More oysters!

oyster-stew-with-trufflesSince my last oyster fest occurred on the same days as the Women’s March, one of my guests couldn’t be here so, since there was a “leftover” truffle, it’s happened again. Fortunately I was able to get more oysters though they seem to be in very short supply around Durham these days.

It was oysters poached in their liquor and black truffle and black pepper cream poured over them just as the edges curl. Immediately popped into warmed bowls. No waiting around for anything–they need to be eaten right away! Fresh briny bites of ocean with earthy black truffle, and just a hint of black pepper piquancy.

The wines  that we had today–since there were three of us–the 2013 vintage of the one we had last time, with a verdicchio (never had it before, but it was recommended by a good wine shop as likely to be good with this dish).

Domaine des Gandines, Macon-Peronne Blanc, Burgundy, 2009 vintage with the last batch of oysters just a couple weeks ago was excellent. Today it was the 2013 vintage was “fresh” and not nearly so complex as the 2009–it certainly wasn’t bad (is it possible to have a “bad” white burgundy?) but I’ll look for an older one to go with the next batch of oyster stew (if it has truffles in it).

385762The Tenuta del Cavaliere, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Marchetti, 2013  was very slightly fizzy and excellent with the oyster stew. It was the unanimous favorite of all of us of the two this evening; however, I think that my favorite so far is an older burgundy that is more complex.

We ended with a sampling of liqueurs from Brothers Vilgalys  and a tiny taste of blueberry/lavender chocolate from Chuao Chocolates. Definitely satisfied and replete!

It seems that I’m lucky enough to have found two oyster eaters who also enjoy conversing about food and wine! The makings of a perfect meal though the search for the perfect wine goes on, and oysters offer so many possibilities. There will be oysters next winter, but who knows how they will be fixed. That’s part of the pleasure–planning and then eating!

Ò¿Ó

The oysters that I had today put out much more liquid than the last batch, so I have a “leftover” to deal with: cream infused with black truffle and black pepper. I’m thinking potato soup, perhaps? Or…we’ll just see what evolves. It will be good whatever happens. And now the planning starts for next year’s oyster tradition.

 A son gôut!

..

.

Advertisements

Winter oyster tradition continues

As I’ve posted before, oysters with special wine are a Christmas and New Year’s tradition in my home. When I finally got it back together from the C. difficile, it was way past prime oyster season. But it is again prime oyster season so my thoughts are turning to oysters and wine. Eating oysters on the half-shell recently at Burger Bach (yes, they “do” excellent burgers, and oysters) really got me thinking about oysters in a very serious way. Even though I’ve not made it for either Christmas eve or New Year’s eve, I still intend to have my winter oysters. I’d arranged to share with two good friends who are also oyster lovers–but we had to reschedule first because of snow and horrendous cold, and then, again, because all the snow and cold left Durham essentially without oysters!

I’ve done some fun things with oysters: oyster and corn chowder, and a in 2013-2014, with black truffle (good friend gave me truffles) and experimented with some wines.  I liked the “surf & turf” combination so well that I’m continuing it this year as well.

I’ve started the hunt for wine for this winter’s oyster feast. So far the wines recommended are:

2011 Pouilly-Fuisse (Gilles Noblet, France)

“Gilles Noblet, Pouilly-Fuisse, Burgundy, France, 2011{sustainable} 100% Chardonnay EXOTIC FRUITS, DRIED CITRUS & WHISP OF VANILLA Thirty year old Chardonnay vines provide the heart and soul of Noblet’s Pouilly Fuissé, right from the village of Fuissé. This area was originally comprised of negociant producers and Gilles Noblet was the first in his region to independently bottle his wine under his own name. This style is racy, rich and elegant with hints of kiwi and pineapple fruits. The finish goes on and on and on… Serving Suggestion: White Burgundy is the home of Chardonnay and this one is extremely versatile. A perfect match for dishes with heavy cream sauces.”  From Wine Authorities.

2013 Macon-Peronne (Gandines, Domaine des, France)

domaine-des-gandines-macon-peronne-burgundy-france-10338034“100% Chardonnay FULL & FLAVORFUL, LEMON, HAZELNUT, CARAMEL. SERIOUS! Gandines really surprised us with this compelling, and serious White Burgundy. Fully ripe and lush, but with juicy acidity and complex minerality. This kind of power usually comes from the big boys north of the Macon in the Cotes de Beaune. Aged in enormous 3000 liter old oak barrels that soften the wine without giving it any oak flavor, it is possibly the most impressive Chardonnay available at this price! Serving Suggestion: Steamed or raw oysters. Black sea bass poached in olive oil with fresh thyme. Roast turkey with truffles or chanterelles.”  From Wine Authorities.

Tenuta del Cavaliere, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Marchetti, 2013 

385762“Verdicchio is central Italy’s most distinctive white varietal. The mineral-rich soils of the Classico Superiore sector of the Marches’ Castelli di Jesi zone – just a few miles from the Adriatic Sea – imbues the finest Verdicchios with extra complexity and a deeply etched soil signature. A radiant green-gold in the bowl, Marchetti’s Verdicchio shows all the minerally snap pea and smoky white pepper notes that we so love in the very finest Verdicchios. The wine’s smoky mineral expression yields to a fleshy core of pear and melon fruit backed by riveting acidity, a tactile mineral expression, and suggestions of green tea, grapefruit zest and sappy dried herbs. Full bodied yet balanced and elegant, Marchetti’s Verdicchio begs for rich vegetarian recipes and fish steaks. Pair it now and over the coming five years with hearty fare that calls for a bold white wine, like swordfish, fresh albacore tuna, rabbit, zucchini casseroles, white pizzas, and pastas dressed with olive oil, garlic and seasonal vegetables. Impressive Verdicchio! ” Found this one at Hope Valley Bottle Shop.

Finally, the weather is cooperating, and I’ll be eating oysters on Saturday evening. I haven’t yet decided which wine will accompany this round of oyster stew with black truffles!  I keep reading the descriptions of each and just can’t decide, but I do know that three is too many–I have to make a decision.

 

Search for a perfect wine

I’ve told you about my Christmas eve oysters with black truffle cream–and the cava that we had with them.  Well, here’s a follow-up on the wine conundrum. While it was excellent cava, it just didn’t do quite what I wanted with that particular combination.  So I headed back to Wine Authorities here in Durham for another consultation. After a lot of consultation, I came home with two wines to try.

I had enough black truffle cream left to try a repeat of the combination with different wines, and my neighbor was willing to do a repeat, too. Here’s what we tasted:

We gave some close attention to the wine as well as the oysters. Both these are excellent wines which I would definitely buy again. Both were definitely closer to what I was looking for than then cava–though I’d certainly not refuse that again (even with oysters and black truffles).

After some very serious consideration, we decided that the white burgundy worked extremely well with the oyster/truffle combination. It just seemed to flow right in with both tastes–bridging the briny oyster and the earthy truffle with the fruit.  I was not familiar with the Viré-Clessé though I do have a particular fondness for white burgundies–thank you Wine Authorities for expanding my horizons.  It is an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) for white wine in the Mâconnais subregion in Burgundy in central France. It is a wonderful wine.

The more I considered this, I thought that the Muscadet would be good with oysters alone, and perhaps with truffles alone.  Being in experimental mood, this evening I have made a simple dish of pasta, truffle oil and butter to continue the tasting experiments.

As I expected, the white burgundy is very good with the pasta–it’s not overwhelmed by the flavor and aroma of the truffle, and the fruit is a great contrast to the earthiness of the truffle; the fruit here is not as sharply contrasting as with the Muscadet citrus–but enough fruit with a mineral nature to accentuate, while blending with the woodsy truffle (that tiny hint of oak?).  Bottom line, and awesome combination. I hope there will be more of this!

The Muscadet is also excellent with the truffle pasta–in fact I think I prefer it to the burgundy with just truffle flavor and aroma–the bright, citrus and honey are a contrast to the earthiness of the truffles.  I think that it must be the notes of goat cheese and the gouda (definitely an aged gouda) that tie in with the truffle’s woodsy, earthy flavor.  The citrus then cuts the richness of the butter–a very delightful contrast. Bottom line here, an awesome combination again.

I can’t honestly say which of these I’d choose to go with something featuring truffle–I’d have to decide after considering the other foods served–this was a very unadorned taste test–just pasta and truffle!

Thanks to my little experiment of oysters with black truffle cream, I’ve been introduced to three very special wines–two which were good but just not quite right, and an exquisite burgundy which seemed to bridge the gap between the briny oyster and the woodsiness of the truffle.

Unfortunately, I don’t have oysters to hand so I can’t taste these two with just oysters, which seems the next logical step….though I’m sure both will be excellent with just oysters alone.

This was such a striking flavor combination that it’s very likely to be the new Christmas Eve tradition in my house.

Now as for the wine?  Will I be satisfied with a white burgundy, or will the search continue?

A son goût!