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As Maude continues to celebrate its fifth anniversary this year, what screams celebration more than Champagne?!?!  The Maude team snuck off to Champagne, the region that shares its name with the sparkling wine it produces, for an intense three-day trip to explore the food and wine. Located in the northeastern part of France, approximately 100 miles outside of Paris, Champagne is one of the great wine regions of the world. After visiting Champagne houses, local pastry shops, boulangeries and butchers, the team returned to Los Angeles to translate their experience into a ten-course menu. My friends and I booked our table for dinner and per usual, we brought the wines with us. As comprehensive and high quality as the wine list is at Maude, the regional dinners at Maude allow my friends, and sometimes me, to bring older vintages from our cellars. We started with Vouette & Sorbee Saignee de Sorbee, a rosé Champagne and then proceeded to open a series of delicious bottles included the Lanson Noble Cuvee 1989, Andre Beaufort 1990 Brut, Philipponat Clos des Goisses 1999 and Moet & Chandon White Star (circa 1970s)
Curtis Stone opened the twenty-five seat Maude Restaurant in January of 2014. I was able to get my first reservation for March 2014 which featured artichokes. It was ten delicious courses in which artichoke was integrated into each dish, sometimes featured, other times less obvious. The experience was so unique and special that I was hooked. I went six times in 2014. Then in 2015, I went twelve times, every single month that year and was declared a Maude Superfan. In 2016, I went ten times, choosing to skip November and December when black and white truffles were featured (I had to give my credit card a rest). Each month the featured seasonal ingredient changes and no ingredient is repeated with the exception of white and black truffles. The ingredients I have enjoyed so far are: 2014: Artichokes, Rhubarb, Morels, Berries, Pear, Winter Squash 2015: Pomegranate, Parsnip, Fennel, Asparagus, Almonds, Avocado, Chili, Fig, Passion Fruit, Apple, White Truffle, Black Truffle 2016: Carrots, Potato, Pistachio, Radish, Garlic, Cherries, Zucchini, Plums, Grapes, Chicories Here we are in 2017 and it is time for a new year of Maude meals. With the Maude team taking a much needed break, they started mid-January, offering the first menu for January and February. The theme for January/February is lime. I am known at the restaurant for taking photos of each dish and trying to carefully write down each ingredient, even though they give us a menu at the end of the meal. So, I decided that this year I would share the meal each month, really as a way to remember all of the amazing flavors of the dinner.