Thursday, August 25, 2016

Shuckin' Truck at the Boston Local Food Festival

The 2016 Boston Local Food Festival is coming up soon! The festival is scheduled for September 18th from 11 am to 5 pm on the Greenway. 

New to the festival this year is the Shuckin' Truck, bringing fresh seafood and a raw bar to the event. The Shuckin' Truck is known for being a family business, supplying their fish from the Roebuck family fishing vessels and their oysters from another family business, Salt Pond Oysters. The oysters are sustainably grown and harvested year round in Point Judith, Rhode Island. 

 While the oysters are available year round, the rest of the menu changes based on what fish are seasonably available. Throughout the year, they offer dishes such as a sea scallop roll, mango lobster tacos, and the family's traditional lobster rolls. 

I'm pretty excited to try out the seafood at the Shuckin' Truck while I'm at the Festival this year!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Cheese Tuesday at L'Espalier - Italian Vacation

Last night I had a wonderful dinner at L'Espalier with some good friends. The theme of the night was Italian Vacation, so all of the wines were from Italy and the courses were Italian dishes. 

Our first course was confit Cape Ann tuna with fresh bean salad, aioli, and crispy shallots. It was paired with 2015 Valenti "Poesia", a rosé from Etna. I thought the dish tasted like a tuna fish sandwich!

Fruits de mer with tagliatelle and heirloom tomato broth was up next, paired with 2013 I Pentri "Flora" from Falanghina Beneventano. It was a great pairing, bringing out the best of both the soup and the wine. 

Our third course was roasted Giannone Farms chicken with eggplant risotto and onion jus, paired with 2013 Pelissero, a Nebbiolo from Langhe. I thought at first that the wine might overpower the chicken, but the heaviness of the eggplant risotto was able to completely stand up to the Nebbiolo. 

The Grand Fromage cheese plate finished up the evening. I was feeling fairly stuffed at this point, but I can't say no to cheese on Cheese Tuesday, so of course I tried everything! Along with the cheese plate was our final wine for the evening, 2014 Maschio dei Cavalieri, a Prosecco Superiore from Valdobbiadene. 

We continued the Italian Vacation theme through the cheese plate, beginning with Pecorino di Pienza Fresco, a sheep's milk cheese from Fratelli Putzulu in Monefollonico, Tuscany. This was good, but I greatly preferred the Robiola 3 latti, a cheese made of a mix of cow, goat, and sheep's milk by Luigi Guffanti in Piedmont. Louis Risoli, the ever-brilliant Fromager, served fresh berries with the Robiola, and it was everything I could have wanted in a cheese plate. 

Bufaletto, a cheese made of a mix of cow and water buffalo milks, from Defendi in Lombardy was up next, followed by Camembert dell'Alta Langa. This was my second favorite cheese of the night, and it was another mix of three milks: cow, sheep, and goat; mixed to perfection by Luigi Guffanti in Piedmont. Then it was on to Caprotto, from Casa Madaia on the Amalfi Coast of Campania.

We finished the night with a few flavor-added cheeses. Moliterno al tartufo, a sheep's milk cheese made with truffle in Sardinia, was up first, and Erbornato Sancarlone Caffe, a cow's milk cheese with coffee from Luigi Guffanti in Piedmont, finished off the plate. Then we sang the "Italian Cheese Song" to the tune of "Supercallafragilisticexpialladoceous".

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Cheese Tuesday at L'Espalier - Boston Cheese Party

Last night I got to introduce another giant cheese nerd to Cheese Tuesday, which was so fabulous. 

We began with a warm farm vegetable salad with house made chorizo, pork jowl, and a green garlic-tomato broth. It paired well with the wine, 2015 Patricia Green Cellars Sauvignon Blanc from Willamette Valley, Oregon. To me, the wine tasted very much like green apples, adding another fruity layer to the salad.

East Coast halibut with native sweet corn and lime was up next, paired with 2014 Kumeau Village Chardonnay from Auckland, New Zealand. The picture does not do this dish justice; it was so good- sweet, yet balanced. 

As we moved on to the third course I was excited, as it was the dish that stood out to me from the beginning of dinner, when I checked the menu: beef tenderloin with Sparrow Arc farm new potatoes, Colston Bassett Stilton, smoked egg yolk, and chanterelles. So ridiculously good, and the wine, 2008 Les Chênes de Bouscaut from Pessac-Leognan, France, was definitely able to stand up to the food. 

And then we were on to the cheese plate, paired with Offlet Ruby Port from Douro, Portugal. The theme this month was Boston Cheese Party. Louis Risoli picked six cheeses to serve, three from America and three from England. Our job was to figure out which was which and to decide which cheese we preferred, definitely a game made for our table of cheese nerds. 

The first round pit Landaff against Caerphilly. Landaff Creamery in Landaff, New Hampshire produces Landaff cheese, which I've had and enjoyed many times, and Duckett Farm in Somerset, England produces Caerphilly, which I have never had before. Probably based on my history of enjoying the cheese, I was able to pick it out easily; Landaff was also my favorite of the two cheeses.

The second round was Cabot Clothbound Cheddar versus Keens Cheddar. Cabot Creamery and Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont work together to create Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, the cheese that was my introduction to seriously good cheeses. Keens Cheddar is produced by the Moorhayes Farm in Wincanton, England, and has a noticeable spiciness to the cheese. Again, because of my experience with the American cheese, I could pick it out easily, and it again wound up being the cheese I preferred. 

Bayley Hazen Blue from Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, Vermont was up next, against Stilton made at Colston Bassett Dairy in Nottingham, England. This was another great round, as Bayley Hazen is a go-to when thinking of blue cheeses to enjoy, so I picked it out based on looks alone. 

After enjoying all of that cheese, we sang a British (God Save Our Cheese) and an American (Cheese Anthem) cheese song. I was pretty full at this point, but one of my friends ordered dessert and was kind enough to allow me to enjoy a few bites of his Buttermilk Pie: buttermilk custard topped with lemon-thyme peaches, "honeycomb" marshmallow, burnt honey and sweet tea sorbet. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Cheese Tuesday at L'Espalier - Herb Your Enthusiasm!

Last night at Cheese Tuesday we sampled all sorts of delicious infused cheeses. Some were infused with truffle, some were infused with lavender, and some were even smoked over hazelnut shells!

We began with a stone fruits salad with celery, hazelnuts, and Nettle Meadow Farm fresh cheese crostini. The cheese had been blended from three different Nettle Meadow Farms infused cheeses, so it was a mix of apple cider, honey and fig, and truffle, all topped with plum. To pair with this amazing mix was my favorite wine of the evening, 2012 G. Metz Klevener de Heiligenstein from Alsace. I also ordered a pot of the Anniversary Blend tea because it is the best tea blend I've ever had.

Roasted striped bass with Sienna Farms broccoli, mussels, and smoked tomato jus paired with 2014 Kumeu River Chardonnay from Auckland comprised the second course. The dish was tasty, particularly the broccoli, and the wine completely changed the dish, which was really fascinating.

Our third course was the amazing Long Island duck breast with spring beet risotto and West Coast foraged mushrooms, paired with 2011 Castello di Bossi "Berardo" Riserva, a Chianti Classico. This was my second favorite course of the night, because that stone fruit salad could not be beat!

On to the cheese course! Paired with 2014 Cecile LeBrun "En Mirebeau", a Rosé of Cabernet from Anjou, the cheese plate was all about added flavors.

First up was Fleur Verte, a goat's milk cheese covered in herbs from Perigord, France. The herbs were very potent, and went well with the fresh goat cheese. Next we had Ubriacosecco, a cow's milk cheese with added grape must, from Veneto, Italy.

Barely Buzzed was up next, a cow's milk cheese with added espresso and lavender from Beehive Creamery in Utah. Then we moved on to Moliterno al tartufo, a sheep's milk cheese mixed with black truffles, made in Sardinia, Italy.

Petit Gres du Maquis, a cow's milk cheese covered in herbs from Alsace, France, was up next. The cheese was amazing and the herbs were fairly powerful. We finished with the very savory Smoky Blue, a cow's milk cheese smoked over hazelnut shells. It's made at Rogue Creamery in Oregon, and this cheese was a great way to close out the evening! Can't wait for next month!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

L'Espalier's Cheese Tuesday - Spring Brook Farm

Last night I had a fabulous dinner at L'Espalier; it was their monthly Cheese Tuesday dinner, and this month, the theme was Award Winning cheese from Spring Brook Farm. 

The first course arrived quickly, looking perfectly like springtime: a salad of spring lettuces with beets and strawberry, sorrel ice cream, goat cheese, and Balsam fir. It was paired with 2014 Pazo Señorans from Albariño, which went very well with the goat cheese. 

After a bit, the bread arrived, and I ordered a tasty Southern Earl Grey, a mix of Earl Grey infused bourbon, Grand Marnier, green tea and ginger syrup, orange bitters, and champagne. 

The second course was ridiculously good: King Salmon with a lobster-uni emulsion, charred sweet potato, and ramps, paired with 2013 Dutton-Goldfield Chardonnay from Dutton Ranch. The sweet potatoes were so delicious that I wish I had somehow had leftovers to enjoy again tonight!

Roasted prime beef sirloin, fingerling potatoes, foraged mushrooms, and anchovy purée created the third course, titled "another soupe a l'oignon". This was paired well with 2011 Tolaini 'Valdisanti' from Toscana. 

And then we were on to the cheese plate! Paired with 2014 Domaine Barou 'Cuvée des Vernes' Syrah, all of the cheeses were from Spring Brook Farm. 

The owners of Spring Brook Farm came to L'Espalier to teach us all a bit about how they came to make such wonderful cheese. While they did so, we were all able to sample several of their award winning cheeses. First, we tried Reading, and then it was on to Ashbrook. 

After those two tasty cheeses, we were headed into Tarentaise territory, first with the original, and then with the aged version, Tarentaise Reserve. I definitely preferred the aged version of the cheese, but both were very good. Finally, it was time for the performance, a wonderful Prince tribute titled 'Stinky Cheese'. Cheese Tuesday is always a fun, fabulous night!