That is just one word which could - and should - be used to describe the meal served by students of the culinary arts program at West Virginia Northern Community College as part of their spring meal series which offers the public a chance to sample just some of their work and give students an opportunity to show off their newly acquired skills.
This season's dinners (NOTE: There will be no luncheons for this series) include meals featuring French, Russian, Italian, Eastern Mediterranean and American cuisines. The Buds were lucky enough to be on hand to experience a taste of France. Ooh la la!!
Fried brie with apricot sauce
Veal medallions with Robert sauce.
pot de creme
The first course (Hors d' oeuvres) was "fromage cuit a la friteuse de brie avec de la sauce a abricot et emandes roti." Phew - What a mouthful! In English this translates to fried brie with apricot sauce and toasted almonds. And it was fantastic! The wedge of brie was warm and gooey (*swoon) and sat atop the apricot sauce which added a lovely sweetness to balance the saltiness of the cheese. Garnished with sliced almonds and diced strawberries, this dish was the ultimate "sweet and salty" indulgence.
The next course (Potage) was "Saint Germaine" or fresh pea soup. The soup was flavorful with the sweetness of the peas and wasn't too thick or heavy. As always, it was presented beautifully with a swirl of cream and a sprinkling of croutons.
Next on the menu (Entree) was "Grenouilles sauce Poulette" or frog legs with mushroom sauce. Yes we said frog legs and yes we were scared, but - being the top notch foodies that we are - we sucked it up and gave them a try. Admittedly not our favorite course, they were okay! Breaded and deep fried, the delicate appendages tasted quite like chicken, but had an unusual texture. The mushroom sauce they rested in was delicious and considerably easier for the Buds to consume.
The palate cleanser (Remise en bouche) was served next: "Sorbet de citron et champagne" or lemon sorbet with champagne. Two words here - sorbet and champagne - indicated that the Buds would find the dish appealing. Yummy! The cool and refreshing treat was definitely well received.
The main course (Plate Principal) was a choice between "Magret du Canard Moscovie roti avec sauce Mandarines" or roasted Muscovy duck breast with mandarin oranges or "Noisettes de veau Robert" or veal medallions with Robert sauce.
Bud Em opted to try the latter, and it was another first as she hadn't tasted veal before. The meat was very light in color, resembling pork rather than beef. The meat was tender and juicy and actually quite a pleasant surprise for the Bud whose main food groups are chicken and chicken. The Robert sauce was extremely tasty and went well with not only the veal but the duchesse potatoes and green beans as well.
Bud Shaunna chose the duck as her main course. This dish was well outside of her comfort zone, but everything sure looked pretty on the plate, so she just jumped right in with a knife and fork. The duck had a pretty strong flavor similar to dark turkey meat. It was nicely prepared with a mandarin orange sauce, but Bud Shaunna could only eat a few pieces. The meat was just too rich for her, even though the taste wasn't bad. Hey, the Buds may be creatures of habit, but you can't say we didn't at least try frog legs, veal or duck!
Up next was the Salad Compose (we're not even going to try typing out all these French words that will probably give our spell check a stroke), featuring Boston Bibb lettuce, Belgian endive and field greens with julienne carrots, cucumbers, pear, tomatoes, toasted walnuts and Sherry vinaigrette. Now THIS is MUCH more the Buds' speed! Both Buds gobbled up these salads without much fuss, noting their enjoyment of the sour and tangy dressing.
What's a seven course meal without dessert? Of course the students at WVNCC didn't forget that, so out came a Pot de creme with Chantilly cream, chocolate sauce, raspberry sauce, fresh raspberries and toasted nuts. We probably don't need to tell you this tasted divine, however it was very rich and very heavy, and the small portion was definitely more than enough after such a large meal.
Upcoming meals in the Spring Classic Cuisines series will feature the following: Italian, April 10; Eastern Mediterranean, April 24; and American, May 1. Seating begins at 6 p.m., and each dinner is $25 per person. To make a reservation for a meal, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 304-214-8934.
The Buds can be reached at tastebuds@timesleader online.com.