Cheese Tuesday - Cheese and Champagne
Cheese Tuesday at L'Espalier is always a special treat, maybe even more so when the theme is Cheese and Champagne.
I started off with a pot of the Anniversary blend tea, which I keep calling the Afternoon blend. The name changed over a year ago, to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the restaurant. It's basically the best tea ever, blended by the brilliant Cynthia Gold. Along with the tea, pretzel bread and rolls were served.
The first champagne of the night was NV Laherte Frères "Ultradition", a Brut Rosé from Champagne, France. It was served with my favorite dish of the night, Alaskan King salmon gravlax with carrot gelée, baby lettuces, ash and ginger-lime sorbet.
Up next was NV Roederer Estate, a Brut from Anderson Valley. It was paired with a slow-poached Nova Scotia halibut with Apple Street Farm fennel and Madras curry-grapefruit beurre blanc.
The third course started off with the excellent 2012 Villa di Corlo "Primevo", a Lambrusco di Sorbara from Emilia-Romagna. It went very well with the Maine beef grilled rib eye and braised tongue, West Coast morels, burnt eggplant purée, and green tomato. Morels are so tasty!
And finally, on to the cheese course; it was served with NV Henriot, a Brut Souverain from Champagne.
The first two cheeses were both made with goat's milk. Lake's Edge was first, from Blue Ledge Farm in Salisbury, Vermont, followed by Midnight Moon from Cypress Grove Dairy, which has farms and affinage rooms in both California and Holland.
It was hard to beat those first two cheeses in terms of flavor, but the next three tried. Rocchetta was first, a cow, goat, and sheep's milk cheese from Alta Langa, Italy. It was followed by Harbison, a cow's milk cheese from the ever-excellent Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, Vermont. Finishing off the night was Maxx Extra, a cow's milk cheese from Canton Thurgau, Switzerland. After a night of inspired cheese selections by Louis Risoli and fantastic wine choices by Lauren Collins, it was time to get up with Kevin and Luke and sing "I'm a Cheese Eater (but I'm No Monkee)". A fun ending to a wonderful evening.