Could you hear it? Were you listening? Did the sounds of ELV quietly sobbing reach you?
Probably not, but if you’d been in Marche Bacchus a week ago you would’ve seen him weeping in ecstasy over the realization that, after years of begging, it is finally featuring top shelf cheeses to go with its top shelf wines and all the goodies Chef Jean Paul Labadie is cooking up these days.
We won’t harp on negative waves, but suffice it to say that under the prior owners (whom ELV and his staff otherwise had great affection for), the plat du fromage was composed of industrial stuff that Trader Joe’s would’ve put to shame.
How a great wine shop/bistro was content with substandard cheese for so long is anyone’s guess, but the cheese platter now features the Sardinian cow/sheep’s milk Podda, Rogue River Blue, the Auvergne classic: Saint-Nectaire , and various others that come and go according to the whims of Chef Labadie and owner Jeff Wyatt.
We wish they didn’t serve them so cold, but in another month or so, a few minutes al fresco will turn all but the hardest cheeses into a runny mess — so we can forgive them this tiny fromage infraction.
And we rarely recommend single bottles of wine on this sight, but the Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay ($54 retail at MB) we tasted with these cheeses was one of the more extraordinary whites we’ve had in ages. Many fromage-o-philes will tell you that whites often pair better with cheeses than reds — too often the tannins in reds fight, instead of smooth out, the lactic acid in cheese — and an old-world-style chard like Mount Eden solves this problem beautifully. The fact that it reminded ELV of a dense, mineral-rich Chassagne-Montrachet at half the price, didn’t hurt either.
As a public service, ELV hereby lists all of the restaurants known to him that now feature a top-shelf selection of cheeses at their establishment (if we’ve missed anyone, we’re sure our loyal readers will let us know):
MOREL’S, that will be getting its own cheesy post very soon.
And if that ain’t enough cheese for you, try listening to this: a radio “discussion” about more cheese than you camembert to hear (unless of course, you’ve havarti heard it) — courtesy of my punny friend and uber-cheese-frau Kristin Sande of Valley Cheese and Wine.