The last two weeks of 2006 saw us eating and drinking even more and richer than usual. I know most people over-indulge during the holidays, but as a lot of you might eat cookies and other sweets, we ate a lot of savory stuff. This had of course also to do with visiting family and friends. Wanting to show them (friends coming from Munich, family from Istanbul) everything Stuttgart, the region and actually Europe at all, has to offer, we had a tight plan of dining-out and cooking at home.
As the title of my blog suggests, we love going places and discovering new food (and wine). But the “hey, we know a great place in …” (fill in the blanks with any obscure village on the other side of the world and/or any metropolis you like) feeling is only complete if we can share it with our friends. Having partly moved to Stuttgart left us the challenging and exiting task of convincing them that Stuttgart is not at all the provincial backwater it is often attested to be. Well, at least not when it comes to eating and drinking wine. I think we succeeded. In a piece elsewhere* on the blogosphere I will be talking all about culinary Stuttgart in a short time, I promise.
Among all this dining-out we had two major dinners at home. One was on New Year’s Eve and one was the night before. As I was preparing to cook an 8-course menu for 6 the next evening, we only had some deluxe brotzeit (typical Bavarian meal with bread, cold cuts, cheeses, etc.). We had a cheese platter lovingly put together in a cheese shop in Strasbourg with the assistance of a very nice cheese-monger (S., Little Brother’s lovely girlfriend whom we force-fed for a week, said the man is forever burned into her thoughts to be the prototype of a cheese-monger and from then on she will refuse to buy cheese from anyone who doesn’t support the very same moustache and red cheeks) but the centerpiece was this Jamon Serrano.
T. has for a very long time wanted to have a whole leg with the obligatory stand (what is it with men and the leg of ham?) and over the last couple of months we slowly put it together. The stand we bought when we were in Paris, the ham we had to search for a long time. We actually prefer a San Danielle, but the ones we found were all too short to be clamped in the stand. The only one we found at Stuttgart’s noble Italian alimentari came at a whopping 650 Euros (or we could have a cinghiale, a wild boar, leg with still the bristles on for 1100 Euros) and a serrano was nowhere to be had. Just as we were considering flying to Spain over the weekend and transporting back a leg in our luggage (yes, we are that crazy, and no, it would not be the craziest food-related thing we have ever done), we found this serrano at a wholesaler in Munich. T. was happy as a little child and it sure was the attraction of the night. The men substituted the hunt with efforts of mounting the leg on the stand in just the right way and of course they all had to try their hand in cutting the thinnest of slices.
slicing a serrano
Curious about the New Year’s Eve menu?
baked goat cheese and serrano rolls
wine: Jacquart Champagne
scallop souffle with exotic fruits
wine: Bernhard Ellwanger, Sauvignon Blanc “junges Schwaben”
monkfish on eggplant puree with saffron sauce
wine: Cantina Produttori Termeno, Stoan
duet of foie gras (goose, cold and duck, warm) on zucchini
wine: Elena Walch, Gewürztraminer Kastelaz
Granny Smith sorbet
wine: Rinklin, Muskateller Sekt
slow cooked leg of lamb on celeriac puree with vanilla and roasted red bell pepper
wines: Bodegas Mauro, Mauro and A. Ligeret, Gevrey-Chambertin
Fourmet d’Amber quenelles on sauternes jelly
wine: Chateau L’Ermitage Sauternes
chestnut pavé with olive oil ice cream and coffee cubes
wine: Limbeck, Trockenbeerenauslese
And, no, I didn’t take any pictures, because sometimes you just want to eat and drink and talk and laugh and have candles and watch the fireworks and not take pictures!
Happy new year, to all of you!
* I think I am not allowed to talk about this at the moment, but be prepared for the ultimate online foodie guide for a lot of cities of interest worldwide. When the time comes, I will of course report about it!