Every year, the third Thursday in November is the first chance to enjoy the earliest fruits of the French harvest. Beaujolais Nouveau is a fresh, fruity wine that marks the end of the harvest, and that is reason enough for light hearted celebrations. Around the Bay Area there will be plenty of different ways to celebrate and even an option for those who can’t stand Beaujolais Nouveau.
On Thursday, November 20 from 5:30-7:30pm celebrate the arrival of Georges Duboeuf’s Beaujolais Nouveau at the Grand Cafe, 510 Geary St, San Francisco. Enjoy a complimentary glass served straight from the barrel. Light nibbles will be provided.
Starting at 6:30 pm on November 20th, Chef Roland Passot (Left Bank Brasseries, La Folie) will deliver an inaugural case of 2008 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau via vintage hot red fire truck to the Left Bank, 1100 Park Place, San Mateo. Accompanied by Liam Mayclem, firefighters from San Mateo’s Station 21 and festive can-can girls, the arrival of the Beaujolais Nouveau will kick off a weekend of Moulin Rouge-style entertainment that will help benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
From Thursday, November 20 through Saturday, November 22, the Left Bank Brasserie in San Mateo, will feature a Beaujolais-inspired menu (in addition to the nightly dinner menu); a bar transformed into a lively Moulin Rouge – complete with Can-Can girls swinging, dancing and grape-stomping to celebrate the new Beaujolais Nouveau harvest; live bands; strolling accordianists; artists and more.
The bar’s Happy Hour will extend from 3:00 pm until closing over the three days of celebration. The festivities will culminate on Saturday with a “Wine Down” party where the guest of honor, the 2008 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau, will drop by $2 each hour until closing. Raffle tickets will be sold throughout the weekend to help benefit the Firefighters’ Association’s fundraising efforts on behalf of Muscular Dystrophy. Featured prizes to include 49’ers and Sharks tickets, a French dinner for four, assorted gift baskets, and more.
Beaujolais Nouveau not your thing? Also on November 20th from 6 – 8pm, Arlequin Wine Merchant at 384 Hayes St in San Francisco will present a Beaujolais Tasting featuring cru Beaujolais. For those with refined tastes, it’s well worth checking out the best of the region, specifically cru Beaujolais, which are wines from the villages of Brouilly, Cote de Brouilly, Regnie, Morgon, Chiroubles, Fleurie, Moulin-a-Vent, Chenas, Julienas, and Saint-Amour. The cost for this event is $10.
Last but not least, on Saturday, November 22nd, from 11- 4 pm at 1605 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, Café Fanny and Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant will host their annual Beaujolais Nouveau party. The wines from Domaine Dupeuble and Cédric Vincent will be served at $6 – 8 per glass and chef Christopher Lee of Eccolo will prepare a lunch of poulet au vinaigre with new potatoes for $15. There will be music and merriment. For more information, call 510-524-1524.
Wondering how to cook with Beaujolais? Here’s a recipe courtesy of Chef Roland Passot.
Seared Duck Breasts with Beaujolais-Pomegranate Sauce
Makes: 6 servings
1 ¼ cup of Beaujolais
¾ cup chopped shallots
4 ½ cup tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Whole black peppercorns, crushed
1 cup of pomegranate
1 cup of pomegranate juice
3 cups chicken broth
3 (1-pound) duck breast halves with skin
Preheat to oven to 250F. Season duck with salt and pepper. Heat 1 large skillet over medium heat. Place duck breasts, skin side down. Cook until skin is brown and crisp, and keep removing excess fat as it’s cooking, about 8 minutes. Reserve and keep in warm oven.
Pour off duck fat from skillet, reserving 2 Tbsp of fat for sauce. In the same skillet, add shallots & pomegranates, cook for few minutes. Deglaze with balsamic, Beaujolais and pomegranate juice. Reduce by half, add 1 cup of chicken stock, and reduce until coating consistency. Finish searing duck breasts. Slice duck breasts crosswise into ½-inch-thick slices. Place sliced duck breasts on plate, drizzle with sauce. Serve with root vegetables and cooked grains.