Cheers To The Animal House

At The Wine Rack

with Christopher Reckord

Thursday, July 20, 2017

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There is tremendous need out there; many of us do try our best to help where we can. There are many people who can't help themselves; then there are the animals: the stray, injured, abandoned and feral animals — who helps them? On our north coast the Animal House, a non-profit, non-government organisation run by Maureen Sheridan and her daughter Tasha Wagener, has taken on this task. It was started because no one was doing anything for the animals in this part of Jamaica. Sheridan and her daughter have operated a shelter in Lydford, St Ann for a couple of decades now. Couples Tower Isle, one of Jamaica's leading all-inclusive resorts, adopted the Animal House as one of its charities several years ago.


The annual Animal House online charity auction

As part of its support, Couples Tower Isle hosts an annual online auction offering the winner a very special dinner, which includes accommodation at the resort. Last week Couples Resorts' multi-award-winning Corporate Executive Chef Stefan Spath and his team from Couples Tower Isle prepared a delectable five-course dinner at Tumbleweed, his beautifully appointed residence in the cool hills above Ocho Rios, for repeat hotel guests and the perennial auction winners Jim & Darcy Fangman from Missouri. One hundred per cent of these proceeds go to the Animal House.

Chef Spath delivers

On arrival, the intimate group enjoyed a Tropical Sparkling Cocktail, Grilled Jerk Sausages, Smoked Marlin with Pesto Aioli Dip and Sweet Potato Chips with Lemony Red Peas Hummus. Dinner under the stars in the garden began with a fresh Chilled Caribbean Lobster Salad with 'Golden Dutchy' Spicy Mustard Greens. The second course was an amazingly flavourful Curried Pumpkin & Apple Bisque. The Otaheite Apple Sorbet with Cardamom and Honey got our palates ready for the main course of Charcoal Grilled Beef Tenderloin & Garlic Shrimp Skewers served with Herb Chimichurri, Pimento Jerk Jus, Blistered Cherry Tomatoes, Asparagus & Couscous Salad. The beef was so tender, one just merely rested the knife against the meat to slice it. Guests were then ushered into the dining room to a well-laid-out dessert table. These included Macarons, Rum Chocolate Pot de Crème, Mango Basil Cheesecake Passion Fruit Cheescake and delectable Chocolate truffle balls.

New Zealand Wine choices

A range of wines was on offer to accompany the dinner. I chose to stick with the two wines from New Zealand. My white wine choice was the 2016 Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc, which is a powerful, aromatic, refreshing and zingy Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. With the steak I paired the intense 2015 Mud House Pinot Noir from Central Otago. Central Otago is the central part of New Zealand's south island, which has become known for superb Pinot Noir.

It's fascinating to meet and hear the stories of folks who have chosen to make Jamaica their permanent vacation destination. One couple I met has been visiting annually for over 40 years and, more importantly, selecting local charities for their primary philanthropy endeavours. We are a blessed nation in so many ways.


Christopher Reckord - Information Technology Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram @chrisreckord and on Twitter: @Reckord




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