Thursday, June 5, 2014

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I highlight some interesting wine and food items that are upcoming. **********************************************************
1) On June 24, at 6:30pm, Legal Harborside will team up with Donald Patz, Co-Founder & National Sales Director of Patz & Hall, for an exclusive four-plus-course dinner. Founded in 1988, this California winery has a celebrated portfolio of single-vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. Patz & Hall uses the very best small, family-owned Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vineyards in California with the talented winegrowers who farm these world-class sites. Built on a shared commitment to quality, these partnerships have led to the rich diversity of the wine portfolio, contributing to acclaimed cuvées and sought-after single-vineyard wines.

The menuu will be presented as follows:

Fried Green Tomato, King Crab Salad, Smoked Tomato
Compressed Watermelon, Soy and Yuzu Marinated Tuna, Shiso
Black Bass Crudo, Tear Drop Tomato, Shishito Peppers, Lemon Thyme
Yakitori-style Grilled Octopus, House-made Ponzu, Asian Pear
Patz & Hall Sparkling Wine 2010
Chilled Corn Soup (Roasted Summer Squash, Lobster Medallion, Opal Basil)
Patz & Hall, Dutton Ranch 2012 – Russian River Valley Chardonnay
Patz & Hall, Alder Springs Vineyards 2003 – Mendocino Chardonnay
Skate Wing with Gnocchi al Nero (Tomato Confit, Grilled Calamari, Spicy Brodo di Mare)
Patz & Hall, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2012
Roasted Lamb Loin (Braised Lamb Belly, Baby Artichokes, Graffiti Eggplant, Summer Beans)
Patz & Hall, Jenkins Ranch 2012 – Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Patz & Hall, Hyde Vineyard 2000 – Carneros Pinot Noir
Maine Blueberry Tart (Sweet Corn Ice Cream)
Patz & Hall, Late Harvest Wine 2011 – California

COST: $135 per person (excludes tax & gratuity)
Reservation required by calling 617-530-9470

2) Spring is the optimum time of year for enjoying fresh goat cheese, and The Concord Cheese Shop has taken delivery of several worthy cheeses – both goat and not -- from small New England farms, some as close as half an hour away. I haven't tasted these new cheeses yet, but I certainly am motivated to drive to Concord to do so.

Lake’s Edge Goat Cheese (Blue Ledge Farm, Salisbury, VT)
A dramatic-looking, ash-veined cheese, aged just three weeks before being shipped to Concord Cheese Shop from this 100-acre farm. It’s named for the whitish stones often found along the shores of Lake Champlain.
Fresh Goat Cheese Crottins (Crystal Brook Farm, Sterling, MA)
Goat cheese “buttons” so fresh they’re often delivered within 48 hours of being inside the ewe. Cheese Shop marinates ‘em Italian style and sells ‘em by the 3” piece; perfect plunked atop a green salad for a light spring luncheon.
Mixed Drum (Twig Farm, West Cornwall, VT)
Made by Michael Lee from raw Ayrshire cow plus Alpine goat milks, this semi-hard cheese is named for its shape, and Concord Cheese Shop is pleased to carry it when we can get it (arrived May 2014), after it ages for 4 to 7 months.
Berkshire Blue (Great Barrington, MA)
Whole Jersey cow’s milk, and fatherly attention over its 60-day production process by career-changer cheesemaker Ira Grable results in this creamy and udderly delicious cheese made in the English style, but with much lower salt content. BB’s facility is smaller than a studio apartment, but its flavor reads like a penthouse coop.
Hooligan (Cato Corner Farm, Colchester, CT)
This scamp of a ripe, washed-rind cheese with creamy interior and bright orange rind has been a staff favorite for the past year. Mother and son cheesemakers bathe the small wheels in brine to encourage a pungent surface. This is one of 22 cheeses made on a farm just two hours away.
Dorset (Consider Bardwell Farm, West Pawlet, VT)
An award-winning, washed rind, raw Jersey cow’s milk cheese that’s soft-ripened and sold in 2.5 lb. wheels that can only be described as buttery.
Von Trapp Farmstead Oma (Cellar-aged at Jasper Hill Farm, VT)
Cheesemakers Sebastian and John von Trapp named this cheese after their German grandmother, Erica, whom they called Oma. It’s made from raw milk produced by cows grazing in Mad River Valley, and its taste is earthy and complex, with a silky texture.
Tarentaise (Thistle Hill Farm, North Pomfret, VT)
Concord Cheese Shop proprietor Peter Lovis loves this organic, grass-fed Jersey cow’s milk cheese so much he’s asked cheesemakers John and Janine Putnam for a special aging shelf at the farm for the wheels slated for sale here. There, Tarentaise is not only extra-aged for, but arrive with a report on the weather conditions the wheels endured. Made in traditional copper vats, this is an assertive and complex, natural rind cheese worth discovering.
Tobasi (Cricket Creek Farm, Williamstown, Massachusetts)
Inspired by taleggio, this semi-soft, raw cow’s milk cheese has a taste that’s a cross between butter and custard, but with seasonal variations that often add a hint of nuttiness.
Arpeggio and Prescott (Robinson Family Farm, Hardwick, MA)
Two of four farmstead cheeses made from raw cow’s milk at this fourth generation farm located about an hour away from Concord. Arpeggio tastes of its central Massachusetts terroir, and is still spreadable after 2-4 months of aging. Prescott is a dense cheese aged 9 to 12 months, and is so darn good it won the 2013 American Cheese Society gold medal.
West West Blue (Parish Hill Creamery, West Westminster, MA)
This spicy aged Gorgonzola style blue comes from veteran cheese craftsman Peter Dixon, the man who showed most of Vermont how to make cheese. A masterpiece made in small batches with whole raw cow milk.

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