Saturday, December 22, 2007

Altro che Napa Valley....

Last week Lucas and I organized a wine and cheese tasting party at our place. Inspired by another home-made beer tasting party, we thought: why spending so much money to go to a wine tasting, when we can have it at our place? So we invited a lot of friends over, and asked them to bring a bottle of wine or a piece of cheese they thought was inspiring, and we ended up with a nice collection of bottles and cheese to try altogether!
Lucas and I went to 'The Cheeseboard' here in Berkeley to get our cheese. I'd never been there, and I loved it! These people have cheese from all over the world, and the best thing is that they are very nice and they let you try anything you ask for. It's a good place also if you don't know anything about cheese: you just ask if you can try, for example, some cheese coming from Italy and made with goat milk, and they'll give you a few different pieces to taste and then you make your choice! And also, they are perfectly fine at cutting a very thin slice if that's all you want to buy. This last thing would not happen in Italy... Although, of course, the prices would be much lower there.. :) In any case, it's a very nice store, strongly recommended to anyone who comes to Berkeley!
So, we got a piece of 'Tome de Savoy', some gorgonzola 'Galbani', some delicious cheese from Wisconsin (recommended by our server), and some pecorino toscano. This was the fruit of a half an hour of a few tastings... We also got some brie and feta cheese from our usual 'Berkely Bowl'. For the party, I prepared a few appetizers, so in the end this was our table:
There were crackers with feta cheese, almonds and honey...
.. and others with brie, avocado and radish, and at last with gorgonzola, radicchio and walnuts.
Then I made some salad boats with a mixture of ricotta, radish, olives and pepper flakes:
And of course, I baked some bread to eat with all the good cheese. There was my usual biova, and another experiment with whole wheat flour, spelt flakes, pistachio nuts and walnuts.
The selection of wines was very nice, although mostly red wines. This whole tasting experience was a lot of fun. If you have the opportunity, I'd recommend trying it at your place!
To end the party, I made an almond cake, to eat with an Italian spumante that we bought:
This cake was actually delicious, so I'm going to give the recipe in the next post.

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