When you are invited to someone’s home for dinner and they have prepared a meal from the different provinces of China, this is something very special. When this meal is better then any you could have in the best Chinese restaurant in NYC, you are very lucky.
The setting for the dinner was a back yard in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn with a fig tree planted in 1940.
The dinner was prepared by Roger Chen and all the descriptions of the food are his.
Appetizer — We started with some small appetizers including taramasalata with pita bread and breadsticks.
With the appetizer we had Champagne Mangin Et Fils Brut Natural made from 100% Pinot Meunier from vineyards in Leuvrigny and Moussy with limestone, clay and marl soil. During the harvest the grapes are quickly brought to the press room. After the first fermentation the wines are bottled and stored in the cellars so the second fermentation occurs. The wine is aged in the cellars for several years before being riddled by hand and disgorged. There is no dosage. They remain in the cellar for a few more months before release. It has intense effervescence and hints of quince, grapefruit, dried flowers, hazelnuts and a touch of honey.
The wines for our dinner were chosen by Tony Di Dio.
Xiao Cong Ban Doufu (scallion & tofu salad), from Shandong Province — A cool and refreshing salad with fresh tofu marinated with scallions, soy sauce and sesame oil.
Liang Ban Lian-ou (lotus root salad), from Northwestern China. Fried tofu with lotus root, red onions and edamame. Roger said that this is typically made with red chili peppers but he substituted red onions.
Dan Dan Mian (dan-dan noodles), street food from Sichuan Province. Fresh wheat noodles with ground pork, preserved vegetables, scallions and peanuts. I must have eaten 3 helpings of this.
Brittan Vineyards Sparkling Wine 2017 Brut Method Champenoise Willamette Valley, Oregon, made from 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay. The soil is a mixture of glacial deposits and volcanic material with a predominant presence of broken basalt. This is a full-bodied sparkling wine with hints of citrus fruit, lemon, white flowers and baking spice.
You Mian Jin Sai Rou (fried gluten puff stuffed with minced pork), from Shanghai. This was a sort of meat filled dumpling in a brown sauce.
Qiezi Dun Tudou (eggplant braised with potato), from Northeastern China. The eggplant and potatoes came together beautifully with a garnish of green peas.
Xihongshi Chao Jidan (tomato & scrambled eggs). Roger said that this simple dish of scrambled eggs and tomatoes is probably made in every household in China. The sauce was slightly sweet. Michele promised to make this for me at home soon.
With these we had Chablis Grand Cru “Les Clos“ 2008 Joseph Drouhin Made from 100% Chardonnay from vineyards located between Valmur on the left and Blanchot on the right. The soil is Kimmeridgian limestone with millions of embedded tiny marine fossils. The average age of the vines is 37 years. There are 8,000 vines per hectare and the training is double guyot. Biological cultivation. Harvesting is by hand. Aging is for 12 months in used barrels. The wine has hints of lemon and honey with a mineral character. This is a very impressive wine.
Dessert was Figs from the tree in the garden with creme fraiche.
The Fig Tree
Ice cream with chocolate covered orange rind was the final touch.
The rain held off and the evening was so perfect, none of us wanted it to end. A big thank you to Chef Roger for this excellent dinner and sommelier Tony for the memorable wines.