Cheese Tuesday - A Passion for American Cheese

Last Tuesday was a great night at L'Espalier. The brilliant fromager, Louis Risoli, who is in the process of finishing out his tenure at L'Espalier, chose to use one of his final Cheese Tuesday menus to highlight American cheeses that are not from New England. We began the night by singing Vermont, Vermont to the tune of New York, New York, to celebrate the evening and the fact that most famous American cheeses come from Vermont.

We began with melon and tomato salad with shaved Verano cheese and wheat berries with marjoram-buttermilk dressing paired with 2014 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs from California.

The bread and butter shortly followed, along with a nice rosé that tasted like summer. I didn't catch the name, unfortunately, but I enjoyed the wine.

Roasted striped bass in sumac with eggplant purée and fennel was up next, served with slow roasted onion and pumpkin oil broth. It was paired with 2014 Patz & Hall Russian River Valley Chardonnay.

Our third course was veal loin in lemon and thyme with chanterelles, Succotash, and spiced fresh dug potatoes paired with 2014 Ponzi "Tavola" Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley.

Robert Mondavi's Retro Label Cabernet Sauvignon, made in Napa, California in 2012, accompanied the plate of American cheeses. Before getting into the cheeses, we sang along with an excellent tribute to Louis Risoli, to the tune of Lola. It was a fitting honor to the man who has taught me so much about cheese, fine dining, and being awesome.

Our first cheese was Flora, a goat's milk cheese from Capriole Farm in Greenville, Indiana; I love good aged goat cheese. Green Hill was up next, a cow's milk cheese from Sweet Grass Dairy in Thomasville, Georgia. The third cheese brought us back to goat's milk: Sunlight was made by Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy in Longmont, Colorado.

Prairie Tomme, a sheep's milk cheese from Green Dirt Farm in Weston, Missouri, brought us into the second half of the cheese plate. Pleasant Ridge Reserve followed, a cow's milk cheese from Uplands Cheese in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. We finished out the plate with Smokey Blue, a cow's milk cheese from Rogue Creamery in Central Point, Oregon. At this point, it was time to break out the ukulele and egg shakers to sing "Don't Stop Blue Cheesing"; it was awesome! Cheese singers from throughout the ages of Cheese Tuesday came together to sing to celebrate all the greatness that Louis has brought to our lives.

After a yummy palate cleanser, it was time for some desserts!

Raspberry soufflé with Champagne anglaise, white chocolate, chantilly swirl ice cream, and an almond crumble; that's just how the dessert plate began! Then we were on to strawberry pâte feuilletée with strawberry-cream cheese mousse and Champagne-St. Germain sorbet. After that bit of heaven, I tried a bit of #SaveTheBees, a mix of brandy pound cake, peach meringue, honey caramel, and anise hyssop parfait.


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