Food & Drink

Cognac-Pairing Dinner at Amuse in Westfield Entertains and Educates

C.J. Reycraft, Jr., chef and ower of Amuse and Daniel Tindal, representative of Camus Cognacs. Credits: Jackie Lieberman
Diners enjoy a pairing of foie gras mousse and VS Cognac. Credits: Jackie Lieberman
Credits: Jackie Lieberman
Chef C.J. Reycraft, Jr., (right) joins musician Victor Calderon for a duet. Credits: Jackie Lieberman
Credits: Jackie Lieberman
Foie gras mousse paired with VS Cognac Credits: Jackie Lieberman
Allen and Regina Smith Credits: Jackie Lieberman
Braised bison wth fennel and cipolini onions and Cognac jus paired with Camus Borderies VSOP. Credits: Jackie Lieberman

WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield’s French brasserie Amuse and wine and liquor shop CoolVines came together Wednesday evening to offer guests a once-in-a-lifetime dinner featuring Camus Cognacs.

Daniel Tindal, representing Camus, educated guests about the Cognacs they were tasting and the difference between Camus Cognacs and other brandies. Camus is a 150-year-old five-generation family-owned distillery in the town of Cognac, France, Tindal explained.

Camus makes a limited number of high-quality bottles each year from two specific types of grapes grown in Cognac. Its brandies are aged in oak two years minimum for the VS (very special) bottles, four years minimum for VSOP (very superior old pale) bottles and at least 10 years for its XO (extra old) bottles — four years longer than required by law, he said.

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Unlike some Cognacs and other brandies, caramel coloring is never used in Camus cognacs, he said. The result is an authentic product with no burnt-caramel taste.

When trying the Cognacs, Tindal instructed diners to swirl, sniff and taste. Cognac has a high alcohol content, so he advised patrons to sip and “savor the flavor.”

Cognacs were paired with eight courses, including foie gras, herbs de Provence-crusted lamb lollipops, braised bison and dark chocolate mousse.

Live entertainment was provided by guitarist and vocalist Victor Calderon.

"Overall the event was a huge success. Daniel did a magnificent job of educating everyone about Camus Cognac and the painstaking process and dedication the company has to ensure the highest level of quality in their spirits,” Amuse’s chef and owner, C.J. Reycraft, Jr., said. “Many of the guests I spoke to were thrilled with the way the cognac paired with the different courses throughout the evening. It was challenging to create a menu that would stand up to the strength of the Cognac but I believe we did an excellent job of finding a balance for the pairings."

Allen Smith, dining with his wife Regina, called both the Cognacs and the collaboration of Amuse and CoolVines “wonderful.”

Reycraft thanked several people for the evening’s success.

“I definitely want to thank my manager, Jennifer Ochsner, the entire staff at Amuse, Daniel Tindal and Camus Cognac, Erick and Alicia Garcia of CoolVines,Victor Calderon for the excellent live music and Karen Consiglio and Stacy Winterburn from V2 promotions,” he said.

Look for more collaborative dinners between Amuse and CoolVines this summer.

Editor’s note: Amuse is an advertiser on For information on becoming an advertiser call 917-676-2302 or email

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