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Food, Wine & Friends Page 141

BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS
of
AMY, AVIVA & LUCY
January 2008


On a cool, drizzly Sunday in January I hosted a big fest...late lunch or early dinner...this was a lovely wine & food marathon!

I had "help" from Alanna (the green, Irish lass) and Clementine (reddish hair, reddish Cauliflower)...


Clementine was especially jazzed when I produced a special bottle of juice...

Clementine Juice.

We had some lovely "nibbles" to accompany the Champagne...


The Henriot "Blanc Souverain" was delightful...I was pleasantly surprised.  This was mildly yeasty and rather round and supple on the palate, not as austere as I had expected it to be.


Jesper was especially delighted with the platter of peppers...these were topped with a vinaigrette laced with garlic and anchovies...

We enjoyed a French Chablis from the Vocoret family with the peppers...might not have been the best pairing, but the wine was rather nice, appley, dry and not woody.  I had a Calabrian white wine on the table as well, but it paled in comparison.

We then had a mushroom risotto...

Carnaroli rice, dried porcini, fresh chanterelles and some truffle cream...

I had not salted the risotto as I'd purchased a bottle of "truffled sea salt" and wanted to encourage people to sprinkle this atop the rice.

Bruno Giacosa's 2005 Nebbiolo d'Alba bottling from the Valmaggiore region was youthful and delicious.


Jonathan procured the chanterelles on his foray Saturday in the hills of Woodside.

For a palate cleanser, we had a sorbet made from Thurnhof's exceptional Gelber Muskateller from Italy's Alto Adige.  I infused this with some cilantro and it was a bit vegetal, so I plunged a bunch of fresh cilantro into the sugar syrup before processing it.  After adding the wine, I decided it still was 'missing' something, so I added a fine dice of fresh cilantro leaves...

Voila!


This was amazingly delicious...it was very bracing on the palate!

We then opened some exploratory bottles of Burgundy...

Here's the oven-roasted cauliflower...


Pierre helps himself to some of the Umbrian lentils...


Hearty winter fare...lentils with lamb, duck and two kinds of sausages (one of duck & figs, the other a sausage of wild boar)...


We had two really exceptional Burgundies.
The Hospices de Nuits was a Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er cru from the Maison Mazilly...a rather nice 2005 vintage showing dark cherry fruit and a whiff of wood.  It was the Cuve Camille Rodier.
The other was a bright, brilliantly fruity 2004 from the up-and-coming Chanson estate.  This was a Savigny Dominode which was delicious.  Very zesty and bright...impressively so.


Jesper and one of the birthday girls, Aviva.

The kids had been busy amusing themselves as we ate and were a bit disappointed to find not so many pieces of duck, lamb or sausages when they decided it was 'grazing' time.


Jonathan brought some home-baked breads to accompany the cheese assortment.


We had two 2005s...the Ojai Vineyard bottling from the Clos Pepe vineyard was very fine.  We don't know how many "points" this wine has, but it's not enough!  Very fine and nicely balanced.
The Domaine Roux 2005 Chambolle-Musigny was far over-shadowed by the Ojai, as well as the previous two Burgundies.  It's a perfectly nice wine, but not as deep or compelling as the others.

Then it was time to have some birthday cake...except we had two cakes!

Happy Birthday Lucy and Happy Birthday Aviva & Amy.


Aviva, Lucy and Amy.

Then it was time to make a wish...

Out of respect for the local air pollution control bureau, we only lit a few candles.

Dane was thrilled at the prospect of "cake."

The Muscat de Mireval from the Chateau d'Exindre was delicious on its own...

Soon it was time for birthday gifts...

If the oatmeal wouldn't keep Amy warm, perhaps this sweater would.


Even though it wasn't his birthday, there was a little gift package for Jonathan.

Amy was amused by a birthday card urging her to...

...drink responsibly.

Aviva was so excited, she nodded off, apparently.


Alanna, however, was still wide awake.




Alanna decided it was time to go "on line" and answer e-mail from her friends.
But Clementine hadn't sent Alanna a note since earlier in the day...


Felix was exhausted after having so much fun...so he said "see you later, alligator."
Dane, ever the quick-witted little fellow replied "Not for a while, crocodile."

And so we ended a perfectly lovely marathon of wine, food and festivities.

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