Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thursday Sips & Nibbles: Part 2

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I briefly highlight some interesting wine and food items that I have encountered recently. Due to an influx of new information, I am posting a second column today.  **********************************************************
1) Now through October 27, Chef Vittorio Ettore of Bistro 5 is preparing an Autumn inspired tasting menu for guests to enjoy. This month’s menu is devoted to representing the best of autumn in delectable dishes. With warm, rich colors and irresistible scents of autumn, each dish is carefully designed and executed resulting in highly memorable flavor and presentation for the senses.

Guests can choose from a three-course or five-course tasting menu, along with an optional wine pairing. The menu may vary based upon daily changes in availability of the fall harvest, but will include items such as:

Burgundy Black Fall Truffles $18 Per Dish

Pumpkin “Cappuccino” (Foie Gras Macaroons, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds and Truffled Cream)
2010 Snoqualmie, Riesling, Columbia Valley
Seared Scallops (Pomegranate Glazed Kuri Squash and Braised Endives)
2011 Domaine Félines Jourdan, Picpoul de Pinet
Chestnut Raviolone (Roasted Chestnuts and House-Made Ricotta Filling with Pancette and Sage)
2010 La Grange de Piaugier, Côtes du Rhône
Venison (Licorice Skewered Grilled Venison, Fermented Cranberries and Sweet Potato Chips)
2010 Villa Pozzi, Nero d’Avola, Sicily
Apple Crisp (Vanilla/Bourbon Gelato and Salted Nut Brittle)
2009 Zagara Moscato D’Asti

Three-course menu is $45 per person; $65 with wine pairings plus tax/gratuity.
Five-course menu is $65 per person; $90 with wine pairings plus tax/gratuity.
To make a reservation, call Bistro 5 directly at 781-395-7464

2) On Thursday, November 1 and Friday, November 2, Chef Erwin Ramos of the Olé Restaurant Group is hosting an authentic two-night Día de los Muertos celebration featuring traditional Mexican cuisine and customs at Olé Mexican Grill, located in Cambridge, and Zócalo Back Bay, located in Boston.

While “Day of the Dead” may have a grave and gloomy ring to it, the holiday itself has no such emotions. Instead, the first two days of November are used to celebrate the lives of loved ones lost along the way, and Chef Ramos invites friends and family to partake in the festive occasion with an authentic Mexican celebration. In honor of the holiday, a special “Day of the Dead Mole Menu” will be served alongside the regular menu.

The menu will feature four distinct incarnations of mole sauce, a staple of Mexican cuisine, with options like Mole Negro Con Pavo ($20), made with indigenous Mexican ingredients like guajillo chiles, Mexican oregano and marjoram over turkey and Mole Coloradito con Carne ($22), a smooth combination of traditional Mexican spices over beef. Mole Manchamanteles con Cordero ($24), a sweet and spicy mole over lamb shank lives up to its “table cloth stainer” name with a deep red color, and Mole Verde Oaxaqueño con Vegetales ($18) takes vegetarian to a whole new level with a green mole sauce over assorted vegetables.

The meal will end on a sweet note, as all guests will receive complimentary Mexican Hot Chocolate and Pan de Muerto (bread of the dead), made with rich cinnamon and spice-infused Mexican chocolate, and brought to each table on a dessert cart.

That’s not all; the staff will be dressed up in traditional costumes and an altar honoring the lives of loved ones past will be set up at both locations. For more information or reservations, please call Olé Mexican Grill at (617) 492-4495 or Zócalo Back Bay (617) 456-7849.

3) Experience the internationally renowned cheese creations from Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery during October’s rendition of Cheese Tuesday on Tuesday, October 23 at 7pm, at L’Espalier. VB&C resident Cheesemaker Joey Connor will also be attending the very special evening.

This leading American Creamery crafts innovative, all-natural fresh and aged goat cheeses, creme fraiche, mascarpone, and European-style cultured butter. The creamery supports a network of more than 20 goat dairy farms, providing milk that meets the highest standards of purity, and is a proud contributor to the health of local agriculture.

Cheese Tuesday is hosted by Fromager and Mâitre d’ Louis Risoli and Sommelier Erich Schliebe who offer a tasting event that combines wine and cheese in a casual setting with commentary about each course and its wine pairing, respectively. Cheese Expert Louis Risoli has defined the role of Grand Fromager across the East Coast, is a speaker at national cheese conferences, and is well versed in worldwide cheese varietals and culinary cheese trends. He is one of the few individuals in the country to recently receive certification as an American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional ™.

Sommelier Erich Schliebe loves wine because a good bottle has everything he loves about literature: history, geography, sociology, economics, science, and psychology. He can be found comparing wine characteristics to famous artwork, martial artists, and rock bands, making the extent of his wine knowledge approachable and fun.

Joey Connor, Aged Cheese Team Leader of VB&C, will be joining Louis and Erich to talk about his passion and technique for his creations. Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery was started by two young visionaries devoted to new and non-traditional agriculture, Allison Hooper and Bob Reese. Appropriately enough, the improbable run as long term business partners began in 1984 during a dinner celebrating Vermont agricultural products. Bob was in charge of the dinner and desperately needed a locally made goat cheese for the French chef’s signature lamb dish. He reached out to Allison who was then working at a dairy lab and milking goats in Brookfield. Allison made the chèvre on the farm, Bob delivered it to the chef — the dinner was a success and Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery was born. Today, more than 25 years later, they have won more than 100 national and international awards. Their butters and cheeses populate some of the most prestigious cheese boards in America, and they have sustained a team of family farms and creamery artisans.

The cost is $85 per person, not including tax and gratuity. Reservations are required and can be made by calling L’Espalier directly at (617) 262-3023.

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