Friends who live close by invited us to spend a Sunday afternoon watching an opera and having lunch. What a great way to send a long Sunday afternoon! The opera was a 1976 version of La Boheme with Luciano Pavarotti and Renata Scotto.
During acts 1 and 2, we had appetizers.
These were toasts with roasted peppers and marinated anchovies.
Then we had spicy vegan empanadas filled with roasted Korean pumpkin, miso and ginger. They were very tasty and are just one of a new line of vegan foods designed by well known vegan chef Adam Sobel. They can be ordered on line at the Cinnamon Snail by Nuchas.
Champagne Cuvée Réserve Pol Roger NV made from equal parts of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay from 30 different crus. Once harvested the grapes are delicately pressed. The must undergoes a first debourbage (settling) at the press house and a second at the winery. The grapes rest at 6C for 24 hours. Alcoholic fermentation takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel vats at a low temperature, with the production of each village kept separate until the final blend. Malolactic fermentation takes place. After tasting, blending and bottling, there is the secondary fermentation (prise de mosse) and the maturing for four years. The blend has 25% reserve wines. It has hints of pear, mango and apricot with a note of brioche and a touch of orange peel.
Because of the predominance of red grapes in the blend, this was the perfect Champagne to stand up to the spicy appetizers.
During the first two acts, a classic beef stew had been simmering on the stove. It reminded us of memorable meals we have eaten in France.
The stew, made with carrot, onions, peas and other vegetables was served over buttered noodles.
Crozes – Hermitage Jaboulet “Les Jalets” 2006 made from 100% Syrah from a 6 ha vineyard with 25 year old vines.. The soil is sandy mixed with large smooth stones called “jalets” in old French. The grapes are destemmed, crushed and fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel vats. The wine is then aged in vats and bottle before release. The wine has hints of blackcurrants, black cherry, blackberry, and plum with a touch of licorice and leather and a savory note.
The last time we had had dinner with these friends, this was their back-up bottle. We didn’t get to drink it, but I had said that I hoped they would reserve this bottle for me, as it is one of my favorites. Not only did they do this but they also made the stew which was perfect with the wine. The dark fruit flavors of the Crozes-Hermitage were complemented by the savory richness of the beef.
A fresh salad with walnuts and nuggets of blue cheese followed.
The opera had ended and it was time for desert. Homemade Prune and Armagnac Ice Cream was a wonderful finale deserving of many curtain calls! This is something we always look for in France and it should be better known here — truly adult ice cream.
A glass of Calvados warmed us up for the short walk home. Bravi! to our hosts for another superb meal.