Past Events

Induction & Gala Dinner: The Union League of Chicago — Event Menu


Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Lollipop
Creamed Leeks and Caviar
Roasted Pear, Brie Cheese, Toasted Almonds on Brioche

Ayala “Majeur” Brut Champagne NV, 750 ml


Chilled Maine Lobster Salad
Edamame Spaghetti and Asian Touches

Domaine William Fèvre Grand Cru “Les Clos”, Chablis 2006, en Magnum

Mushroom Consommé
Beef Brisket and Mushroom Flan

Domaine de Courcel 1er Cru “Les Rugiens” Pommard 2006, 750 ml

Tomato Sorbet, 50th Anniversary

Roasted Venison Chop
Spring Pea Risotto
Foie Gras Stuffed Morel Mushrooms
Red Wine and Venison Reduction

Château Calon-Ségur Saint-Estèphe Bordeaux Rouge 1996, en Double Magnum

Tasting of Hook’s (Mineral Point, WI) Aged Cheddar Cheese
10 Year and 5 Year

Petite Salad, Roasted Cashews
Honeycomb, Raisin Pecan Bread

Farmhouse Cider, Bourbon Barrel Aged Virtue Cider “The Mitten”,
2016 Release, 750 ml
Lustau Solera Reserva “Don Nuño” Jerez, Oloroso Sherry NV, 750 ml

Chocolate Ganache Bombe “Surprise”
54% Semisweet Chocolate

Farmhouse Cider, Bourbon Barrel Aged Virtue Cider “The Cherry Mitten”,
2016 Release, in Keg

Post-Prandial 50th Anniversary Treats

W & J Graham’s Port Vertical: 30 and 40 Year Old Tawny & 1966 Vintage

Coffee or Tea


Food and Wine Notes

Our celebratory gala dinner begins with a selection of passed canapés.  On a playful note, goat cheese decoratively wrapped in smoked salmon is fashioned into lollipops.  Decadently rich creamed leeks are topped with caviar while a gustatory balancing act of brie, pear and almonds form a mosaic on small brioche squares. Champagne Ayala Majeur Brut, perhaps one of Champagne’s purest non-vintage sparklers, showcases exceptional ripe white fruit, mineral notes and a superior crisp finish to complement the diverse array of passed hors d’oeuvres.

Once seated, chilled lobster brushed with a fragrant yet balanced Asian glaze is served.  Supporting the lobster is lightly cooked edamame pasta and al dente vegetables with flavors mirroring the lobster glaze.  Dots of sesame infused mayonnaise complete the dish. The lobster is paired with an intense Chablis from Domaine William Fèvre. This Grand Cru “Les Clos”, which is being poured from magnums, has a palate of citrus, crushed stone and herbaceous essences including a hint of mint. This Chardonnay was harvested in 2006, the first of many wines with vintages ending in “6” to commemorate Chaîne Chicago’s 50th anniversary.

The mushroom consommé is characteristically clear, intensely colored, and loaded with heady flavors and an umami punch.  Surprisingly, the liquid contains no meat and truly represents mushroom essence.  A silky flan provides a contrasting texture and richness to this course.  Sprinkled in the consommé are roasted assorted mushrooms and diced smoked beef brisket.  This last touch is Chef Michael Garbin’s nod to rôtisseurs who cooked meat on a rotisserie over live fire for centuries. Our second course is paired with beautiful Burgundy from a 400-year-old family-owned winery located in the village of Pommard on the Côte d’Or—Domaine de Courcel 1er Cru “Les Rugiens.” This 2006 Pinot Noir exhibits subtle red fruit flavors and a breath of smoked meats that add complexity to the consommé.

The intermezzo is a memorable surprise and a fitting recognition of 50 years.  Just wait for it….

The venison chop is a tour de force that harkens back to the principles of fine classic cuisine where game was revered. The addition of foie gras and morels contributes to the dish’s luxuriousness.  Not only is the foie gras stuffed inside the morels, but the highly fragrant rendered foie gras fat is also incorporated.  A creamy risotto studded with spring peas reminds us of the season, and the generous serving of sauce rounds out the dish. We are pouring a fine Bordeaux from double magnum to pair with our third dish, Château Calon-Ségur from Saint-Estèphe. This 1996 vintage has notes of tobacco, black fruits, espresso and a hint of bell pepper that elevate this rich meat course.

Our cheese course celebrates one of the iconic American cheddars—Hook’s from Wisconsin.  Being able to compare the five and ten-year cheddars side-by-side is sublime and allows guests to evaluate how aging changes taste and texture. These cheeses are explosive with complex flavors—umami and kokumi—and exhibit the crunchy protein crystals indicative of their age. The 2016 release of Virtue Farm’s bourbon-barrel-aged apple cider “The Mitten” pairs pleasingly with the cheese, and the unexpected Lustau Solera Reserva ‘Don Nuño’ Jerez Dry Oloroso Sherry is sure to surprise many guests. The intense notes of caramel, almonds and spices in this fortified wine magically melt into the cheese, creating a longer, nuttier caramel finish that softens the tangy cheese’s high-acidity.

As the celebration comes to a close, there is another nod to the classics—decadent chocolate bombe. This dessert avoids being cloying by playing with chocolate’s inherent bitterness.  A quenelle of lemon ice cream completes the dessert and juxtaposes the intense flavors of the bombe.  But, in a twist, we are pairing this classic with Virtue Farm’s 2016 release of the very limited “The Cherry Mitten” served on-tap.  Yes, it’s a cider “back-sweetened” with cherry. Try it.  Discover how the sour cherry notes you experience while sipping the cider on its own totally disappears once consumed with the chocolate bombe.  The duo results in rich synergy.  Well, it’s cherries and chocolates, after all!

Lastly, to celebrate the Chicago Bailliage’s 50th anniversary, let’s share together a vertical selection of W & J Graham’s Ports released the last 50 years: 30 Year Old Tawny Port, 40 Year Old Tawny Port and one from vintage 1966, the birth year of Chaîne Chicago.  Let’s revisit this selection in another 50 years (we will keep a stash).  Salut!