January 15, 2013

What you don't get in Taipei

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An old friend is in town from Taipei and called me out for a quick dinner, and I was happy to entertain him now that I'm back on my turf… I was struggling to come up with a place to take him, so I asked him what he wanted to have.  The answer?  "Something I don't get in Taipei."  Within moments, I started the walk towards the Four Seasons Hotel…

Our destination, of course, was my beloved Caprice.  And what, pray tell, would I introduce to my friend that he can't get in Taipei?  Why, cheese, of course!

Alright, so Taipei isn't that much of a culinary backwater.  It does have a few places that sells a small but reasonable selections of cheese.  But when L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon Taipei can only manage to come up with the same sorry two slices of cheese time and again (Brie and Fourme d'Ambert), you couldn't possibly hope to come close to the quality and selection that's available here…

We started with a charcuterie / ham platter.  The thin saucisson was sweet and full of flavors and fatty goodness; the chorizo was likewise yummy.  The star was of course jamón ibérico, which has been aged for 38 months.  Nice depth of flavors, with that sweetness in the fat that comes from all the acorns the pigs fed on during the final months of their lives.

We weren't thinking of drinking, but Jeremy decided to send us "small glasses" of 2009 Méo-Camuzet Hautes-Côtes de Nuits Clos Saint-Philibert.  I never realized that Méo makes white wines, but apparently this is a very small plot with a small production.  Buttery, ripe and sweet.  Very easy to drink, and indeed worked well with the charcuterie.  Many thanks to Jeremy and team for this.

As usual I asked for a little bit of everything, except les bleus...  Wasn't sure that my friend could handle it... and wasn't really in the mood for it myself.

Beaufort - this was very young and made just last summer.  Very light in salt content, and generally sweeter with more acidity, making the flavors more vibrant.  Really enjoyable as a "starter".

Lozenge Sandrine - made from goat's milk, this was relatively mild at first, a little savory, then gradually got stronger in taste.

Selles-sur-Cher - still on goat's milk, this was thick and rich, very creamy, and slightly acidic.

Brin d'Amour - this was really rich and ripe, soft and creamy, and acidic on the palate.  Much riper and more ready to serve than what I had on new year's eve.  Love that herbal crust.

Comté, millésime 2008 - made in mid-2008 so this is now 4½ years old.  Nice and nutty, a little salty but not overpowering.

Morbier - nice and creamy, and stuck to my tongue a little.

Mont d'Or - ooooh this was one RIPE.  Wonderfully strong, and a little bitter.  I wish I could have had a big dinner spoon and just drink this...

A pretty happy meal for me, and I think my friend enjoyed himself.  You most certainly couldn't hope to find in Taipei the selection we had tonight... which makes me glad I'm back in Hong Kong.

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