The Buds love spring.
They love it because it brings so many wonderful things: fresh green grass and budding trees, sweet smelling flowers, the pleasant sound of chirping birds - and a new season of dining opportunities at West Virginia Northern Community College.
On Tuesday, the Buds were happy to attend the first in the WVNCC Culinary Arts program's 2012 Spring Classical Series, which offers both a Tuesday luncheon and a Thursday dinner each week through April 19 featuring a different style cuisine. The final installment of the series will be for dinner only held on May 3.
Much to the Buds' delight, the first meal of the series featured French cuisine, and both gals were excited to experience a taste of France.
Our journey through France started with hors d'oeuvres, which were a pair of spinach and mushroom filled crepes topped with a creamy Gruyere cheese sauce. So delicious! The Buds, who only wish they could make a decent crepe (if the chefs on Hell's Kitchen can't do it, we dare not even try!), agreed that they could each have easily eaten ten more.
The next course was a velvety cream of carrot soup topped with Creme Fraiche and chopped parsley. This rich concoction was creamy and full of flavor. The Buds agreed that the portion was the perfect size, as one wouldn't want to over indulge - especially with several courses yet to come. Very tasty indeed!
The entree, which in a French dinner actually refers to appetizers - not the main course, was served next. A lightly poached sole filet was artfully arranged on a layer of provincial tomato sauce. The Buds found the delicate fish to be cooked perfectly, as it was flaky and had a lovely mild flavor.
Between the first three courses and the main course was the Remise en bouche which is a palette-cleansing course designed to prepare the taste buds for the main course. In this case, it was a refreshing champagne sorbet. The light and tasty pallete-cleanser was awesome, and left both Buds wondering how they could acquire it in bulk quantities.
Finally ready for the main course, the Buds had a choice between a chicken breast stuffed with a rich sauce of tomatoes, herbs and crayfish tails or an herb-crusted roasted loin of pork served with a rich demi glace, flavored with dijon mustard and white wine. Both opted for the pork which was delicious. The slices of pork loin were perfectly tender and the mustard and white wine in the glaze added just the right touch of zing.
Creamy gratin potatoes and cheese accompanied the main courses. These were not your run-of-the-mill potatoes - they were actually stacked between layers of cheese and nutmeg. What a fantastic combination! The potatoes rested on a bed of ratatouille, which was a flavorful mix of diced vegetables, tomatoes and herbs.
Just when the Buds thought they could eat no more, the sixth and final course was introduced - a baked, rich chocolately custard. It was served cold with a thin cookie sandwich and fresh fruit (which were delicious when dipped in the creamy custard). The Buds had no problems clearing their plates. Evidently, there is always room for dessert!
Other dates in the Spring Classical Series include:
Tuesday, April 3 at noon and Thursday, April 5 at 6 p.m.
Tuesday, April 10 at noon and Thursday, April 12 at 6 p.m.
Tuesday, April 17 at noon and Thursday, April 19 at 6 p.m.
Thursday, May 3 at 6 p.m.
All meals are open to the public and are prepared by Northern culinary arts staff and students in the Culinary Arts Dining Room, Room 215 Education Center, 10 17th St., downtown Wheeling.
There is a cost and reservations are required and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or called in to 304-214-8934.
Make your reservations today so you won't miss out on these fantastic meals!
The Buds may be reached at email@example.com