adventures in food: a very special dinner

"Sanne, have you ever eaten offal?"

I responded that apart from your regular pate or duck liver as an extravagant top-up I had never eaten any cow's or duck's internal essentials. I did tell my friend that according to my sister and her boyfriend it's really not too miss and can make for a fantastic dinner. Recommending the Gebr. Hartering in Amsterdam along the way. Gesiers de canard, supposedly is really something special.

"I would really like to eat all that, you know! Maybe we can arrange something with a chef I know. He might be into that!"

So my friend went on and organised this special dinner for ten daredevils that were up for it.

"Would you maybe like to do the wine for the evening?"

Sure I would like to do that! Nice try-out for me and wine pairing.

He cleverly didn't share the menu with the attendants as to not to scare them in advance. I could have a peak, because of the wine. I glanced over the menu, got slightly disgusted, but picked myself up and started browsing the interwebz for possible wines to go with the menu. The internet wasn't really much help, most of the pairings it proposed were either Beaujolais or very specific combinations that I wouldn't be able to get my hands on. So, in this case, we went along with the wine shop guy's recommendations. Which was also quite a challenge for him because we couldn't provide him with in depth info about the way the dishes would be prepared. We only had it on paper. And in the end the menu even changed!

The evening started with a celebratory prosecco and a tiny glass of pumpkin soup with bone marrow. Drinking quite enthusiastically because we were all a little frightened of what might come.
The first course was an easy one, a nice autumnal salad with creamy slices of duck liver, some crispy bits, and some sweat pears. The crispy bits turned out to be deep-fried veal ball, which was not as disgusting as it sounds!
The salad was paired with a Pinot Grigio Ramato, The wine was chosen because the original salad was supposed to have a raspberry dressing. The pairing wasn't off, but the combo could have been more balanced.
Next up was a very terrifying dish, brains. Crispy brain with pomodori, sage and homemade pasta. The homemade pasta makes it sound so easy and delicious. But in all honesty, brains are a ridiculous eat. They're wet and soggy, cream-like. It's just plain weird. After the brain dish I wasn't scared anymore of what was to come. This course was paired with an Italian white: falanghina, a native grape with hints of ripe apple and peaches. I drank it quite quickly to wash away the texture of the brains..
The third course was a fairly classic combination of baked liver with apple, bacon, onion and blood sausage. Paired with a fruity Pinot Noir from the Pays d'Oc.
Fourth up: Veal kidney with baked chicory, vitelotte and mustard sauce. Paired with a nice and herby Chianti. A subtle combination.
For our last savoury course we enjoyed sweetbread with wild spinach and bearnaise. Paired with the strongest wine of the lot: a rich and oaky Bordeaux.