Yeah....that happened. Don't ask me how but via the beauty of the twittersphere, I became the lucky recipient of a goody bag of meaty goodness courtesy of Rocky Mountain Organic Meats. Chief Operating Officer Rod Morrison liked the way I wrote and offered to provide his delectable product if I would agree to create some pairings.
Who was I to say no?
When I told my co-worker Matt of this development, he declared: " You just got the best type of schwag: Meat schwag!" Aptly put. I am completely rusty in the kitchen department and didn't want to let this bounty go to waste, so I recruited some assistance to help me make the most of it: fellow HubSpotter (and former chef) Matt, his lovely wife Cathy, their blogger pal Katrina, and neighbor (and professional photographer) CE, who contributed all of the non-instagram pics in this post. Grazie Mille!!!
If that's not a big girl, grown-up dinner party I don't know what is!
We started off nibbling on the most incredible honey-smoked home-made beef jerky (what can I say? I am a recovering fat kid at heart - determined to spoil my dinner.) Unctuous, rich, chewy and thoroughly addictive. Forget slim-jims (yes, I went there!). While Matt was in the kitchen, Cathy and Katrina and I chatted.
- 1st course: Cold Summer Sausage with Traditional Accompaniments with Leitz "Eins Zwei Dry" Trocken Riesling.
- Slices of cold summer sausage with cornichons, whole grain mustard, sliced heirloom cherry tomatoes. I was originally planning on pairing this with a super pungent, gooey, melty Camembert style cheese, however the Leitz still held its own against the earthy, spicy, flavor of the sausage. Additionally the low-toned acidity of the seasonal tomatoes really underscored the brightness of this wine. I was happy to be in the company of fellow Riesling lovers, who dug the wine on its own and in conjunction with the first course. The wine itself is evocative of granite crushed fresh fruit salsa: fleshy white peaches, ripe mangoes, a touch of chervil and chive, and just a hint of smoky, dark mineral. Gorgeous!
- 2nd Course: Hand-Chopped Steak Tartare with 1996 Pierre Boureé Santenay, 1er Cru Gravieries
- Lest you think I have gotten snotty on you, this bottle of heart-stoppingly gorgeous Bourgogne, was actually purhased for $15 at auction. The morals of the story: 1) Purchasers can get some tremdendous steals at auction (thank you Skinner Auctioneers & Lower Falls Wine Company!) 2) Red Burgundy rocks! It is the kind of beverage which provokes contemplation and discusion. (If you don't believe me, feel free to let me know, and I will demonstrate). The coolest thing about pouring this particular bottle is that it required decanting. As red wines age the tannins precipitate out of the juice itself leaving gritty sediment. The only way to remove it is through decanting: keeping the bottle perfectly horizontal, allowing the sediment to settle in the neck of the bottle, and then pour off the rest of the wine into another container. A lightsource beneath the neck of the bottle ensures that all gunk stays put. Matt prepped the strip steak and created a stellar hand-made steak tartar with mustard, shallots and cognac (check out that handiwork!). The wine itself was gorgeous: essences of dried, tart bing cherries, a whiff of bacon fat (think that Sunday morning scent that drags you out of bed nose first), dusty truffles, dried rosehips & lavender: the texture was lean, light & lacy yet silky with a bracing, savory acidity. If want more wine-porn ping me here. This is the style of wine that made me want to be a sommelier: complex, elegant and evocative.
At this point in we patched COO Rod in for a Skype video conference, enlightening us with all
sorts of facts and figures in regards to the meat industry in this country, organic or otherwise. He even cracked a bottle of wine, and drank for the duration of the evening. We peppered him with questions about his philosophy, product and the competition and he never lacked for an answer or an invite out to his ranch in Wyoming.
I was torn over which bottles would pair best with the next three courses, and the verdict was split among diners. Therefore, I am going wine first, then food (as in blogging as in life).
- 2008 Roero Barbera d'Asti and 2005 Chateau Senailhac Bordeaux Superieur
- Two different schools of thought in the wine world.
- The Barbera d'Asti is a Piedmontese stalwart: light and almost sheer with a racy acidity and bright fresh fruit. This variety always creates the msot under-rated and food friendly of wine, and they offer consistenyl high value. If you see a bottle grab it.
- If this were a John Hughes movie Barbera is Molly Ringwald: gorgeous, sophisticated and underrated. Yet after 10 years in the wine industry, I can never predict Bordeaux: Will it be Blaine or Steff from Pretty in Pink? Brusque, dense and overpowering or smooth, silky and complex? Turns out we hit the jack pot (thank you Central Bottle) The Cheatux Senhailac rocked the house with its cassis fruit, earthy undertones, fragrant tobaco and velvetty tannins.
- Grilled, Thyme-Marinated Burger, Parmeggiano Reggiano, Locally Baked Buns, House-Made Ketchup
- This might just have been the best burger I have ever had: succulent, herbal and juicy.
- Hotdogs with house-made Cucumber Relish
- Well not so much made in house, but made by Cathy's auntie, and a deliciously fresh accompaniment to the richness of the hotdogs.
- Filet Mignon with Perigourdine Sauce:
- A classic French red-wine reduction made with Martilde Bonarda from Oltrepo Pavese. The meat was cooked to a perfect Medium-Rare - the kind of execution Ruth's Chris just dreams about.
The final pairing of the evening was somewhat of a departure for me, and took a little crowd sourcing to determine.
- Bon Cha Vietnamese Meatballs & Crisp Six Point Lager
- The lighting had already departed by this point in the evening (as had our staff photographer, and instagram just didnt do the final dish justice). The meatballs, were prepared with a marinade of garlic, coconut water, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime and chiles. The final dish was a brothy soup bursting with scallions, mint, lime leaves and cilantro - not your mama's pho! I wracked my brain trying to find a wine to pair with this traditional Vietnamese dish, but all roads pointed not to wine but to beer. The Six Point's Brewery The Crisp Lager, provided a stellar counterpoint to this light and spicy yet meaty dish.
The festivities had gone far too late for a school night, but it was well worth it: fine food and perfectly paired beverages are truly only as good as the company. I was truly blessed on this particular evening to be surrounded by such a curious, talented, passionate collection of individuals. What was the most memorable evening you have had recently: what did you have and with whom?