Cheese Tuesday at L'Espalier - Old World/New World
Cheese Tuesday this month started off right, with L'Espalier Anniversary Blend tea and pretzel bread and rolls.
The first course started with 2007 Cristia, Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, paired with foie gras royale, charred plum, truffle, shimejis, and "dirt" duck consommé. This was a gorgeous dish, and the flavors blended together very well.
2012 Tablas Creek Blanc "Paletin", Paso Robles, began the second course, and it was quickly paired with Atlantic salmon, spring vegetables, sorrel, and chamomile buerre blanc. I love salmon, and the cauliflower was perfect.
The third course paired 2010 Domaine des Hautes Cances from Côtes du Rhône with beef sirloin, puffed egg, and fonduta. This course was everything you would want a heavier course to be, and the sirloin was cooked just right.
The cheese course this month paired similar cheeses from the Old and New Worlds, displaying several great New England artisan cheese makers and the European cheeses that inspired them. To complement these cheeses, 2010 Newsome Harlow Zinfandel from Calaveras County was served.
The first two cheeses were both aged goat milk cheeses. Ossau-Iraty from Pays Basque, France, was on the left, and Verano from Vermont Shepherd in Putney, Vermont, was on the right. Verano wound up being my favorite in the first pairing. The second pair of cheeses included Taleggio, a cow's milk cheese from Lombardy, Italy, and Tobasi, a cow's milk cheese by Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Again, I favored the New World version of the cheese!
The third set of cheeses were both raclette cheeses. The one on the left was my favorite, Raclette de Savoie, a cow's milk cheese from Savoie, France. The one on the right was the local version, Reading Raclette, a cow's milk cheese from Spring Brook Farm in Reading, Vermont. The Reading Raclette was made on October 19, 2013, so it was aged five months.
The fourth round was the cheddar round; Keene's Cheddar, a cow's milk cheese from Somerset, England, was on the left, and Vermont Clothbound Cheddar, a cow's milk cheese from Brattleboro, Vermont was on the right. The English cheddar had been aged for 16 months, while the local cheddar had been aged for nearly eight months in Grafton caves. The Vermont Clothbound Cheddar won my vote this round, which was not surprising, as it has won Queen of Quality previously. The final round had delicious blue cheeses: Gorgonzola DOP piccante, a cow's milk cheese from Piedmont, Italy, and West West Blue, a cow's milk cheese from Parish Hill Creamery in Putney, Vermont. This round had to go to the Gorgonzola, and I wound up splitting nearly evenly in my enjoyment of cheeses from the New and Old Worlds.