Bonjour Mes Amis,
Since I don’t work Saturdays, I wish you all bonne Saint Valentin.
“Wine and cheese are ageless companions, like aspirin and aches, or June and moon, or good people and noble ventures …” -M.F.K. Fisher
Smoked Duck Salad with Walnuts & Raspberries by Marcia Kiesel
1/2 pound Grimaud Farms smoked Muscovy duck breast—skin and fat removed and reserved, breast thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, very finely chopped
3 tablespoons walnut oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces frisée lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces (6 cups)
3 cups packed torn Boston lettuce
1 cup raspberries
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the duck skin and fat in a pie plate and bake for about 15 minutes, until crisp. Drain on paper towels, then break into pieces.
Meanwhile, spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast for 8 minutes; coarsely chop.
In a large bowl, mix the vinegar with the mustard and shallot. Gradually whisk in the walnut and vegetable oils. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add the frisée, Boston lettuce and walnuts and toss to coat. Top the salad with the raspberries, sliced duck breast and cracklings and serve.
SWEET VALENTINE’S GIFTS FOR COOKS & FRANCOPHILES!
Bovetti Crystallized Rose/Violette Chocolat Bars $9.49
Better than a bouquet of flowers? Definitely tastier! Made by a fair trade organization in France… The Rose was picked as one of the top ten chocolate bars in the world by Gayot.
Pok Pok Thaan $11.99 5 lb log
Pok Pok’s Thaan is the Thai equivalent of binchotan. My husband & I fell in love with Yakitori made with this special long-burning charcoal–restaurants in Japan advertise by displaying the charcoal outside. Thaan charcoal is natural, Thai-Style binchotan extruded log charcoal. It is a long burning, clean and natural alternative to commercial charcoal briquettes. It is made sustainably from orchard grown rambutan fruit wood, which imparts a very mild flavor, letting your grilled food speak for themselves. Compared to black charcoal, Binchotan will burn many times longer and when finishing grilling, you should extinguish the charcoal so you can use it again.
I begged our distributor to bring some in because buying it online turned out to be super-expensive due to the cost of shipping.
Jean Vier Bread Basket $59
This ingenious bread basket was woven in the Basque country. Made of linen & cotton, it has a removable pouch containing Basque cherry pits. You microwave the pouch for 2 minutes, place it in the cloth basket et Voila! Pull the drawstring & your bread stays warm.
CHEESE OF THE WEEK
Roquefort Papillon Black Label $22.99 lb
Roquefort is not just something to put in your salad dressing. Papillon’s black label sets it apart from the rest as the highest quality. This sweet & spicy blue is made with raw sheep’s milk and is spectacular with Sauternes.
White Toque Escargot Bourgogne dozen $11.99
Made in one of Burgundy’s oldest snail factories. Wild Helix snails are cooked in an aromatic bouillon, frozen in-shell with snail butter, ready to bake. Pop these in the oven & your kitchen will be perfumed with garlicky goodness.
Miraval Rose 2013, Provence $25.99
One of our customers loved this so much he bought two cases…
“(made from cinsault, grenache, syrah and rolle): Pale orange. Fresh tangerine, strawberry and white flowers on the fragrant, mineral-accented nose. Silky and precise, offering tangy red fruit flavors that are lifted and sharpened by a white pepper nuance. Finishes clean, nervy and long, with excellent clarity and lingering minerality. This suave wine has the power to work with rich foods and the energy to give pleasure by itself.” -90 points, Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar
Chateau d’Arlay Macvin du Jura Blanc, $38
Jura wines are fascinating… 50% Chardonnay, 50% Savgnin with 1/3 marc-brandy, matured in oak for 3 years. This region lies between Burgundy & Switzerland: “a tiny wine growing region with huge personality”. Made in a similar process to sherry, under a flor-like strain of yeast. Hazelnut, raisin, tea & honeysuckle flavors lend itself to pairing with chicken in a Jura cream sauce or trout with almonds.
“Intense, unctuously textured, full-bodied effort revealing a slight sweetness and loads of glycerin because of its white liqueur component. It is nearly impossible to describe these wines other than to say they are very intense, wonderful in a freakish way, and should be show-stoppers at any dinner party.” – Wine Advocate, 94 points!
If ever there was a wine that loved chocolate, this is it. Called ‘the French cousin of port’, Banyuls is a Grenache-based fortified wine made in the Languedoc-Roussillon.
Les Clos de Paulilles Banyuls Rimage 2009 $19.99
“…begins with nice aromas of dense blackberry, vanilla, plum, licorice and a little cinnamon. The wine tastes of sweet blackberry jam, caramel and vanilla and features a good silky texture plus a thick and rich mouthfeel. It ends with a nice burst of spice on the delicious and long finish which has lingering chocolate and blackberry notes. This one tastes similar to Port, but perhaps a little softer. Really just a delicious dessert wine that is simply decadent with a good dark chocolate dessert.” -Reverse Wine Snob
Chapoutier Banyuls 2008 $25.99
“This satiny grenache noir is filled with sweet cherry flavors – from the dark flesh to the almond-flavored pit. It’s fresh and concentrated without the least bit of jamminess, hints of hay and stony minerality keeping it true to the locality. For a square of dark chocolate – nothing more is needed. ” -91 points, Wine & Spirits
Domaine la Tour Vielle Banyuls Reserva $28.99
35% Grenache, 35% Grenache Gris, 30% Carignan from vineyards overlooking the sea, constantly exposed to fierce winds.
“Over the past quarter century, La Tour Vieille has built up an impressive reputation, and their most recent releases demonstrate that they are among the elite estates of Roussillon. The late-bottled La Tour Vieille Banyuls Reserva leads with cocoa powder, cardamom, vanilla and caramel, comes to the palate with an unusual combination of candied raspberry, chocolate, and brown spices, and finishes with impressive persistence…” -Wine Advocate
Domaine Huet le Haut Lieu Sec 2013, Vourvray $29.99
This wine is a sheer miracle. In 2013, Vouvray was pummeled by Mother Nature with severe Spring frosts & a fluke hailstorm on June 17th. Berthome’s team managed tiny yields of perfect grapes, nevertheless.
“This is very expressive, with chutney, warmed apple, piecrust, orange blossom and honeysuckle notes all woven together and carrying through the quinine-fueled finish. Shows superb density and length for the vintage. Best from 2015 through 2022.” 92 points, Wine Spectator
Vins de Vienne Les Barcillants 2010, Cornas
“This is powerfully rendered, with dark ganache, pastis, plum sauce and blackberry pâte de fruit notes, given definition and drive from the well-embedded accents of charcoal and briar that course through the finish. Shows serious, tongue-coating intensity without becoming tiring. Best from 2014 through 2026”-94 points, Wine Spectator