Daniel Grouse Dinner (albeit, belated)
Just wanted to provide a quick shout out to the team at Daniel for the Scottish grouse dinner they held about a week back.
Starting with delicious langoustines and escargot canapes, and some welcome champagne, the meal felt like being a guest at Daniel house. The people were extremely friendly, the hosts entertaining, and the food and wine, as expected, was delicous.
Wild Scottish Rabbit Terrine with Purple Mustard, Young Vegetables and Tarragon Gelee:
w/ Karthauserhof Riesling Spatlese, Ruwer 2002
Known for their work with terrines and pates, this didn't disappoint and to my memory, included some mushrooms and foie gras in the rabbit terrine and the wine pairing worked perfectly. The young radishes on the plate made it look like a piece of art, as much as it did food.
Oven Baked Scottish Blue Lobster with Curried Wild Rice
Hearts of Palm , Sea Bean Tempura and Myoga Shavings
w/ Domaine Monpertuis Chateuaneuf-du-Pape Blanc, Rhone 2008
Who would have thought that such succulent and flavorful lobster could been found across the pond. The flavors of the near perfectly cooked lobster, along with the accompanying bisque, reflected the quality of the ingredients procured for this event.
The only thing I wasn't crazy about was the tempura sea bean, which seemed out of place, although not a huge deal.
Grilled Scottish Salmon with Zucchini Gremolata, Iberico Ham Shavings and Red Ribbon Sorrel
with Domaine Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rhone 2005
While this was not my favorite dish, it was still well executed and perfectly cooked, although it was not nearly as impressive as the other savories, feeling somewhat "expected" and "tired" in context. That being said, there were no flaws, and with the 2nd Rhone wine in three courses, I was more than enjoying the meal at the midway point.
Roasted Scottish Grouse with Brussel Sprouts Fondue
JJ Chave Selections St Joseph, "Offerus", Rhone 2009
Not knowing what to expect from Grouse, Daniel and company explained that in order to hunt this game bird in Scotland, it costs $50,000 to take out 8 guns hunting for the day! They also explained the high red blood cell count with its need to fly up to 60 miles an hour at the blink of an eye, which explained the extreme gaminess in the dish that followed.
Tasting like liver, it was an unexpected taste, but cooked beautifully over a well conceived brussel sprouts fondue. At first, everyone was surprised by how potent the flavor was (I think most of us were expecting it to be more like squab) but soon, we were all licking our plates clean, appreciating the perfection of the quality of the ingredients and cooking methods for such a difficult protein to cook. After the initial surprise, the flavor was incredible.
Soon to follow was a cheese plate with Blackberry Farm Singing Brook, Capriole Farm Mont St Francis, and Twig Farm Goat Tomme. What stole the show in this course was the pairing of the sheeps milk cheese with the Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva Blanco, Rioja 1996, which brought out the nuttiness of the cheese and was a perfect pairing in every way, leaving both the wine and the cheese better having met.
Finally, we were treated to an OUTSTANDING dessert. The delicate Wild Blueberry and Fromage Blanc Vacherin was light, but had amazing texture, fresh wild blueberries, and what our table believed to be a blueberry "caviar". It was paired with the delicious Chateau Pajzos 5 Puttonyos, Tokaji 2000 and was a great finish to a memorable meal.
Having already prepaid for the event ($350 all inclusive), we also received some madeleines and petits fours, as well as some french macarons and a can of "fresh tea" in a take home bag.
I will be back for the game dinner at the end of October!