Cheese Tuesday at L'Espalier - Cheese + Honey = Yummy
Cheese Tuesday is always one of the best meals I eat every month, and this past Tuesday night was just as excellent as I expected it to be.
The first course was good to the last drop: a pumpkin bouillabaisse with Maine mussels and lobster, Autumn brassica and rouille. This amazing soup was paired with my favorite wine of the night, 2013 Abbazia di Novacella, a Kerner grape wine from Alto Adige, Italy. I also can't forget to mention how delicious the rolls and pretzel bread are at L'Espalier.
East Coast bluefin tuna with braised Berkshire pork jowl, little clams and roasted Fairytale eggplant was up next, served with 2011 Valenti "Puritani", from Sicily.
The third course was the most perfectly cooked Coq au Vin. I've only attempted that recipe once at home, but needless to say, it wasn't nearly as good as this. The chicken was raised at the chef's farm, Apple Street Farm, and was served with butternut squash, lardons, and Parisian gnocchi. The wine, 2012 Mas de la Dame, La Gourmande, from Provence, paired perfectly with the chicken.
The theme of the night was Cheese + Honey = Yummy, so all of the cheeses were matched with honey from around the world. I finally got the sparkling wine I had been hoping for all night: NV Paul Chollet, Oeil de Perdrix, Cremant de Bourgogne.
L'Pippinannie was the first cheese. It's a cow's milk cheese from Fiore de Nonno in Somerville. The wonderfully light honey paired with it was made at the chef's farm; it was Apple Street Farm herb honey, made in Essex, MA.
Up next was one of my favorite cheeses, Valençay, a goat's milk cheese from Poitou, France. It was paired with spring blossom honey from London BuzzApiary in Hampstead, NH.
Melinda Mae, a cow's milk cheese from Mystic Cheese, was up next. This cheese is made in Mystic, Connecticut, and went really well with the thick texture of the eucalyptus honey from Mariangela Prunotto in Alba, Italy.
On to the only sheep's milk cheese of the night: Pecorino Ginepro, so named because of the juniper used to create this cheese in Emilia Romana, Italy. It was paired with tasty trefoil honey from Anarchy Apiaries in New York.
It doesn't get much better than Comté, aged for 14 months. Comté is one of the most well-known cow's milk cheeses from France. This one was produced by Marcel Petit in Franche-Comté, France, and was served with jungle honey from Oaxaca, Mexico.
Reading Raclette is a cow's milk cheese from Spring Brook Farm in Reading, Vt, and it's particularly known for being an excellent cheese for melting. Here it was served with clover blossom honey from Anarchy Apiaries in New York.
And to finish up the night, the excellent Bayley Hazen Blue. I first had this cheese at a really fun Cuisine en Locale event, and I've even been fortunate enough to meet at least one of the awesome cheese makers that makes this cheese, but trust me- it's totally worth seeking out, even if you're not into blue cheese. It's a ridiculously good cow's milk cheese produced on Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont. It was paired perfectly with Zambezi organic forest honey from Zambia.