12 days: on the third day of christmas: desramaults… (2014)

~ “Karremelkstampers” is not only a fun word to say, but it represents the wonderful cross-cultural exchange that makes the Twelve Days of Christmas such a meaningful event.  It’s a traditional dish from the Flemish region of Belgium, where chef Kobe Desramaults was raised and is now chef and owner of the Michelin-starred restaurant In de […]



“Karremelkstampers” is not only a fun word to say, but it represents the wonderful cross-cultural exchange that makes the Twelve Days of Christmas such a meaningful event.  It’s a traditional dish from the Flemish region of Belgium, where chef Kobe Desramaults was raised and is now chef and owner of the Michelin-starred restaurant In de Wulf.  I had his version of “karremelkstampers” there earlier this year, when I spent a night at his family’s quaint farmhouse in the hilly Belgian countryside near the French border.

“Karremelkstampers” translates into English as “buttermilk smash.”  It’s kind of like mashed potatoes, made with buttermilk. At In de Wulf, Desramaults bakes whole, waxy potatoes in dough, and presents them at the table, still steaming in the crust, with a frothy, buttermilk dip that is also served warm.

On the third night of this year’s Twelve Days of Christmas dinner series, Desramaults shared this cultural curio from his corner of the world with the guests at the Restaurant at Meadowood.  Cracking open rounds of ashen bread at the table, the potatoes, which had been baked individually, were presented, piping hot, beside bowls of that warm, cheesy fondue that I remembered so fondly from In de Wulf.


Kobe Desramaults plating.


In an earlier post about my meal at In de Wulf, I wrote, “Desramaults’s dishes showcased one or two ingredients at a time.  He coaxed the best out of each one, using natural techniques – like smoking, aging, pickling, fermenting, and salt-baking – to enhance texture and flavor.  Confident enough to find sophistication in simplicity, he kept garnishes and gimmickry to a minimum.”

That was true of his dishes at this year’s Twelve Days of Christmas.  Among them were slices of cured mackerel that were lightly torched on the skin side, and served with a paper-thin slices of kohlrabi and apples.

There were also fat oysters, nestled on a bed of melted celeriac, and glazed, simply, with a sauce made of whey. Together, it was a creamy, rich coupling that, like a lot of Desramault’s cooking, is laced with just a touch of acid to help cut through the saturated flavors.


7th Course: Beetroot


Organically raised lamb belly was rolled, like porchetta, sliced, and then grilled on the Josper to crisp-up the fatty, gelatinous rind.  Desramaults served this with a little bit of lamb jus and wild mushrooms.

Desramaults ended his run of dishes with a cloud of tangy yogurt stained with a spoonful of syrupy compote made from elderberries and huckleberries. All of this was topped with a gossamer-thin disc of sugar glass colored with beet juice, and an inky glaze of the berry juice. The beet disc was so thin that, at first glance, it appeared as if a glassy sheet of syrup was levitating above the yogurt below.  It cracked effortlessly, almost under the weight of my stare, the shards almost dissolving before they even left the bowl.  This was a spectacular dessert.


Chicken in sourdough


Kostow and his team have perfected the art of baking fowl in bread.  At last year’s Twelve Days of Christmas, we saw a beautiful guinea hen nestled in a giant, sourdough boule, circled with a garland of herbs.  This year, to complement Desramaults’s bread-baked potatoes, the Restaurant at Meadowood presented juicy chickens, baked in sourdough and served with a side of the crust.  Those golden shingles dripping with schmaltz, were amazing.




Below, you’ll find the menu from the third night of the Twelve Days of Christmas with Kobe Desramaults of In de Wulf and thebiodynamic wines of Ted Lemon (who, with his sense of humor, arrived sporting a tie of lemons) of Littorai.  (I love Littorai’s pinot noir, but I especially loved the “Mays Canyon” chardonnay served at this dinner).  Following the menu, you’ll find a slideshow of all of the photos that I took at this dinner.


“Kale Chips”
Flavors of chorizo.

Black Olive Meringue
Whipped olive oil.
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)


First Course 
Salted and Smoked Mackerel
Kohlrabi, lovage, apples, with sorrel cream.

Second Course
Oysters and Whey Sauce

Third Course 
Spiny Tail Lobster
Chestnut, purslane.
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

Fourth Course 
(Potatoes baked in ashen dough, with cheese)

Fifth Course 
Bird in Bread
Chicken baked in sourdough,
nasturtium, onion.
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)

Sixth Course 
Lamb Belly
Jerusalem artichoke, mushrooms.

Seventh Course 
Yogurt, wild berries.

Eighth Course 
Chocolate-Preserved Cherry Tart
(The Restaurant at Meadowood)


Littorai “Mays Canyon”
Chardonnay, 2012

Littorai “One Acre”
Pinot Noir, 2009

Littorai “Savoy Vineyard”
Pinot Noir, 2010

Littorai “The Haven Vineyard”
Pinot Noir, 2011

Littorai “Hirsch Vineyard”
Pinot Noir, 2011


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Below are links to my posts and photos from all of the Twelve Days of Christmas dinners I have attended over the past three years at the Restaurant at Meadowood.  Each chef is listed with the restaurant with which they were cooking at the time they participated in the event (some have moved on to other projects and restaurants).


Scott Anderson (Elements; Princeton, New Jersey)
John & Karen Shields (Formerly of Townhouse; Chilhowie, Virginia)
Phillip Foss (EL Ideas; Chicago, Illinois)
Stuart Brioza & Nicole Krasinski (State Bird Provisions; San Francisco, California)
Jason Franey (Canlis Restaurant; Seattle, Washinton)
Matthias Merges (Yusho; Chicago, Illinois)
Mori Onodera (Formerly of Mori Sushi; Los Angeles, California)
James Syhabout (Commis; Oakland, California)
Nick Anderer (Maialino; New York, New York)
David Toutain (Agapé Substance; Paris, France)
Josh Habiger & Erik Anderson (The Catbird Seat; Nashville Tennessee)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Andy Ricker (Pok Pok, Portland, Oregon & New York, New York)
Rodolfo Guzman (Boragó; Santiago, Chile)
Carlo Mirarchi (Blanca and Roberta’s; Brooklyn, New York)
Tim Cushman (O Ya; Boston, Massachusetts)
Ashley Christensen (Poole’s Diner; Raleigh, North Carolina)
David Chang (Momofuku; New York, New York)
Matthew Accarrino (SPQR; San Francisco, California)
Mark Ladner & Brooks Headley (Del Posto; New York, New York)
Rasmus Kofoed (Geranium; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Nicolaus Balla & Cortney Burns (Bar Tartine; San Francisco, California)
David Kinch (Manresa; Los Gatos, California)
Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood; St. Helena, California)


Matthew Orlando (Amass; Copenhagen, Denmark)
Frank Castranovo & Frank Falcinelli (Frankies 457, Prime Meats; New York, New York)
Kobe Desramaults (In de Wulf; Dranouter, Belgium)


Categories 12 days 2014

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