It's great fun to get a group of friends together and do somewine-pairing research of your own.
What to Taste
I suggest tasting four distinctly different cheeses and fourcorresponding wines. A good group would include a tangy goat cheeselike a French chèvre; a hard, salty cheese like ItalianParmigiano-Reggiano; a nutty cheese like Vella Jack; and a mature,soft-ripening cheese like Brie or Camembert.
For the wines, try a crisp, herbal Sauvignon Blanc; a refreshingsparkler; an earthy red like a Côtes-du-Rhône orChâteaunuf-du-Pape from France; and a powerful red with goodtannin.
Eating healthy should still be delicious.
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How to Taste
Each person will need four wineglasses, one for each wine, and aplate for the cheese slices. (So you don't get confused about whichcheese is which, position the cheeses uniformly so that, say, thechèvre on each plate is at 12 o'clock, the brie is at 3o'clock, and so on.) Serve the cheeses at room temperature.
Proceed by taking a sip of the wines, then a bite of one of thecheeses, then another sip of the same wine, noting your reactions.Does the wine make the cheese taste better, does the cheese makethe wine better, or are both improved?
Now, staying with the same cheese, try the next wine with it. Gothrough all four wines and decide which is the best match for thecheese. Then start the whole process again with the next cheese,trying all four wines with it.
I prefer to taste the cheeses by themselves-without bread orcrackers, which contribute their own flavors. And because you willbe tasting lots of different combinations, it's a good idea to spitout the wines after you sample them. (Plastic drunk cups are greatfor this purpose.)
Finally, vote on your favorite combinations and enjoy them!
Karen MacNeil is author of The Wine Bible and Wine, Food & Friends, host of the PBS series Wine, Food, and Friends with Karen MacNeil, and chairpersonof the Professional Wine Studies Program at the Culinary Instituteof America in Napa Valley, California.
Wine Infused Cheese Recipe
This buttermilk culture makes a thick, old-fashioned New England Style, Buttermilk. For each batch, you can use 1-2 quarts of skim or whole milk, depending on your desired thickness. The amount.
Liquid Animal Rennet
This single strength liquid animal rennet is the highest quality form of rennet available on the U.S. market today and is NON-GMO. Liquid rennet is easy to measure and add to.
This cheese salt absorbs easily and contains no iodine. Iodine will kill the lactic bacteria in the aging process. Lactic bacteria is important for proper aging of cheese. Cheese Salt does not dissolve too.
Calcium Chloride will help with store bought milk, cold stored raw milk and goats milk produce a firmer setting curd. A firmer curd is easier to cut and produces a larger yield.
- Good Thermometer
- Knife to Cut Curds
- Spoon or ladle to Stir Curds
- Large Colander
- Butter Muslin
- M3 Small Cheese Mold
- Cheese Press
This Tel-Tru thermometer, made in the USA, from the highest-quality stainless steel is both accurate and easy to use. Complete with a sturdy pot clip and large two inch dial, checking the.
Curd Knife 12"
This curd Knife is an essential tool in the cheese making process. Having a curd knife with a long flat blade makes it easy to evenly cut curds from top to.
Stainless Steel Skimmer
This stainless steel skimmer is a staple for all cheese makers. The slotted design lets whey drain from the curds, as they are scooped out of the pot, and placed into draining.
Butter muslin is used to drain soft cheese, yogurt and other dairy products. This durable cloth is 100% cotton, can be reused and is machine washable. This is a staple for all cheese.
Hard Cheese Mold (Small)
This small hard cheese mold with follower will work with any of our presses and can be use to make up to a two pound cheese, from two gallons of milk. This sturdy mold can.
This cheese press is proudly made in the USA and built to last a lifetime. Both easy to use and care for it is a wonderful investment for any cheese maker. Built.
A Recipe for making a cheese infused with wine
The cheese I made while taking the photos below was a 4 gallon batch, the recipe I have written is for 2 gallon batch which tends to be a good size for home cheese makers. When working with two gallons of milk the yield will be approximately 2 lbs of cheese.
For a larger batch, ingredients can be increased proportionatly to the milk.
The wine I used in this recipe was a very dark and fruit forward Petit Sirah from my own cellar here.
Idealy we want to have the wine and cheese flavors complement each other. A longer acid development will also help the flavor development for this cheese. Our goal is to create a medium moisture cheese with an aging time of 2-4 months.
Acidify & Heat Milk
Begin by heating the milk to 88°F (31°C). You do this by placing the milk in a pot or sink of very warm water. Start with a water bath about 10-15°F above the target temperature for the milk and then reduce your temperature in the water bath with cold water additions as the milk approaches the target temperature.
If you do this by direct heat using a pot on the stove, make sure you heat the milk slowly and stir it well as it heats.
The wine should be brought out at this time and allowed to warm to room temperature until needed.
Once the milk is at 88°F, the culture can be added. To prevent the powder from caking and sinking in clumps, sprinkle the powder over the surface of the milk and then allow about 2 minutes for the powder to re-hydrate before stirring it in.
After adding culture, let the milk ripen for 60 minutes before adding rennet in the next step.
Coagulate with Rennet
Next add about 2.3 ml or slightly less than 1/2 tsp of single strength liquid rennet.
The milk now needs to sit quiet for 30 minutes while the culture works and the rennet coagulates the curd. You will notice the milk thickening at about 12 minutes but hold still for the full 30 minutes or until you see a good firm curd. Cutting early or late will affect the final cheese.
The thermal mass of this milk should keep it warm during this period. It is OK if the temp drops a few degrees during this time but do bring it up soon after cutting the curds (this should not be an issue if working with the water batch method).
During this wait time heat about 1.5 qts of water to about 140F and hold at this temperature for the upcoming curd cooking stage. I find this is at just about the warm settings on my small stove burner.
Cut Curds & Release Whey
Once you have determined that a good curd has formed, and then you are ready to cut into smaller 3/4 inch curds.
The larger cut size will keep more moisture in the final cheese.
For the higher moisture and larger curds, I tend to treat the cut curds very gently at all times when cutting and stirring.
Following the cut, allow the curds to rest for about 5 minutes to help the surface heal before stirring. A gentle lifting motion of the curds every minute or so will help to keep them separated and avoid any clumping together.
Cook the Curds
Next it is time to begin drying out the curds. If your temperature has dropped, bring it back to 88°F.
Allow the curds to settle to the bottom of the pot briefly, then remove about 1/3 of the original milk volume (about 42 oz. for each gallon of mik) as whey.
This will functionally be removing some of the food supply (lactose) and slow the cultures ability to produce acid.
The next step will be to add the 140°F water slowly in stages over the next 30 minutes. The final temperature should be about 102°F.
Following this the curds should be stirred (gently) for another 30-45minutes for the curd to release more whey. Remember to increase the temperature of your water bath to keep the curds warm.
The final curds should be cooked well through and should be examined to make sure that enough moisture has been removed. A broken curd should be firm throughout and the curds should have a moderate resistance when pressed between the fingers.
When this point is reached the curds can be allowed to settle under the whey
The common test for dryness is to press a handful of curds in the hand to consolidate the mass and then pressing with the thumb see how easily they release or break apart. The drier curds break apart quite easily, the moister curds tend to adhere slightly but still do break apart readily.
Remove the Whey
The curd now needs to be removed from the whey.
I do this here by allowing the curds to settle for a few minutes then float a sanitized plastic colander on the surface which then fills with whey which can be easily dipped off for other uses (this whey should make a good ricotta).
Once the majority of whey is removed, the dry curds can be transferred to a colander for final draining.
They should be gently stirred here to make sure that the whey drains off well and the curds do not consolidate.
It is important that the curds remain intact and separate.
Ripen the Curds
Once the whey has been released, return the curds to the pot and keep warm (102°F in the water bath/sink).
The curd at this point should have released most of the moisture required but still needs to be kept warm while the bacteria continues working to convert more lactose to lactic acid.
For the next 60 minutes the curd should be stirred occasionally but just enough to keep the curds from sticking together. Any accumulating whey can be poured off.
Add the Wine
And now for the wine, isn't this what we've all been waiting for?
I suggest using a wine like Merlot, Malbec, Syrah, nothing too austere or acid. Here I have chosen a Petite Sirah since I make my own wine here as well. I always have 4 barrels or so here in various stages of development so plenty to choose from.
At this point the curd should have reached the final moisture and acidity and are ready for their wine bath. The curds should still be warm 80-90°F and the wine about 10-15°F degrees cooler. This difference in temperature will encourage the curds to absorb the liquid (wine) more readily. Remember using the warmer water addition previously in the cooking stage causing more whey to flow out of the curd, This time the cooler wine is absorbed by the curd.
Next, Pour the wine onto the curds and stir just enough to keep them covered with wine to allow for an even infusion throughout the curds.
The longer the curd and wine remain in contact, the more color and flavor will be passed on to the finished cheese. I find about 1 hour to be sufficient.
At this point each of the curds should have absorbed a nice wine color on the surface with a clean white interior as well as absorbing the flavor and aromatics from the wine. This makes for a rather dramatic presentation when pressed, looking like a mosaic of purple outlines surrounding each curd.
Salt & Form Curds
Once the curds have been well infused with the wine, drain off the excess wine and measure the salt.
About 2% by weight should be sufficient for a final cheese of about 1.5% salt. Our final cheese will be about 2 lbs therefore 0.64oz of salt will be needed (32oz x .02 = .64 oz).
Add 1/2 of this salt and stir it well into the curds, wait 5 minutes while the first dose of salt is absorbed and then repeat.
The curds should now be well salted, and ready for the mold.
Simply line the form with the draining cloth and transfer the curds, packing well with moderate hand pressure. Place the follower on top and you are ready for pressing.
Next, for pressing we should begin very light and slowly increase the press weight to a moderate level:
The rate of whey running off is simply a matter of drops and not a stream of whey being released. This is a good rate of whey removal during pressing and will slow even more as the residual free moisture is released. The form should show tears of whey weeping from the form very slowly. When this stops you can increase the weight slightly. The cheese should be removed from the press, unwrapped, turned, rewrapped, and put back to the press at the above intervals. To assure an even consolidation. At each turn you will notice the cheese has formed a smoother surface and rests lower in the mold.
As the cheese curds begin to consolidate with each turn in the press, the beauty of this cheese becomes apparent. As seen in the photos above.
Finishing & Aging
The cheese can now be waxed for aging. For details on waxing, please click here
The cheese can then be placed into your aging space at 52-56°F and 80-85% moisture.
The cheese can now be aged for 2-4 months and it will be ready for your table.
Wine & Cheese, Yum!
Wine and Cheese have been a great combo for thousands of years.
It all began with the realization that grapes and milk could undergo a very special fermentation under the right conditions and become greatness all by themselves.
In this recipe we will explore combining these two old friends into a unique cheese by soaking the cheese curds in wine before molding and pressing takes place.
Wine and Cheese both great on their own, but lets put them together for a sensational cheese this month. You have probably heard, that the results can often be greater than the sum (Synergy) of the two parts.
(In effect, 2+2 can be greater than 4)
So, in this recipe we will be producing a little Synergy. How about we call it "Synergistic Infusion".
The Overall Plan
The working plan for this one will simply be to produce curds with a softer and more mellow character. Then we will let these soak in a bath of dark red wine long enough for the wine to soak into the curd and develop a beautiful dark surface, lots of wine flavor and aroma before we pack them into the mold and press until consolidated.
More Specifically we will:
- Develop a moderate sized curd with a higher moisture to provide a better flow of wine character and color into the curd. Also, to develop a nice supple texture in our final cheese and a reasonably short aging time to keep he wine character from being lost. The curd making can be in many styles but I have chosen to do a stirred curd cheese for this one. A moist Tomme-style or even a higher moisture Alpine-style might also work nicely.
- Use a nice dark red wine with a more fruit forward flavor and aroma, typical of many of the California wines made today. This is no place for the more austere wines. Remember, we are looking for something to complement the great dairy flavor and aromatics. We will then soak the curds long enough in the wine to give them character before salting, moving to the mold, and pressing.
In the end, we should end up with a great showpiece of a cheese. One that, when cut, shows the beautiful pale curds individually coated with a deep red/purple surround. The longer the curds soak before molding, the deeper the color and flavor will penetrate.
Also the smaller and moister the curds, the more the wine character will show.
Your finished cheese when cut will be somewhat of a show-off piece and a great centerpiece for your cheese board.
Taste Your Way Through the Petoskey Wine Region
Photo(s) by Mary LaVictor Mackinaw Trail Winery
Discover deep-flavored wines made from cold-hearty grapes and bucolic vineyard settings in the Petoskey Wine Region, which includes 14 distinct wineries. Best yet, we asked the winemakers at each winery what vintage they think everyone should absolutely try, and why…
1. THE CELLARS OF ROYAL FARMS, ELLSWORTH
Sip cider and wine made from the fruits of this beautiful farm in the red and white farm market—or take it home (with a meat pastie). Either way, you’ll feel like royalty here!
Winemaker’s Pick—Rex-Beach is our house red. It is a medium bodied classic and elegant dry dinner wine. Black pepper aromas with light wild berry notes underneath. This wine is similar to pinot noir with some tart cherry flavors. Light oaks add some smoke and cedar tones. Named after one for Northern Michigan’s landmarks situated right next to Royal Farms!
2. SPARE KEY WINERY, CHARLEVOIX
Taste estate-grown and produced red, white and fruit wines at this friendly winery set between Charlevoix and Bay Harbor.
Winemaker’s Pick—Elvira. A dry white wine made from hybrid Elvira grapes, which produces a wine with good acid and crisp flavors: under-ripe blueberries, melon, nuttiness with a hint of spice and a grape finish. It is one of the only single-berry Elvira wines made in this area.
3. RESORT PIKE CIDERY AND WINERY, PETOSKEY
The secret’s in the bubbles at this casual, family-run winery and cidery devoted to sparkling ciders and wine.
Winemaker’s Pick—Our Go Green cider, which is made out of 100% Greening apples, a historic American apple variety.
4. MAPLE MOON SUGARBUSH & WINERY, PETOSKEY
Set in a handsome grove of maples (the sugarbush), Maple Moon is the first commercial maple winery in the country. The wines range from dry to sweet, and some with fruit flavor. Settle up to the cozy bar for a flight and hear the story of how maple wine came to be.
Winemaker’s Pick—Maple Gold, coming in at a hot 18% alcohol, this better-than-port-style wine explodes with bourbon characteristics and a lasting maple finish.
Rudbeckia Farm // Photo by Rachel Haggerty
Rudbeckia Farm // Photo by Rachel Haggerty
5. MACKINAW TRAIL WINERY, PETOSKEY
Established in 2004, Mackinaw Trail has chalked up 50 medals and six best of class awards. Sample the wine as well as Mackinaw Trail beer and cider at the on-site bistro.
Winemaker’s Pick—Our 2018 Estate Grown Marquette Rosé, with sweet cherry jam aromas and a balanced finish.
6. RUDBECKIA FARM & WINERY, PETOSKEY
A 190-acre vineyard, winery, nano-brewery and tasting room, with bucolic views of the Emmet County countryside that offers artisanal wines and family-friendly events that include live music.
Winemaker’s Pick—Our award-winning Marquette Dry Rosé from Tip of the Mitt is a vibrant Michigan sunset in a glass! This wine has aromas of melon and strawberry with soft floral notes of jasmine and rose. On the palate, the wine opens with notes of tart cherry accented by rose petals followed by crisp, refreshing acidity and a long, smooth finish.
7. WALLOON LAKE WINERY, PETOSKEY
Located on a longtime family farm, Walloon Lake Winery focuses on cold-hardy grapes. The hip, rustic tasting room is built from wood harvested from the farm.
Winemaker’s Pick—Windemere is a white field blend of three varietals from the La-Di-Dah vineyard right here in Petoskey. This blend of La Crescent, Frontenac Gris and Frontenac Blanc is distinctly refreshing with aromas of green apple and blood orange. Windemere finishes dry with a crisp acidity. This is a great representation of single vineyard blends from the Tip of the Mitt AVA.
8. POND HILL FARM VINEYARD & WINERY, HARBOR SPRINGS
Located on the scenic M119 Tunnel of Trees, Pond Hill Farm is home to both Harbor Springs Vineyards & Winery and Tunnel Vision Brewery, a cafe, farm market and so much more.
Winemaker’s Pick—Lakeview Rosé, which gives lovely hints of strawberry and lemonade and is blended with all of our own estate grapes.
Pond Hill Farm // Photo by Rachel Haggerty
9. CROOKED VINE VINEYARDS & WINERY, ALANSON
A rustic tasting room set amid 38 acres of vines with shimmering lakes on the horizon. Cheers to this boutique winery!
Winemaker’s Pick—Petite Pearl Reserve. This is from our first harvest of the petite pearl grape in 2017. We waited four years to harvest it when the vines were balanced and then aged it in Hungarian wood barrels for 16-plus months. It was just released to the public on Father’s Day 2019. For wine drinkers who want a bold, in your face, dry red wine to complement a big steak, this is the one.
10. SEASONS OF THE NORTH, ALANSON
A small family-owned winery and tasting room that offers a collection of whites, fruit wines and a rosé they call Backroads because it is made from wild grape varieties that grow in their rural community.
Winemaker’s Pick—Burt Lake Breeze, one of our flagship wines. We have been making this crisply fresh, semi-sweet, white wine since we opened our doors in 2013. Made from seyval blanc grapes, Burt Lake Breeze is most often compared to something between a pinot grigio and a riesling. Aromas of pear and green apple pop in your mouth then ease into a mellow, long finish. This is our favorite summer sippin’ wine and serves nicely with appetizers like cheese and dips. Perfect for those hot lake days, but don’t let its name limit you. Take a Burt Lake Breeze everywhere you go this summer.
11. 1918 CELLARS AT CASTLE FARMS, CHARLEVOIX
You’ll feel like a monarch as you sip Northern Michigan wine in this tasting room set in the Queen’s Tavern tucked deep within a stone castle.
Winemaker’s Pick—The rosé would be my recommendation as it is unique, crisp, refreshing and PERFECT for the summer. It’s a dry syrah rosé with bright notes of cherry and lemon, and the pale pink hue is just as beautiful as the taste.
12. PETOSKEY FARMS VINEYARD & WINERY, PETOSKEY
This winery has two tasting rooms, each with its own vibe. Find an intimate, sophisticated atmosphere in the downtown Petoskey location. At their vineyard tasting room three miles outside of town, enjoy your wine on a deck overlooking the rolling countryside.
Winemaker’s Pick—Our 2018 Marquette Rosé is a dry rosé with aromas of strawberries and spiced cherries. The strawberry notes are accentuated with clean, crisp acidity. Marquette is such a versatile varietal that it works well as a red wine or a rosé. It brought home a silver medal at the 2019 Indy International Wine Competition.
Join them for delicious local wine in an atmosphere so relaxed and welcoming, you’ll never want to leave.
Come out and enjoy the wines, tour not just the production facility, but the 1,100 acres that this centennial farm owns!
Petoskey Farms Downtown Tasting Room // Photo by Rachel Haggerty
Petoskey Farms Atkins Road Tasting Room // Photo by Kelly Rewa
The Ultimate Guide to Pairing Cheese and Wine
Source: Mumumío/ Lauren "Lolly" Weinhold
Printed from www.ba-bamail.com
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Saturday 30 January 2021
Time 7pm – dial in
Duration of Event 60-75 minutes
Each box contains 8 x cheeses enough for 2 people
Along with Biscuits, Straw Mat, Tasting notes.
Join Patricia & Max this January 30 as they explore some of our more unusual Cheeses that offer a surprising twist and how the creative process of cheesemaking affects the outcome of the cheese from the animal feed to the starter to the maturing process that all works together to create flavour profile & texture.
The Cheese Tasting will include BLU ’61, Treviso, SOTTOCENERE AL TARTUFO, Treviso, PIACENTINU ENNESE, di Venti Pietro, Calascibetta, Enna Sicily, ALEX, Hofkaserei Karaus, Ebersbach, Allgau, Germany, OLD GROENDAL, Roeselare, Belgium, CAMEMBERT AU CALVADOS, Normandy. - Along with two more seasonal surprises (Brexit allowing!)
A VIRTUAL FESTIVE CHEESE TASTING: PART 2
LA FROMAGERIE LONDON: The definitive guide to the enjoying cheese over the holidays.
Hosted by Patricia Michelson & Max Melvin
Saturday 28 November
Approximate Duration 60 minutes
Each box will contain more than enough cheese for 2 people to share including La Fromagerie Biscuits.
8 x 80g Cheeses
Brie aux Truffe
Join Patricia & Max as they explore all the ways to enjoy cheese over the festive holidays.
The essential cheeses your go-to throughout the festivities. Whether in a bubble or connecting with friends & family ‘virtually’ we have lots of delicious recipes ideas from baking, toasting, grilling, melting, snacking, impromptu suppers, pasta for kids, delectable sauce, lunch & breakfast! They will wax lyrical about all of this and much along with Cheese boards to enjoy with wine, whisky, port or even gin.
Let’s make this Christmas one to remember for all the good things in life.
A VIRTUAL FESTIVE CHEESE TASTING: PART 1
LA FROMAGERIE LONDON: The definitive guide to the perfect Christmas Cheeseboard
Hosted by Patricia Michelson
Available to Purchase from Monday 23 November with a pre-recording of the tutorial
Approximate Duration 60 minutes
Each box will contain enough cheese for 2 people to share. Note some cheeses may be subject to change due to limited availability.
An evening hosted by Patricia, as she guided us through a wonderful Festive Cheese board, one of the highlights of our online selections, together with a few other cheeses to tempt you over the holiday period and hopefully give you some inspiration for gifts to send your friends, families & colleagues. What better way than to say it with cheese.
Join patricia & Alessandro for a decadent evening as they show you the step by step approach to making a classic Savoyarde fondue,
Patricia will talk about the cheeses she loves to combine into a fondue and her first book The Cheese Room includes recipes and ideas for Fondue and is a lively read of places, people and adventures in cheese.
A VIRTUAL FONDUE EVENING
FRIDAY 30 OCTOBER
Duration Approx 45 minutes
Each box will contain a fondue kit for 2 people including wine:
200g Fondue Cheese
Bottle Chignin Vers les Alpes
1/4 white sour dough loaf
1/4 pint pot Cornichons
N.B Weights are approximate but are enough for two people
Packet of LA FROMAGERIE Biscuits
We also recommend serving with lightly steamed broccoli or new potatoes if you would like.
The sourdough should be warmed in the oven for 3 - 4 minutes and cut into cubes to dip into the fondue.
FOR FONDUE BOXES ORDERED AT A LATER DATE - YOU WILL BE SENT A RECORDED VERSION OF THE TUTORING
PLEASE ALLOW 3 WORKING DAYS FOR DELIVERY
June Beer Club: Iowa
Company Values OvercomingFlorida, United States
Smoothie style fruited sour with blackberry and raspberry puree and a bunch of ooey gooey marshmallow for good measure. It is recommended to keep this beer refrigerated until ready to drink.
BeerStyles: Sour, Tart & Funky
ABV: 6.2% alcohol / volume
Company Values is a sister company to Corporate Ladder Brewing company located in Palmetto, Florida. It’s a nationally distributed Micro-brewery, specializing in a wide array of innovative beers. Follow Overcoming on Untappd or Company Values Beer here.
Humble ForagerStargazingWisconsin, United States
Brewed in collaboration with their forever friends from Eight State Brewery in Greenville, South Carolina. This pastry stout is packed full of toasted coconut, roasted hazelnuts, Madagascar vanilla beans and toffee.
BeerStyles: Dark & Roasty
ABV: 13% alcohol / volume
Located just outside of Madison, Wisconsin, Humble Forager Brewery is a distribution brewery created by their head brewer, Austin Jevne. Their mission is to produce thoughtfully crafted specialty beers developed for any adventure. They use high quality ingredients inspired from different parts of the world. Learn more about the brewery here and follow them on Untappd.
Untitled ArtTrail Mix StoutWisconsin, United States
Brewed in collaboration with Humble Forager. This stout is tastes exactly how it sounds. Brewed with cocoa nibs, coconut flakes, apricot puree, peanut butter powder, and milk sugar.
BeerStyles: Dark & Roasty
ABV: 10% alcohol / volume
LABEL ARTIST: Stephenie Hamen
Untitled Art collaborates with different artists, friends, and breweries all around the world to produce drink concepts and styles that showcase their diverse work. From Sparkling Water to Craft Beer, every can or bottle is wrapped in artwork specifically made for that drink to create something you will love. Learn more about their company here.
Follow WineStyles on Untappd
Don’t forget to follow your local WineStyles on the Untappd app and tag us when enjoying your Brew!
Personalize Your Pasta
There is an ongoing debate in our household about which is superior: potatoes or pasta. After too many discussions to recall, I think I have reached my answer, but like most of my thoughts it is qualified and perhaps unnecessarily wordy life is complex, people! To be as concise as I am capable: I would choose potatoes if I had to pick one of the two to eat every day but pasta as a final meal.
Potatoes are generally more healthful and can be subject to a wider range of culinary manipulation consider the diversity of textures potato dishes take on, for example. Pasta, on the other hand, is special. You know I’m talking about fresh pasta, right? Once you make your own at home, you can’t satisfactorily go back to the supermarket box – it works in a pinch, sure, but usually serves as nothing more than a vessel for whatever other meat, vegetables, and sauce you have prepared. Fresh pasta is a celebration in its own right, requiring nothing more than a splash of good olive oil or knob of butter to enhance its silky, delicate existence.
Although I do think pasta would lose in a match of diversity against potatoes, that doesn’t mean I can’t have fun experimenting with some variations. For a change of pace in color or flavor, I love adding spices and purees to my pasta dough. Once you understand the basics of making pasta dough, playing with add-ins is an easy way to enhance your gastronomical repertoire.
Fresh Pasta Basics
There are plenty of great pasta recipes out there, so feel free to start with instructions from one of the greats, but over time (and probably less time than you think) you will develop a feel for what the dough should look and feel like. My process? Start with one egg per person and half a cup of all-purpose flour per egg. Put the flour on a flat surface or in a large bowl and add the cracked eggs to a well you’ve created in the middle of the pile of flour. Use a fork to whisk the yolks together with the whites and simultaneously begin incorporating the egg into the flour. When whisking with a fork becomes futile, use your hands to knead the dough, adding flour as necessary to make the it relatively stiff but still smooth and easy to knead. Let the dough rest for a minimum of a half hour before rolling and cutting.
• Eggs vary in size, so aside from possibly weighing your ingredients there is no way to specify exactly how much flour you will need. Using my above “recipe” I often have to add anywhere between 1 tablespoon and ¼ cup flour per egg during the kneading stage.
• Adding an egg yolk or two will make the pasta richer tasting and the dough even easier to work with. Of course, you will need to add a bit more flour to bring the dough to the correct consistency.
• When you first start kneading, the dough is going to look and feel like a mess. Keep your faith: after just a few minutes the dough will come together beautifully.
• The dough can rest on the counter or in the fridge, but I find it easier to roll out if it’s still a bit cold. I often make the dough in the morning or even the night before and let it sit in the fridge so dinner prep is a bit shorter.
• Relax. Even imperfect homemade pasta is really, really delicious.
Make It Your Own
You can personalize your pasta by adding either dry (spices or dried herbs) or wet (vegetable or fresh herb purees) ingredients to the dough. The former is easier because the dough recipe remains essentially the same just add the dry ingredient to the flour or early enough in the kneading process to evenly distribute. I find about a teaspoon of ground spice or dried herb per egg is usually about the right amount, but personal preference will vary let your palate be your guide.
For most vegetables, boil or roast until tender then puree until smooth. For tender greens like spinach or fresh herbs, blanch for about one minute in boiling water, next submerse immediately in an ice water bath (to retain color), and squeeze out any excess water prior to pureeing. Then, for two servings of pasta, replace one egg with a scant quarter cup of puree and, as usual, add flour as needed. I find that depending on how much water is in the puree, I may need a bit more flour than I would with the typical egg-flour only dough.
The most enjoyable part of adding flavor and color to your pasta (other than, of course, eating it) is getting to play with different combinations. Experiment boldly and think about what you’re ultimately trying to achieve. Some of my favorite combinations include:
• Beet pasta with a yogurt and cream cheese sauce
and lots of fresh dill
• Black pepper pasta with melted butter and a pinch of salt
• Parsley pasta with a poached egg and a few grates of parmesan
• Spinach pasta ravioli, each pocket filled with an egg yolk
Any homemade pasta deserves a great wine to match. Here are some of our favorite pairings:
Pair beet pasta with a white wine with a touch of residual sugar like Züm Mosel Riesling – 2010 to balance out the sweetness of the beets.
For the parsley pasta with poached egg and parmesan, pair with Touraine “Le Grand St. Vincent,” Mureau – 2010. Crisp, high-acid whites with cut through the richness of the egg yolk and parmesan, and echo the brightness of the parsley.
Do you make fresh pasta at home? How do you make it your own?
5 Favorite Recipes: Summer Salads
As peak harvesttime arrives, bringing an abundance of fresh summer produce, a visit to your local farmers market or gourmet grocer is more enticing than ever. It’s easy to go overboard while wandering among all the lush fruits and colorful veggies, but a good set of recipes will help you to navigate the aisles and make the most of your purchases—or the bounty you’ve plucked from your backyard victory garden.
Below, we’ve collected five of our favorite summer salads, all vegetarian recipes ready to be the main focus of your meal or a delectable side. Some are no-cook, easy-to-assemble dishes that ensure you’ll stay as cool as your dinner. Others are perfect for showing off your chef chops at that small backyard gathering or socially distanced picnic. Each delivers a ton of flavor and texture. Before you start chopping, pour a glass of one of our recommended wine pairings, and enjoy the process!
This version of a Lebanese staple, from renowned Georgia chef and cookbook author Hugh Acheson, is a bright, zesty complement to any summer meal. The recipe comes together fairly quickly—only chopping is required, with no additional fancy techniques—and the extra step of making your own pita crisps is an easy way to heighten the crunch of the salad and intensify its texture and taste. Fattoush draws its flavor from plump, ripe tomatoes, fiery poblano chiles and peppery radishes, while cucumber, sweet bell pepper and mint provide a cooling counterpoint. The salad is dressed with a blend of olive oil, lemon, red wine vinegar and Middle Eastern spices like sumac and cumin. Acheson serves it alongside grilled tri-tip steak, with a yogurt-tahini sauce to continue the Eastern Mediterranean theme, matched with an easy-drinking red from the region. But on its own, this refreshing salad could pair with any number of bright white wines that mingle citrusy and savory notes. Add it to your sunny-day repertoire!
Fig Salad with Burrata and Basil
This recipe, from South American chef Francis Mallmann’s cookbook Mallmann on Fire, is the embodiment of his culinary style: minimalist and rustic, yet sophisticated. His favorite cooking is done outside on an open fire, but for this dish all you’ll need is your hands—no grilling involved. Composed of only seven ingredients, it’s all about the quality of the produce, with a focus on seasonality. Through the beginning of October in the United States, figs are ripe and ready to be the focus of this salad, complemented by the mellow flavor of creamy burrata and fragrant fresh basil. Mallmann is open-minded and adventurous when it comes to wine pairings, but for a meal in which this salad is followed by his smashed chicken breast in a potato crust, he settles on a juicy Pinot Noir for striking the best overall balance. Accented by the wine’s berry flavors, the honeyed, caramelly sweetness of the figs turns this salad into an indulgent treat after a day’s work from home.
Carrot Salad with Berbere, Radish, Goat's Milk Yogurt and Kale
For a sweet bite in a salad, we often look to just-ripened fruit. But in this version, with colorful radishes and baby kale leaves, carrots deliver both a hit of residual sugar and an array of textures. Chef Chad Townsend, the creator of this dish (who now specializes in another summer treat, having founded his own ice cream company), cooks most of the carrots quickly at medium heat to develop their inherent sweetness. He then seasons them with berbere, a staple Ethiopian spice blend that adds a fiery heat. Some carrots are left raw to be sliced thinly, adding a freshening crunch to the salad, which is dressed with a honey-Champagne vinaigrette. To round out the plate, a tangy, nutty goat’s milk yogurt contributes acid and a natural source of fat.
Unless you’ve achieved a farm-stand level of diversity in your own garden, this salad merits a run to your local market. Though you’ll find carrots at your grocer year-round, they provide peak flavor intensity in July and August toward the end of the summer, the abundance of rainbow carrots allows you to add playful touches of purple, red and yellow to the dish. (To get the most out of your produce purchase, keep the carrot tops, as you can clean them and use them in other salads, soups or sauces, or employ them as a garnish.) Townsend recommends pairing the salad with a lively, medium-sweet German Riesling, which offsets the berbere and parallels the sweetness of the carrots. Find your perfect balance!
Beet Salad with Spiced Chardonnay Vinaigrette and Goat Cheese Tahini
With its vibrant colors and deep flavors, this beet and citrus salad screams summer. Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, partner of the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence winner Lambs Club in New York, knows how to give vegetables the starring role in a dish. Here he puts roasted baby beets center stage, mingling their dark berry reds and sunny yellows with endive, pomelo and orange on a platform of tangy goat cheese tahini. Zakarian adds intriguing garnishes such as crunchy hazelnuts and Middle Eastern spices, then dresses the ingredients with a Chardonnay vinaigrette livened up by a seven-spice blend. A refreshing Provençal rosé pairs seamlessly with the beet salad, as well as with another Zakarian menu item: gorgeous flower bouquet–like “icebox crudités” with green goddess dressing. These veggies are meant to impress, but prepping some of the components in advance allows you to stay relaxed when it’s time to assemble the plate. Get ready for your sunset picnic or backyard dinner!
Ricotta, Beet, Carrot and Fennel Salad
Yes, this is a sophisticated restaurant menu item, but it’s also an ideal side dish to elevate your backyard barbecue menu—or even pack on a picnic. This recipe from Flight Wine Bar in Washington, D.C., can easily be executed at home and is broken down into steps that can be done in advance. Make the seasoned ricotta one day, roast the beets and carrots another. Play with color and pick different variations of beets and carrots, as with the carrot salad above. Added right before serving, the crunchy fennel, with its licorice flavor, makes a nice alternative to the romaine or arugula you’ve been reaching for throughout the season. Head to your spice rack for other flavors to complement this salad: Warm ground nutmeg makes a flavorful companion to the roasted veggies while setting a subtle reminder that fall weather is soon approaching.
Flight co-owners Swati Bose and Kabir Amir also suggest packing your picnic basket with a roast pork, Swiss cheese and pickle sandwich and a strawberry-vanilla trifle. With so many options on their Best of Award Excellence–winning wine list, Bose and Amir have a hard time limiting themselves to one wine pairing. Instead they recommend a versatile, food-friendly Old World flight of an aged Spanish white, a crisp French rosé and a savory Austrian Blaufränkisch (also known as Lemberger) that shows off each dish in a different way. Check out their picks and alternatives, and start experimenting!
How to host a craft beer tasting at home
1. Invite the stars of the show
The League of Beers Monthly Mixed case is always filled with a great selection of some of the best craft beers on the scene. It’s packed with the perfect variety in order to please every palate.
- The beers come in cases of six, twelve and twenty-four so you can decide for what crowd size you need beers for.
- The beers of the month are chosen with great care to ensure that all aromas such as crisp, hot, malt, smoky, roasted, fruity, floral and spiced are being covered.
2. Make the right chow
Take the tasting one step further and make it a pairing session of beers married with their perfect food match.
- Keep the foods as snacks and finger foods to allow everyone to try a variety of food pairings for the beer.
- You could make one snack to pair with each beer and have that be part of the tasting – to guess which snack goes best with the current beer.
- It’s a good idea to ensure there is food in the house anyway, considering people are going to be drinking, we don’t need any empty stomach stories from the guests.
- Additional snacks that are generally great with beer are things like pretzels, nuts, biltong and cheese sticks. You’re well on your way
These recipes could work well for a beer tasting:
3. Get the guide
You are not going to get very far without the beer guide, The Craft Beer Times. Lucky for you, you don’t have to go very far to get it because it will be sitting pretty inside the League of Beers Monthly Mixed Case. On the reverse side of The Craft Beer Times there will be a solid description of the beers in the case including areas such as appearance, aroma, flavour, mouthfeel, overall of the beer and of course a cheeky suggestion of where to drink the beer. Just to make sure you look like a craft beer professional in front of your mates when hosting the tasting.
4. Turn up the tunes
Well now, this is completely up to you, but we all know it’s not a real party until there are good tunes playing. We like to find perfect song pairings to our beers too – just to prove you can find an ideal pairing of anything with beer.
5. Clink while you drink
It’s not just wine that benefits from specifically crafted glasses. Check out our Spiegelau set of craft beer tasting glasses to maximise your experience and taste the best in every beer. Of course it’s a bit pricy to have several sets (we think each honourary beer tasting club member should come to the party with their own glasses) alternatively a standard set of beer glasses like these CBC Lager glasses will do just fine.
6. The game plan
First and foremost the beer needs to be properly chilled. Make sure the beers are able to perform at the best of their ability by being cooled at the perfect temperature. Grab some cooler boxes or a leak proof bin and fill it up with ice cubes. Bury the bottles of beer in the ice. Don’t be the person who serves your friends warm beer. Ten minutes before it’s time for the tasting, pull the beers out of the ice and put them on the table along with a few bottle openers.
Secondly, you need to organise a chart of sorts for each beer. Let the gang know what beers they will be tasting by having a chart for each beer that indicates the name and the brewery of the beer. Each chart should also have spaces for everybody to fill in what they are tasting, smelling and observing. Add categories such as:
- Appearance in colour and viscosity as well as head | golden, amber, copper, red, brown or black | cloudy or clear | no head or frothy, creamy head etc.
- Aroma | fruity, smoky, hoppy, malty, roasted, earthy or spicy etc. (Even smells like ‘dough’ or ‘pepper’ or ‘cream soda’ goes! There are no wrong answers)
- Flavour | sweet, rich, creamy, bitter etc.
- Mouthfeel | light, thick and creamy, dense, aerated etc
- Finish | after taste?
- Overall personal rating of the beer 1–5
At the end of the tasting, notes can be compared and everybody can figure out which beer was their favourite.
TIP | Always start with the lightest coloured beer and work your way through to finish with the beer that is darkest in colour. The beers are already in the correct tasting order on The Craft Beer Times.
7. Know how to taste beer so you can guide your friends
- Hold up the bottle of beer and tell everybody what it is that they will be tasting.
- Pour everybody half a glass of beer, as a “taste” is half a glass full.
- Tilt the glass to the side when pouring the beer to allow for the perfect amount of foam to form.
- First look at the beer and take note of the appearance
- Then let them sniff away and see what they can smell through the foam floating on top. Loads of fruit and foodie words will be thrown around at this stage.
- Now it’s time to have that first sip. Let everybody add their take on what flavours they’re picking up on. We’ve found this often result in wonderful trips down memory lane as team members pick up on flavours reminiscent of Wrigley’s Gum or Steri Stumpie Milkshakes.
- Everyone in your tasting group should now fill in their chart before moving on to the next beer.
- At the end of the tasting compare all of the charts to see the winning craft beers and who liked what as well as to learn from your friends observations and experiences.
Then – consume all left over beer to much merriment.
A beer tasting is not only a different kind of fun to be had with the gang, but it’s also a way to appreciate the skill of local and international craft breweries. It’s nothing but passion, love and dedication that goes into the making of these beers.
Be sure to pick up your League of Beers Monthly Mixed case, and let the good times roll. Or sign up to the Beer of the Month Club and get 10% off.
9 Family-Friendly WineriesSeveral wineries in California are kid-friendly.
Separating “grown-up time” from parenting is crucial to creating a healthy life balance, but today’s busy parents often yearn to include their kids in their recreational activities. According to the Wine Institute, travel and wine-tasting with the little ones is on the rise. That’s good news for those of us who love wineries– and there are plenty of options in California.
Not all wineries cater to kids, however, so we put together a list of family-friendly ones throughout the state that offer special accommodations for kids, including grape juice tastings, play areas, visits with farm animals and outdoor games. These activities keep children happy and engaged while their parents sample the latest vintages.
Hop aboard the complimentary Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour at Landmark Vineyards, located at the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains in Sonoma Valley. This kid-friendly tour, available every Saturday, is fun and educational for the whole family. You will learn about the estate viticulture practices, winemaking techniques and Sonoma wine history while enjoying the view of the beautiful grounds. The expansive lawn gives plenty of space for your kids to run around in and there are picnic areas where you can either bring your own food or build a picnic basket with Landmark’s customized picnic experience.
Explore the caves at Eberle Winery in Paso Robles, where your kids will feel like underground explorers walking through the barrel-filled tunnels. Eberle offers complimentary tastings and public tours as well as a scenic deck overlooking the 38-acre Estate Vineyard with the Santa Lucia Mountains in the background. This dog-friendly winery also has bocce courts and corn hole to keep the kids entertained, plus live music and food trucks on weekends.Eberle Winery in Paso Robles is a welcome space for kids and dogs.
PHOTO COURTESY EBERLE WINERY
Tastings are for kids, too, at Castoro Cellars, where kids are served grape juice for their own “wine-tasting” experience in Paso Robles. This kid-friendly, pet-friendly winery has plenty of outdoor games and activities, including corn hole, giant Jenga and a fun, yet challenging game of disc golf. The weekends bring concerts, so you can boogie with your family outside in the beautiful scenery while enjoying a picnic of your favorite foods.
Your kids will love exploring the halls of this massive replica of an Italian castle at Castello di Amorosa, located in the Napa Valley. Here a guided tour will take you through the torture chamber, armory and grand barrel room. In the main tasting room, your kids will also be part of the fun with a cup of grape juice, coloring pages and crayons. The Napa Valley winery has animals on the property, including a funky breed of chickens, goats, sheep and peacocks that roam freely around the property.
Buttonwood Winery is a beautiful quaint winery in Solvang graced by rows of almond, olive, and peach trees. Resident farm animals include lambs, chickens and goats. Every week the winery sells its seasonal newly harvested organic fruits and vegetables— heirloom tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers of all kinds, onions, squash and surprises each year. Buttonwood is well-known for its delicious organic peaches, a treat you may even find at your local farmer’s market. Once a month, the winery hosts live music in the garden and a different food truck. A family- friendly benefit for the local school garden program will be held July 20, and will include a concert in a private area of the vineyard.
Your kids will love getting to know the resident farm animals at Penny Royal Farm in Mendocito County as they sample their own tasting of grape juice, which is complimentary for kids under the age of 5. Farm tours, featuring wine and cheese, are hosted twice daily from May through October. There is a large outdoor patio area with games and activities for kids.
Buttonwood Winery is a winery in Solvang with almond, olive and peach trees.
PHOTO COURTESY BUTTONWOOD WINERY
Meyer Family Cellars is a beautiful property in a perfect spot to taste wine while your kids run wild in the outdoor play area that comes with a slide and swings. The 180 acres situated in the picturesque Yorkville Highlands of Mendocino County provide the family with some old-school fun for kids, such as catching frogs and crickets in a glass. Meyer also boasts a large picnic area and is pet-friendly. Check out the website to see all the family friendly events coming up.
Your family will surely want to meet “Topper,” Six Sigma Ranch and Winery’s potbelly pig, who loves to have his ears rubbed. The ranch, located in beautiful Lake County less than an hour drive north of Napa Valley, also has goats, sheep, a pony, a horse, cattle and dogs. With 4,300 acres of picnic table and picnic areas, there’s enough fun on this beautiful ranch property for the whole family. On July 15, folks can enjoy a big family-friendly launch party of the winery’s giant games that include giant Connect Four and giant Jenga. They also host bicycle races, and have mountain biking for your teens to be a part of the fun too.
If you’re a movie buff, you will love the Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Sonoma County. Here you will get to explore all sorts of cool memorabilia, from movies such as “Dracula” and “The Godfather” while soaking up the sun with your kids in one of the swimming pools totaling 3,600 square feet connected by a unique “swim-through,” where small pool jets create a water bridge to swim under. The kids will love exploring the Winery Park’s teepee, located next to the performing arts pavilion. The winery also holds signature events for kids throughout the year, including an annual Easter/spring celebration, the Petite Picasso art event and the Harvest & Halloween Carnival.Every week, Buttownwood Winery sells its seasonal organic fruits and vegetables.
PHOTO COURTESY BUTTONWOOD WINERY