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2011 Big Smoke Saturday Seminars: Lunch

Andrew Nagy
Posted: November 2, 2011

Big Smoke attendees, fresh off a complete morning of educational cigar seminars, soon discovered that the Lunch with Rocky Patel segment of the weekend would not only afford them a chance to refuel their bodies, but to tack on to their cigar bounties, as well.

For the third straight year, Cigar Aficionado opted to have a cigarmaker take over the luncheon portion of the event. As the Big Smoke crowd filtered into the dining hall, they were greeted by members of the host cigar company, Rocky Patel Premium Cigars, including newcomers Nish Patel, Rocky’s brother, and Nimish Desai, Rocky’s cousin.

Nish and Nimish, who were soon joined by Rocky, greeted each event-goer that walked through the door and handed them what appeared to be a book. The faux leather-bound gift was no novel, though, but an elegantly designed sampler pack of cigars. A see-through window on the cover, which opened like a book and closed via a hidden magnet, revealed the four cigars nestled inside.

Included in the package was one reigning Top 25 cigar and three cigars, all Toro sizes, that debuted at this summer’s cigar trade show.

Inside was a Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary, our No. 19 cigar of 2010—the nutty smoke is rolled with a triple-seam cap and sports an Ecuadoran wrapper that covers an all-Nicaraguan inside.

Next to that was the new Rocky Patel Fifty, a limited-edition smoke, a Xen, which is blended by Nish, as well as Thunder, Nimish’s cigar.

Rocky Patel speaking in front of the Big Smoke audience.
Rocky Patel spoke about tobacco and cigar rights when he addressed the diners.
As guests took their seats they were served a glass of red wine, a Rodney Strong Symmetry Meritage Alexander Valley 2008. The appetizer for the luncheon was a baby iceburg lettuce salad topped by hickory-smoked bacon lardons, crumbled aged California bleu cheese, pickled red onion and a buttermilk ranch dressing.

Cigar Aficionado executive editor Gordon Mott stepped to the podium to introduce the luncheon’s host. Mott spoke about Patel’s quick growth in the industry, which he said was a result of Patel’s commitment to hard work. He also joked about Patel’s affinity for the nightlife.

“He’s a man who works hard and plays hard,” said Mott. “He’s a man who understands what the good life is all about.”

And with those words, Rocky took his cue to take the podium. As he spoke, the entrée was served. The main course was an Angus filet dusted with porcini mushroom powder and completely wrapped in thick-cut smokehouse bacon. The succulent cut came with horseradish mashed potato on the side, seasonal vegetables and a foie gras laced truffled demi-glace.

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