Happy Spring 24/680.com Readers:
This past Saturday, March 20, I was invited to collaborate with Livermore’s Steven Kent Winery – Home to the Lineage Collection – to present a 3-course celebration lunch to launch their 3 varietal vintages of L’Autre Côte Cabernet Franc. It was a perfect day… Not only was the weather beautiful (after a period of rain), the gathering of Steven Kent Winery club members and winery staff, was the first outside activity for many in more than year! For me, this occasion represented the first step back to MY normalcy – being my first presentation since March 17, 2020.
Each course of the meal was hand-crafted to match each of the distinctive Cabernet Franc vintages from the Livermore Valley, and the Sachau and Ghielmetti Vineyards. The meal began with a sweet onion and apple cider soup laced with the Livermore Valley 2018 L’Autre Côte Cabernet Franc and garnished with fresh Acme bread croutons and aged gruyére cheese.
The main course was a dish I discovered in the Burgundy region, and popular throughout France: Oeufs en Meurette – Poached Egg on Frisée with Bacon, Shallot and a Creamy Red Wine Sauce made with the Sachau Vineyard, 2017 L’Autre Côte Cabernet Franc.
For the dessert, I began with a rich, Dark Chocolate-Olive Oil Mousse I discovered in Vieux Nice on the Côte d’Azur. To complement and pair with the Ghielmetti Vineyard 2017 L’Autre Côte Cabernet Franc, I created a syrup made with the exact wine, plus sugar, spices and vanilla. The syrup was drizzled on top of the chilled mousse; garnished with fresh raspberries, and a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar. The result was exquisite! Bitter dark chocolate flavor, with tart highlights; a creaminess that melted on the tongue and gently covered the mouth, and with a subtle, spicy finish. The pairing with the wine was perfect; tasting the wine with the dessert, the wine remained true to the winemaker’s intentions.
When making this at home, I suggest using your own special red wine vintage or your favorite dessert wine (i.e. port) to create your own custom syrup. Serve the same wine with the dessert for a memorable finish to a meal!
Due to the popularity of this March event (it was sold out), the winery is presenting a second gathering on Sunday, April 25. To learn more and/or make a reservation, contact them directly at 925-243-6442. Hope to see you there!
– Chef Charlie
Chocolate-Olive Oil Mousse
with Spiced Wine Syrup and Raspberries
For the Mousse:
4 ounces good-quality dark chocolate with around 65 per cent cocoa solids (100 g)
4 tablespoons olive oil (30 ml)
2 egg yolks
4 egg whites
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Fresh raspberries (3 per serving)
Equipment: 10 – 4-ounce ramekins
For the Spiced Wine Syrup:
2 cups full-bodied red wine (Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Rioja)
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup sugar, or to taste
1 teaspoon peppercorns, cracked
1 cinnamon stick, broken
2 whole cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• For the Mousse: Place the chocolate and olive oil in heatproof bowl placed in a skillet of simmering water. Melt the chocolate with the olive oil and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool just warm. Add the egg yolks to the chocolate mixture, whisking one by one, until they are all fully incorporated.
• Using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form soft peaks, adding the sugar once they have turned white.
• Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture and combine with a whisk to lighten the mixture. Carefully fold in the remaining whites with a spatula, until you see no more traces of white.
• Transfer the mousse to individual ramekins and chill for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
• For the Wine Syrup: In a saucepan, combine all the sauce ingredients and place over medium high heat. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Slowly cook down the wine syrup, uncovered, until reduced by approximately 1/2, and thick enough to lightly coat a spoon. Remove from heat, strain, discard solids, and allow to cool.
• To serve, drizzle a thin layer of the cooled syrup on top of the chilled mousse, top with the fresh raspberries and lightly dust with of powdered sugar.
Inspired by Rosa Jackson, Les Petits Farcis, Vieux Nice, France
Adapted in 2021 by Chef Charlie, Epicurean Exchange