WINE AND CHARCUTERIE AT CHARLES F. LUCAS CONFECTIONERY
From the April 1, 2013 podcast by Duncan Crary on his blog, A Small American City, Heather LaVine (co-owner) puts it best: “The diversity…that’s the most beautiful thing.”
After acquiring a new part time job, I felt the need to celebrate last night. With this new venture I wanted to experience something new. I have recently become a “frequent-flyer” of venues in the City of Troy, and can safely say I am thoroughly enjoying it! The atmosphere is so apart from the one in Albany. Maybe I’m getting old, or maybe it’s Albany that’s getting old. At any rate, I’ve found a great scene in Troy, and have loved exploring it. Although I’ve been to many restaurants and bars in this city, I still have places yet to visit.
Choosing the Charles F. Lucas Confectionery seemed fitting for the night of celebration. I have been wanting to go there since they opened in November 2012. I had heard rumors of their wine list, charcuterie, and sweets for months. They had me at charcuterie. So why wasn’t I running there to see for myself?
Call me old fashioned but I believe that your first time should be special! And indeed it was. The celebration of a new job made it that much sweeter.
As anyone would do trying a new place, I walked in wide eyed and a bit nervous. I felt like a foreigner. My first observation, there was so much seating yet no one was sitting. The bar was teaming with groups of people laughing and sipping their wine, and off in the distance I saw a dense crowd in the back patio. Of course! It was a beautiful sunny evening, that’s where everyone wants to be.
First thing was to stake out a menu, which are assembled on clipboards scattered around the confectionery. There you can find the daily specials, lists of wine by the bottle and glass, and the menu of cheese, charcuterie, and confections! I knew exactly what I wanted. Deciding my first glass of wine took no time at all, sticking with my standard, a Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley. My date ordered Doc’s Cider, which is not a shock in the least bit, but I am glad they have craft beers and ciders as alternatives. I did rush my wine order but I was honestly more interested in choosing my 5 items for the charcuterie board.
Thankfully they categorized the cheese. The menu was fool-proof, including very specific descriptions of each cheese and meat. It was easy to decipher which items I would not prefer; however, if I frequent this place as much as I plan on doing, I’ll end up trying them all!
I settled on two firm cheeses, the Teahive, a “Cheddar style” from Utah, and Tarentaise, from Reading VT. As a compromise to my companion, the last three were meats: The Speck, thinly sliced, salty, and fatty, which was a “crowd pleaser”. Also had a smoked prosciutto and the Breada, which for the life of me can’t remember the animal (I’ll get back to you on that) but it was tougher and a thicker cut, and I enjoyed it with the Tarentaise and the plum preserve.
The entire board was delectable and satisfying! After eating we ventured around the restaurant, ran into a few friends, explored the outdoor patio, which I have learned they recently just finished renovations. We joined a friends party in the back and enjoyed a glass or two, talking about the new business and relaxing after a long day.
The evening felt like a trip down the proverbial “rabbit hole”. This rabbit hole was wonderful, with delicious things to eat and drink, and fantastic friendly people, in a place that was from the past but felt like the present. I wouldn’t mind going through that rabbit hole again, even if only just once in a while.
Stay tuned: A post about the “reclamation restoration”, or urban industrial, which was used to decorate and create the ambiance of THE CHARLES F. LUCAS CONFECTIONERY.
"They feel like they are a part of it, and they are. That’s why this space is a true community space, because it does literally belong to them."
- Vic Christopher, co-owner of The Charles F. Lucas Confectionery, talking to Duncan Crary on his podcast (see link above).