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Wine + Food Pairing

Drinks, Wine + Food Pairing

Great Ideas for Last Minute Valentine’s Day Drinks & Food

February 14, 2011

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Even if you already celebrated Valentine’s Day over the weekend, it’s nice to extend the love-fest one more day, no? So if you’re still trying to think of a special and easy to treat your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day, you’re in luck. I’ve put together a slide show of some of my favorite pink foods and drinks — along with simple recipes and wine pairing suggestions.

Most of the recipes have appeared at some time or another on The Bubbly Girl.com. Stop by the recipes section for the Kismet Cocktail, Raspberry Royale cocktail, the Chocolate Corks, which are airy but chocolaty and moist since they start with a yeast-based chocolate dough.

To make the super-simple and classic Jack Rose cocktail, add 1 ounce Pama pomegranate liqueur, two ounces applejack (or Calvados if you can’t find it) and the juice of half a lime to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake it until your hands are really cold, then strain it into a smallish martini glass.

You could pick up ingredients for most of these recipes at Trader Joe’s, along with the super-affordable Blason Cremant de Bourgogne Brut Rosé, which comes from Burgundy. The Italian sparkling dessert wine Brachetto d’Acqui is getting more and more popular; it’s usually at BevMo or a larger liquor stores with a decent wine department.

Cin cin!

Entertaining, Wine + Food Pairing

Think Pink: Delicious & Easy Valentine’s Day Food & Drinks

February 13, 2011

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Whether you’ve got a big Valentine’s dinner planned or not, I think it’s nice to be able to start your celebration at home. So I put together a gallery with some of my favorite, easy-to-make pink foods and drinks for Valentine’s Day.

Visit the recipes section at The Bubbly Girl for the Kismet Cocktail, Raspberry Royale cocktail, and the Chocolate Corks which are fudgey and moist since they start with a yeast based chocolate dough.

You could pick up ingredients for most of these recipes at Trader Joe’s, along with the super-affordable Blason Cremant de Bourgogne Brut Rosé. The red Italian sparkler Brachetto d’Acqui is usually at BevMo or a larger liquor stores with a decent wine department.

To make the Jack Rose cocktail, add 1 ounce Pama pomegranate liqueur, two ounces applejack (or Calvados if you can’t find it) and the juice of half a lime to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake it until your hands are really cold, then strain it into a smallish martini glass.

Cheers!

Food + Recipes, Pop Culture, Wine + Food Pairing

Estrella Damm INEDIT is a New Beer Designed for Food…Oh Really?

May 20, 2009
Estrella Damm INEDIT, a beer from Spain, is touting itself as the first beer designed to pair with food. (Courtesy photo)

Estrella Damm INEDIT, a beer from Spain, is touting itself as the first beer designed to pair with food. (Courtesy photo)

I don’t write about beer very often, though technically it is bubbly. But I couldn’t resist when I got this announcement trumpeting the release of Estrella Damm INEDIT, a beer that was crafted under the direction of genius chef Ferran Adria from El Bulli in Spain.

INEDIT is supposed to be served in a wine glass, in order to allow its bouquet to show itself. I do like the curvy, champagne-like bottle and the way the star logo stands out on the black bottle.

But get this: the people from the Spanish brewery are touting INEDIT as the first beer designed to go with food. Really? I think all of the brewmasters in Belgium are going to be rather nonplussed and amused by that one. After a short trip to Belgium last fall to experience Stella Artois, Leffe and Hoegaarden in all their different styles, it’s quite clear that to Belgians, beer is it’s own food group. The many styles and weights of beers are expertly paired — just like wine — with everything from appetizers to desserts. One of my favorite pairings was a tangy Kriek cherry lambic beer with an airy Belgian waffle topped in whipped cream!

I'm really enjoying this raspberry Hoegaarden while in the town of the same name; sadly this beer isn't available in the U.S. .... yet.

I’m really enjoying this raspberry Hoegaarden while in the town of the same name; sadly this beer isn’t available in the U.S. …. yet.

The extra-ironic part is that INEDIT is made in the style of a Belgian witbier, a white ale made from wheat and spiced with coriander and orange peel. I’m sure it will go with frites, tapas and all kinds of foods just fine.

Once I finally tasted INEDIT, I was delighted with its fragrance and elegance. Sorry, Miller High Life, INEDIT is my new champagne of beers.

Food + Recipes, Wine + Food Pairing

Taralli Pugliese: The Perfect Snack with Any Bubbly

May 6, 2009
Taralli Pugliese, shown here at Babbo Ristorante in NYC, are neat olive oil crackers that shine with wine. (Photo Babbo NYC)

Taralli Pugliese, shown here at Babbo Ristorante in NYC, are crunchy and savory olive oil crackers that shine with bubbly or any kind of wine. (Photo Babbo NYC)

In March I spent a magical week at The Awaiting Table cooking school in Lecce, Puglia, where we cooked and ate  all sorts of wonderful regional dishes from chicken with green olives, thyme and fruity olive oil to handmade orecchiette pasta to simple seafood soup with the sweetest shrimp I’ve ever tasted.

But the Pugliese dish that may be my favorite is one of the simplest: a cracker. Actually, taralli aren’t just any crackers, they’re olive oil based snacks that have been made in Puglia for hundreds of years. They were on the table one night when the class went out to a wine bar that served all the regional wines like primitivo di Manduria, Nero di Troia and negroamaro along with the oddest assortment of country music and Beatles songs. A new friend Carolyn served them to me one evening as we sipped a brut sparkling wine from the Salento.

Whether they’re plain, seasoned with red pepper or fennel, all have a nice crunch, a crumbly texture and a satisfying flavor from all that good Italian olive oil. I was serendipitously surprised when a quick Google search turned up a recipe for taralli from Gina dePalma, the pastry chef at the Mario Batali restaurant Babbo in New York City. Here’s her recipe for Taralli al Peperoncino flavored with red chile flakes and oregano. They’re crafted from low gluten 00 flour, shaped by hand, boiled and then baked like a bagel. The spicy ones are popular, but dePalma also suggests flavoring them with crushed fennel seed and lemon zest.

Taralli -- olive oil crackers shaped like little bagels -- are a savory traditional snack served with wine in Puglia, Italy.

Taralli from A.G. Ferrari on Amazon.com.

If making them from scratch sounds like too much work, then pick some up at your local Italian gourmet shop or  order them from  A.G. Ferrari on Amazon.com. But there’s no way they’ll be as fresh as homemade.