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 Rosé.  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