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Coq au Vin – More Than Just a Chicken Dish

Coq au Vin

Photo Credit: Will Clayton https://goo.gl/EBYhhn

When you hear the words “coq au vin” your mind is immediately filled with images of a French culinary masterpiece that only the best chefs can create. For the longest time, this was exactly true. Today, however, with the intervention (and translation) of artists like Julia Child, it has become fairly easy to make coq au vin in your own kitchen. Now you can serve chicken for you Sunday dinner and know that it is more than just an ordinary casserole.

Coq au Vin in the Past

Today, coq au vin can be described simply as a chicken dish braised with mushrooms, bacon, and wine. Burgundy is usually used for this dish, but Riesling, Beaujolais, Champagne, and other wines are also used in many kitchens across France. [Read more…]

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Australia’s Sparkling Wines

Sparkling WineSparkling wines come from all over the world, but not all of them can be called champagne. That name has been protected since 1891 and can be used only by wines produced in the Champagne region of France in compliance with the process prescribed by the Comité Interprofessional du vin de Champagne. Even if other wines are made from the same grape variety and use the same process as champagne, they can only be referred to as sparkling wines. Fortunately, as the saying goes, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

A New World “Sparkler”

Along with the United States, Chile, and South Africa, Australian champagne is sometimes referred to as a New World sparkler. However, Australian wine historians will insist that the country has produced sparkling wine since the 1890s. The only thing is the Australian’s bubbly was not made with grapes classified as classic Champagne varieties. It was only n 1960 that the Hawke Bay’s Mission Vineyard produced sparkling wine – wine using Pinot Meunier, Pinot Gris, and Folle Blanche, and produced according to the “classic” champagne method. Today, there are more than two dozen Australian producers of good sparkling wines. [Read more…]

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Brunch and Wine Pairing Just as the Sun Rises

Brunch with wineDrinking at breakfast sounds odd, even bizarre. But during the weekends when your breakfast isn’t too early (or brunch), the right pairing with what is served – pancakes, eggs, burgers or some other breakfast concoctions  – can lend the morning meal some heartiness. Jim Clarke’s Drinking in the Morning at Star Chef’s Easter Brunch suggests it is great for Easter. Though anyone who loves having a great morning or weekend, can find the suggestion a welcome one. Clarke says,

“… We typically pay tribute to our breakfasty beverages by supercharging them—OJ becomes a mimosa; tomato juice, a bloody mary. Coffee remains unadulterated—the caffeinated counterbalance to your morning alcohol—but do we really need to cut our alcohol with fruit juice to make it socially acceptable?”

Light Choices for Egg-based Breakfast

No, vodka or whiskey or anything as hard is not suggested with eggs benedict or any light dish for breakfast. Rather, lighter stuff is suggested to make decent pairings at this time of the day; Champagne with orange juice, citrusy Chardonnay or any sparkling wine pairing with omelets, quiches and egg benedict. [Read more…]

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Treat Yourself to Feta, Fruit, Vegetables, and Wine

Feta combined with fruits, vegetables and wineAll cheeses have their own distinctive qualities, but feta, one of the world’s freshest cheeses, has a flavor all its own. It is basically a soft but compact cheese sans holes and the skin present in cheeses like brie and camembert. Usually sold in blocks submerged in brine, this cheese can range from sharp to very mild. This makes it ideal for mixing with fruits and vegetables. If you have been looking for a new way to serve your fruit or your salad with cheese, give this wholesome creation a try.

Telling Feta from Other Cheeses

People from all over the world can make “feta” cheese if they have the tools, the sheep’s milk, and the goat’s milk to do so. However, because the name feta is protected under EU laws as a PDO (protected designation of origin) product, the cheese they produce can’t be called feta unless it is made in the traditional way in the mainland of Greece or the island of Lesbos.

Most cheeses that claim to be feta are made of cow’s milk, and this cheese has to be made from at least 70 percent ewe’s milk and no more than 30 percent goat’s milk. By their very nature both have a flavor different from cow’s milk, and the cheese made from them is tangier. Moreover, the humidity, the climate, and the natural bacteria in mainland Greece and Lesbos contribute to the unique taste of feta cheese. [Read more…]

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Champagne: The Ultimate Wine for Dessert

Champagne The Wine DessertThrough centuries, champagne has inspired praises from connoisseurs, and to this day, it is a special treat when a meal is crowned with this clear, effervescent creation. There is a reason why champagne is considered the ideal wine for dessert. Epicurious, a website devoted to food and wine, gives the perfect reason for this. Chris Hallowell in this post “Champagnes and Sparkling Wines Perfect for any Celebration” shares this:

“…Consider these factors: Most bottles are blended from different vintage wines, resulting in a cuvée that’s greater than the sum of its parts; they tend to showcase minerality, a characteristic that adds depth to fruity, savory, meaty, and gamy flavors; and these wines possess an unparalleled acidity that cuts through rich, fatty dishes and surmounts even high-acid ingredients such as tomatoes or vinegars.”

Dessert and Wine Pairings [Read more…]

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