Ruinart Champagne and Avec

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When Nick took me to the May Street Market for my birthday last week, we picked up a flier for a Champagne tasting.  This past Monday I met my friends Paul and Margaret at the tasting to celebrate my birthday, Paul's birthday and Margaret's return to Chicago after living in Russia for a few years.

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Ruinart, established in 1729, is the oldest operating Champagne house.  We had the opportunity to sample the Ruinart Blanc de Blancs and the Ruinart RosΓ©.  They were both delicious, refreshing and had beautiful coloring.  Both of these varieties run about $60 a bottle. 

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I was glad to have a reason to return to the May Street Market so quickly and we were all pleased with the appetizers that they served during the tasting.

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May Street Market Mussels.

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May Street Market Maytag Blue Cheesecake.

We each drank three glasses of Champagne and enough appetizers to whet our appetites.

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We decided to head east to Avec to continue the evening.  We ordered the Roasted Corn Bruschetta with fresh dill, shaved fennel and corn vinaigrette.

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Chorizo-Stuffed Madjool Dates with smoked bacon and piquillo pepper-tomato sauce.

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A cheese flight of Mistura Biera (raw cow, ewe's milk) from Portugal, Caciocavallo (cow's milk) from Italy and Cabrales (cow, sheep and goat's milk) from Spain.

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...and we shared a delicious bottle of wine.  It was a more extravagant Monday night than I am used to, but it was nice to celebrate with Paul and Margaret -- two of the best food and beverage companions I know.

Brussels Sprouts with White Beans

Twenty-Six