L'espalier - Cheese Tuesday "An Italian Holiday"

It's been a busy month, but I've done a few fun food events this week, so prepare for two new posts! First, in this post, I'll cover Cheese Tuesday at L'espalier, my favorite restaurant. I was originally planning to attend with my good friend, Mel, but things came up, and I wound up sitting at a table with five other people: a MIT grad student, a couple celebrating the husband's birthday, and Louis "Cheese Guy" Risoli's cousin, Dorina Rossi O'Connell, and her friend. Dorina was featured in the Boston Globe recently, for her family's traditional anolini: Boston Globe

I arrived early enough to enjoy a pot of L'espalier's own Afternoon Blend tea. This tea is definitely my favorite!

Louis Risoli, the brilliant fromager, came out to describe the courses we had ahead. While he explained, the bread was served. The rosemary focaccia is my favorite, but the roll was delicious as well.

The first course was a Trevisiano salad with Prosciutto di Parma and G. Cravero Parmesan and anchovy-date vinaigrette. This was paired with a great wine, the 2011 Villa di Corlo, "Primevo", Lambrusco di Sorbara, Emilia-Romagna. 

The second course, Unvain, paired a 2010 Denavolo, "Dinavolino", Vino Blanco, Emilia-Romagna, with the anolini mentioned above. As you can see, the course was served first, then the broth was ladled on top, and the dish was finished by sprinkling on cheese. It was great to be at the table with Dorina when her family's dish was served, as she was able to give everyone at the table some great background information. 

The third course was a roasted Lovejoy Farm's leg of veal with fruit mostarda. Wicked tasty, and it was paired with a 2006 San Patrignano, "Avi", Superiore Riserva, Sangiovese di Romagna. Great pairing!

The fourth course was the amazing L'espalier cheese sampler, which I will describe in more detail below, paired with a 2003 Felsina, Vin Santo, Chianti Classico, a sweet dessert wine. 

The first two cheeses were deliciously creamy; the first was Robiola di Capra in Folio di Castagna, a goat cheese from Piemonte, and the second was Pagliette Piemontese, a cow's milk cheese from Piemonte.

A pair of sheep's milk Pecorinos from Toscano came next: Pecorino Vinacce, above, and Pecorino Tartufo, below.

Piacentinu Ennesse, a sheep's milk cheese from Sicilia, was next, followed by Taleggio Dop, a cow's milk cheese from Lombardia. Both very good.

Toma Valle Elvo, a cow's milk cheese from Piemonte, was pretty good, but I enjoyed the small square of Salva Cremasco, Dop, a cow's milk cheese from Lombardia, a bit better.

The last two cheeses were Parmagiano Reggiano, a cow's milk cheese from Emilia-Romagna, and Blu Vin Santo, a cow's milk cheese from Piemonte, which was made using the same wine we were drinking, so it was definitely an appropriate pairing! The Parmagiano Reggiano had a delicious nutty taste, while the Blu Vin Santo was intense and yummy. 

I had thought the cheese course was my final course, but the amazing staff at L'espalier had other things in mind, and I was given Jiho's chocolate banana macadamia bread pudding with creme anglaise and milk chocolate sorbet! It was a beautiful dessert before I cracked it open, and a tasty dessert after! And of course, L'espalier never lets you walk away empty-handed: they're now including delicious marshmallows as the take-home gift. 


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