Bache-Gabrielsen (pronounced BAKA) has been making Cognac for more than 100 years. Yet, until recently, it has never been available in the United States. It is, however, the most purchased brand of Cognac in Norway of all places. Norwegians buy about three million bottles annually (Norway has a population of 4.5 million), and for that reason the folks at the distillery decided to focus on Minnesota as a prime area for its U.S. release. I guess they assumed we are all Norwegian or at least some version thereof.
The Cognac is really superb. I had a chance to taste the whole line and was thoroughly impressed. There are actually two lines—the Natur & Eleganse line with a V.S.O.P. and an X.O., as well as the traditional line, which includes a fine, V.S.O.P., an X.O. and Hors D’age Grande Champagne. The Natur & Eleganse line was created for the Norwegian government to meet its desire for a Cognac of high quality without any additives, including sugar, caramel, color, or oak chips. While these are not cheap, they are not expensive and have a flavor akin to small batch bourbons. The Cognacs in the more traditional line are superb, culminating in the $250 per bottle Hors D’age Grande Champagne with the oldest components dating to 1917 and the youngest to 1960. Surdyk’s has been offering sampling for shoppers on certain Fridays, and I recommend tasting it for yourself and then getting a bottle for what is sure to be the long Cognac season we have coming up.
New Menu Time
One of my favorite neighborhood dining spots has launched a new fall menu. Grand Café Chef John Radle is featuring a mushroom tart with frisee salad, Laughing Bird shrimp with cheesy grits, warm beet salad with arugula and pear, Fischer Farms pork two ways, and tons of other local autumn goodness.