French Dinner Party

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At the beginning of the month I received a phone call from a gentleman inquiring about hosting a French-themed dinner party in his home. I asked him about his “vision” for the evening, allergies & food dislikes he or his guests might have, and then I created some menu choices for him and sent them via e-mail for he and his wife to review. I followed up with him a couple days later to make sure he’d received the e-mail and he told me that they’d been looking at other chefs, but decided to hire me. (That’s always a great feeling!) After a few days of discussing the menu items and the flow for the evening, my clients decided on their final menu.

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French Dinner Party 6.13.15

My brother-in-law, Jimmy,  is a wine representative with Glazers Distributors. I often turn to him for wine pairing advice to pass along to my clients. For this event, at the very last moment, I convinced him to come along to the dinner party with me to introduce each wine course after I introduced the food course. What a treat for everyone!

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Bread Basked for Charcuterie

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Aurelien Verdet Vosne-Romanee Burgundy

Jimmy’s notes about this pairing: “This is a fairly new product in the famous Burgundy Region of France. The 2012 vintage is exceptionally rated at 94 points. Comprised of 100% Pinot Noir, you will find fresh fruit (Red Berry & Plum), subtle minerality & acidity will pair nicely with meats of all sorts.

After all the guests had arrived and nibbled on the charcuterie, they were invited to the dining room. The dining room portion of the dinner party started with a St. Agur and Beet Verrine.

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First course at the table (St. Agur and Beet Verrine)

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St. Agur and Beet Verrine

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Veuve Clicquot “Yellow Label” Brut









Jimmy’s Wine Pairing Notes: On the nose you will detect aromas of fresh bread and vanilla. This is a full-bodied, rich, deep champagne with ripe apple flavors and a long creamy finish.

3rd Course:

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Seared Diver Scallops with Champagne Beurre Blanc & Caviar, atop a Potato Pancake


Moet Imperial Brut








Jimmy’s Notes: The vibrant intensity of green apple and citrus fruit on the nose carries over to the fast of delicious white-fleshed fruits (pear, peach, apple.)

4th Course, a little respite for the palate:

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Lemon Sorbet


Moet Ice Imperial (served over ice in a RED wine glass)








Jimmy’s Notes: On the nose you will find the powerful aroma of tropical fruits (mango, guava) moving in the taste of sweet caramel and quince jelly, refreshing acidity of grapefruit and ginger.

Meanwhile, in the kitchen, I was removing chicken (I searched EVERYWHERE for duck on Friday, and just couldn’t find duck legs, so we made a command decision to substitute chicken legs) from the sous vide and crackling skin with my blow torch.

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Blowtorch: don’t leave home without it!

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Getting crispy skin on the chicken legs after they were removed from their long bath in duck fat and seasonings in the Sous Vide.










5th Course:

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Chicken Confit (cooked in duck fat in the Sous Vide), Duck Fat Roasted Yukon Gold Potato Rounds, Haricots Verts with Shallots and Beurre Blanc, topped with a Frisee Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette


Chandon Etoile Rose








Jimmy’s Notes: Fresh aromas of plum, raspberry, and nutmeg. These aromas follow through on the palate and are layered with subtle and delicate flavors of cocoa powder. This sparkling Wine from the Carneros region in California is a prime example of how Champagne & Sparkling Wines can be paired with even the richest, and complex of meals….such as Duck Confit.

6th Course:

Belletoile Brie, Comte St. Antoine, Raw Milk Cottonwood Cheddar

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Cheese Plate


Veuve Clicquot Rose








Jimmy’s Notes: This Champagne is elegant and sensual. Notes of raspberry, wild strawberry, and cherry lead in to a touch of dried fruits and pastry.

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Rise, babies, rise. My chocolate soufflés in the oven

While the guests were slowly tasting the cheeses, I was in the kitchen rapidly whisking egg whites and folding them in to a melted chocolate and yolk mixture for the grande finale.  You know I was happy, happy when I turned the oven light on to see this.


7th Course:

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Chocolate Souffle with Rum Sauce and Raspberries


Moet Nectar Imperial Rose








I neglected to capture a picture of the final plated course.

Jimmy’s notes: Intense ripe berries (wild strawberry, red currant and black currant) on the nose, leads into nutmeg and caramel in the mouth.

Having Jimmy accompany us to this dinner was truly an incredible added bonus. I’d like to see this repeated for future dinner parties. From the chef point of view, I enjoyed this dinner tremendously, and I didn’t even get to sit down and eat! I know that the guests thoroughly enjoyed the meal and had a fantastic evening.