L'Espalier's Cheese Tuesday - A Celebration of American Cheese Monthand Oldways
October is American Cheese Month, but no, it's not celebrating something like 64 slices of American cheese. It's about all the cheeses that are created in America, and there are so many excellent ones to choose from!
I began with a classic cocktail, the French 75, made with gin, lemon, simple syrup, and Champagne. Shortly after I received my cocktail, the sourdough bread came out, along with whipped butter. The bread is great, but I really miss the pretzel bread they used to have.
The first course paired 2013 Pfeffingen Scheurebe from Pfalz with roasted kabocha squash with Vermont Creamery Bijou, raw Autumn vegetables, and chicory. I love every cheese I've ever had from Vermont Creamery, so this was great.
The second course was one of the better dishes I've had in quite a while: smoked tomato risotto with Maine lobster and Meadowood Farms' Lorenzo. This delicious dish was paired with 2014 Planeta "Cometa" Flano from Sicily.
Pineland Farms sirloin with West Coast foraged mushrooms, pommes purée, caramelized onion chip, and fermented mushroom powder was up next, paired with 2012 Hendry "Block 28" Zinfandel from Napa. This was almost as good as the tomato risotto!
On to the Grand Fromage! This celebration of American cheeses was paired with 2003 Warre's Late Bottled Vintage Port.
Nettle Meadow Farm's Nettle Peak was up first. It's a goat's milk cheese from Warrensburg, New York. It was aged a bit, and I enjoyed the paste section of the cheese quite a bit. Then it was back to Vermont cheeses: Woodcock Farm's sheep's milk cheese, Weston Wheel, and Jasper Hill Farm's squidgy cow's milk cheese, Moses Sleeper.
We continued alternating between New York at Vermont for the next few cheeses. First up was Sugar House Creamery's cow's milk cheese, Dutch Knuckle, is produced in Upper Jay, New York, followed by Spring Brook Farm's cow's milk cheese, Windsor County Tomme from Reading, Vermont. We went back to New York for Meadowood Farm's Lorenzo, the sheep's milk cheese produced in Cazenovia that was used in the smoked tomato risotto from the second course, and then it was time to return to Vermont for another Spring Brook Farm's cow's milk cheese, six-month aged Tarentaise.
Compare that Tarentaise to the Tarentaise that starts off the third group of cheeses. The Tarentaise from Spring Brook Farm was aged for only six months, while the Thistle Hill Farm Tarentaise is aged for 13 months and is produced in West Pomfret, Vermont. Then it was on to Vulto Creamery's Miranda, a cow's milk cheese from Walton, New York, before breaking the tradition so far and traveling to California for the final cheese, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese's cow's milk cheese, Bay Blue. After eating all of that wonderful cheese, I got to get up with the fabulous Louis Risoli and lead the room in singing The Sounds of Moo-Cow, a fabulous parody song that Louis wrote. It was a great night!