Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Eastside Road, October 28, 2013—
A COUPLE OF FRIENDS live outside Healdsburg where they raise champion lettuces and a number of other vegetables for the farmers market, where we first met them a few years ago. On striking up our first conversation there, it emerged that they were ardent francophiles; the make annual tours of France in the fall, when their lettuce crop has pretty well played out.

And on their return they throw a little fête des fromages for a few friends. Last night we were privileged to join the table, and what a table! As you see in this not very good photo, we began with charcuterie: a couple of saucisses, jambon de Paris (de Healdsburg), and delicious duck breast, with almonds and olives and marvelous butter.

And then came the
Saint Félicien
Mont d'Or
l'Affiné au Chablis
Ossau Iraty
Bleu Servo
and with them the
Rosé, Domaine de Fonteil, 2012
Riesling, Martin Jund Grand Cru Schlossberg, 2012
Pinot noir, Navarro, 2007
Bordeaux, Château Haut-Sorillon, 2010
Riesling, Dr. Loosen, 2011
Vouvray, Champalou
Sauvignon blanc, Kim Crawford, 2012
Cuateeauneuf-du-Pape, Domaine de Beaurenard, 2000
others, no doubt, now beyond recall…

tropezienne.jpgAll these were available for sampling in any order with any pairing, and in general I thought it was born out that whites go best with most cheeses but reds are definitely preferable with Roquefort. That was pretty much a given, of course. What was surprising was the deliciousness and delicacy of so many of these cheeses. The Mont d'Or, new to me, was a marvelous thing, soft and runny and floral and blossoming in the mouth. The Brillat-Savarin had a nice crumbly texture, very fresh. The Livarot was the only cheese that seemed to me to have a faint touch of ammonia; otherwise these were perfect cheeses, and I bet our friends are feasting on leftovers all day today!

Except, perhaps dessert: I think we finished the remarkable Tropezienne, flaky and rich and perfect after these cheeses…
Thanks so much, Mary and Burt!

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