January 23, 2011

Alsatian evening

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I received one of my favorite text messages this afternoon, which read something along the lines of "...if you are free for dinner...am making an experimental choucroute..."  I stopped what I was doing in the office, picked up my phone and immediately returned a positive response.  An invitation for dinner at Susan's is pretty hard for me to refuse...

Choucroute is a classic Alsatian dish normally eaten in winter, and is similar to pot-au-feu, cassoulet in that cheap chunks of meat are thrown into a pot together.  Here, of course, the meat is cooked with a batch of sauerkraut, which I also love.  Susan made her own sauerkraut, bought 3 kinds of sausages, and threw in a generous helping of petit salé and some potatoes.  There was also kimchi and peas on the side.

I was in heaven.  Here was everything I loved... pork sausages, pork belly, hock... all thrown in with sauerkraut.  The salt from the petit salé had been cooked into the rest of the dish, so the sauerkraut was no longer as acidic and was actually a little salty.  I helped myself to more spoonfuls of the pickled cabbage...

For dessert, we had a lovely pear tart.  It had come out a little more liquid than the chef had intended, but none of us complained.  I declined an offer of a second slice, although I was very, very tempted.

We started the evening with a flute of Louis Roederer Champagne, which is always lovely.

2005 Zind-Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Herrenweg de Turckheim - I brought this in keeping with the Alsatian theme, and it was everything I could ask for in a Gewurz.  Explosive nose of lychees and tropical sweetness, honey and a bit of marmalade.  I could imagine how ripe the grapes were that year, as there was still a good amount of sugar left even after fermentation to 15%!

What a lovely way to spend a Sunday evening... Looking forward to more text messages in the future!

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