Of all the days of the year that I had to feel a bit on the lazy side, it had to be New Year's Eve. After the haste and unplanned Christmas Eve dinner at home, all my adrenaline pumps shut down. Round 2 was New Year's Eve dinner that for all the patience in me, my husband and I were too late in booking a restaurant nor hotel with a reasonable price. I could have booked the only remaining restaurant for €190 a person for the big night but I didn't want to splurge so much for one night. We are a family of 4 plus we would be needing a hotel room. That would make quite an unwelcome dent to our account.
I decided instead, to go easy on the menu. Light, simple, excellent quality and over everything, there was not much cooking required. I mapped out something kid-friendly and 1 course less. We decided to go for the best quality so our little troop headed to Eataly to buy all our food and ingredients. A good platter of excellent prosciutto & formaggio (ham & cheese), a pasta dish of fresh pici con sugo di carne (meat sauce) that I cooked for 3 hours and a fruity torta arlecchino (harlequin cake) of Luca Montersino, one of my favorite patisserie chefs all accompanied by a good bottle of red wine and champagne.
I didn't cook something that every Italian table should have. I didn't serve the traditional New Year's Eve dish of lentils con cotechino. It's supposed to give good luck for the coming year because of the round shape of the lentils. Hoping for the other New Year's Eve belief from the Philippines of having luck for the year if you have 12 round fruits in the house, I counted the fruits in our fruit bowl but I looked forlornly at the apples, oranges and clementines. That was it. I only came up to 3 out of 12. On one side, I never believed in these things but on another side, I feel like bad luck will pounce on me because I forgot to do any of the traditional things to bring luck for the new year.
The antipasto was slated for the whole family especially the kids, who love having different kinds in front of them. The ham platter consisted of prosciutto crudo, 2 kinds of salame, mortadella and prosciutto cotto. We all chose together the cheese to celebrate with and we decided on a (top to bottom) Mimolette (the orange one), Formaggio di Fossa, 96-month old Parmigiano Reggiano, Bra Duro, Formaggio Cusie in Foglie di Castagno and Mozzarella (not in picture). All the cheese are aged except for the mozzarella.
My son's and my new favorite is the French Mimolette. It is somehow reminiscent of the English Cheddar Cheese but just a tad saltier. The Formaggio di Fossa is and will always be one of the best cheeses for me. The Bra Duro from the Piedmont area is a pride of that area and is one of the cheese I loved eating while I was on an enogastronomic tour there. The Formaggio Cusiè in Foglie di Castagno is a substitute for the usual aged cheese with Barolo wine and wrapped with Barolo leaves that I normally get. It was also great but the latter is exceptional.
|Top to bottom: Mimolette, Formaggio di Fossa and 96-month old Parmigiano Reggiano|
Then there's the 96-month old Parmigiano Reggiano that we tried. There were actually two ages that we were choosing from, the 120-month old and the 96-month old. The fact that they exist surprised us and when we saw the price, we were blown away. It was almost a €100 a kilo. To be honest, we were very curious with the 120-month old but it didn't looked so appealing so we settled for the 96-month old one. We are all Parmigiano Reggiano lovers at home especially my kids but I guess our taste buds are not sophisticated enough to arrive to the very old ones. It's not as round as the 30-month old one but it does have it's perk of a very good aged cheese. I'll try it again with a few drops of old balsamic vinegar. They can be the perfect pair.
The Kir Royal. It's like the kir (see my old post about it and about Mons, France), one of the French drinks I enjoy so much whenever I am in France. A kir is made of white wine (originally Bourgogne Aligotè was used) and Crème de Cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) while a kir royal is made of champagne instead of white wine. In this case I went all French and decided to use Veuve Clicquot. I gave the proportions at the recipe below but feel free to change the amount of the Crème de Cassis and champagne according to how sweet you want it. The amount I gave is already sweet enough. I also substitute the Crème de Cassis with the other French liqueurs & syrups I have at home like the Crème de Framboise (raspberry liqueur), Crème de Mùre (blackberry liqueur), Sirop de Rose (rose syrup) and Sirop de Violette (violette syrup). Whatever flavor I put, the drink is always refreshingly fruity and seriously good!
I hope you all had a wonderful New Year and wishing you all the best for 2014! Cin cin!
Makes 1 serving
- 1 part (10 ml.) Crème de Cassis
- 9 parts (90 ml.) champagne
- Pour the Creme de Cassis in a champagne flute.
- Then pour the champagne to fill up the flute.
- You can adjust the taste by adding more Creme de Cassis or champagne.