November 13, 2010 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

The Noble Rot (event): Vin, Fromage et Chocolat

“Paint on Me” | 2010 | The Guests of Vin, Fromage et Chocolat

This past Wednesday, The Noble Rot pop-ed up in Manhattan (Gramercy to be precise) in an amazing loft for an evening dubbed “Vin, Fromage et Chocolate.” Our hosts, Rob and Christina graciously opened their home to our guests and allowed us to dampen their walls with an array of wines paired with outrageous cheeses accompanied with truly divine chocolates.

The Wines:

Liz Martin of Martin Brothers Wines & Spirits, runs one of the most amazing retail stores in this city. Located at 2781 Broadway (between 106th and 107th) the store is an elegant dark-wood paneled, well lit, incredibly well-stocked store. Their selection of fine and rare scotches is unparalleled.

The wines she curated for our tasting were:

1. I Stefanini Spumante Brut (Chardonnay)  NV
2. Domaine Serge Sancerre, 2008
3. Iby Traisental 2008 (Zweigelt)
4. Joel Gott Zinfandel, 2008
5. Bodegas Juan Gil, 2008
6. Domaine Claude Dumarcher Clos De l’Abbe Dubois Ardeche, 2007 (The after-party wine)


Martin Johnson – bringing Cheese to the people since 1776. The Joy of Cheese. Photo by Damian Guitierrez.

The Cheese Man
Martin Johnson of The Joy of Cheese, was our fearless leader in all things salty, funky and moldy. Martin is a genius and a jack-of-all trades. In addition to knowing everything in the world about cheese, he writes jazz reviews for The Wall Street Journal. You can run into him at The Bedford Cheese Shop (corner of Bedford Ave and N4th, off the Bedford L train), but winetology strongly recommends emailing him for more information on his upcoming cheese events:
The cheeses we tasted were:

With the Sparkling, Cannestrato from Casa Madaio in Italy.  This Sardinian sheep’s milk cheese is buttery at the start, then peppery then it finishes with an herbaceous sweetness.

With the Sancerre, Tomme D’Acquitaine from Jean D’Alos in France.  This alpine style goat’s milk cheese from Haute Savoie is known for its lean character and gentle toasted nut overtones.

With the Zweigelt, Camembert from Herve Mons in France. Yes, it’s pasteurized.  Get over it.  It’s still full of mushroom-ey and cauliflower-ish goodness.  It’s one of the best Camemberts available.

With the Joel Gott, Tarentaise from Spring Brook Farms in Vermont.  Nutty and delicately balanced, this cheese was the second runner up in the American Cheese Society judging this summer.

With the Juan Gil, Gruyere from Rolf Beeler in Switzerland. Dense, denser and densest, this alpine classic is the very definition of nutty plus distinctive overtones of fresh meadow and malt.


Cacao Prieto’s bon-bons (a “beans to bon-bons” operation). Photo by Brian Quinn.

The Chocolate Men

Cacao Prieto, will be opening a pop-up store down under the Brooklyn Bridge in Dumbo – details to be announced before the holidays – so once it’s up and running you are encouraged, good reader, to visit Chocolate-Maker Damion Badalamenti and the ever-mustached Michael Cirino of a razor, a shiny knife. Michael and Damion passed around and spoke very highly of their chocolates. We learned that there are two types of Cacao in the world from which we derive our chocolate: Criollo and Forastero. Criollo is a truly “fine” chocolate, in much less supply and expensive. You can absolutely tell the difference in quality when you bite into a chocolate made of Criollo. And Criollo is what Cacao Prieto is all about.


Christine Wells and Amanda Wells whipping up Risotto. Photo by Brian Quinn.

Graduating from the French Culinary Institute this coming Monday (Nov 15), Christine Wells whipped up an outrageously delicious Risotto, an improvisation on a Stilton and red beat recipe made famous by our good friend Nora of The Whisk & Ladle. Christine also roasted squash and added that to the mix and the result was utter enjoyment. Christine is available for private parties and if you send us an email ( we can put you in touch for more information.
A fabulous duo, normally much more than two: Check out Robin Aigner‘s myspace page and catch an upcoming set – we look forward to having her back!
As usual the event was a wild and crazy good time. Again, many thanks to our hosts Rob and Christina. Christina is a painter and had the brilliant idea of hanging a canvas and encouraging guests to paint on it. The result, is worthy of a showing in the Moma we think, but you be the judge – the photo at the top of this post is the crowd-sourced painting.

The Noble Rot: Vin, Fromage et Chocolat – Michael Cirino about to attack (dark suit on the left) and on the right Damion Badalamenti (in the hat).

Liz Martin of Martin Brothers Wines & Spirits with Brian Quinn, a State-Certified Absolute Gentleman of The Noble Rot

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