How many times have you been wine tasting and thought to yourself, “If only I had some cheese”?
A problem in need of a solution. And Dana and Frederic Blaudeau (from Santa Rosa and Brittany, France, respectively) of L’Apero are precisely the people to solve it: Combined, the two have the culinary and stylistic savvy one wants in a plate of snacks. If one is serious about one’s snacks. And one should be.
So when Matt Kettmann, wine guy at The Independent, was planning a recent tasting and thought, “If only I had some cheese,” we emailed Dana our challenge: “We’ll be tasting these wines; could you set us up with some appropriate snacks?”
The result was pretty stinking (that’s to you, Camembert!) perfect, every bite plotted against a particular sip, combined to make each more interesting, more complex. (See the sidebar for details.) Dana’s design background was evident in the presentation, and Frederic’s education at Paris’s Le Notre culinary school didn’t hurt. Nor does the fact that they’ve found a way to get their hands on incredible product. Prior to launching L’Apero, Frederic, a little put off by California-bred foie gras (when it was legal), began sourcing it via an importer who specializes in European delicacies for small classes he taught in S.B. and Montecito. (If you’re curious about the hows and whys of French foie, he’s your guy; his impassioned treatise included frequent mention of the phrase “raised with love.”) And it’s that same importer they tap for the cheese and charcuterie that make up their plates.
Currently, L’Apero sells prepackaged plates at Au Bon Climat, Deep Sea, Summerland Winery, and The Painted Cabernet — sizable enough to share and tailored to pair with the respective winery’s tasting list, as well as custom cheese, charcuterie, and combo platters for all kinds of occasions. If you’re doing something like we were, give them a list of the wines you’re planning to drink, and they’ll do the matchmaking. Order 24 hours ahead of time, and they’ll deliver. And, while the product they deal in is exquisite, when it comes to the pairings, I can attest that the result is greater than the sum of the parts.
For info, aperogourmet.com. Join L’Apero for Au Bon Climat’s Ladies’ Night fundraiser for Breast Cancer, Tuesday, November 13, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at 813 Anacapa Street.