November 24, 2011
On this special evening Alsace wines returned to their roots to celebrate four major events: the first snowfall in Montreal; the birthdays of the charming Patrick Marsolais and our favourite oenologist, Nick Hamilton; but first and foremost, the final evening of Alsace on the Menu!
Don’t think for a minute that the cold and the snow put a chill on the red carpet, as glam as ever. Far from it! This happening took place at Le Hangar, the latest little brainchild of chef Louis-François Marcotte. On hand were our regulars, Philippe Fehmiu, Nick Hamilton and Aurélia Fillion, along with an impressive serving of invitees from different milieux: Ima, Patrick Marsolais, India Desjardins, Denis Fortin, Bruno Guglieminetti, Marie-Christine Proulx and Éric Salvail, to name but a few. What a way to set the tone for the evening! We also had the pleasure of crossing paths with owner Louis-François Marcotte, who took the time to greet the guests and to make sure everything was going as planned.
The evening in detail
Warming up at the freezing point
What better way to warm up than to be welcomed with a choice of two excellent Crémants d’Alsace? The first, a white, the Wolfberger, and the second, the Calixte Brut rosé. The evening was off to a convivial start with many happy reunions. We chatted as we tasted the appetizers, which we have to admit were a pure delight. An important point to mention: the evening was based on Alsatian cuisine and the chef took great care to cook with our wines when the opportunity presented itself.
First, a dish of cloth-wrapped foie gras, muscat d’Alsace and gingerbread was served, followed by a delectable white pudding, finely diced green apples, sweet onions and Riesling d’Alsace. Then, snail doughnuts with herbs on mushroom duxelles and a duck tartar on plums and beer jelly completed the appetizers. We weren’t ashamed to help ourselves to seconds, if only to get another chance at the Crémant. A delightful guilty pleasure indeed.
When you think about great evenings, think great whites
The evening officially started when Philippe Fehmiu took the microphone. Wandering among the tables, he stopped at the one where the bloggers were seated, and reminded us that in a certain era, the general rule was to turn off our cell phones, but today, we are invited to turn them on and share our favourites. He added that the evening had barely begun and already the portables were out in force.
He then handed the mike over to Nick Hamilton who presented the trio of wines that would accompany the cold entrée of lobster headcheese. It was the king of Alsatian varietals: the Riesling. Nick mentioned that we were going to taste Rieslings from three different producers, who used the same grape variety in three complete distinct ways. Off the top: Les Cigognes 2009 Riesling. Then we savoured the Léon Beyer Réserve 2009 Riesling and concluded with the Rosacker Hunawihr Grand Cru 2008 Riesling. A royal trilogy. In passing, Nick noted that the Riesling is the type of grape that can age for up to 20 or 30 years. A warning for wine lovers.
The hot entrée followed: a pan-fried lake pickerel on braised pork flank, spätzle with Meaux mustard, and white butter beer sauce. Our taste buds were enchanted. We were also served two great Pinot blancs: the Pinot Blanc Arthur Metz 2010 and the Pinot Blanc Pfaffenheim Grande Réserve 2009.
Let the gris make the dark clouds go away
It was time for the main course of the evening: a stuffed veal tenderloin with Morteau sausage, red apple purée, pudding croquette and homemade sauerkraut, accompanied by two Pinot gris: the Willm Réserve 2010 and the Lucien Albrecht Réserve 2009. Two classics that never fail to please.
Our favourite’s favourite
Once again, Aurélia from Bu sur le Web, was able to charm us. Everything was in place for Aurélia, the bottle with its intriguing glass cork, but mainly the wine, a private import Pinot gris Domaine Binner 2009. “It smells of hay, spices and zing!” she declared. “Don’t you feel a little zing in your hearts?” Her enthusiasm was as contagious as ever. Even without knowing what zing is, I can tell you it was zinging at Le Hangar and Aurélia’s favourite found a special place in the hearts of many other guests.
A dynamic duo
Philippe let himself carried away by the festive atmosphere and asked us to rhyme the six grape varieties of Alsace with different songs. We were treated to Patrick Marsolais rhyming Pinot blanc with the always popular Awingna han, a song based on a typical québécois expression. One guest suggested Muscat and Manon vient danser le ska. Finally, Ima proposed Gewurztraminer and C’était l’hiver.
Speaking of Gewurztraminer, we were really pampered on this last Alsace on the Menu evening. Nick Hamilton introduced two Gewurztraminers: the Arthur Metz 2010 and the Les Vendanges Tardives Léon Beyer 2000. The latter, an 11-year-old Gewurztraminer, was tasted slowly so we had time to appreciate the pronounced note of litchi. A treat to savour with our fine Munster cheese pastry and our clafoutis etcetera dessert.
It can’t be over already!
For the last time this year, Philippe took the microphone and wished everyone a good evening, taking care to thank all those involved in the success of Alsace on the Menu. However, it was Ima who had the last word, highlighting the exceptional work of Philippe, Nick and Aurélia, without whom these evenings wouldn’t have been the same.
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Cloth-wrapped foie gras, muscat d’Alsace and gingerbread
White pudding, finely diced green apples, sweet onions and Riesling d’Alsace
Snail doughnuts with herbs on mushroom duxelles
Duck tartar on plums and beer jelly
Crémant d’Alsace, Wolfberger
Crémant d’Alsace, Calixte Brut rosé
Lobster headcheese with lemon salt, candied seeds and mustard sprouts, cider and herb dressing
Riesling, Les Cigognes 2009
Riesling, Léon Beyer Réserve 2010
Riesling, Rosacker Hunawihr Grand Cru 2008
Pan-fried lake pickerel on braised pork flank, spätzle with Meaux mustard, white butter beer sauce
Pinot blanc, Arthur Metz 2010
Pinot blanc, Pfaffenheim Grande Réserve 2009
Stuffed veal tenderloin with Morteau sausage, red apple purée, pudding croquette and homemade sauerkraut
Pinot gris, Willm Réserve 2010
Pinot gris, Lucien Albrecht Réserve 2009
Aurélia Filion’s favourite
Pinot gris, Domaine Binner 2009 (Private import)
Fine pastry with Munster cheese, green apple julienne, chervil and salted caramel
Gewurztraminer, Arthur Metz 2010
Gewurztraminer, Vendanges Tardives Léon Beyer 2000
- Crémant d’Alsace, Wolfberger
- Crémant d’Alsace, Calixte Brut rosé
- Riesling , Les Cigognes 2009
- Riesling , Léon Beyer Réserve 2009
- Riesling , Rosacker Hunawihr Grand Cru 2008
- Pinot blanc Arthur Metz 2010
- Pinot blanc Pfaffenheim Grande Réserve 2009
- Pinot gris Willm Réserve 2010
- Pinot gris Lucien Albrecht Réserve 2009
- Coup de coeur d’Aurélia FilionPinot gris, Domaine Binner 2009 (Private import)
- Gewurztraminer Arthur Metz 2010
- Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives Léon Beyer 2000
Le Hangar culinary creations
Snail doughnuts with herbs on mushroom duxelles
- 8 g of baking powder
- 4 g of sugar
- 150 g of warm water
- 460 g of all-purpose flour
- 3 g of salt
- 2 large whole eggs
- 45 ml of canola oil
- 50 ml of Alsatian beer
- 100 ml of fines herbes (chives, parsley and thyme)
- 1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes
- 60 ml of chopped lemon salt
- 125 ml of chopped garlic
- 50 ml of olive oil
- 100 g of canned snails
- 15 sliced mushrooms
- 1 minced shallot
- 2 minced cloves of garlic
- 50 ml of white wine
- Olive oil
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Mix the baking powder, sugar and water and let sit for 15 minutes in a warm place.
- In a bowl, combine the flour and the salt.
- Make a mound from the flour, create a hollow and pour in liquids (baking powder, eggs, oil and beer).
- Stir and slowly add flour until you get a supple batter, without lumps and not too sticky to the touch.
- Cover and let the batter chill for 1 hour.
- Cut the batter into 8 gram portions.
- Using the fingers, make a disk and place the snail inside before completely enclosing it in a ball.
- Put the doughnuts on a cookie sheet, cover and let chill for at least 2 hours.
- Rinse canned snails well in cold water and drain well before placing them in a bowl.
- Add chili flakes, lemon salt, chopped garlic, and olive oil to snails.
- Mix well and let marinate in a cool place for 6 hours. (If you don’t have lemon salt, lemon zest will do.)
- In a pan at medium heat, heat olive oil and add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, the sprig of thyme and the bay leaf. Cook for 4 or 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Once the mushrooms are well cooked, deglaze the pan with white wine and reduce.
- Remove from heat and put the mixture in a food processor. Pulse the mixture a couple of times, taking care to preserve the texture of the mushrooms.
Assembling and plating
- Fry the snail doughnuts in oil at 350˚Celsius until they turn golden brown, then take them out of the oil and sponge with paper towels.
- In an Asian spoon, place the snail doughnuts on approximately 5 ml of mushroom duxelles and garnish with chives or a sprout of your choice.