Cheese Tuesday at L'Espalier - Home for the Holidays
Every December, Cheese Tuesday becomes a bit more of a home cooked meal. The chef gets to prepare dishes that reflect his family and the families of the other awesome staff members at the restaurant, and it's always a great time.
I sat down at the gorgeously set up table and ordered the Holiday Eggnog, my first eggnog of the season. It was wonderfully creamy, and shortly after it came out, the pretzel bread and rolls were served.
The first course was a take on the feast of the seven fishes, a traditional Italian Christmas dish. It included "Fritto Misto" Nantucket Bay scallops, Point Judith Squid, and Casco Bay lemon sole with a remoulade. This went perfectly with the bubbly NV Lini, a Lambrusco Rosso from Emilia-Romagna.
Up next was a dish that was deceptively amazing: Sparrow Arc Farm potato gnocchi with tomato sauce and L'Pippinannie cheese served with 2012 Iby "Classic", a Blaufränkisch from Burgenland. I say deceptively amazing because when the dish arrived, it didn't look that substantial, but I was chatting with the couple seated next to me and we agreed that the addition of the L'Pippinannie cheese made the dish go from good to great.
My favorite course of the night was the Lovejoy Brook Farm lamb pie with truffled potato and chèvre. It was served with 2009 Cantine Paolo Leo, Riserva from Salice Salentino, a wine that smells like it will be very heavy, but in reality is not so heavy and is quite enjoyable to drink. It went amazingly well with the lamb, and this is one dish that I wish were on the regular menu!
On to the Holiday Cheese selection, which was served with the only non-red wine of the night, 2013 UWC Samos, a Muscat Vin Doux from Samos Island.
Lakes Edge, a goat's milk cheese from Blue Ledge Farm in Salisbury, Vermont, was up first, followed by the tasty little Hannahbell, a cow's milk cheese from Shy Brothers' Farm in Westport, Massachusetts.
Harbison, a cow's milk cheese by the ever-awesome Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, Vermont, was up next. Monte Gonare, a sheep's milk cheese from Sardinia, Italy, followed the Harbison.
The Taleggio that was up next may have been the most perfect piece of Taleggio that I've ever tried. It's a cow's milk cheese from Lombardia, Italy, and it was absolutely perfectly aged last night. Perlagrigia, a cow's milk and truffle cheese from Treviso, Italy, followed, but it was hard to shine after the Taleggio.
The excellent Tarentaise, a cow's milk cheese from Thistle Hill Farm in North Pomfret, Vermont, was next, followed by our final cheese, Bay Blue, a cow's milk cheese from Point Reyes, California. It was a great evening filled with great food. 😀