Thursday, March 22, 2018

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I highlight some interesting, upcoming food & drink events.
1) Guests are invited to continue the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations with Glendalough Distillery, Ireland’s first craft distillery, on Wednesday, March 28, at 6:30pm, at Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge. While wine often takes the spotlight, whiskey and cheese make excellent partners, and you'd be hard-pressed to find stronger advocates for that fact than the team behind this class. Guests are welcomed to join Dan Pontius, Bar Manager of Alden and Harlow and Donal O'Gallachoir, a representative for Glendalough Distillery, along with Julia Hallman, cheesemonger and general manager at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge, for a spectacular evening of whiskey and cheese.

During this edible lesson on how and why whiskey and cheese pair so well together, Donal will explain the origin and rich history of Glendalough Distillery as well as the vast and distinct flavors associated with the various types. Next, Julia will discuss a variety of cheeses, how they are made and what characteristics make them a perfect complement for whiskey. Together, they'll plate up some of our favorite cheeses alongside a variety of whiskey styles in a multi-flight tasting to illustrate the toothsome and tasty potential of this kind of pairing. Lastly, not to be outdone, Dan will whip up a couple whiskey cocktails highlighting Glendalough Distillery which will be perfectly paired with cheese.

More details below on the latest from Glendalough Whiskey:
Founded by five friends from Wicklow and Dublin with a deep passion for reviving the heritage of craft distilling in Ireland, Glendalough Distillery has forged their own path to produce innovative spirits while staying true to the tradition and legacy of their Irish ancestors. Glendalough (meaning The Valley of Two Lakes) is a glacial valley nestled in the Wicklow Mountains renowned for its early medieval monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by St. Kevin, a legendary monk and the man depicted on their bottle.

The Double Barrel Irish Whiskey gains its sweet, smooth vanilla notes from three years in bourbon barrels before being transferred to 500 litre Oloroso casks from Montilla, for up to a year, where it becomes steeped in rich, dark, fruity and floral flavors (raisins, sultanas, fig, candied peel, cinnamon and nutmeg) with a nutty, complex finish.

The 7 Year Old Single Malt gets its flavor from Dublin’s Black Pitts Porter craft beer barrels, the deep, dark flavors of chocolate malt and roasted barley give the whiskey its cocoa, toffee and dark-chocolate-orange notes.

The 13 Year Old Single Malt is the first and only Irish whiskey that uses Japanese Mizunara oak. Extremely rare and expensive, the oak is found in the forests of Hokkaido; its high levels of vanillins pack a punch, with exquisite sandalwood flavors, layered with honey, and citrusy notes for a distinctly unique tasting whiskey.

Tickets cost $65 and you can purchase them through Eventbrite.

2) Executive Chef Nick Deutmeyer and the team at Post 390 are calling all cheese lovers for a special Massachusetts Cheese Trail Farm to Post menu, featuring a special kick off dinner showcasing the top Massachusetts cheese farmers.

Post 390 welcomes guest for a Farm to Post dinner on Wednesday, April 4, from 6pm-9pm, with the spotlight on Massachusetts artisan cheese farmers. Executive Chef Nick Deutmeyer takes guests on a journey through each course, highlighting specific notes of each decadent cheese and their perfect flavor pairings. Chef Nick has crafted a special Farm to Post menu to showcase these exquisite cheeses from award-winning local farms such as Upinngil Farm, Ruggles Hill Creamery, and Westfield Farm. Guests can mix and mingle with representatives from each farm, who will be onsite to share some details about their unique cheeses. The event kicks off at 6:00 p.m. and begins with a welcome reception followed by a seated four-course dinner.

The Massachusetts Cheese Trail dinner menu is as follows:
Upinngil Farm (Gill, MA)
Upinggillar, Spinach, Bacon, Paté Brisée
Feta, Cucumber, Oven Roasted Tomato
Ayrshire, Herbed Butter Cracker, Jagerwurst
Robinson Farm (Hardwick, MA)
Arpeggio "the aroma and flavor notes of the terroir in one bite"
Early Spring Asparagus, Sugar-Stack Ham, Foraged Morels, Caramelized Onion Soubise
Ruggles Hill Creamery (Hardwick, MA)
Greta's Fair Haven "fruity, peppery, and densely textured"
Chilled Roast Chicken, Marbled Rye, Pickled Green Strawberries, Cracked Black Pepper, Green Peas
Westfield Farm (Hubbardston, MA)
Hubbardston Blue Cow "surface ripened...very soft and creamy center"
Garlic & Herb Leg of Lamb, Duck Fat Fried Potatoes, Lemon Smashed Peas, Pan Drippings
Smith Country Cheese (Winchendon, MA)
Extra Aged Gouda "creamy, nutty parm-like cheese"
Strawberry & Almond 'Shortcake', Aged Gouda Ice Cream, Strawberry-Gouda Crumb, Rhubarb Jam, Toasted Almonds
Take Home
Shy Brother’s Farm (Westport Point, MA)
Hannahbells "thimble-shaped morsels that pack a dramatic throw-weight of pungency and lingering flavor"

Tickets are $55 per person and include tax, gratuity, and beverage pairings. They can be purchased through Eventbrite. Reservations are required.

3) On Wednesday, March 28, from 7 to 10 pm, Joe's American Bar & Grill at 181 Newbury Street is hosting their second annual Down East Cider dinner. Guests will be able to enjoy a special menu prepared by new Executive Chef Scott Gagne featuring 5 courses of culinary treats paired with a different cider variation from the cider brewery for just $50 (excludes tax and gratuity).

The courses and cider pairings (all gluten free) are as follows:
Oyster on the half shell with grapefruit and jalapeño granita
Cider Pairing: Hopped Grapefruit
Gazpacho three ways with yellow heirloom tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, beets, lemongrass, ginger, and cucumber aspic
Cider Pairing: Ginger
Purple Peruvian potato skins stuffed with double cider and chipotle braised chicken, and topped with a chicken skin crackling
Cider Pairing: Double Cider
Aloha pork wing with coconut pineapple rice, and hazelnuts wrapped in a banana leaf
Cider Pairing: Aloha Friday
Housemate ice cream floats with chocolate cookies and ice cream
Cider Pairing: Roasted Joe

Tickets are limited and can be purchased via the Joe's Down East Cider Dinner Eventbrite page.

4) Chef Chris Coombs and the Boston Chops staff invite guests to join them for a special four course Bourdeaux-inspired wine dinner on Monday, April 2nd, at 7 p.m. The evening will feature wine from France's wine capital, paired with a delectable Spring menu crafted by Chef Chris Coombs.

The menu will include:
To Begin
Bay Scallop Ceviche, Grapefruit, Tarragon Oil, Meyer Lemon
Chateau La Dame Blanche Bordeaux Blanc
Truffled Mushroom Tartine, Boucheron, Micro Arugula
Chateau Pey Lescours St Emilion
Grilled Hanger Steak, First of the Season Nettles, Fingerling Potatoes, Native Pea Greens
Chateau Haut-Vigneau Pessac Leognan
To Finish
Orange Blossom Gateau, Champagne Mango & Cara Cara Orange, Vanilla Glace
Castelnau de Suduiraut Sauternes

Tickets are $79 plus tax and gratuity, and can be reserved by calling (617) 227-5011.

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