There are three things in this world that I have a great affinity for. Cheese, poker and cake. When I can have all three in one sitting, that’s the ultimate trifecta. Okay, maybe not ultimate, but it sounds so dramatic.
I invited some of the kitchen staff and their significant others over to my crib to eat and play poker last Monday night. For our cheese feast, I laid out four cheeses courtesy of Benton Brothers Fine Cheese. [2104 West 41st Ave, Vancouver, (604) 261-5813] I called the “Benton Boys” up the day before, asked them to surprise me and pick four special cheeses for our little soiree. They picked an Epoisses de Bourgogne (one of my faves), Valencay Vernuil, Marechal and Colston Basset Stilton. Overall, they made some great picks. Unfortunately, I thought the Valencay was too young, but the other three cheeses were outstanding. The Epoisses was perfectly ripe and the best I’ve tasted in a long while. The Marechal was so tasty and complex and paired amazing well with the 2005 Golden Mile Black Arts 5th Element Red. The Stilton was delicious; I only wish I had some old Port to drink with it. Along with the cheese, we also had a nice mix of charcuterie items, warm bread, crackers and varied accoutrement. I really love eating like this, though “Monk” seemed so nervous that our guests did not have enough to eat.
When our first poker game ended and the suitable champion was crowned, it was time to get into a little cake. I asked “Superstar” to bring over a couple of my favorite Thomas Haas [ 128-998 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver, (604) 924-1847] cakes for dessert. The crispy raspberry and the milk chocolate passion fruit have been two of my favorites for quite some time. “Boomtown” and the “Great Wall” have never had the pleasure of tasting these cakes, so it was a treat to introduce these to them. “Godfather” and “The Girl” have been enjoying Thomas Haas cakes for a while and even set up a cake tasting for “Jazzy” three weeks after her arrival. I just love the flavors, the colors and particularly the textural differences in his desserts. Since I’m not a classically trained pastry chef by any means, I am always intrigued and excited by dessert excellence.
What a fun night; good friends, good food, good wine and pocket aces. Can’t wait till next time.