“Satisfied and slightly dizzy from their bottomless wine glasses, dinner guests left the Phoenicia’s Eau du Vie Monday night were practically sweating cheese.
French fromager Claude Lauxerrois served four cheese-infused courses and endless taste tests as the guest chef of Eau de Vie, which looks out onto Beirut’s yacht-lined bay from the roof of the Phoenicia Hotel.
Lauxerrois is the master cheese-maker of Ferme Jehan de Brie, located in Doue in northern France. The fromager has made nearly a dozen trips to Beirut, each time bringing with him a selection of his handmade cheeses, from subtle Munster to buttery Roquefort.
Though the thought of an unassuming cheese platter conjures up visions of nothing wilder than grapes, baguettes and art gallery openings, Monday night’s dinner was an unexpected journey into unbridled decadence.
The chef shaved, stuffed, melted and froze bits of his delectable product, which won the 1977 Mercure d’Or prize, into every dish. That paired with copious amounts of local wine made it unclear whether Lauxerrois was just a talented Frenchman or a human incarnation of Bacchus – the Greek god and giver of ecstasy.”