Cheese Tuesday at L'Espalier - Cheese and Chocolate

Last night was another awesome Cheese Tuesday; with the theme of Cheese and Chocolate, it had to be awesome!

Hearts of palm with bitter greens, winter citrus, coconut, and kombucha sorbet was up first, paired with the very drinkable 2015 Karl Lagler "Steinborz" Grüner Veltliner from Wachau, Austria. The wine was amazing, with hints of pepper, and I plan on drinking it with the spiciest food I can find sometime soon!

The second course was just as good as the first; we had Georges Bank scallops with white chocolate, American paddlefish caviar, and parsnips. I adore parsnips. Bob Hayford, the resident "Cork Dork" was on point with his pairings all night, and the second wine, 2015 Granbazán Albariño from Rias Baixas, Spain, was excellent.

Long Island duck breast with cocoa jus and roasted carrots made for a tasty main course, and it was really neat to see how the chefs incorporated chocolate throughout the meal. This course was paired with 2011 Les Calèches de Lanessan from Haut Médoc in France.

After three wonderful courses, it was time for a decadent chocolate and cheese plate. Louis Risoli, resident Cheese Guy, picked out some great cheeses to pair with chocolate, and Bob knocked it out of the park with the wine pairing, 2016 Braida "Brachetto d'Acqui", a super fruity wine from Piedmont, Italy.

Up first were two nice and creamy cheeses: Lake's Edge and White Diamond. Lake's Edge is a goat's milk cheese made with vegetable ash at the Blue Ledge Farm in Vermont. I've had this cheese before; its really good. Here it was paired with whipped ganache made with Jivara Lacte 40% chocolate, which was so light and fluffy. White Diamond was a new cheese to me. It's made by Boston Post Dairy in Vermont, and was paired with 58% Cocoa Barry, West African cocoa beans of the Forastero Variety.

Midnight Moon and Rupert were up next. Midnight Moon, a goat's milk cheese from Cypress Grove Dairy in California, was paired with a chocolate custard made with Ariguani 72% single-origin chocolate from Venezuela. It was delicious, but not as amazing as the next pairing: Rupert, a cow's milk cheese from Consider Bardwell Farm in Vermont, and cocoa nib shortbread. The contrasting textures were really neat!

Copper Penny was up next, a cow's milk cheese from Lazy Lady Farm in Vermont. It was paired with the smooth and milky Andoa 39% single-origin chocolate from Peru. Then we were on to my favorite cheese of the night, Beemster Extra Aged gouda from Holland, paired perfectly with Callibeaut White Chocolate. Bailey Hazen Blue, a cow's milk cheese from Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont, finished up the plate, paired with a delicious graham cracker chocolate made with 53% Tcho chocolate. After all of that cheese, it was time for the Flock of Curd Nerds to take up their instruments and sing the newly written classic, "I Ran (to Cheese Tuesday)"! What a fun way to end the night!


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