A year ago today, I gave birth to Quit WINEing. Like the 9 months it takes to make a baby, the planning happened in stages and although giving life to an idea is much different to that of a child, it still holds a significant amount of love in your heart.
I first conceived of the idea to pair unusual foods with wine when I realized that I was far more interested in enjoying my favorite food, French fries, with wine rather than lobster and Chardonnay. Hell, I'm not having dinner at Emeril's place every night and you probably aren't either, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't get to enjoy wine with what we're eating; even if that be nachos or girl scout cookies. This idea, coupled with the fact that I had just lost a business I spent years to build, fueled my enthusiasm. I wanted everyone to love wine as much as I did and I hoped by creating something unique, people would open their minds to the possibility of food and wine together in a whole new light.
I also knew from the start that I wanted to use creative photos to showcase these pairings and at their core, I wanted the photos to be funny and inviting. If my pairings were unusual, then my photo's needed to be even more over-the-top. And that's when the Alice in Wonderland photo was dreamt up. I've always loved the movie (I watched it hundreds of times as a child) and somehow I came up with the idea to incorporate a cupcake as the dessert in the movie that says "EAT ME" and a wine bottle as the container in the movie that says "DRINK ME," to tie it all together. I thought, it's no longer going to be Alice in Wonderland, it's going to be "Courtney in WINEland!"
The blog has progressed from being pictures of just food and wine to fun photos with yours truly. I've also opened up about who I am as a person and shared some of the most intimate details of my life. Instead of only telling you why food and wine work together, I discuss who I am as a person and incorporate stories from both past and present experiences. At its core, wine has always been about bringing people together, whether that be at the dinner table or in front of your computer screen...and that's exactly what I aim to do!
To celebrate the blog turning one, I decided to pair wine with what I had on my first birthday, chocolate cake! As usual, two wines were chosen for the pairing. The first wine was the 2006 Towbin James "James Gang Reserve" Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles, California. The second wine was truly against my religion, a raspberry flavored lamic beer, Lindeman's Framboise. Not that I don't enjoy beer, it is after all bubbly like my favorite wine, Champagne, but it's just not my drink of choice. This particular beer is slightly sweet and can be enjoyed as a dessert by itself. The Framboise was excellent with chocolate cake and made you feel as if someone had poured raspberry syrup on top. Additionally, it was acidic enough to cut through the creamy richness of the dessert and the bubbles helped to cleanse the palate in-between bites. But, the Cabernet Sauvignon was where the magic really happened. The two combined created a much more complex pairing in that new flavors emerged at every corner. Suddenly, a dark chocolate and spice flavor that wasn't as dominant before took center stage. Layers of flavor started to explode in my mouth and changed with every bite. The wine also helped to tame the sweetness of the cake and its creamy texture worked perfectly with the similar texture of the dessert. Both of these beverages were excellent with the cake and I think it's just a matter of preference on which of the two you decide is best for you! Cheers!
Wine featured in this photo: 2006 Towbin James "James Gang Reserve" Cabernet Sauvignon (Available at Khoury's Fine Wine & Spirits $28.99)