Thursday, January 10, 2013

Update: Recipes from Obama inaugural luncheon

Steamed lobster with New England chowder
Grilled bison, huckleberry reduction, potato cake
Hudson Valley apple pie with cheese, honey
Updated by 1/10/13 announcement:

The recipes for the dishes to be served at President Obama's January 21 post-inaugural luncheon have been released. You can find them here.

(Story originally published 1/9/13.)

For those of you who keep track of this sort of stuff, a pair of New York State wines will be served at the inaugural luncheon in Washington, DC, that will take place immediately after President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term.

This is notable because (a) such things are scrutinized by the food-and-drink press and the labels will get a nice plug from them, and (b) it is the first time in modern history New York wines will be featured at the event, set this time around for Monday, January 21.

Scheduled to be poured are a Tierce 2010 Dry Riesling and a 2009 Merlot.

The Tierce wine is a collaboration from    winemakers Peter Bell of Fox Run Vineyards, Johannes Reinhardt of Anthony Road Winery, and David Whiting of Red Newt Cellars, all three on Seneca Lake.

The Merlot is from Bedell Cellars of Cutchogue, Long Island.

Accompanying those wines and one from a California producer will be Gala and Ida Red apples (Golden Harvest Farms), Jersey Girl Colby and Toma Celena cheeses (Cooperstown Cheese Company), honey (Seaway Trail)  and maple syrup (Crown Maple) from New York.

Attending the luncheon for 200 with the president and his cabinet will be a host of congressional leaders, Supreme Court justices, diplomats and other movers-and-shakers.

"This is a major breakthrough for New York wines, and we are deeply grateful to Senator Charles Schumer for providing this opportunity," said Jim Trezise, president of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation which represents wineries statewide, in a statement. "New York wines have experienced a revolution in quality and are wonderful accompaniments to food, so we're confident the guests will find much to like."

Schumer is responsible for overseeing the inaugural festivities as chairman of the Rules Committee. It's a natural followup to his busy 2012 in which he made numerous strong efforts to improve business for New York's brewers and winemakers.

The menu for the luncheon, to be held in the Capitol's Statuary Hall, will include:
  • Steamed lobster with New England chowder
  • Hickory grilled bison with wild huckleberry reduction and red potato horseradish cake
  • Hudson Valley apple pie with sour cream ice cream, aged cheese and honey 
The three-course menu was devised by Shannon Shaffer, executive chef of Design Cuisine in Arlington, VA, a Washington suburb. He has a New York connection, too, having studied at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde ark.

"Agriculture has always played a starring role in American culture and has been at the heart of our cuisine since the birth of our nation," Schumer said in a statement. "This luncheon menu incorporates foods that the first Americans enjoyed, but with a modern, forward looking approach. I’m confident that Democrats, Republicans, and representatives from all three branches alike will enjoy these incredible dishes from all corners of our nation."

Be that as it may, brace yourself for the inevitable flap raised because they also will be serving Korbel Natural Special Inaugural Cuveé Champagne, a California a bubbly that should not be referred to as "Champagne."

By international trade custom and agreement, "Champagne" can only come from the French region of that name. Sparkling wines from anywhere else may only use derivative or geographically explanatory names, such as "champagnois," "Champagne-style," "California Champagne" and so on. Typical names for bubblies are blanc de blanc, blance de noir, brut, demi sec, and "pink champagne" or rosé. Perhaps sticking the cuveé and California words onto the Korbel bubbly will out a cork in the debate.

[P.S. You can see Chef Shaffer interviewed in this video clip.]

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