L'Espalier's Cheese Tuesday - Great Farmstead Cheese from Massachusetts
I spent last night having a fabulous dinner with a few friends who are also regulars of Cheese Tuesday at L'Espalier. Because the American Cheese Society is having their Annual Conference and Competition in Providence this week, the theme of the night was A special American Cheese Society Conference edition of Cheese Tuesday featuring Great Farmstead Cheese from Massachusetts.
The first course paired a rosé, 2014 Valenti Poesia from Etna, with Mozzarella House burrata with cherry tomatoes, pink peppercorn cracker, and green tomato-cedar water. Perfectly light and summery.
While I was working on the first course, the bread and butter came around. I always love the presentation of the butter. The second course served butter poached East Coast halibut with Summer squash, Maine lobster, and Maître Gaspard. At first I wasn't into the wine, 2011 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Blanc from the Beeswax Vineyard in Arroyo Seco, but after having it with the fish, it was perfect.
One of the most interesting facts shared last night was that Drew Bledsoe has a family wine label, and that the bottles are larger than average and square shaped. For the third course, we had 2012 Bledsoe Family Wine from Walla Walla Valley and lemon pepper chicken with Valley View Farm feta, and Sparrow Arc Farm potato and carrots. At this point, I also decided to order an Off Broadway, a very tasty drink I've had a few times before.
A sparkling rosé, 2006 Westport Rivers, Blancs de Noirs, Brut, made here in Massachusetts, was a wonderful companion to the all-Massachusetts cheese plate.
Because these are all Massachusetts cheeses, I've been able to try most of them previously, and they're nearly all excellent. We began with Ruggles Hill's goat milk cheese, Alys's Eclipse, made in Hardwick, and then moved on to a cheese that was new to me: Valley View Farm's New Meadow, a goat's milk cheese made in Topsfield. Finishing out the first group of cheeses was the adorable Hannabell, a thimble of cow's milk cheese made at Shy Brother's Farm in Westport.
Another Valley View Farm goat's milk cheese began the second group of cheeses. Pingree Hill was a wonderful nutty aged cheese. Then it was time for two more cheeses I already knew and loved: Tobasi, a cow's milk cheese from Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown, and A Barn Dance, a cow's milk cheese from Robinson Family Farm in Hardwick.
Though I'm pretty sure I've enjoyed other cheeses from Westfield Farm in Hubbardston, their goat cheese roll with the blueing on the outside, Classic Blue, is not one of my favorites. But no worries, the other blue cheeses were fabulous: Great Hill Blue, a cow's milk cheese from Marion, and Berkshire Blue, a cow's milk cheese from Great Barrington.
To finish off the evening, I had a Hemingway Daiquiri and peach caramel financier with amaretto ice cream, and then we all sang a parody of Lady Gaga's Pokerface, "Nacho Chips". :)