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Food, Wine & Friends Page 193



The two Santa Clara Princesses, Alanna and Clementine celebrated their 12th birthdays recently, so it was time for their parents and old Uncle Gerald to do some celebrating, too.

We began with a nice bottle of Drappier's 2000 Viintage Brut, a fairly full, nicely yeasty Champagne.


Princess Alanna and a Chocolate Moose.

We had some little nibbles before sitting down at the table to begin our Sunday food and wine marathon.

Escargot...


A 2009 Pinot Grigio from the Cantina Tramin was quite fresh and dry...very nice on such a warm afternoon.

Princess Clementine was a bit freaked out by the Escargot.


Romaine lettuce from the morning Fresh Market near Burlingame Avenue, with a lemony, mustardy vinaigrette...topped with fresh Dungeness Crab.

Dane gave it the Thumbs Up.


The Sancerre from Henri Bourgeois was delightful and paired beautifully.


We prepared a pasta as our next course and used some special San Marzano tomatoes from Paolo Petrilli, which are said to be an heirloom variety of pomodori and they're cultivated biodynamically.

The pasta was from Bartolini in Umbria, a tagliatelle which was made with eggs and is rather dense.
The sauce was somewhat along the lines of a Puttanesca sauce, though I may have been too enthusiastic with my addition of crushed red pepper flakes.  As a result, we suspect this might have been more of a Pasta di una Puttana Arrabbiata.


We had a 2008 Vietti Barbera d'Asti, their delicious entry-level bottling.  But I had visited an estate in 1998 with Jesper and so we opened and decanted the Cave di Moleto 1995 Barbera del Monferrato.

The sauce features small amounts of anchovies, capers, black olives and red pepper flakes, with some onions and garlic.


The Vietti was a bright, lightly oaked Barbera from vineyards near Asti.  We had the 2008 and this was a delightful wine and it's, happily, well-priced (we sell it for $17.99).

The Cave di Moleto was totally different, a fully mature red wine with smoky, leathery fragrances and it was quite complex.


Jesper cradled the Vietti bottle, thinking of learning to make fresh pasta there from Nonna Pierina Vietti.


Meanwhile, I'd picked a terrifically hot day to run both ovens...we had roasted a Prime Rib and then made Yorkshire Pudding to accompany it.

A little granita of red wine was welcomed to not only cleanse the palate, but to cool us down.

 


Aviva.


Amy, as usual, is quick on the draw.

Pierre, meanwhile, was playing with fire.


The two Princesses came into the kitchen to see what Uncle Gerald was doing.
And they were both delighted to see Yorkshire Pudding.

Amy does not eat red meat, so we had a pan of prawns as the nautical part of our Surf & Turf extravaganza.


Beans with portabella mushrooms.


Oven-Roasted Potatoes with fresh herbs.


One happy Princess.

And the other, also quite delighted.


Jesper served Pierre with some Roast Beast.


We had two remarkable bottles of Italian reds.

The San Leonardo comes from the Guerrieri Gonzaga property in Italy's Trentino region and it was from the 2004 vintage.  The aromas were mildly herbal and showed nice, cool vintage Cabernet aromas.  Oak was in the background and the wine was very refined and elegant, a perfect red for Roast Beef.

The other wine, called Maestro Rara, was their 2006 bottling from Felsina in Tuscany's Chianti Classico region.
This was fantastically good.  The aromas were beautiful and comparable to a First Growth from Bordeaux.  The flavors were of dark fruits, light vanillin and cedar from the oak and the wine was beautifully balanced and eminently drinkable.  Very exciting wines!


Aviva was doing an impersonation of, uh, Marilyn Monroe.


We had a nice array of cheeses, including one well-aged cheese which darn near melted more than me in the warm weather.

Dane was most interested in having a look at the cheeses.

And not only a look...


The Little Cheesehead.

The Two Princesses realized desserts, in the form of Cake and Ice Cream, were on the horizon.

And so we had a birthday cake for Alentine and Clemanna!

And so we lit the candles and Princesses made their wishes.


It appears Alanna is delighted and Clementine seems a bit apprehensive, as what if he wish DOES come true!?!?!

It didn't seem to matter much to Dane, though.

The cake was followed by a scoop of my homemade Nutella Gelato and a Godiva cookie.

 

Jesper was interested in a little schluck of an old Calvados he'd seen...

And this is/was exceptional!

We had little gifts for the Princesses and Alanna opened hers in record time!

And it was time to head for home...

But first Alanna needed to put her name on her jar of Nutella, lest some other member of the FitzJensen clan decide to sneak some for themselves.

And so we bid everyone a fond adieu.

 

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