Halloween foods

Candy Corn with Wine

The Story:

If I was a cat, I'd be working on my 5th life.  Here's my list of how I cheated death...

1. Jaundice at birth

2. Swept out to sea while laying on the beach

3. Car shooting

4. Melanoma 

 The Pairing:

I had a hard time pairing candy corn with wine and will probably need a couple more go's at it.  Although the 2006 Forrest Botrytised Riesling from Marlborough, New Zealand is a delicious bottle of dessert wine, its flavors masked that of the candy corn and the wine was slightly sweeter than the food.  I thought the honey-like texture, along with its flavor profile would be a surefire match, but that isn't always the outcome.

If you're wondering what "Botrytised" means, it's basically a mold that develops on the grapes.  Normally mold is bad, but this mold is actually beneficial, helping to dehydrate the grapes and concentrates the flavors, while also adding it's own flavor.  If you'd like to try the wine, you can expect aromas of apricot, honey and toffee (sounds like it would work with candy corn, right) and a silky texture along with beautiful acidity that helps to balance out the sweetness of the wine.  And although the wine sells for around $28 a bottle, it's currently on sell for $15 at Khoury's Fine Wine & Spirits in Las Vegas, Nevada.  To find out more about this wine, please visit: http://www.forrest.co.nz/.

Comments:

Please let me know your comments in the section below!  Any questions on my list of near death experiences?  What is your list?  Cheers!

Garlic Sticks with Wine

The Story:

Max just turned 2 and Chloe is 3.  No, they're not my children, but they might as well be since they completely run my life.  My two morkies (maltese-yorkies) live the life most people would only dream of.  They sleep all day, have breakfast and dinner served to them and get their bellies rubbed several times daily.  Heaven forbid I go out for drinks or plan a weekend getaway.  Anytime I want to do something out of the ordinary, it requires further planning to make sure these two little pups are well taken care of.  I often question why I took on the responsibility of having dogs.  My life was much easier before them, albeit a lonely one.  The answer came recently when a guest in my home spilled a glass of wine on the floor.  Max and Chloe came running over before I could clean it up and licked every last drop.  I thought, of course my dogs would love wine as much as I do!  Everyone giggled and I smiled thinking about how much happiness they truly bring me.  We're all one big wine loving family!

The Pairing

For Halloween parties, I like to add dog bone garlic sticks with marinara sauce to my line up of spaghetti eyeballs and spider popcorn balls.  They're easy to create and everyone including the dogs are delighted to try them.  My favorite wine store here in Las Vegas, Khoury's Fine Wine, recently introduced me to a bottle of 2007 Giacomo Bologna "Braida Il Baciale" Monferrato Rosso (geez, that's a mouthful) from Piedmont, Italy that I like to pour alongside these tasty snacks.  The wine is made up of 60% Barbera, 20% Pinot Noir, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot.  The wine store owner mentioned that it's not often he sees Italian blends with Pinot Noir in them and thought I should try it out.  The wine has aromas of plum, both red and blackberries and a ton of spice.  It reminded me of my grandmother's potpourri, sprinkled with black pepper.  After a bite of the food and then a sip of the wine, I immediately love how the wine's flavor makes the food suddenly go from boring to delicious.  It's as if the marinara sauce has just had additional spices added to it.  I should also add that the earthiness of the wine works really well with the garlic flavors found in the dish.  Weight-wise, the wine does a good job of standing up to the heaviness of the bread, yet has the acidity to intensify the flavors and cleanse the palate.  Cheers!

Comments:

Please let me know your comments in the section below!  Do you have dogs that completely run your life?  What foods do you serve at your Halloween parties?  Let's Chat!

Spaghetti & Meatballs with Wine

The Story:

I was only 5 when "Lady and the Tramp" was released on VHS in 1987, yet my young mind instinctively knew that the trick of getting someone you like to eat the opposite end of a spaghetti strand might come in handy one day.  Sure, it was two dogs, but when they met in the center and kissed, I pictured myself with my first childhood crush.  At the dinner table I would hold one end of my spaghetti strand while I slurped up the other.  Of course, my grandmother was not happy with this, and quickly taught me to swirl the spaghetti around my fork using a spoon.  One day in my first grade class we were using cold spaghetti to create an art project and you can only imagine where my mind went when I glanced at Andrew Finch across the room.  Had he seen "Lady and the Tramp" too?  Was he thinking what I was thinking and if so, how do I find out?  As I created my project, my mind raced at the thought of us eating spaghetti together.  I was obviously more interested in the kiss at the end (sorry moms, I have to admit I was thinking about kissing at 6), but still pictured the entire scene playing out.  Unfortunately I never got that kiss from Andrew Finch (I wonder what he looks like now), but I have had someone special eat the opposite end of a spaghetti strand with me, and this time in the heart of Italy!

The Pairing:

No other food says family to me like spaghetti and meatballs.  It's served "family" style and typically the kids have a hand in forming the meatballs.  During Halloween, I like to make the meatballs look like eyeballs with a little marinara sauce underneath to give the impression of blood.  Kids and adults get a kick out of it (warning, weak stomachs beware)!  I wanted to use something other than an Italian wine for this dish, so I chose the 2006 Twenty Rows "The Grappler" red blend from California to round out the pairing.  The wine was named "The Grappler" as an ode to the winemaker's sons who loved the sport of wrestling.  The Grappler is 60% Zinfandel, 30% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  The Zin lends cherry flavors to the wine, Syrah offers a fleshy(meaty) mid-palate and Cab gives a well structured earthy backbone.  After a bite of the food and then a sip of the wine, I like how the peppery spice in both the food and wine work together.  Next, the meat flavor shows up for a cameo.  I also notice how well the powerful yet smooth texture of the wine works with the meatiness of the dish, complimenting each other.  Finally, the wine's finish helps to prolong the flavors of the food, creating an even more enjoyable experience.  I have to say that although I liked both the wine and food on their own, when paired together they seem even better.  Cheers!

Comments:

Please let me know your comments in the section below!  What symbolizes spaghetti and meatballs for you?  Do you do things with your food to make it look scary for Halloween? If so, what foods?  Let’s chat!

Caramel Popcorn with Wine

The Story:

I have a question, is caramel pronounced CARE-uh-mel or CAR-mul?  Isn't it annoying how several words have different ways of saying them?  For instance, the word aunt.  Do you pronounce it ON-t or ANT?  What about tomato, is it TOE-may-toe or TOE-ma-toe?  How the hell or we supposed to know?  Should I do a search on Forvo.com or hire a speech therapist?  Lord knows I have a hard enough time with all the French, Italian and worst of all, Greek wine names and terms (Caution, beware of wine snobs when pronouncing wine terms...I've embarrassed the heck out of myself)!  It seems like the difference between looking like a complete idiot who doesn't know English often has to do with where you were raised.  Take the word soda for instance.  Part of the country calls it pop.  Growing up, I distinctly remember my grandmother referring to Wednesday as WHENS-dee and the refrigerator as the "ice box."  One thing is for sure, when caramel is mixed with salty popcorn and just the right wine, no one is paying attention to how you say it!

The Pairing:

To kick off the month of October, I've decided to pair a Halloween favorite, caramel popcorn with wine.  To achieve this I chose a bottle of 2008 Trisaetum Riesling ($29.99)  from the Willamette Valley of Oregon (and let me tell you, if you haven't tried Oregon Riesling, you're in for a huge surprise)!  The name of the producer is pronounced TRIS-a-tum (since we're on the subject of pronouncing things correctly!).  "Wine Enthusiast" gave the wine 94 points out of 100 saying, "dense and still light, it brings honey, tea, lemon, nectarine, jasmine, lime, caramel and sweet nut flavors together, a riotous jumble that is beyond delicious."  Ok, I'm convinced:)~  After a bite of the food and then a sip of the wine, I notice the sugar levels are right on par.  The acidity in the wine lengthens the caramel flavor of the popcorn and the two come together seamlessly.  I also like that the wine has a syrupy texture, similar to the film that's left on the tongue by the popcorn, but yet has refreshing acidity to wash the grease/oil and salt off the tongue.  What a great way to start fall, don't you think?

Just an FYI, this wine is sold out on their website http://trisaetum.com.  However, Khoury's Fine Wine and Spirits should still have a few bottles in stock, here in Las Vegas.  Good luck and cheers!

Comments:

Please let me know your comments in the section below!  What words do you have a hard time pronouncing?  What do you enjoy eating during the month of October? Let’s chat!