Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Culinary and Wine Trends

By Robert M. Parker, Jr.

" The revolution in wine quality has coincided with an extraordinary revolution in the restaurants of the world. Although France and Italy clearly dominated culinary circles 30 years ago, today the finest restaurants are often found in such unlikely places as Las Vegas, Tokyo and San Sebastián, Spain.

When I first began writing about wine 30 years ago, there may have been five or six great restaurants in Washington, DC, and virtually none in my hometown of Baltimore. Today, there are 30 or 40 top restaurants in DC, and even Baltimore now has at least a dozen top restaurants.

Meanwhile, New York City is arguably one of the greatest dining destinations in the world, equaled only, and somewhat surreally, by Las Vegas. (Who in the world could have predicted that?)

One of the biggest myths in wine today, constructed on half-truths, inaccurate observations and journalistic manipulation, is that the wine market has become so globalized that international companies are producing oceans of monochromatic wines from a limited number of grapes that all taste the same. This radical and profoundly false point of view holds that individuality and artisanal winemaking have been replaced by oceans of vapid wines made with little taste or character. This is appallingly untrue. "


Friday, July 24, 2009

Leaves of Grape

Perfect Summer Activity: Making Stuffed Grape Leaves

Grape Leaves, Rice, Ground Beef, Allspice, Cinnamon, Salt and Lemon Juice; Made while drinking a glass of Kinton Syrah and listening to The Splendid Table on NPR. What could be better?

1 1/4 lb Beef or Lamb
1 cup basmati rice
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon salt
100 grape leaves (blanch fresh ones or buy in a jar)
Juice from one lemon

Put a plate in the bottom of a sauce pan to keep the grape leaves from burning.
Combine Beef, Rice (rinsed, not cooked), Spices and salt and mix
Set a leaf vein side up and place 1 tablespoon of the mixture onto a leaf and roll
Place into a sauce pan (repeat until the beef mixture is gone)
Place several plates on top of the grape leaves to hold everything together
Fill with water and bring to a boil.
Cover and simmer for 1 hour
Add the lemon juice and let simmer for 10 minutes
Drain and eat.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

EWE not EW

Sheep's Milk Cheeses are incredibly earthy, creamy and mouth-coatingly rich. They set the perfect stage for Syrah. Especially Santa Barbara Syrah, in all its bold, bright purple gem beauty.

At Alpine Lakes Dairy, it all started with a taste for good cheese, which Catha, the cheese maker, acquired while growing up in Vermont. Catha and her sister knew 100 cows by name back then. Sheep produce much less milk than cows or goats, but their milk is higher in fat and nutrients, making richer cheeses with a mild flavor of the milk.

photo credit: Ben

Dairy products made from sheep's milk are more easily digested than either cow or goat products, and are gaining a loyal following in the United States. It may sound strange to milk a sheep, but most people don't realize they've already eaten imported sheep cheeses like Pecorino Romano or Roquefort Blue.

If you enjoy raw milk dairy and the special richness of sheep milk cheese, you're in for a treat. Alpine Lakes makes four unpasteurized raw milk cheeses: Mountain Tomme, Creamy Bleu, Camembert, and Ottonese.

Monday, July 13, 2009

High End Wine Production down

image courtesy of KENT PORTER/ PD

With the bad economy affecting every area of life ... High End wines producers are concerned that the current "chic to be cheap" mentality is here to stay for some time. That said, what's YOUR favorite inexpensive wine?

Read the Press-Democrat story here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

EWE not EW

photo credit: Ben

Sheep's Milk Cheeses are incredibly earthy, creamy and mouth-coatingly rich. They set the perfect stage for Syrah. Especially Santa Barbara Syrah, in all its bold, bright purple gem beauty.

Lambchopper, by Cypress Grove

Born to be mild, this sheep milk cheese is buttery in color and flavor with a long, complex finish. The texture is smooth and soft-firm, making Lamb Chopper™ an enchanting table or cooking cheese. The wheel is finished in natural wax. Made in Europe exclusively for Cypress Grove.

Situated where the giant redwoods kiss the Pacific Ocean in the rugged northernmost reaches of Humboldt County, California, Cypress Grove Creamery gets unique inspiration from the salt-etched voluminous fog that coolly rolls in nearly every day.

In Holland, Mary discovered a gouda maker who works with sheep milk and Cypress Grove Lamb Chopper was born. This sheep milk gouda is a smooth, almost buttery, organic cheese with a light and fruity aroma. One taste will not satisfy you as the surprising sweetness of this cheese lingers on your palate. Though it might be mild in intensity, this thoroughly addicting cheese has great depth of flavor.