We got together on a Saturday night for a dear friend’s birthday and celebrated with one of his favorite meals, which he discovered on a trip to France. Raclette is a semi hard swiss cow’s milk cheese with a strong smell and delicious taste. In wheel form, it’s melted using a specific device (you can buy one here), scraped onto a plate, and served alongside boiled new potatoes and cured meat for dipping. This is a sit down dinner that requires passing, sharing, and a lot of interaction.
WHAT: black + white hand painted dishes; black + white placemats and salt + pepper shakers; linen napkins in men’s suiting prints; an oversized white resin bowl and servers; brush gold flatware; grey salad plates; opaque white glassware; ivory knives; marble serving bowls and platters; white candles; silver + gold serving bowls and trays; white anemones.
Inspired by black and white “splatter” painted dishware reminiscent of our logo design, we filled the table with more black and white, accented with pops of silver and gold. Napkins in pinstripes and checks reminded us of fashion and added a playful touch. Anemones, our favorite flower, were a perfect choice in white with their signature black centers.
White anemones filled Jonathan Adler’s Vesuvius Short vase; Pottery Barn’s Small Carson glass pillars held white candles.
The black + white theme comes to life with Jonathan Adler’s Positano placemats and White Pop Highball glasses, Crate & Barrel’s Suits napkins and Galvanized Iron napkin rings, Pottery Barn’s Luna Brushed Gold flatware, and ivory steak knives by Laguiole from Sur La Table.
WHAT: It All Begins With Cheese. Raclette; pain d’epi (pull-apart baguettes); new potatoes; bresaola; prosciutto; cauliflower; butter lettuce with radishes and walnuts; mustard and cornichons.
Originally consumed by mountain peasants in Switzerland, we first discovered this style of eating warmed cheese at a tiny restaurant in the Quartier Latin in Paris, a stone’s throw from La Sorbonne. With the cheese melting away, the table was set with traditional accompaniments.
A traditional raclette warmer is ready to go; Dan scraping cheese onto individual plates.
This meal offers different ways to pair cheese. Crate & Barrel's French Kitchen Marble Bowl holds tiny boiled potatoes, and a two-tiered server from the same collection displays bresaola, an air dried and aged beef, as well as a more delicate Proscuitto di Parma. Combine with melted raclette and experience sheer heaven.
We quickly blanched cauliflower in vegetable stock and served the florets at room temperature for those who preferred a vegetable dipper to potatoes and bread, displayed here on Crate & Barrel's marble tray garnished with sprigs of rosemary. Jonathon Adler's eye-catching trio of bowls hold gherkins and two types of mustard.
Tina Frey's oversized, artful bowl and servers held enough salad for 10, a welcome and complementary bite paired with hearty meats and cheese.
Dan’s Smoked Negroni (recipe below), chenin blanc, chilled pinot noir.
Pottery Barn’s pewter handled tray holds glasses of chenin blanc and pinot noir, as well as Dan's signature cocktail for the night, the Smoked Negroni. PB’s footed stemless glasses are weightier than most stemless styles, and felt perfect for a fall meal of meat and cheese; Bodega long stem glasses held the evening’s ruby hued cocktail garnished with rosemary.
Never forget to trick out your bathroom, buy and display fresh flowers, and stock up on the more specific tools and serving items you need.
Byredo’s Vetyver hand wash is a favorite and smells divine; white anemones with their black centers went with our theme.Crate & Barrel’s set of Couture cheese knives are great to have on hand for easy–to-throw-together cheese platters; delicate salt and pepper shakers replace bulky ones making more space at the table; a salad plate in perfect grey and two-tone metal fork from Pier One so salad is kept crisp on the side; napkin rings keep napkins in washed linen looking sharp; oversized servers make an impactful presence when added to dishes.
'Tis The Season. Jonathan Adler’s candles are the best because they not only come in a variety of chic scents, but come in gorgeous glass vessels that can be reused. We chose to burn candles in clean Sea Salt, spicy Bourbon, and festive Holiday—all perfect choices for the special soirée.
FROM THE KITCHEN OF STORY + RAIN
3/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tbsp. of red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. of dijon mustard
1 tbsp. of organic maple syrup
1 tbsp. of chopped fresh dill
1 tsp. of salt
20 cracks of black pepper
Combine and shake ingredients to emulsify. Serve over butter lettuce, sliced radishes, and toasted walnuts.
FROM THE KITCHEN OF STORY + RAIN
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup milk or water
2 tbsp. amaretto, optional
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 egg yolks
3 tbsp. coconut sugar
1/2 tsp. instant espresso powder mixed with 4 tbsp. water
Chocolate shavings, for garnish
In a medium saucepan, bring 2 inches of water to a boil and remove from the heat. Place the chocolate, salt and milk or water in a heatproof bowl and set it on top of the water. Stir occasionally to melt the chocolate evenly. Remove the bowl from the pan.
While the chocolate is melting, whip the cream until it holds a soft peak. Cover and reserve. Refrigerate.
Return the water to a boil. Whisk the yolks and coconut sugar by hand in the bowl of a standing mixer. Whisk in the espresso. Add liqueur if using. Reduce the heat under the water so it simmers slowly. Place the bowl over the water and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and lights in color, 5 to 7 minutes. Whisk by machine until cool and risen in volume, about 5 minutes.
To assemble the mousse, whisk the chocolate into the sabayon and fold in the whipped cream. Spoon the mousse into 4 wine glasses or serving bowls and garnish with the chocolate shavings. Refrigerate about 1 hour before serving.
FROM THE KITCHEN OF STORY + RAIN
Makes 1 cocktail
2 parts gin
2 parts Campari
1 part sweet vermouth
Shake gin, campari and sweet vermouth in an ice in a shaker. Set aside.
In a highball glass, fill half way with chartreuse. Place orange peel and rosemary sprig in chartreuse filled glass.
Light the liquid on fire. Smother the flame with the glass end of a chilled martini glass. This captures the smokiness in the glass. Pour over strained Negroni mixture from shaker. Garnish with orange peel and rosemary sprig from the chartreuse glass.