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Category Archives: Cooking with Beer
Over the past three years, we’ve been lucky to have personally celebrated the Coast-to-Coast Toast™ at some of the best restaurants in Chicago. The restaurants so far could not be more different-we’ve raised a glass at modern beer-hall the Publican, sipped on deconstructed beer cocktails at the inventive Aviary, and dug into Portuguese-Belgian inspired cuisine at Fat Rice-which goes to show how approachable and diverse our portfolio is.
Each year we hold a signature event in Chicago to focus on an aspect of the specialty beer experience. This year the spotlight was on beer and food pairings and especially on the suitability of our uber-food friendly beers to spicy Asian cuisine. Abe Conlon and Adrienne Lo opened Fat Rice in 2013 in the Logan Square neighborhood to great acclaim. Bon Appetit named them number 4 of the top 10 new restaurants for 2013. We’re proud to call them friends and to share their wonderfully creative and delicious menu with you. Please recall that in the realm of beer gastronomy we are a trusted resource and authority. The 2013 dinner followed up a night of the art of the beer cocktail at Aviary in 2012 (best bar of the year at Tales of the Cocktail), and Publican in 2011 whose chef-owner won best chef of the year in the James Beard Foundation Awards. Look for a lot more pairings of Asian Food and Belgian beer in 2014 on restaurant menus and NOTED in the press.
The team at Chicago’s The Aviary hosted our hometown event in 2012, serving our beers, cocktails made with our beers, and cocktails without beer (inspired by the flavors of our beers.) This year they won the James Beard Award for Best Bar Program, and at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail Festival, their own Charles Joly was named Bartender of the Year. We can’t say we’re surprised! Look for more and more beer cocktails this year.
We moved to Chicago about the time that the Publican opened. It was the sort of beer-friendly restaurant we had imagined but had never found. Love at first site. The Publican relay beer information in a generous and accessible way and makes the superb food taste even better.The Publican is where we celebrated our first Coast-to-Coast Toast ourselves. We sat down with the fantastic team in the kitchen to devise a fresh, seasonal classic menu that was simply perfect with our beers. You can re-live this spectacular night by viewing our photo album. The menu is below:
*1st course: squash salad with pomegranate & goat cheese
(paired with Posca Rustica)
*2nd course: smoked mussel crostini
(paired with Witkap)
*3rd course: dungeness crab with almond pesto
(paired with Hop Ruiter)
*4th course: potee with wild rice, pork tenderloin, cotechino & pork confit
(paired with Peche Mel)
*5th course: warm raclette with traditional garnishment
(paired with Lambickx)
*6th course: Speculoos cookies
The Bounty of Wallonia
Our friends over at the Belgian Tourist Office (Brussels /Wallonia) shared with us a deck of recipes showcasing the bounty of Wallonia. In essence the deck of a dozen recipes gives a glimpse of classic dishes from throughout the French-speaking provinces. Want to know what these dishes are: pate Gaumais, Matoufet,Tarte al d’jote, boukettes, feulletes of Molignee, pheasant a la brabanconne, Binchoise pancakes, borinage pagnons, Pork fillet Al’berdouille, Liege meatballs, rice pudding tart? Download the answers here. We are intent on becoming the largest content providers of Belgian recipes in English this year!
Don Feinberg’s Pairing Suggestions:
Pâté gaumais – Scaldis Tripel, Moinette Blonde
Double Binchoise pancakes- Vicaris Generaal, Lambrucha, Kriek Lambicks
Feuilletés of Molignée snails with herbs - Lambickx, St. Amand, Foret Blanche
Borinage Pagnons - Monk’s Stout
Rice pudding tart - Avril, Scaldis, Foret Blanche
Pork Fillet Al’berdouille - Vicaris Tripel
Liège Meatballs - Posca Rustica
Matoufet - Foret Blanche, Monk’s Stout
Grenadin of Veal “Sambre & Meuse” - St. Amand, Moinette Brune
Tarte al d’jote - Saison Dupont, Castelain Grand Cru
Pheasant à la Brabançonne - Foret Organic Saison
Boukettes - La Biere de Beloeil
Four Classic Beer and Cheese Pairing Events to consider as you plan your Coast to Coast Toast
For those of you contemplating beer and cheese pairings for your Coast to Coast Toast party, here are four inspiring beer and cheese events we have taken part in and some wonderful beer combos. Enjoy and by all means let us know what beers and cheese you put together and how it all goes over. Consider all local cheeses and all imported Vanberg & DeWulf beers for instance.
Murray’s Cheese New York City – Great Cheese Deserves Great Beer with Don Feinberg of Vanberg & DeWulf
In the Middle Ages, the term Flanders was applied to an area in Western Europe, the County of Flanders, and spread over what today are parts of Belgium, Northern France and the Southern Netherlands. This are has a long history of beer and cheese production, many of which originated in the Cistercian monasteries of a Roman Catholic religious order often referred to as Trappist Monks. Tonight we will take inspiration from these monastery traditions and explore several artisanal Belgian beer styles, paired with cheeses originating in Flanders, and a few surprises!
1. Charollais paired with Foret Blanche
Charollais: A four-inch-high cylinder of raw goat’s milk. Chevre the way it was meant to be, with a perfect balance of saltiness, acidity, and sweetness. Its dense, rich pate is covered by a skim of oozing liquid goatiness and a crinkled, almond colored rind. At approximately 90 days, Charollais begins to age, becoming drier and more assertively robust in flavor. Aged by Hervé Mons outside of Roanne, France.
Foret Blanche: Easy drinkability and loads of flavor make Foret Blanche a sensational refresher. Foggy honeycomb color, yeasty bread, butterscotch aroma, laced with orange coriander, white pepper, lavender, hop tartness, and wheat.
2. Pyrenees Brebis with Saison Dupont
Pyrenees Brebis: A pressed, uncooked cheese, made of raw sheep’s milk, and aged for 4-6 months. Made in the Pyrenees, exactly the Basque country and the Bearn – the Ossau Valley. This small scale artisan production has a thick yellow/ orange rind with a smattering of grey mold. The white or ivory paste is firm and dense but smooth with unctuous butterfat. Often best in the spring as the cheese produced from the fall milkings is more floral. Sweet, nearly caramelly, with grassy, nutty undertones. Aged by Hervé Mons outside of Roanne, France. Legend has it that Aristee, the famous shepherd and son of Apollo, created the Ossau-Iraty cheese.
Saison Dupont: Legendary, hailed as the world’s best Saison. Piquant, peppery hop bitterness rounded out by green apple, sugared grapefruit, and unyielding yeast character.
3. Oka paired with Foret Organic Saison
Oka: A mellow, Semi-Soft washed rind cheese from Quebec. Made of pasteurized cows’ milk, with a rind that can range from rosy pink to burnished orange. It’s a stinker, but the flavor is relatively buttery, with hints of nuts. Also an excellent melter.
Foret Organic Saison: A Saison beer that is the first certified organic beer in Belgium. “Bright golden amber color. Rich, layered aromas of honeyed pineapple cake, dried fruits, and toffee with a supple, fruity-yet-dry full body and a pure, elegant fruity soufflé and delicate peppery spice finish. A beautiful saison that is a benchmark of the style. Platinum Medal/ Superlative.” One degree stronger than Saison Dupont. Platinum medal winner in the World Beer Championships.
4. Maroilles paired with Hop Ruiter
Maroilles: A farmhouse Maroilles from Picardie in Nord, in northern France. The A.O.C. (Appellation d’Origine Controlée) granted in 1976 covers both raw and pasteurized Maroilles in three sizes. The cheese is said to have been created in 962 AD by a monk in the northern town of Maroilles. Each one pound square of raw cow’s milk is brine washed and aged for several months. The supple, elastic texture and heady, fruity, pungency peak at an affinage of 90-120 days, unusually long for such a small cheese. Aged by Hervé Mons outside of Roanne, France.
Hop Ruiter: This beer pairs aggressive American hops with Belgian yeast. But rather than taking away from the Belgian yeast characteristics, hops add complexity. Flavors of fruit, grass, and spices make for a very interesting and intricate brew. Brilliantly balanced. Winner of the best Belgian micro 2011 in Belgium!
5. Blue d’Auvergne paired with Lambickx
Blue d’Auvergne: This Bleu d’Auvergne is aged by Hervé Mons outside Roanne, France. Roquefort-inspired, and made with unpressed raw cow’s milk, this firm, creamy, cellar-ripened cheese has perfectly integrated blue veining. The name derives from the Arvenes Celts of the 7th Century BC. Medium-strength and balanced, with well integrated spice and salt flavors, the moist, crumbling paste makes an excellent table cheese, great for cooking, for salad dressing or to crumble on hot pasta. According to legend, Bleu d’Auvergne originated in the mid 19th C. when a shepherd decided to add the blue mold from his rye bread to a wheel of cheese, and piece the cheese to allow the mold to grow. The Auvergnats (people from Auvergne) claim the cheese was born before Roquefort.
Lambickx de Troch 2012: Lambickx is to Gueuze as Chardonnay is the Champagne. Aroma of sweet grass, smoke, peaches, sour apples all spiked with a background barnyard funk. Big, round acidity in the mouth with notes of lemon, tangerine and grapefruit melting to a rich, sour-sweet finish, balanced by the full presence of tannic and wood notes. Slightest hint of carbonation. Again, not quite cask still but almost!
6. Mimolette with Witkap Stimulo
Mimolette: Produced in Flanders and other Northern parts of France, Mimolette is really a natural rinded version of Dutch Edam. As it ages, the rind darkens to a deep brown (we have seen 4-year old that was almost black!) and the interior turns a rusty shade of orange. These wheels are at least 2 years old, ensuring a cratered, craggy rind and a rock-hard, waxen interior that breaks apart in the mouth like fudge. Made of pasteurized cow’s milk, Mimolette has the sweet, caramelized depth of an aged Gouda, with a dense, smooth texture that sticks to the teeth. It sits on the board like a wedge of cantaloupe, and is famous for having been Charles de Gaulle’s favorite.
Witkap Stimulo: Banana, berry nose, lemony finish. Lighter body and alcohol than Abbey Dubbel or Tripels, but the big aromatic profile typical of the style. Quenchingly flavorful. The lightest and most flavorful of the abbey beers – what the monks drink for lunch!
7. Brillat-Savarin with Scaldis Strong ale or Scaldis Prestige de Nuits
Brillat Savarin: Cheese maker Henri Androuet was inspired by the poetics of French gastronome Anthelme Brillat-Savarin when he created this lush triple crème. Brillat-Savarin is famous for his observation, “a dessert without cheese is like a beautiful women with only one eye.” Well, we’re inclined to agree. And what an ending this cream-enriched beauty promises. Hailing from Normandy, small production, raw cows’ milk, classic bloomy rind. Expect butter cream icing texture, fresh, lactic flavor and just the right hit of salt.
Scaldis: Legendary “cognac” beer of Belgium. Amber colored, nutty and rich. Made from 3 barley malts, hopped 3 times. “The most drinkable ultra strong beer in the world.”
Scaldis Prestige de Nuits: We’ve never tasted a better marriage of wood and beer!. The red wine staining of the legendary Cote de Nuits barrels marries perfectly with the malt sweetness and peach notes of the beer, yielding flavors of cherry, oak, tobacco, Pinot Noir and bitter chocolate. Fermented 3 times – in tank, bottle, and burgundy cask – it takes almost a year to make. Today Show suggests this may be the best beer in the world.
Weekly Pint and Artisanal Premium Cheese (NY) Cheese and Beer Pairing
When Christian di Benedetti called to tell us he was becoming editor of the Weekly Pint we were delighted. The launch party for the press took place at Artisanal Premium Cheese in New York City on January 30th, 2012. Artisanal’s Max McCalman (co-author of Cheese: A connoisseur’s guide to the World’s Best) made the pairings. He selected 7 cheeses and we a like number of beers. Read on for Christian’s write-up about the event in the Weekly Pint.
Grassias (goat, US)
Garrotxa (goat, Spain)
Ocooch Mountain (sheep, US)
Sharfe Maxx (cow, Switzerland)
Windsordale Tuckle (Cow, US)
Flosserkase (cow, Switzerland)
Berkshire Blue (cow, US)
Posca Rustica – Brasserie Dupont
Monk’s Sout – Brasserie Dupont
Foret Blanche – Brasserie Dupont
Lambickx- Vanberg et Famille
Hop Ruiter- Vanberg et Famille at Schelde Brewery
Scaldis Prestige- Brasserie Dubuisson
They Love Each Other
2 Beer and Cheese Pairings that Rock
By Christian Di Benedetti
Rules were made to be broken, right? There’s no hard and fast logic that says wine has a lock on pairings with cheese. In fact the malty-sweet, fruity, bitter, spicy, and sometimes sour flavors in craft beers from cheese-loving regions like France, Germany, Belgium and Holland, the U.K., and the U.S., pair beautifully with a variety of cheeses. Weekly Pint recently teamed up a delicious evening with Max McCalman of Artisanal Premium Cheese in New York and Belgian beer importation pioneers Vanberg & DeWulf. We found McCalman, the easygoing and author of three excellent books on the subject, including Mastering Cheese, which has a full 16-pp chapter on pairing cheese with beer- an invaluable resource.
Where to start? “You’re looking for balance,” says McCalman. “In a beer-and-cheese lineup, as with a tasting of wine pairings,” he writes, “you’ll want to proceed from the lighter, milder lager, pilsner and pale ale styles to the deeper, richer, heavier, darker, more complex-flavored styles of brew.” As you progress up the intensity range in your beers, you’ll need to step it up in your cheese, too.
For a few mind-expanding cheese-and-beer pairings, keep reading.
Sharfe Maxx & Scaldis Prestige
Master cheesemakers in northern Switzerland add a touch of cream and then age this cow’s milk cheese in an herbal brine for six months, giving it a tangy, assertive, almost meaty flavor. Pair it with Brasserie Dubuisson’s Scaldis Prestige, a remarkable Belgian ale with vanilla notes that’s also aged for 6 months – in oak barrels, giving it a touch of pleasant acidity that stands up to strong flavors. Our friends at Ratebeer.com gave this brew a perfect 100.
Berkshire Blue and Lambickx
Cheesemaker Ira Gramble of Great Barrington, MA crafts this American blue cheese inspired by Britain’s famous Stilton. Its strong, balanced earthy flavors are well matched by Lambickx, a 5.75% ABV blend of lambic beers from Belgium which get their sourness from spontaneous wild yeasts and wood barrel aging of up to three years. Made of a secret blend of lambics hand-selected by Belgo-American beer pioneer Don Feinberg from three authentic Belgian Geuzestekkerij (blenders), it’s got mellow carbonation, pleasant barnyardy notes, and a lemony tartness that cleanses the palate well – making way for another memorable bite.
Bar on Buena, Chicago Beer and Cheese Event January 2010
An evening of fantastic flavors with Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield of Vanberg & DeWulf
Witkap Stimulo Papillon Rondi
Saison Dupont Five year-old Gouda
Biere de Miel Saint Nectaire
Vicaris Dubbel Uplands Pleasant Ridge
Scaldis Refermentee Taleggio
Scaldis Prestige de Nuits Brillat-Savarin
A bit about Don Feinberg and Vanberg & DeWulf:
Don Feinberg and his wife Wendy have pioneered Belgian beer culture in the U.S. market since 1982. Not only do they import some of the finest beers from Belgium (Brasserie Dupont, Brasserie Dubuisson, Brouwerij Slaghmuylder) and France (Brasserie Castelain), they have been major forces in the introduction and growth of Belgian beer in the U.S. market since its inception. They were formerly responsible for importing Duvel, Affligem, Rodenbach, Bosteels, Boon Lambics, and Jenlain back in the 80’s and also co-founded Brewery Ommegang in 1997. The Ommegang abbey ale, Hennepin, Rare Vos, and Three Philosophers are their recipes.
Don has played a role in supporting not only artisan beers but also the celebration of artisan and specialty foods, and was a large part of that growth with Dean & DeLuca in New York City, (the first off premise account in New York to carry specialty beers). As a result of their efforts, Don and Wendy were honored to be the first Americans ever inducted into the Belgian Brewer’s Guild in its 500-year history.
THE AUDACIOUS BEER AND CHEESE FESTIVAL TASTING – WISCONSIN
SUMMER 2011 This great fundraiser and beer event was held in the countryside outside Milwaukee. We had our beers paired with Saxon’s wonderful cheeses. Jerry did special editions of washed rind cheeses using our beers too. Awesome event!
Vanberg & DeWulf – Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield
Saxon Homestead Cheese – Jerry Heimerl
A semi-soft washed rind from raw cow’s milk, carefully tended to for 70 days then wrapped in a special breathable package for its journey from our creamery to you.
Avril- Brasserie Dupont, Belgium
Bieres de table are not the heavy hitters Belgium is so famous for – but are central to Belgian beer culture because they are how Belgians learn to appreciate beer. They are typically enjoyed with home cooked meals at the family fining table. There is no finer example of the style than Avril, one of the most commended session beers in the world. Avril is USDA certified organic, aromatic like fresh bread, full in the mouth and light on the finish.
A sophisticated cheese with a nutty flavor and a supple body, as comfortable in the kitchen as it is in on the table. Cooked pressed curds from whole raw cow’s milk with a light, dry, washed rind ripened a minimum of 90 days, peaking a 150, with a shelf life of 9 months.
Scaldis Peche Mel- Brasserie Dubuisson, Belgium
A deliciously drinkable beer with the heady aroma of peach, a well-balanced malt character, and a surprisingly dry finish. This beauty is based on a favorite drink made by students that combined peach lambic and classic Scaldis, Peche Mel redefines what a fruit beer can taste like.
Young, mild, but full of flavor, with a buttery body. Enthusiastic, like Ed Klessig, whom it was names after, it hugs you back, never offends, and is great both for first time tasters and aficionados. A clean rind cheese made from raw cow’s milk formed into cooked, pressed curds and ripened 120 days, with a shelf life of six months- clean rind cheeses are meticulously wiped to keep them clean, cultivating a near perfect rind.
Saison Dupont- Brasserie Dupont, Belgium
“Legendary, hailed as the world’s best saison. Piquant, peppery hop bitterness rounded out by green apple, sugared grapefruit, and unyielding yeast character.”- Ben McFarland, World’s Best Beers
“Beautifully balanced, complex example of truly artisanal brewing. Classic producer of the style.” -Michael Jackson
“The best beer in the world. Period.” – Men’s Journal
A meaty cheese, young, but dense, mellow but full of flavor, creamy, with a sweet taste that lingers. Bandaged wrapped raw milk cheese aged 120 days.
Hop Ruiter- Vanberg & Dewulf Selection
We love telling customers Hop Ruiter is imported from 1982 – when Don was a grad student in Belgium and strong golden ales were funky, malty, and full of character! This 8%abv bottle-conditioned strong golden ale combines Belgian appreciation for aromatic esters with the American love of hops. But unlike American IPA’s and Belgian IPA wannabes, Hop Ruiter celebrates the finesse Belgians bring to using hops. Three different varieties (none American) are used; one in the boil and two in dry hopping. Winner best new beer from a Belgian microbrewery at the most prestigious competition in Belgium, in Antwerp (2011).
Green Fields 1st Edition: Specially Aged with Scaldis Beer
A semi-soft washed rind from raw cow’s milk and washed with Scaldis, a Strong Belgian Ale.
Scaldis- Brasserie Dupont, Belgium
Scaldis was created in 1933 by Alfred Dubuisson, grandfather of the present family brewer, Hugues Dubuisson. It’s amber color is due to the use of caramel malt in the production process. Its bitter-sweet taste provides it with firm body and character.
Gourmet Belgian Hot Chocolate Milk
4 Cups of Milk
1 Vanilla Bean
7 Ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably Callebaut, chopped into small pieces
1. Combine milk and vanilla bean in a medium size saucepan. Heat the milk over medium heat until bubbles appear around the edge. Reduce the heat to low, add the chocolate and whisk occassionally until melted.
2. Turn off the heat and remove the vanilla bean. (you can rinse, let dry and save for another purpose). If the chocolate milk is too thick, thin it with a little more milk. Just before serving, whisk the milk vigorously to create lots of foam.
Classic Belgian Chocolate Mousse
2 oz. Sweet Chocolate (preferably Callebaut, dark chocolate), chopped into small pieces
¼ cup water
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 lg. egg
1. Melt the chocolate with the water using a double boiler.
2. Separate the egg yolk from the eggwhite. (You can discard some of the egg yolks when fixing a large amount to reduce the calories and cholesterol).
3. Add the egg yolks to the melted chocolate. Stir until well blended.
4.Whip the egg whites until stiff, while gradually adding the sugar.
5. Carefully and slowly, using a spatula fold egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture.
6. Spoon the chocolate mousse into ramekins of cups. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to let the mousse stiffen up.
7. If desired, before serving garnish with some sprinkles or whip cream.
Coast to Coast Toast Classic Recipes
These are cozy homey recipes made with and/or meant to pair with our beers. We made these dishes for our family and friends throughout our time in Cooperstown. As a thank you to you our dear Coast to Coast Toast Hosts we’re compiling an online leaflet of best loved classics. We’ll be rolling out a couple each week leading up to the event in November. Sure, go ahead and try them out for your restaurant menus. We think you are just as likely to want make them at home. For a fuller explanation of the aesthetic and influences behind these dishes, you’ll want to take a peek at the introduction to the menu section of this C2CT Tool kit. Smakelijk!
Coast to Coast Toast Classic Recipe: Endive, Ham and Cheese au Gratin
We learned a lot about eating in our lives as a young married couple in Belgium. We learned to love endives. In Belgium, endives are a national delicacy. The Endive au Gratin is a classic preparation of the vegetable that deserves more currency in American kitchen. This recipe does not come to us from a celebrated chef, but an authority nonetheless – The Belgian Endive Marketing Board.
Chicon (in French) or Witloof (in Flemish) wrapped in ham is a staple of Belgian home cooking. Served with salad, bread and a bottle of Belgian ale, it makes a satisfying weekend lunch or a simple supper.
The endive was accidentally discovered by a Belgian farmer in 1830. And so it is exactly one year older the nation itself. Its mystique has been enhanced by the many failed attempts to mechanize the unusual growth process of the endive. The Belgian Endive Marketing Board asserts that “the endives need for round the clock attention is still best suited to Belgian farmers, who perform their task with the passion of true artists.” Each leaf of endive, though high in minerals and purportedly good for liver, contains only one calorie. Its cousin, which we call escarole, is native to Egypt and it was sown in Charlemagne’s demonstration gardens throughout his lands.
4 tb olive or vegetable oil
whole heads Belgian endive cored
¼ cup chopped green bell pepper
¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup grated Gouda or Jarlsberg or other mild nutty cheese
2 tb grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
8 slices of Ardennes ham (or Black Forest ham)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a frying pan, lightly sauté the endives, remove them from the pan and set aside. Add the red and green pepper to the oil and lightly sauté them, remove them from the pan, and set aside. Add the flour to the oil and stir until lightly browned. Add the salt and pepper and blend in with a whisk until the mixture is smooth. Add the cheeses and blend until the cheese melts. Stir in the sautéed red and green peppers. Place the sautéed Belgian endives in an oven-proof casserole. Wrap each endive in a slice of ham. Cover with the cheese sauce and place in a 350 degree F oven for about 20 minutes or until the sauce is bubble and brown. You may brown it under the broiler for a minute or two if you wish. Garnish with parsley and serve hot.
Accompany with a Witkap Stimulo or Posca Rustica. Both beers beautifully complement this dish.
Coast to Coast Toast Classic Recipe: Scaldis Chocolate Cake with St. Amand Frosting
1 c plus 2 tbsp. salted butter
2 1/2 c cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 1/3 c sugar
3 ozs. unsweetened Baker’s chocolate, melted
1 c Scaldis Blonde Tripel, flat
Chocolate Chip and St. Amand Cake Frosting
1 lb semisweet real chocolate chips
2 tbsp. salted butter
5 tbsp. St. Amand
5 tbsp. milk
To Make The Cake
Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease two 9″ cake pans with 2 tbsp. butter and dust with 1/4 cup flour. Shake out and discard any excess flour, set pan aside. Mix the remaining flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat the egg whites with 2 tbsp. of the sugar until stiff peaks begin to form. With an electric mixer, cream the remaining sugar with the butter until light in texture. Stir in the melted chocolate and the Scaldis Blonde Triple beer, and then gradually beat in the flour mixture. With a rubber spatula, fold in the egg whites. Scrape half the batter into each of the cake pans and bake in the middle of the oven for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the pans from the oven and let the cakes cool while you prepare the frosting.
To Make The Frosting
Soften the chocolate chips and butter in a double boiler. (The chips should be soft, but still hold their shape.) Remove from heat. Using an electric beater, beat the chocolate and butter until smooth, about 1 minute. Beat in the St. Amand beer and milk, one tbsp at a time, until the mixture is soft and shiny. remove the cakes from the layers. Frost the layers.
As an ardent seafood lover, I believe that there are few things in life that are better than succulent Little Neck clams steamed in a rich bath of Moinette Blonde, butter, garlic, and spices. Moinette steamed clams are wonderful as an appetizer or, for seafood lovers, as a main dish.
This simple and delicious recipe comes courtesy of Cory Craig, chef at the Otesaga Hotel and Hawkeye Bar and Grill.
Ingredients (serves 6)
36 Little Neck clams, scrubbed
1/2 cup butter
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups Moinette Blonde
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute briefly. Stir in beer, oregano, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Add clams to the broth mixture and cover.
Steam until all clams have opened; discard any that do not open. Serve in bowls, and ladle broth generously over them. Serve with crusty bread for dipping.
Kobe Desramaults is the head chef at In De Wulf (what a great name!), located in Danrouter, Belgium. Lambickx pairs perfectly with his dish of lightly cured sea bass, radish, shellfish broth, and sloeberry vinegar. But until Wendy returns to the US with Kobe’s cookbook in hand, we are recipe-less.
But in place of a recipe, I thought I’d share a few facts about Kobe’s culinary genius. In De Wulf sits in the place of Kobe’s childhood home, which evolved from a cottage, to a brasserie, to an inn. Kobe studied under some of the world’s best contemporary chefs - Sergio Herman and Carles Abellán – then returned home to transform his mother’s restaurant into a Michelin-star winning establishment. In De Wulf received its first Michelin star in 2005, making Kobe the youngest Michelin starred chef in Belgium; to date, In De Wulf now boasts two Michelin stars. Recently, Kobe has been named one of the top 100 chefs in the world, and at 31, he is among the youngest.
Kobe’s cooking focuses on bringing out the best in local ingredients, no matter the season. In his own words:
“Every day there’s something changing. It’s to be found in some little things like the scent of the first elders bringing me directly back to my childhood, the wild dock leaves in the talus, the glance of the first blackberries…
It’s the same feeling a want to reflect in my kitchen. The menu doesn’t change every season but when the time is right. I call it ‘organic kitchen’ because I have to adjust it to the things happening around us. The menu never changes from dish to dish… I see it as a never ending project. Every day there is worked and puzzled on. Adapted but never feigned. It especially has to be ‘real’, sometimes brutal, soft, just natural. Being honest of who we are and where we are as the biggest challenge.”
In Kobe’s spirit, why not improvise a dish out of local ingredients? Let us know what
amazing dish you have created, and since Lambickx dazzles with most food pairings, try it with your creation and let us know what you think!
Follow Kobe on Twitter (@kobewulf) and prepare to be tantalized, scintillated, and culinarily inspired by both his tweets and this beautiful video of In De Wulf’s offerings:
I am posting this little travel update from Livorno. Our room at the NH Grand Hotel Palazzo overlooks the Tyrrhenian Sea.
We lunched at Ristorante Miramare in Marina di Castagneto Carducci, not far from Bolgheri (about 50 km from Livorno). Incredibly beautiful day and magnificent lunch of pasta with shellfish and salad. It is warm enough that people are swimming in the sea. We had to have a glass of Bolgheri, the famous local white wine so we could better appreciate the splendor and particularity of Doppia Vecchia Bastarda, Birra Amiata‘s vintage heirloom chestnut beer aged in Bolgheri barrels. We learned that the chef has consulted with Lidia Bastianich about Liguria’s cuisine, a cuisine we will come to know better when we have dinner with our friends Claudio Cerullo (one half of Amiata’s brewing brother duo) and his wife Patricia. They have promised us a Livornese fish feast!
Working backwards, we reached Italy and the village of Arcidosso on Monday. We have been spending time in the company of the very loving, talented, hardworking and thoughtful Claudio and Gennaro Cerullo and their families, eating together, visiting the brewery, touring the little hill towns on foot, and of course drinking the local wines and beers! It poured rain when we lunched at the Cerullo house on European Labor Day (May 1) but that did not put the slightest damper on a great meal prepared by Carla and Sophia.
We stayed at a sweet little inn: Locanda del Prete which the owner (Carlo Innocenti) renovated himself.
He is a former adman, cameraman, and he even ran a discoteque. Now, in addition to the inn, he operates a cooking school in his 25 room house near the castello of Arcidosso. His wife Pascale is an architectural designer from Paris – a former model for Armani and Versace. That is a picture of our lunch below – not Pascale!
Carlo gave us a little recipe book from the cooking school. The recipe and sentiment come from him, the beer pairing from us. Because the Crocus beer from Amiata contains saffron, we thought it would be delightful paired with risotto. Crocus will be coming in later in the year. In the meantime, substitute a glass of Contessa or a Montepulciano wine.
Risotto a Funghi Porcini (Risotto with Porcini mushrooms)
During the spring and fall in Tuscany and Arcidosso, people venture out into the woods of Monte Amiata in search of the rare to find and prestigious porcini. In order to preserve the mushroom for the rest of the year, many dry them, then use them to prepare pasta sauces and risotto.
17 ounces of Arborio rice
2 handfuls of dried procini mushrooms
1 chopped onion
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Place the dry porcini mushrooms in a bowl and cover with warm water. Let them soak for at least 30 minutes. Using a strainer, get rid of all the sediment in the water. Do not throw away the water since you’ll use it in the risotto. Using your hands, squeeze the mushrooms to get rid of the excess water. Meanwhile, finely chop the onions and place in the medium sized pot with some olive oil. Add the mushrooms with a little water. Cook at low to medium heat stirring continuously. Add the rice and then some more water. Keep stirring the rice and adding warm water to the pot. Add salt and pepper. Once the rice is al dente, the risotto is ready. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.
Savory, sweet, and succulent, roasted chicken pairs well with a range of beers, and especially well with Contessa. Contessa’s sweet and bitter American hops complement the savory herbs, and the beer’s sugary caramel notes add dimension to this simple, flavorful dish. And if you pick up an especially plump chicken, Contessa’s carbonation and hops will help cleanse the palate of chicken grease.
Herb Roasted Chicken:
1 (3 1/2 to 4-pound) whole chicken
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
1/2 tablespoon chopped sage leaves
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves (reserve the parsley stems)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 lemon, quartered
2 bay leaves
Baby Root Vegetables:
1/4 pound baby turnips, peeled and stem ends trimmed
1/4 pound baby red carrots, peeled and stem ends trimmed
1/4 pound orange carrots, peeled and stem ends trimmed
1/4 pound baby golden beets, peeled and stem ends trimmed
1/4 pound baby beets, peeled and stem ends trimmed
1/4 pound fingerling potatoes, halved
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
Wash the chicken and pat dry. Season well inside and out with the salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, thyme, sage, parsley and olive oil. Rub the olive oil and herb blend into the cavity of the chicken as well as all over the exterior. Place the parsley stems into the cavity of the chicken, and squeeze each lemon quarter into the chicken and place the rind in as well. Put the bay leaves inside the chicken and place the bird in a roasting pan or a saute pan, and put it into the oven. Roast for about 1 hour, or until the chicken is golden brown, and the juices run clear. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before carving.
For the vegetables: Place the vegetables in a large mixing bowl, and season with the salt and pepper. Drizzle with the olive oil and place in a roasting pan or on a sheet pan. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, turning once midway during cooking to ensure even browning. Serve with the herb roasted chicken.