May 19, 2012

The warm embrace of an old friend

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I'm back in Hong Kong for a few days, and my kind friends arranged a lunch for me... knowing that I've been missing lots of different kinds of food.  Hard to believe that it's been more than 6 months since I was last at my beloved Caprice (having a few glasses of wine earlier this year doesn't count), so I was really happy when Legolas Jr set us up with Jeremy at Caprice for some cheese.

Cheese is one of the things I miss most being in Taipei.  Selection is pretty poor, since most people don't really eat it and don't have the knowledge.  The fact that I was given some La vache qui rit spreadable wedges as part of a cheese plate at a restaurant says a lot.

We were seated in the bar area away from the main dining room, which is where guests can have a simple meal of wine and cheese.  This will soon be renovated to an expanded bar area with wine and cheese cellar.  I'm really looking forward to seeing it when it's done!

We started with these savory bites made with canelé molds… with anchovies and olives inside.  Pretty nice.  Also noticed that they removed the bottom crust.

Green pea velouté - very nicely done, with a dash of mint to make it refreshing.  I did, however, wonder why some of the peas weren't peeled… not that I was complaining, but I thought Caprice peeled ALL their peas…

Jeremy knows this crowd will take whatever he throws at us, and soon our little table had an incredible spread of artisanal cheese.  Some of us objected to the idea of a communal platter - given everyone's different consumption speeds - so we each had our own little slate.

Brillat-Savarin fermier, made with triple cream - OH-MY-GAWD!!!  Jeremy wasn't kidding when he said that this was like ice cream… The darn thing was barely solid, but simply dissolved with the temperature inside my mouth…  A little salty, and really rich (duh… triple cream…)  VERY small production of 150 pieces… We're so lucky!

Goutte - made in Lot et Garonne.  Good balance between the acidity and saltiness.

Bûche de Pyrénées - salty, a little nutty.  Worked well with the white wine.

Pavé de la Ginestarié - salty with some acidity.  Flavors are a little more intense.

2009 Pithon-Paillé Anjou Coteau des Treilles - finish was a little metallic at first.  Very ripe on the palate, and I definitely felt the alcohol burning as the wine went down the back of my throat…  A hint of honey, a little pungent, then sweet nose with white flowers.  Sebastien served us the same wine at my last cheese dinner.

Comté (4 year-old?) - this was really awesome… as if it could have been anything but…  A little bit more woody, stronger flavors.  Wonderfully delicious salt crystals…  Worked really well with the red wine.

Abbaye de Tamié - a little bitter on the finish, with definite notes of ammonia - which was neutralized by the red wine.

Saint-Marcellin - very salty, a little nutty.  I preferred the one I had in Lyon last year from Mère Richard, or even the liquefied version at my friend's house the following evening…

Époisses de Bourgogne - I forgot to ask whether this was made from lait cru, as I had read some time ago that there is now only one producer still using unpasteurized milk and everyone else's version is pasteurized.  Really ripe and salty, and pretty strong ammonia presence.

Bleu d'Auvergne fermier - made with unpasteurized milk.  I normally need something sweet to go with the blues, and we shamelessly asked for some confiture from Christine Ferber…

…and a jar of Poire Williams arrived.  Absolutely lovely.  I probably could have eaten half the jar by myself…  Perfect together with the Bleu d'Auvergne.

2009 Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage - I was so excited when Sebastien brought this bottle over, as I really love Graillot's wines.  In fact he served us the 2008 vintage of the same wine at the last cheese dinner.  What a lovely wine!  Lots of mint, herbs, potpourri… sweet fruit with floral notes.  Full-bodied.

Tête de Moine, 6 months - nice and strong, a little "stinky", and very salty.  Much better than the usual stuff which is younger.

Cabri Ariégeois - one of our absolute favorites, which didn't seem to have performed up to expectations.  Jeremy explained the reason and we were all a little sad about it…  Salty with a little acidity and light, bitter finish.

Raspberry milk chocolate; quince and hazelnut chocolate with sandalwood marshmallow; blood orange macaron - the chocolates were good, and there was just the slightest hint of sandalwood in the marshmallow.  The macaron, however, just didn't do much for me…

What an amazing way to spend a Saturday afternoon!  I have been away for far too long, and couldn't have been happier today.  For some reason, the theme song to Cheers just started playing in my head...

1 comment:

Michelle Chin said...

Cheese that feels like ice cream? I would love to try that!


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