Friday, December 28, 2012

A White Christmas

Snow for Christmas? Sure, they sing about it in all the carols, but let's face it: here in Virginia, January and February are our snow months. [So somebody splain to me why it snowed October 27th last year. Global warming?] I can't remember the last White Christmas here in Virginia; that's how rarely it happens.

As a rule, I don't look at the weather forecast very often. As a restaurateur, it just depresses me. Any hint of snow in the forecast and our business is going to hell. So what a crazy surprise on Christmas Eve when Ann and I got out of the theatre mid-afternoon from watching the so-so Hobbit to see it snowing hard, hard, hard with a couple inches already on the ground! Our Christmas Day was bracketed by snow the day before and the day after this year, with more on the way tonight.

The Juncos Love the Thistle Feeder
So what better weather to sit near the fire and indulge in our annual ritual of sparkling wine and caviar? This year I picked a really awesome Virginia sparkler from Thibaut-Janisson down near Charlottesville, the Brut de Chardonnay. I am not sure that if I tasted blind that I could tell this from Champagne. Yes, people, it is that good and it comes from Virginia! We always splurge and get 250 grams of a domestic paddlefish caviar and in the ultimate display of gluttony, eat it directly from the tin! And so we did this year.

T-J and Caviar, our Christmas Ritual
And later in the day, we opened a new cheese. I paid way, way too much money for this cheese for Ann because of the story behind it. Antonio Carpenedo wanted to make a unique and memorable cheese in honor of his marriage to his wife Giuseppina in 1961 to celebrate their 50th in 2011. I bought the cheese because this is a sweet sentiment and I wanted to see what kind of cheese a master cheesemaker would make for such a special and once in a lifetime event.

The result, Blu '61, is a blue cow's milk cheese from Treviso, soaked in Passito di Raboso wine and topped with wine-soaked cranberries. Definitely something different!

According to the sales literature, the cheese was supposed to be:

"Soft and creamy, piquant, fruity, sweet, salty, elegant, harmonious, aromatic, and heady. You will remember where you were the first time you taste this, it is that memorable."

Yeah, not so much. Our cheese doesn't have any blue and the paste is still kind of chalky and underripe. I have never been so disappointed in a cheese in my whole life. You win some and you lose some. I lost some today.

But Antonio and Giuseppina, Felice 50° Anniversario!

Blue '61: Quite the Story!

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