A Feast of Burgundy on French Election Day

Burgundy Dinner

On the day of an exciting election in France, we had our friends Kurt & Debbie over for a feast from Burgundy. 

I love the cuisine of Burgundy, and not just the celebrated wine. When we toured France in 2015, we drove from Lyon in the south to Dijon in the north and back again, through Beaujolais and the Cotes de Nuit to the Cotes d'Or.

We drove past vineyards large and small, with gorgeous old manor-houses and rustic outbuildings and other structures that made no sense to us. Among the vineyards on hills poorly suited for grapes were farms producing beautiful produce.  

Burgundy is known for food of all kinds. The inhabitants of the medieval gray stone buildings of Dijon in the north are fond of cheeses, pork, mushrooms, cream, and of course mustard.

At the southern end, just past Beaujolais, is Lyon, the culinary capital of France. There is a long tradition of courtly fare, but for this feast, I focused on the well-known hearty country fare. 

Beef Bourguignon

We enjoyed: 

Beals Cocktail

Beals Cocktail

This is an interesting and tasty old cocktail with a Scotch base. Don't use a fancy single-malt Scotch here! The bartenders who mixed the Affinity didn't know about single-malt Scotch whiskey in the 1920s.

This is not a strong cocktail, so it's a good one for a party where you can relax and have a few. 

I was long suspicious of Scotch-based cocktails, until I realized that I was not expected to waste my precious Lagavulin 16-year! Now I use Famous Grouse for these old-school Scotch cocktails and it has opened a whole new chapter for me.

A Three-Michelin-Star Dinner to Remember

Original 1900 Michelin Guide

A century ago, in the early days of motoring as a pastime, the young Michelin tire company started a booklet of restaurants to visit along one's travels in France. A restaurant of note was listed with a star, a restaurant worth a detour got two stars, and a restaurant worth a trip all on its own was awarded the rare and coveted three Michelin stars. The idea caught on, and now many decades later, those Michelin stars are big business. 

Happy Anniversary at Jean Georges!

For our twentieth wedding anniversary, we took a romantic weekend in the Big Apple, including dinner at Daniel and a lunch at Jean Georges. The former once had three Michelin stars but now boasts only two. The latter has had three stars for many years. On the other hand, Daniel is the darling of TripAdvisor and Yelp! so maybe the celebrated M. Boulud doesn't need those Michelin stars!

As for us, we agreed that Daniel was an experience maybe worth a detour (but not a $500 detour!).

Pumpkin Bisque

Pumpkin BisqueCold weather is soup weather, especially soups of the rib-sticking variety. 

This is a tasty accompaniment to many fall and winter dishes. You can use canned pumpkin, but roasted pumpkin has a different and (I think) superior flavor. When sugar pumpkins are available, they are inexpensive and very delicious. I encourage you to use them if you can.

This recipe uses sampe as a thickener (see the notes). I think it brings a great flavor and texture, but if you can't get sampe, don't fret. The recipe is very forgiving, and it rewards exploration.  

Old Colony Club Twelfthnight 2017

Le Grand Aioli

The Old Colony Club of Plymouth hosts a magnificent Twelfthnight Gala on the Saturday closest to January 6th, the twelfth night of Christmas. These events pack the house and we set out the finest goodies!

We enjoyed a series of courses over the evening, with different themese to each of three rooms and passed hors d'ouevres in between the courses.

Here's what we had:


Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog (California), "Red Cow" Parmigiano-Reggiano (Italy), Brillat-Savarin and Brie (both France), Cabot two-year aged Cheddar (Vermont)



a beautiful green and white assembly in the Red Room, and a magnificent Le Grand Aioli in the Snug

Cold Poached Salmon



Pate en Croute

Pate en CroutePate en Croute is nothing more than a pate baked in a crust, but it looks fabulous! The first trick is to find a mold - after that, the rest is easy.

All you do is line the mold with pastry and then bake the pate. The melted fat stays inside, topped up with aspic. You can make this with the Pate de Campagne but I think the pastry treatment deserves a finer pate like the one below.


Type of Post: 
What's on my Plate?
a large black truffle (Tuber melanosporum)

These days, truffles are paradoxically ubiquitous and exceedingly rare, and it's easy to spend good money on the wrong thing.

Truffles also lose their awesome flavor very fast if they are not used immediately or stored properly. That investment is easily lost. 

Here's what I have learned.

The first thing to know is that there are several kinds of truffles. The grand old recipes of Europe normally call for only two varieties: 

Algonquin Cocktail

Algonquin Cocktail, as made at the Blue Bar in the Algonquin Hotel

The Algonquin is named for a venerable grand hotel in Manhattan, luncheon spot for a famed circle of writers in the 1920s and 1930s. The lore is interesting, and well-documented, so I won't repeat it here, but I do encourage you to look it up!

This is a simple potion made interesting by the inclusion of unsweetened pineapple juice.

The pineapple juice does not have to be a stopper - I have an ice cube tray that makes 1" cubical ice cubes, of volume 1 ounce. So I fill some of the cubes with pineapple juice and I can have an Algonquin whenever I am in a literary mood!

Puritan Cocktail

Puritan CocktailThis is a very old formula. 

I had long thought that the complex herbaceous audacity of green Chartreuse would be a perfect match for a gin of great character. Recent experimental evidence indicates a clear need for further research...

I really want to try this with Barr Hill Gin and with Uncle Val's Botanical Gin.  

Jambon Persille

Jambon Persille

This is a specialty of Burgundy. It has a light, sparkling flavor that dances in your mouth as the jelly melts, full of wonderful flavors!

I read about the Jambon Persille in Jane Grigson's Charcuterie long ago, and I wanted to try it ever since. Then last year while touring Burgundy on our big vacation, I got the opportunity to have it for lunch in Dijon! 

Once I knew how it was supposed to be, I could make it with confidence. Here's my recipe. 

Syndicate content