Some Pictures of Cheese!!
Miscellaneous, Restaurants

I finally had a chance yesterday to take all of the pictures from the last month off of my camera so that I could start sorting/sharing them.  I thought that a fun place to start would be with one of my recent (delicious) hobbies which is tasting/leaning about different cheeses… 

A few weeks ago as part of our birthday celebrations we decided to go to a class at Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge (which is one of my favorite stores!!).  The class was called “The Perfect Pair” in honor of Valentine’s Day and was all about pairings of wine/beer with cheeses as well as some other accompaniments.  It was fun and I learned some things about pairing, the most important of which was to experiment and see what you like together.  Since we had decided not to go out for our birthday because Valentine’s Day can be a bit crazy at restaurants, we went back to Formaggio the day after the class and purchased some cheeses and wine for our birthday dinner at home…   

Stichelton - This was one of the cheeses that we tasted during the class.  It is a cow’s milk blue cheese made in England and it has a strong flavor.  I enjoyed the combination of the Stichelton and a piece of crusty baguette.

Selles sur Cher - This was a fresh goat cheese from the Loire region of France.  It is ash covered and has a delicious creamy texture and fresh flavor.  I used it in a beet & orange salad the next day and it was the perfect complement to the citrus.

Mil Ovejas - This was another cheese which we had tried at the class.  It is a sheep’s milk from spain and I was very intrigued by its texture.  Initially it seems like a hard cheese, but it turns smooth and creamy as you chew it.

 

Reypenaer V.S.O.P. - This is an aged Gouda from The Netherlands and is probably one of my favorite cheeses ever.  It is a firm cheese with a fruity, caramel flavor and calcifications throughout.  I actually prefer to eat this cheese by itself as opposed to with a slice of baguette because I enjoy the smooth flavor so much.

To finish off our plate we had crusty baguette slices, Serrano Ham (Jamon Serrano, hand-boned – sliced), and some balsamic vinegar.  We purchased a sparkling wine, Tissot Cremant du Jura, to accompany our dinner and I found that it was a bit dry which was a nice contrast to the many different flavors on our plate.  Also, it was a beautiful pink color which I couldn’t resist!!

 

If you live in the Boston/Cambridge area and have never been to Formaggio Kitchen, it is definitely worth the trip!  I could spend hours there browsing all of the amazing artisan products that they have collected from around the world.  I have such a long list of items that I want to try!!

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Dinner at L’Espalier
Miscellaneous, Restaurants

I know that I promised to post more pictures of the holiday cookies that I’ve been working on but I just couldn’t resist sharing some photos from the amazing and delicious dinner that we had last night at L’Espalier.  Justin and I have a tradition to go out to to a nice restaurant for dinner one night before Christmas for what we call our “Annual Christmas Dinner”, which is a chance for us to relax and enjoy some time together before going home to spend time with our (large) family for Christmas.  I was thrilled when Justin suggested that we have our dinner at L’Espalier this year as I’d been hoping for a chance to eat there again!  Unfortunately I didn’t realize until we were home that I should have written down the exact names of the dishes that we enjoyed,  but I’ll try remember them as best as possible.  To start I had Assiette of Roasted Beets with warm goat cheese and Justin enjoyed the Seared Yellow-fin Tuna with hearts of palm, crepe, and grapefruit. 

First Courses

 For our main course I ordered the whole Maine lobster with roasted fingerling potatoes, chorizo, and braised kale.  The lobster was absolutely delicious and possibly the best I’ve ever had as it was sweet and perfectly complemented by the herb drawn butter which it was served with.  Justin ordered the Herbed Loin of Lamb served with brown butter gnocchi and parsnips three ways.  He loved it and I tried a nibble and also thought that it was cooked perfectly as it was very flavorful and tender. 

Dinner

 Next, we were served a plate of warm cookies as a treat which I thought was so sweet!!  They were all great and I really loved the chocolate chip and coconut macaroon.  Even though we were getting really full we decided to order the cheese course because L’Espalier has an amazing selection of cheeses and we knew that we would have regretted not enjoying some.  The cheese second from left on the plate is my absolute FAVORITE cheese ever!  It’s a 5-year aged Gouda from Holland with a sweet caramel flavor and interestingly enough I was first introduced to it at L’Espalier about a year and a half ago.   Even though we didn’t manage to finish the cookies and cheese course they made a delicious breakfast this morning!

Cookies & Cheese Plate

 For dessert I ordered the Poached Chocolate Decadence and Justin had the White Chocolate with curried apples and coconut lime sorbet.  I had been looking forward to trying some of Jiho Kim’s creations for a while now as I have been reading a lot about him recently and have seen so many pictures online of his mouth-watering desserts.  I was definitely not disappointed!!  Both desserts were completely delicious and I wish that I could do them more justice by remembering more of the elements on each plate.

Dessert

If you’re in the Boston area and have never tried L’Espalier I would highly recommend it for a special occasion as the ambiance is very calming, romantic, and intimate.  I can’t wait to have another reason to eat there…maybe to celebrate our birthdays in February :)

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