Cheese Tuesday at L'Espalier - Matchmaker, Matchmaker

I adore Cheese Tuesday at L'Espalier. It's almost always the best meal I eat every month, and it's such a nice treat to break up the work week. I started off with a Prado After Dark: green Chartreuse, El Maestro Sierra Pedro Ximenez sherry, Aperol, lemon, and orange bitters. The pretzel bread and rolls came out next.

The first course began with Lini "910" Rosé, made with Lambrusco grapes in Emilia-Romagna. It was served with New York State foie gras "Royale" with passion fruit, smoked cacao, cashew butter, and herb brioche. This was an amazing mix of savory and sweet, one I would definitely love to have again.

The second course paired 2012 Il Poggione, Rosso di Montalcino from Tuscany with Apple Street Farm coddled egg with Périgord truffle, broccoli, ham consommé, and Taleggio mousseline. I love broccoli, and this was basically like breakfast for dinner, fabulous.

Every course got better than the one that preceded it, which brings me to the fabulous third course: chicory glazed venison with braised pork jowl, celery root purée, Swiss chard, and cranberry. This amazing dish was served with 2009 Paolo Leo, Riserva from Salice Salentino. 

And on to the cheese course! The theme this month was Matchmaker, Matchmaker, and Louis Risoli, L'Espalier's brilliant fromager, paired each cheese with an interesting matched condiment. Lauren Dadonna, the resident Wine Gal, paired these tasty cheeses with one of my favorite wines, Vouvray, specifically the 1999 Foreau, Moelleux.

Valençay was the first cheese, paired with Vermont Maple syrup. It's one of my favorites, a goat's milk cheese from the Loire Valley. Sansueña, a sheep's milk cheese from Spain was up next, served with one of my favorite Spanish condiments: membrillo, an awesome quince fruit paste.

Rocchetta was up next, a mixed milk cheese from Piemonte. Rocchetta combines cow, goat, and sheep's milk to make a very tasty, creamy cheese that was paired with an olive oil torta. Winnimere, a cow's milk cheese from Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont, followed, served with Louis' homemade pear mostarda.

The final three cheeses were some of my favorites, though to be fair, I have a lot of favorites. Comté, aged 15 months, was paired with dried apple chips. Comté is a cow's milk cheese from Franche Comté. Five year aged Gouda was up next. Gouda is a cow's milk cheese from Holland, and it was served with candied ginger. I've been on an aged Gouda kick lately, so it was wonderful to see it on the cheese plate. Finishing out the night was Bayley Hazen Blue, a cow's milk cheese from Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont. It was served with dark chocolate, always a good pair for blue cheese!


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