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Food, Wine & Friends Page 152


THE TENTH BIRTHDAYS OF
A COUPLE OF LITTLE
PRINCESSES...

Celebrated September 7, 2008
with
Chef Uncle Gerald

The FitzJensens and the Sicard-Briskies arrived in the early afternoon on a warm, summery Sunday to celebrate the birthdays of daughters Alanna FitzJensen and Clementine Briscardskin.

We immediately got some juice for the kids and some 'juice' for the adults and I broiled some stuffed mushrooms...

We had two Champagnes from the house of Lenoble...
A 2002 Brut Rosé was rather nice...dry and properly fruity and berryish;  quite refreshing on a warm day.
Then we had their 1996 Vintage Brut...a lovely, toasty, moderately biscuity Champagne.  Our baker friend Jesper was enthralled by the yeasty notes of the 1996.

Then we had sat down at the dinner table (the kids have their own special table in the solarium).

There's a bed of arugula from the local farmer's market dressed in a lemony vinaigrette and topped with white beans and sage and a sauté of Calamari that's been marinated in lemon juice, garlic and really good Tuscan olive oil.
We opened a bottle of an Umbrian Chardonnay...perfectly okay, but nothing special, frankly.

 
Princess Alanna FitzJensen


Dane FitzJensen, it seems, is a little Calamari Eating Machine!

Next we opened a bottle of a Louis Jadot Puligny Montrachet from the old Duc de Magenta domaine.   It was very showy on its own and while not an ideal accompaniment to pesto, it more than held its own on the dinner table.  The 2005 was mildly appley with a nice toasty element and a touch of a honeyed fragrance.


The Italian company Barilla makes pasta in the U.S. and their little Campanelle (bell flower-shaped) pasta is particularly excellent with pesto.  We topped this with some prawns...


Princess Clementine and Princess Alanna...


Clementine's brother Felix...a big fan of pesto!

 


Pierre was up to his elbows in pasta...

We then had a little wine sorbet made from a young Rioja that's made in the style of Beaujolais...


Aviva was delighted...

So was Amy.

Meanwhile, the Prime Rib roast was out of the oven, but we were working on a tray of Yorkshire Puddings...

I put a knife in Jesper's hand he went to work like a surgeon, carving up the Prime Rib...




The Yorkshire "pudding."


Grilled Zucchini, Grilled Eggplant and oven roasted Taters...


The Princesses were enthralled with the Yorkshire Pudding.

Pierre helps himself to a slab o'beef...


We opened two 2005 Bordeaux from the Pessac-Léognan appellation.
The 2005 Smith-Haut-Lafitte was a showy, lavishly oaked, sweetly-wooded affair, while the Domaine de Chevalier was a more restrained rendition.  You can see why critics praise the Smith Haut-Lafitte, but the Domaine de Chevalier is a real treasure.  They share a common "base" and both show lots of black fruits of the Cabernet.
The tannins are fairly round and the wines, though young, are both showy and nicely balanced.

A cheese assortment followed...

I was able to buy some terrific breads from Bay Breads at our Sunday market a few blocks from the house...


We tried a couple of red Burgundies with the cheeses.
A 2002 Louis Latour Chassagne-Montrachet was a nice, flimsy little red, the sort of wine that's too light for most fans of New World wines.  It's not a great bottle of wine, but was perfectly fine in this context.
Overshadowing the Latour wine was Frederic Esmonin's stellar 2006 Gevrey Chambertin from the premier cru site, Lavaux Saint Jacques.  This was a complete wine, showing dark cherry fruit and nice, sweet oak.  Perfectly drinkable now, it will cellar well for 3-8 years.  Very fine.

I have no idea what was going on here...

Here came the Dads from the kitchen, each with a birthday cake and burning candles...


Princess Alanna had her very own cake, too!

Then it was time for some birthday presents...

Jesper was so overcome with excitement, he could barely stand it!

Pierre, like Jesper, was overwhelmed.

The girls then opened some 'big' presents and found themselves with a new 'friend'...

I almost forgot the Pièce de résistance...

I made a batch of Nutella Gelato...

Jesper woke up for a few seconds to dive into the Nutella ice cream...

Oh my gawd...!!!




And so we concluded another food and wine marathon...six hours after we began...

Much fun!

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