Tag: wine pairings

I will not enter the BBQ debate.  Every state, probably every county in the USA, has a version of BBQ.  I like all of them!  Each version and variety of BBQ has a special character and eating pleasure to offer.

North Carolina barbecue sandwich

North Carolina barbecue sandwich

I live in the eastern Piedmont of NC and the BBQ around here is chopped and made of pork.  However, I grew up on sliced pork BBQ in the western part of the state so I have tasted all the variations in between!  Eastern NC BBQ is chopped and tossed with a vinegar based sauce so the spice and vinegar taste permeates throughout the pork whereas the sliced pork version in the western part places the emphasis on the pork taste.

In all the years I have eaten NC BBQ, it never occurred to me to pair wine with the various BBQ styles.  While attending a rosé wine tasting at The Wine Feed, Phil and Phillip suggested a rosé would be good to pair with NC down east BBQ; I could not resist testing out the idea.  They were right as usual!

Imagine this – a fresh yeast roll from La Farm Bakery, filled with homemade cabbage, carrot, green garlic and onion slaw, and Wilbur’s pork BBQ served with Bastianich Rosato 2009 wine.  Just try it one Friday night after a long workweek.  Take the Wilbur’s BBQ you bought on your way home from Emerald Isle Beach as you were passing thru Goldsboro, NC and then stashed in your freezer. Heat it up; make a quick simple clean slaw, take the La Farm Bakery Yeast rolls and pop them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes and pour a glass of Bastianich Rosato from The Wine Feed.  Make yourself a “sangwich” (Southern Italian for “Sandwich”) and kick back for a taste of NC and the start of a happy weekend.

I ‘m just saying – it is good to be in NC!


NC barbecue with Bastianich rosé

NC barbecue with Bastianich rosé

The Gardener’s Kitchen Homemade Slaw Recipe

1 peeled, grated fresh carrot

1 small head fresh savoy cabbage thinly sliced (3 to 4 cups)

1 fresh green garlic – white bulb and green leaves minced

1 orange or yellow bell pepper thinly sliced

3 Tablespoons grated sweet onion

3 – 4 Tablespoons organic mayonnaise

Juice from ½ organic lemon

Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl!

Note:  Fresh veggies are important for slaw so try to get the freshest cabbage, carrots, peppers garlic and onions from your local farmers.  This slaw is lightly dressed with mayonnaise.  Keeping the taste simple and the mayonnaise light lets the taste of the pork and spices in down east BBQ and complementary taste of the rosé shine thru.  If you like lots of mayonnaise in your slaw you will need to add more mayonnaise.   Also, I have been known to add a little horseradish to this slaw so feel free to add whatever condiments, spices and acidic alternatives (vinegar) which will make you happy eating your BBQ with the rosé!

It has been my lifelong dream to spend a birthday in Vienna with my friends and waltz the night away. Until that day, I have found a great wine to keep the dream alive:  Weingut Wien Cobenzl Gemischter Satz Classic 2010

The Wine Feed poured this lovely white wine produced in the city of Vienna! Cobenzl is made from grapes grown within the city limits of  Vienna. The winemaking history on this 1650 acre plot goes back to Roman times!

Weingut Wien Cobenzl has a light and enticing floral aroma. On the palate it is full of juicy green and yellow apple as well as pear. The herbal tones are dry and refreshing with crisp acidity and light citrus notes on the finish.

Cobenzl Wein - Gemischter Satz - Classic 2010

Delicious white field blend from Vienna!

The Slow Food Foundation has awarded this wine with the Ark of Taste and Presidia.

The wine was so intriguing in its taste and its story that I knew it deserved to be paired with a food with an equally interesting story.

As good fortune would have it, one afternoon while visiting a friend in the downtown Mordecai Historic District of Raleigh, I found myself searching through his cookbook collection.  I found a copy of Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.  Dorie, a creative and inspired cook, worked with Julia Child on her many famous cookbooks. Not only is My French Table lovely to look at, the recipes are simple yet maintain the flair that allows a home cook to feel comfortable with trying new recipes.

As many reviewers of Dorie’s cookbook have acknowledged, Dorie captures the taste and feel of the French eating experience. However, she successfully adapts that experience to the ingredients available here.

During my visits to France I have always been impressed with the freshness, simplicity and elegance of the home cooking.  Fresh, locally grown food is available in stores, or, better yet, is available from home gardens and is prepared in tune with the seasons.  I will never forget one of my best meals in France–fresh steamed asparagus, picked straight from the garden, washed and place in a steamer for less than 5 minutes then served with a white cheese sauce, French bread and a glass of white wine.  Heaven was less than a step away!

I also love the sequence of a meal in France when friends and family are in attendance.   Appetizers with wine and conversation start the fun. Nothing is rushed or hurried along.  The pace of the meal is driven by the organic interaction of people, wine and food.

I found this recipe for Salmon Rillettes (pronounced “ReeYet”) in Greenspan’s Around My French Table and saw some potential for it to complement the Viennese wine.

Dorie’s Salmon Rillettes is reminiscent of so many wonderful appetizers I had in France.  Traditionally, rillettes in France are made with pork or heavier richer meats than salmon.  The idea of a less pungent style of rillettes, as well as the ease of making this dish, attracted me to it.

Salmon Rillettes

Salmon Rillettes

Yield: 8 servings


1 lemon

1 small red chile

1/2 cup white wine or white Vermouth

1/2 cup water

1 bay leaf

5 white peppercorns

5 coriander seeds

2 small spring onions, peeled, long green tops removed and reserved, or 1 shallot

1/2 pound salmon filet, skin and bones removed, cut into small (about 1/2 inch) cubes

1/4 pound smoked salmon (you can add up to 2 ounces more, if you’d like), cut into small (about 1/4 inch) dice

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 to 3 pinches of pink peppercorns, crushed with your fingers

Salt and freshly ground white pepper


Using a vegetable peeler, remove a strip of zest from the lemon and toss it into a medium-sized saucepan; finely grate the rest of the zest and keep the lemon at hand.  With a small knife, cut away a sliver of the red chile, discard the seeds and toss the sliver into the saucepan; seed and finely dice the remainder of the chile and hold on to it for the moment.

Pour the wine or Vermouth and water into the pan, add the bay leaf, peppercorns, coriander, onion tops (if you’re using spring onions) and 1/2 teaspoon salt and put the pan over medium heat.  Bring the mix, essentially a court bouillon, to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Drop the cubes of fresh salmon into the pan, cover and poach the fish for just 1 minute.  Turn everything into a strainer, drain, and then transfer the salmon, minus whatever seasonings have stuck to it, to a mixing bowl.

While the salmon is cooling, finely chop the spring onions or peel, trim and finely dice the shallot.  If you’re using a shallot, rinse the dice under cold water and pat dry.

With the back of a fork, lightly mash the poached salmon, then toss the smoked salmon, lemon zest, diced chile and chopped onion into the bowl.  Season with salt and pepper and give everything a good stir.  Add the soften butter and use the fork to stir and mash it into the mixture until it’s well incorporated and you have a thick spread.  Squeeze about half of the lemon’s juice into the bowl, stir it in and season the rillettes with salt and pepper.  Taste and add more lemon juice (it’s nice when it’s lemony), salt and pepper, if you’d like, then stir in the pink peppercorns.

Pack the rillettes into a jar (a canning jar is traditional) or bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface and chill for at least 2 hours – you want it to be firm – or for up to overnight.

Serving: Rillettes is served as a spread, so have lots of bread, crackers or toast available.  If you’d like to dress it up, serve the rillettes on warm blini or spread on small rounds of toasted brioche (think canapes) and top with salmon roe.

Storing:  Packed airtight, the rillettes will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

GZ NOTE: Don’t be afraid to add more butter!  I found I needed to add another tablespoon of butter to make the salmon adhere together and be spreadable on a cracker or bread. 

Source:  Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan

Check out more about Dorie and Around My French Table.

My family prefers holiday meals which are different than the traditional turkey, ham or chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and vegetable fare. There are so many wonderful meal options for a family holiday dinner. One of my family’s favorite holiday meals is Bouillabaisse.

I suspect some form of a fish and shellfish stew has been around since mankind discovered fish and shellfish could be captured from the sea and put in a pot to cook together for a fast, fresh fantastic tasting meal. One pot and one bowl! Who needs anything more?

The classic seasonings of saffron, orange peel and anise-flavored spirits surely came later and the French in Marseilles have claimed ownership of these additions to the traditional fish stew. With that in mind, who can really argue that French wine would be the perfect accompaniment?

Cool weather and a warm seafood stew with a glass of French wine make for warm hearts and lots of fun. The warm stew fills the stomach but is not heavy and the joy of soaking a scrumptious French baguette (Lionel Vatinet at La Farm Bakery makes a great authentic baguette!) in the seafood broth is enough to make any family joyous and grateful.

Personally I love Julia Child’s Bouillabaisse recipe. I have tried many others but simpler is better in my book and simple to me means fresh seafood (check out the selection at Locals Seafood . Lin Peterson has wonderful fresh NC seafood!) and great cooking technique. Sounds like Julia to me! Fresh and basic great cooking!

To complement the Bouillabaisse I tried a refreshing Viognier offered by The Wine FeedDomaine de Couron Cotes du Rhone Viognier 2010 produced by Marie-Lise and Jean-Luc Dorthe from southern France. The fruit with a touch of honey and undertones of anise make for a lovely pairing with Bouillabaisse during the holiday.

Wishing you a Happy Holiday filled with peace, love, joy, family and friends and Bouillabaisse, French Bread and Viognier from The Wine Feed.

Bordeaux Clairet

Can you imagine Thanksgiving dinner without cranberries? I cannot! The sweet and tart taste of traditional cranberry sauce brightens the Thanksgiving meal. In a recent conversation with The Wine Feed owners, the discussion turned to whether one should match the wine served at Thanksgiving to the turkey or the cranberry sauce. Frankly, I had never thought about that before and had assumed the wine pairing would be done with the meat. Funny how quickly we can get stuck in a rut!

I realized if I had to choose between not having turkey or cranberry sauce at a Thanksgiving meal I would most likely forgo the turkey before the cranberry sauce! Given this scenario I decided I should pair my Thanksgiving meal based on a wine complementary to cranberry sauce.

After a taste test, I chose the Château de Parenchère – Bordeaux Clairet – 2009 offered by The Wine Feed. Not only was this wine superb with turkey and cranberry sauce it was delightful with one of my favorite Thanksgiving desserts, Cranberry Walnut Torte! This cake is not overly sweet and uses fresh or frozen cranberries to add the tartness we all love from the red fruit of the bogs of North America. The protected style of Bordeaux Clairet is very similar to the wine the English so loved in the 18th century. A light, voluptuous, fresh and very aromatic wine made for consumption within a few years. Not quite a red wine, but far darker than a typical rosé, the Château de Parenchère Bordeaux Clairet has a rich and stimulating bouquet of strawberry, red currant, and roses.

Enjoy this Cranberry Walnut Torte recipe from The Gardener’s Kitchen accompanied with Clairet for your Thanksgiving table from The Wine Feed and be confident that you and your family and guests will be more than grateful for the bounty of this Thanksgiving meal.

Cranberry Walnut Torte

2 cups walnuts, finely chopped

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup sugar

¾ cup flour

½ cup melted butter

2 eggs

1 ½ teaspoon almond extract

8 ounce fresh cranberries

½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Combine chopped walnuts, melted butter and sugar.
  3. Press nut mixture over bottom and halfway up the sides of 10 inch springform pan.
  4. Prepare the filling as follows:
  5. Combine flour and sugar in a bowl and reserve.
  6. Using whisk or whisk attachment in mixer or food processor, combine butter, eggs and almond extract.
  7. Mix in flour and sugar till well blended and mixture is light and fluffy.
  8. Fold in cranberries and walnuts.
  9. Pour cake mixture into crust.
  10. Bake about 1 hour until toothpick or small metal skewer comes out clean when poked into center of cake.
  11. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
  12. When cool sprinkle with 10 x powdered sugar.
  13. Serve with fresh whipped cream!

Makes 8 servings

Serve with Château de Parenchère – Bordeaux Clairet – 2009 available at The Wine Feed.

In late August I went home to the mountains of North Carolina where I grew up. Since many of my relatives are apple farmers it was only natural that I grew up loving apples! However, in the mountains apples are not available till September and peaches do not grow very well. Fortunately you can find some of the best peaches in the region not far down the windy mountain road into the foothills near Chesnee, South Carolina. I would venture many people in the surrounding area might claim these are the best peaches in the USA, if not the world!

There are varieties of peaches which ripen successively beginning in late May and finishing up the first couple weeks of September. The clingstone peaches are the early peaches and are quickly followed by semi-freestones for a couple of weeks in mid to late June and then the freestone mother lode begins in July. Check out the Variety Ripening Dates from Strawberry Hills USA near Chesnee, SC.

Peach TowerIn August as I was driving back to Raleigh, I took I-26 and darted off on the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Highway toward Chesnee and Gaffney. I love this two-lane highway because it shows rural SC at its best! Small towns with well-kept homes and farms and best of all a huge water tower painted like a perfectly huge rendition of a yellow peach! Ronald Dahl would have loved this water tower.

Coming over the hill and stretching in front of me is a little valley all covered with strawberry fields and peach orchards as far as my eye can see. Clean row upon row of architecturally pruned peach trees define this landscape. As I pull into Strawberry Hill’s gravel parking lot I quickly roll down my car windows so I can smell the peaches. I declare, this has to be Heaven! I get out of my car and slowly walk to the various sized baskets of fruit and close my eyes taking in the peachy smell. I realize I need to open my eyes or I will bump into someone or something but I am so delirious with peachy pleasure I could hardly be held accountable for anything short of fainting from delight.

The more years that pass the more I have come to realize a tree-ripened yellow or white peach comes close to being my favorite fruit. That is saying a lot because I love almost all fruits except durians!

During this trip I found the varieties O Henry’s and White Rose available. I have had the O Henry’s before but had not tried the White Rose. I am partial to Georgia Belle’s, but sadly I missed the Georgia Belle season this year so I was happy that another white peach was still available.

The O Henry’s are a beautiful deep yellow color with a red center. If the appearance was not enchanting enough, it was followed by a gorgeous full-on peach fragrance and a deep lush late summery peach taste. The White Rose was a lovely white-fleshed peach with a raspberry red center and sweet light-tasting flesh, but not a bit starchy like some white peaches can be.

Zardetto ProseccoThe White Rose peaches were so wonderful I froze some and decided I would love to use the rest to make a delicate white peach jam to go with scones in the winter. I created this Peach Prosecco Jam which is not only lovely to look at but gorgeous to eat! First, I ordered a bottle of crisp, clean bubbly Zardetto Prosecco from The Wine Feed and enjoyed some Prosecco-drenched peaches. Fortunately, I stopped myself at a point where there was enough remaining to make the Peach Prosecco Jam!

Here is the recipe for you to indulge your senses and fulfill your need for a beautiful and delicate tasting white peach jam. You can use yellow peaches in this recipe, but do try it with white peaches…you won’t be disappointed!

Finally, be sure to save a glass or two of Prosecco to toast to the peaches of summer while you are processing your jam in a hot water bath canner!


Peach Prosecco Jam

5 cups (approximately 3 ½ pounds) pureed white or yellow peaches

7 ½ cups sugar

¾ cups Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine)

1 envelope dry powdered fruit pectin (2 ounces)

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon butter

1 cinnamon stick (optional)

¼ teaspoon vanilla paste (optional)

  1. Put peaches into boiling water. Remove peaches from water after 1 minute and place into ice water to chill. When peaches are cooled, peel peaches and slice. Place peaches in a food processor and puree till smooth.
  2. In a large stainless steel or enamel pot, add white peach puree, prosecco, butter, vanilla paste, cinnamon stick, lemon juice and package of dry pectin and stir to combine.
  3. Bring peach mixture to a rolling boil and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Stir constantly.
  4. Remove peach mixture from heat and skim foam off the top of the hot jam.
  5. Ladle the hot jam into sterilized jars and put on sterile jar rings and lids.
  6. Place the jam filled jars in a hot water bath and process for 10 minutes for half pint jars; 15 minutes for pint jars.
  7. Makes 10 half pint (8 ounce) jars of jam.

PeachesPeach season has peaked and is slowly fading away to become a distant summer memory.  I love peaches and I crave them year round.  In the hope of satiating this need I am always searching for ways to incorporate fresh or frozen peaches and peach jam into my recipes.

When teaching one of The Gardener’s Kitchen canning workshops, I serve a dish that uses a canned item from my very full pantry!  My intention in serving a dish prepared with a canned item is to show some of the lovely, delicious and healthy ways they can use the food they preserve.

During the most recent Pressure Canning Workshop at The Gardener’s Kitchen, I let my love for peaches shine forth.  After a couple hours of hot weather and pressure canning in the kitchen, enjoying something cold and delightful made with peach jam created a refreshing and fun repast for everyone.

Using a half pint jar of homemade peach jam and fresh (or frozen) mango puree I made a spectacular Peach Jam and Mango Sorbet.  Then I served it with fresh peaches and raspberry sauce made from my frozen local raspberries and bite-sized coconut macaroons from Whole Foods.

To make the peach experience even more wonderful, I asked The Wine Feed to recommend a dessert wine to compliment the Peach Jam and Mango Sorbet.  Phillip recommended the Sant‘Evasio Moscato d’Asti 2010.  It was a perfect accompaniment to the peaches, mango, raspberries and coconut!!!!

Occasionally a dish and the complementary wine will strike a common chord with people and low moans can be heard as people sink into a place of quiet enjoyment where only taste, texture, smell, and color prevail until the last person experiences the last bite!  This dish paired with the Sant‘Evasio Moscato d’Asti 2010 was one of those experiences for everyone!

Here is the recipe for you to enjoy and share!

Peach Jam and Mango Sorbet

1 cup or 8 ounce jar of peach jam
2 cups mango puree or juice
1 to 2 tablespoons Apricot Brandy
½ cup fresh lemon or lime juice
½ tsp lemon or lime zest

  • Combine jam, mango pulp or juice, lemon juice, and apricot brandy zest in a bowl.
  • Place mixed ingredients in ice cream maker and process.
  • When processing is completed, put sorbet in container and place in freezer.
  • Thaw sorbet slightly prior to serving.
  • Serve with fresh peaches, raspberry lavender syrup and coconut macaroon.

Serves 4 to 6 people

Serve with a well-chilled sparkling white wine such as Sant‘Evasio Moscato d’Asti 2010 from The Wine Feed