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Brandy Tasting November 12th (third of four articles)

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

Peach Street Pear Brandy (US)

Smoked Duck and Boursin Tartlet with Chives

By now, there were noticeably more smiles in the room...

So one of the most famous Brandies in the world and a favorite of chefs everywhere is Calvados, a brandy made from apples in the Normandy region of France. Apple brandy has a long tradition here in America as Apple-Jack but has never received the respect it gets in the Old World. When putting this list together, we had planned to use Calvados as the centerpiece of the tasting, but when looking at all the wonderful selections to choose among my eyes fell on this Colorado Pear brandy from Palisade and I knew we had to taste it.

This brandy is produced by Peach Street Distillers, who also make a pretty respectable line of whiskey, rum and even tequila. The pears are Colorado-grown and it takes twenty pounds of pears to make this one bottle of brandy. The aroma was out of this world. There was no mistaking the strong fragrance of fruit and oak. The flavor didn't disappoint-- it has been described as a pear wrapped in fire.

Duck is such a versatile meat that I thought it could stand up to this one.

Duck breast has a rich layer of fat, but since this is a cold presentation, I removed the fat and sliced it thinly.

Originally I wanted to serve this one with poached pears, but I thought the sweetness would hide the rich pear bouquet of the brandy so I opted for a more savory Boursin cheese base in a neutral tart shell.

The final dish needed something so I used the last of the garden chives to garnish which gave a peppery zip to the overall composition. The result was a slightly smoky, lean duck texture with creamy garlicky cheese and a clean finish. The brandy paired nicely, still a little strong but probably my favorite so far, the crowd seemed to agree. The conversations were getting more animated, and the questions a little more interesting.

Up next; we venture into grappa....

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