Cheese Tuesday at L'Espalier - Down on the Farm: Favorite Family Farm Cheesemakers
Last night was another awesome Cheese Tuesday, and between all the good food, drink, and song, it wound up being one of the better ones I've been to!
I started off the night with the amazing Green Tea Gimlet, made of Beefeater 24 gin that has been infused with lemongrass and green tea, lime, and basil simple syrup. This is one of my favorite cocktails that L'Espalier has created. After sipping my cocktail briefly, it was time for the first course: Columbia River house smoked King salmon with Apple Street Farm little greens, horseradish mayo, and lye wheat crackers. This was paired with a wonderfully fizzy 2013 Manaresi "Pignoletto Frizzante" from Colli Bolognesi.
Next came the tasty pretzel bread and rolls, followed by the second course. 2012 Tablas Creek "Patelin de Tablas", from Paso Robles, paired with Bushway's Marblehead striped bass with slow cooked pork jowl, English peas, leek, and walnut whey. The whey poured on top had actually had a walnut paste infused into it- so cool.
On to the giant red wine glass and the third course! I was told that the red wine glass above can fit an entire bottle of wine - something I'd like to see. It was partially filled with 2010 Santenay "Le Foulot", from Prieur-Brunet, which was so perfect with the roasted chicken. The chicken was from Apple Street Farm, and was served with Australian winter truffle, French summer truffle, "creamed" corn, and tomatillo relish. I could eat this dish every night for a week and still love it.
2010 Argyle, a Vintage Brut from the Willamette Valley in Oregon, was paired with the cheese plate. The theme for the cheese plate this month was Down on the Farm: Our Favorite Family Farm Cheesemakers, and the cheeses featured this month were all made in a similar way: a family owned farm raises animals (cows, goats, sheep), milks those animals, creates the cheese, and ages the cheese, all on their own farm.
We began with Lake's Edge, a goat's milk cheese from Blue Ledge Farm in Salisbury, Vermont. The lines in the cheese are made from ash used to create and age the cheese. The little thimble of cheese is Hannahbell, a cow's milk cheese from Shy Brothers' Farm in Westport, Massachusetts. It was a tasty, little bite. Verano, a sheep's milk cheese from Vermont Shepherd in Westminster West, Vermont, finished out the first set of cheeses.
The second set of cheeses were all cheeses I've had before (and enjoyed). First was the wonderfully runny Summer Snow, a sheep's milk cheese from Woodcock Farm in Weston, Vermont. That was followed by the excellent A Barndance, a cow's milk cheese from Robinson Farm in Hardwick, Massachusetts; A Barndance is based off the French cheese style Abundance. Finishing up this set was Tarentaise, a cow's milk cheese made at Thistle Hill Farm in North Pomfret, Vermont. I've only had Tarentaise made at Spring Brook Farms, so to have it from the far less available Thistle Hill Farm was pretty neat.
I've tried Dorset before; it's a very good cow's milk cheese made by Consider Bardwell Farm in West Pawlett, Vermont. The next cheese was brand new to me, though: Amaribella, a cow's milk cheese from Jacobs and Brichford Farmstead Cheese in Connersville, Indiana. It was wonderfully runny, with a earthy, washed-rind flavor to the cheese. The night finished up with the ever-excellent Bayley Hazen Blue, a cow's milk cheese from Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, Vermont.