The Hills Are Alive with the Sounds of Cheese Tuesday!
So last night was Cheese Tuesday at L'Espalier; it's always a great time. This month, the theme was The Hills Are Alive, and we focused on cheese from Austria as well as cheese from the Von Trapp Farmstead in Vermont. Louis Risoli, the brilliant fromager behind Cheese Tuesdays, wanted to began the night with a song, so I broke out my ukulele and we all sang I'm A Moo Cow Grazing in a Meadow to the tune of You Are Sixteen Going on Seventeen.
Dinner began by ordering a Jack Rose, a mix of apple jack brandy, grenadine, lemon juice, and sparkling wine. The sparkling wine really brings the cocktail to life. Bread and butter was also brought out quickly. This month we had regular salted butter and rosemary honey butter to go with our rolls.
Our first official course was a citrus salad with hearts of palm and winter greens, paired with 2015 Hild, Elbling, a dry Trocken wine from Mosel, Germany. Lauren Dadonna's wine pairings were right on, as usual!
Next up was gateau de crepes with nettles, foraged mushrooms, and Von Trapp Farmstead Savage cheese. This amazing creation was served with a nice, light red wine: 2014 Iby Blaufränkisch from Burgenland, Austria.
Roasted duck with maple, turnips, carrots, and rillettes was up next, with 2014 Domaine des Celliers "Alchimie" Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Rhône, France. This was crazy delicious, and the wine was perfect with the duck.
NV Eden Ice Cider, a sparkling Brut from Vermont, was served with the cheese plate, a selection of Von Trapp and Josef Rupp cheeses.
The cheese plate began with two cheeses from Josef Rupp in Vorarlberg, Austria. We started with Alp Käse and then moved onto Berg Käse, both amazing alpine cheeses.
We moved on to the Von Trapp Farmstead cheeses next, specifically two different versions of Mount Alice. First was the traditional version, then we had the "Drunken" Mount Alice, with a rind that had been washed in beer.
Oma was up next, one of my favorite "stinky" cheeses. It's made from unpasteurized cows' milk and aged by the Cellars at Jasper Hill for 60-90 days.
Savage was up next, named from Samuel S. Savage who settled the Von Trapp farm in the 1700s. We sampled the cheese at two ages, first 8 months, then 20 months. I preferred the younger version of the cheese, but the older was still very good.
Mad River Blue finished off the cheese plate. Made with unpasteurized cows' milk, Mad River Blue is aged 3-4 months and is very tasty but not overwhelmingly "blue". After all that cheese, it was time for the "Heidi Band" and my ukulele to make one more appearance, as we all sang "Cow Goat Sheep" to the tune of Do Re Mi.
To start off our sweet finale, we had the trio of assorted glaces: ricotta ice cream, cream cheese ice cream, and marshmallow ice cream. Ricotta was my favorite, but they were all amazing! We also sampled the hot chocolate soufflé with marshmallow ice cream and toasted marshmallow, the lemon-poppy almond cake with blood orange and coconut crème, orange puffs and black sesame ice cream, and the chestnut roulade, almond streusel, pine frozen yogurt, and orange snow. They were all great, but the soufflé was a special kind of amazing.