Reading James Norton’s piece predicting cassoulet-making parties, http://www.chow.com/media/7247 , I thought I’d share some of the mostly local sources for the cassoulet dinner I attended last month.
Goose confit, saucisson a l'ail and saucisson de Toulouse from Fatted Calf
Ventreche ordered in advance from Draeger’s in Danville
Pork skin from Ranch 99 in Dublin
Halal lamb (couldn’t find fresh mutton) from Rahma Mediterranean Market in Dublin
Ham hocks from Andronico’s in Berkeley
Haricots tarbais ordered from Amazon, http://www.amazon.com/Label-Rouge-Fre...
Pastis from BevMo
French cheeses from the southwest from Berkeley’s Cheeseboard
Baguettes for croutons from La Boulange in San Francisco
Walnut bread and rustic baguette from Acme in Berkeley
Jean-Vire Basque linens ordered from South Pasadena
Pillivuyt Coupe French white porcelain dinnerware from Williams-Sonoma in Pleasanton
My hyper-organized friend de chow had the foresight and good sense to corner the market on Fatted Calf’s goose confit when it was available in December, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/583108 , banking nearly 200 dollars worth in his freezer for the winter’s Toulouse style cassoulet. The goose was fantastic and well worth seeking out. The pale and skinny garlic sausage was mild and pleasant, whereas the Toulouse sausage was disappointingly dry. Yet, I’ll have to say that my favorite meaty bite in the cassoulet was the ventreche, poached with savories to a melting tenderness then baked on top of the beans to a crispy brown.
I bought some locally grown flageolet from Santa Rosa’s Tierra Vegetables to play around with in advance. Marrow beans were already sold out. Evie had warned me that this had been a difficult harvest, and the quality wasn’t up to previous years. This crop turned out to not hold their firmness sufficiently in test batches and we went looking for alternatives. Instead my host ordered imported tarbais from Amazon, which had a nice bite after long cooking and absorbed all the delicious flavors.
The wines came from our cellars, including a bottle of Blanquette bubbly that was a souvenir of my visit to the region in 2006. Once again, Cahors proved itself to be the best partner for cassoulet at the table, even though tasted without food, it was outgunned by the Burgundy and Bordeaux.
N. V. Le Berceau MaisonVergnes A.O.C. Blanquette Méthode Ancestrale
1993 Rene Engel “Les Brulees” 1er cru Vosne-Romanee (Esquin Imports)
1982 Ch. Sociando-Mallet Haut-Médoc (Kermit Lynch, importer)
1998 Ch. Pineraie Cahors (Kermit Lynch, importer)
1982 Ch. Doisy-Daene Barsac (Kermit Lynch, importer)
N. V. Don Narciso Brandy
Cassoulet Night photos
2005 thread on cassoulet ingredients
2006 thread on Toulouse, Carcasonne and Castelnaudry
Culinary Olympics: Cassoulet Division
A Different Stripe Basque table linens marry practicality with pizzazz