and delicious wine. The dinner included seven expressions of Plumpjack wine paired with a four-course dinner. I briefly popped into the kitchen to say hello to Chef Sanz, who assured me everyone was in for some great food!
The hors d'oeuvres arrived in waves and definitely raised the bar in terms of what to expect food-wise, which was already set high following my last segment with Elements.
The Double Deep-Fried Oyster took some convincing from my table to try (shellfish is my least favorite food, admittedly), but after sampling, I must admit this was certainly a great way to present such a dish! There was a light dressing that had a hint of sweetness, complementing the savory tastes with a nice crunch factor. The Scallop Wellington was cooked to perfection with a wonderful gooey cheese that tied everything together. The chicken empanadas were my favorite and featured an excellent sweet chili sauce to top them off. They had a great mix of interior ingredients with flavorful chicken, corn, and cheese.
For the dinner portion, tables were started off with a Hamachi Crudo. Excellent portions and cuts of the Hamachi (Japanese Amberjack or Yellowtail) fish. Tasty and essentially melted in your mouth after saturating in nectarines and passion fruit aguachili. The basil and almonds add interesting textures and profiles to the sweet dish. A nice light and hearty start to the cuisine journey!
The Ricotta & Black Pepper Gnocchi had some of the freshest and best prosciutto I've ever sampled. It was accompanied by celery hearts and pecorino, which lit up the palate sensors like a Christmas tree! The warmed ricotta rounded everything out with a creamy and mild base to enjoy with every bite.
The Wagyu Beef Cheek was without a doubt my favorite dish, with the meat literally shredding itself and collapsing the mere touch of the fork! The beef was so tender with a savory and elegant purple yam puree and ginger cherry demi-glaze. Chef Sanz had teased the beef cheeks earlier in the night, and she wasn't kidding; this dish had everything! From a colorful (Chef Sanz's specialty) visual aesthetic to absolutely hearty beef portions with sweet and cherry aftertones, this is one top-notch meal!
Late Lunch & Learn Series
The Sanctuary Resort's upcoming Late Lunch & Learn series will be held Saturday evenings in July and August. Chef Sans and Röllich are crafting some fun components to accompany live music, a reception, a three-course dinner, and chef demos. After getting to know Chef Sans and Röllich, I know these interactive events are going to be fun and lively! Check out the event descriptions below, which will feature various cuisines and cocktail concoctions!
- July 10: Meet Me in Mexico—an evening of Mexican cuisine paired with tequila cocktails
- July 31: Fire in the French Quarter—celebrating New Orleans’ rich culinary traditions through innovative food and craft cocktails
- August 14: Whiskey Made Me Do It—a whiskey dinner with paired cocktails and tastings of rare and exclusive whiskeys
- August 28: Fiesta de Sangria—traditional Spanish cuisine served with Spanish wines and Röllich’s signature sangria
The Late Lunch & Learn events will begin with a 6 p.m. reception, followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Reservations are required by calling 855-245-2051 and guests are encouraged to reserve early as space is limited. Each event is priced at $165 per person. For more information on the upcoming series, click here.