December is the time for our annual Induction and another memorable occasion was planned. Our bailliage happily returned to the graceful surroundings of the Bankers Club and picturesque views of downtown from its 30th floor location. It would be hard to surpass the elegance of entering the Living Room in formal wear to be greeted by the glowing cityscape and a glass of Laurent Perrier Brut Champagne. Chef Christopher Ropp had a few amusements to tempt our palates with a crostini of bourbon soaked fig and Stilton finding great favor with the crowd. Parmesan crisps with lemon dill cream made a well suited match to the citrus and mineral qualities of the Champagne.
After a reception for both old and new members, we proceeded to J.B. Hall for the ceremonies presided over by National Conseiller des Bailliages Peter J. Hanowich and Midwest Bailli Provincial Jill Kummer. This year had three attending inductees; Chevalier Ingo Kiesewetter, Chevalier Chris Steuri, and Chevalier William Weyand. After our new members received a proper welcome into the Confrérie, Bailli Peter Hainline awarded a Bronze Star of Excellence to Vice Conseiller Gastronomique Robert Hasl. This was followed by four new Mondial inductions with the attendant accoutrements of mysterious robes, giant grape vine, and not the least, a great glass of wine for the inductees! Chevalier Tom Burdin, Dame Reeta Brendamour, Dame Sara Vance, and Chevalier Jack Osborn have all joined l’Ordre with many happy meetings ahead.
Our group moved on to the Main Dining Room and a little surprise from the Chef Ropp. We had a taste of Thai spiced tomato soup with a drop of yogurt and flash fried mint waiting for us. This preceded the first course of pickled raw oyster served with Michel Redde Sancerre Blanc and its slightly sweet and racy rendition of the Sauvignon Blanc grape. Our dining affair continued with pheasant and fois gras matched with a Louis Jadot Nuits St. Georges Pommard 2002 which made a wonderful combination of the cherry balsamic syrup and tender meat to the raspberry, oak and acidity in the long finishing wine.
For a change of pace we got a palate cleanser of several frozen grapes as we paused to enjoy an operatic intermezzo by Karen Zizzi and her husband Adam Schultz. They favored us with music from works by Verdi, Rossini, and Puccini. Everyone appreciated the skills of this talented couple and gave them a rousing ovation.
Returning to our meal brought a hearty course of braised veal cheeks and smoky fava beans. This was a lovely presentation and had spectacular aromatic qualities. We had this with Château Chambrun Lalande de Pomerol 2001 with rich deep flavors of fruit and chocolate that made for another great combination of food and wine. The evening finished with a dessert of roasted pear, dried fruit hydrated with port, and Maytag cheese. This proved the perfect accompaniment to a Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Tawny Port that put a final coda to a fabulous evening. Our warm thanks go to Chef Christopher Ropp and the capable staff at the Bankers Club!
J.T. Mayer, Vice Chargé de Presse
Butter Chips with Crème Fraîche & Sevruga Caviar
Bourbon Soaked Fig Crostini with Brûlée of Stilton Cheese
Parmesan Crisps filled with Lemon Dill Cream
Air Cured Beef Carpaccio with Chiffonade of Butter Lettuce and Shaved Horseradish
Laurent Perrier Brut NV
Stags Leap Cellars Chardonnay 2002
Upon Being Seated
Warmed Thai Spiced Tomato Soup with Crushed Mint Yogurt
Michele Redde Sancerre 2002, Loire Valley
Pickled Oysters with European Cucumber “Capellini” & Dill
Michele Redde Sancerre 2002, Loire Valley
Leg of Pheasant Confit with Gewürztraminer Poached Moulard de Fois Gras and Sun Dried Cherry & White Balsamic Syrup
Louis Jadot Nuits-Saint-Georges Pommard 2002
Frozen Frosted Red Seedless Grapes
Braised Veal Cheeks Set Atop Applewood Smoked Bacon Laced Fava Beans with Côte de Rhône Bordelaise & Truffled Watercress Oil
Château Chambrun Lalande de Pomerol 2001
Sugar Roasted Bartlett Pear with Tawny Port, Plumped Dried Fruits & Maytag Bleu Cheese, Winter Berry and Spiced Rum Reduction
Taylor Fladgate 10-year Tawny Port NV