On February 13th, the Confrères of the Albany Bailliage convened at The Stockade Inn located in the historic district of the same name in Schenectady, New York. This district boasts the largest collection of authentic colonial houses of any neighborhood in the United States. Love was very much in the air at this newly renovated boutique inn, but the star of the show was the Valentine inspired menu prepared by Chef Doug DeMarco.
We felt transported back in time to a more romantic era as we amorously sipped perfectly chilled Champagne and feasted on succulent butler passed hors d’oeuvres including sliced duck breast on potato chip, bacon wrapped lamb chops with chimichurri sauce, boursin stuffed smoked salmon and duck confit risotto cakes. Peg Delaney set the mood with her graceful keyboard stylings, and the roaring fire added to the ambience.
The theme of the dinner “For the Love of Food” was executed with both love and finesse. The first course in our elegant and gracious setting was a seared diver scallop with caramelized fennel, watercress, and a blood orange pomegranate reduction. It was paired with a classic, flinty Sancerre, Montintin 2009, which stood up well to all of the elements of the dish. Arriving next was a duck confit and vegetable terrine served with a Bouchard Pere & Fils Pommard 2005. We were all rapturously in love with both the food and surroundings at that point.
The third course featured delectable veal cheek and sweetbread ravioli with roasted root vegetables and Swiss chard in a rich beef jus. A big, heavy, chewy yet flavorful Clos du Mont-Olivet, Chateauneuf du Pape, La Cuvee du Papet 2006 rounded out the course. We took a bit of a breather with a salad of soft poached egg and frisee and then it was on to the main event.
The fifth course stood strong with tenderloin of bison supported by foie gras, a medley of mushrooms, truffle potato puree and a bone marrow infused bordelaise sauce. This course demanded an equally strong partner and the Elan Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2001 delivered. It was a match made in culinary heaven!
The final love letter of this repast came in the form of chocolate in three wonderful variations: chocolate truffle tart, chocolate cardamom ice cream and a chocolate covered strawberry. What says love better than chocolate!
As remarked by one of our members, this was truly an educational experience earmarked by fabulous dishes and wonderful presentations. Our hearts were warmed by this evening of fine dining in the midst of a very snowy, icy, chilling winter. Well done, Chef DeMarco and The Stockade Inn!