Showing posts with label champagne. Show all posts
Showing posts with label champagne. Show all posts

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Champagne, Krug World Festival 2017

Krug  Champagne World Festival 2017
Krug World Festival 2017

The history of the House of Krug

In 1843 Joseph Krug founded his eponymous house, The House of Krug. Originally from Mainz, Germany, on the banks of the Rhine, he left Germany in 1834 to work in France.  He was employed by Champagne Jacquesson for eight years, working his way up the ranks, he learned to blend champagne as well as the machinations of the champagne market. He married and had a son, Paul Krug, and eventually founded Krug et Cie. in 1843. Joseph was a polyglot which put the company in a position to exploit key overseas markets.

Joseph wanted his son to take over the company once he was no longer around, and so he ensured that his son knew all the ins and outs of the business. They moved premises from Châlons-sur-Marne in 1866 to Rue Coquebert, in Reims. They have been in the same building ever since. 

Today the house is part of a vast portfolio owned by the multinational conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy • Louis Vuitton S.A. whose collection includes other well-known wine brands. Despite LVMH's majority ownership, the Krug family is still actively involved in all the critical decisions of the house.

The Krug World Festival

Olivier Krug

I met Olivier Krug, the sixth generation of the Krug family and who calls himself the 'gatekeeper of the heritage' of the House of Krug at a beautiful event organised by the House for media, journalists and bloggers from around the world.

The newly restored Maison Krug - a unique space housing over 150 years of history, was the backdrop for this occasion.  We listened attentively to Olivier's stories of his childhood in the house while Champagne was flowing, as you would expect, in aesthetically pleasing 'Joseph' glasses. These Riedel glasses are made of a single piece of crystal glass shaped in such a way that allows the bubbles to reach their optimal expression, enabling them to reveal a bouquet of aromas.

For the whole of the duration of our stay at Krug, we never drank from a champagne flute.  Olivier is totally against them. He's the founder of hashtag #noflute.

Olivier’s enthusiasm to share the Krug heritage with the world has resulted in the inception of the Krug World Festival; the first one was held in Rome last year.

This year, at the second edition, guests had a rare chance to savour some of the world’s most prized Krug throughout the day. They were also completely immersed in the world of the House of Krug at its headquarters in Reims, which included a visit to its cellars.
Krug  Champagne World Festival 2017
Wild Lunch by Krug

Guests were then driven to a secret location in nearby Verzy for lunch. We were greeted with a glass of the elegant Krug Rosé 21st edition.  A wine with savoury notes, it was developed to be paired with food, for a daring gastronomic adventure. Music features heavily at the House of Krug; we were given a 'silent disco' headphone to taste Krug Rosé with soothing music while walking through the forest to reach our lunch spot.  The big reveal was the new Krug Rosé glass,  expertly crafted by Riedel in collaboration with Krug.

The Wild Lunch menu was expertly paired with the pure elegance of the Krug Rosé 21st Edition throughout the meal. The menu consisted of mostly savoury dishes and gave us an idea of what a fantastic pairing this unusual Krug rosé can be with its robust, broad and extensive aromatic palate.

This champagne is the only Rosé Prestige Champagne to be blended from a rich palette of wines from three different grape varieties and different years. Skin-fermented Pinot Noir gives a seductive, sensual and rounded finish in the mouth.
The bottle we drunk at the meal was composed of 51% Pinot Noir, 41% Chardonnay, and 8% Pinot Meunier.

The  Rosé from Krug was paired with the following:
Foie Gras
Gnocchi vin jaune
Lobster tartare
Pan-fried Foie gras and artichoke cream
Monkfish, chorizo emulsion
Roast rack of lamb
Dry-aged rib of beef
Corn & Asparagus
Strawberry soup and verbena
Cannelé Bordelais
Lemon diamond
cupcake almond & apricots

Michelin-starred chef, Arnauld Lallement lead the guests through an extraordinary dining experience in gorgeous surroundings. We were also gifted with a book on mushrooms with recipes from noted chefs.

Dinner, Champagne and Music Pairing

Lianne La Havas
Jacky Terrasson

Sly Johnson

Krug has come up with a unique proposition: Krug Music Pairings. The House invites specially selected musicians to participate in a program of matching Krug champagne with their original compositions.  Inspired by what they taste, these artists choose a special playlist to reflect what they felt and how they connect to the tasting experience. These selections, made available to the public via or the Krug App, enhance Champagne lovers’ tasting of Krug Champagnes, taking the whole experience to another dimension.

As the evening approached, we had dinner al fresco at the House of Krug courtyard with more delicious food by Chef Arnauld Lallement and music by Lianne La Havas, Jacky Terrasson and Sly Johnson.

Michellin starred Chef Arnauld Lallement

The evening meal was sluiced with elegant Krug champagnes and gastronomic delights: 
Haddock and caviar - Krug 2003
Lobster  - Krug 2002
Squab (young pigeon)  Foie gras pie  - Krug Rosé 21st Edition
Roasted peach, verbena, muesli and dried fruit - Krug Grande Cuvee 160th Edition - instinctively pleasurable
Krug  Champagne World Festival 2017
The evening finished with a massive sing-a-long with all the guests and musicians. Perfect ending to a perfect night! 

The Krug iD

Every bottle of Krug Champagne has a story to tell. As a House with a contemporary spirit and a history of pioneering, Krug embraces new digital technology and its potential to disrupt and delight. Since 2011, the House has invited Champagne lovers to enter the Krug iD – the six digits can be found on the back label of every bottle – in different platforms such as the Krug website, the Krug App and Twitter. Now, when someone tweets a Krug iD (“#KrugiD 115014” for example), they receive an immediate response from Krug giving them and their followers access to all the Krug iD information. These tweets encapsulate the true spirit of the House, always with its finger on the pulse of today’s culture.

Krug is about the conviviality, emotions, and harmony of champagne, to be enjoyed by everyone
Krug  Champagne World Festival 2017
Krug World Festival 2017

'Krug festival in the UK - Into the Wild.'

Krug will host a special event in Hampshire, UK, on the 29th July 2017 from 4:30 pm - midnight. Expect an exceptional experience with  Argentinean Chef Francis Mallmann who will  headline the evening of open-fire cooking -   'Krug festival - Into the Wild.'  

This event will take place across the three sites on The Grange - pairing each dish with champagne from the Krug portfolio; Grande Cuvée, Rosé and Vintage 2002. Large open fires will give the evening a theatrical feel, while the chefs will be cooking locally sourced produce for up to seven hours.

Music will be by specialist music and online platform, Mahogany
For more info:

Explore Krug:

Disclosure:  I was a guest of Krug at this event.  All views are my own.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Champagne + Fromage, melting Camembert in Brixton

melting Camembert at Champagne + Fromage ©Rosana_McPhee

Champagne is, in essence, a sparkling wine from the Champagne area in France. These fine wines are produced from grapes from the region and under the strict rules and regulations of the appellation, which includes secondary fermentation of the wine in the bottle to create carbonation, the much-loved bubbles.

Lately, I have been trying some delicious Champagne and food pairing. My latest champagne adventure was at my local  Champagne + Fromage in Brixton. They have a new addition to their menu that features melting Camembert with different and exciting toppings, each one paired with various champagnes.  Their champagne cellar contains only bottles from small growers, and family run businesses who produce limited and small quantities of quality champagne with great care.

Some of the baked Camembert we tried

Montbelliard sausage and wholegrain mustard baked camembert, mixed leaf salad and new potatoes.  Corsican Ham & Red Pepper Jam, The Pesto & Tomato is very popular with the Italians

Other options are Garlic & Herb, Figs & Thyme, Basil & Sun Dried Tomatoes and Truffle all paired with champagne - they have all the pairings sorted, so you don't have to!  With about 17  different toppings - 3 sweets and 14 savouries, the menu rotates regularly, so you have interesting choices every time you visit it.

Champagne+Fromage serve excellent charcuterie and cheese boards with all the trimmings and for the brave  - Like me! - Escargots with herb and garlic butter- It was the perfect meal.  Despite the unusual pairing, the acidity fo the champagne cuts through the fat of cheese making the perfect match!
Homemade Fondant Au Chocolat ©Rosana_McPhee

We finished lunch with a great and gooey Homemade Fondant Au Chocolat and an espresso.

This new Camembert menu is a great  comforting addition to their repertoire. Worth a try.

Please ask permission to use the images - thanks
Disclosure: I was a guest of Champagne+Fromage. All views are my own.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

BAFTA Film Awards, what's on the menu

The 70th British Academy Film Awards, The BAFTA are fast approaching with all the glamour and glitz. The contenders were revealed back in January and the film  La La Land is leading with 11 nominations.

The event will be held on February the 12th,  at London's iconic Royal Albert Hall, with Stephen Fry as the Master of Ceremony, returning as host for the 12th time. It will be televised by the BBC One and BBC One HD at 9 pm, two hours later than the actual event itself.

BAFTA Short History

The Academy was established on 16 April 1947 by a group of the most eminent names in the British film production industry.  David Lean, film director,  was appointed Chairman.

The goal was "to acknowledge  those who had contributed outstanding creative work towards the advancement of British cinema."
The event will Society became officially known as The British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and BAFTA entered the nation's vocabulary.


'The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public. In addition to its Awards ceremonies, BAFTA has a year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – featuring workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes – in the UK, USA and Asia; it offers unique access to the world’s most inspiring talent and connects with a global audience of all ages and backgrounds. BAFTA relies on income from membership subscriptions, individual donations, trusts, foundations and corporate partnerships to support its ongoing outreach work.'

What are the starts eating and drinking the official BAFTA dinner?

I had the privilege to have a preview of the menu and tasted the fantastic food by Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott Hotel  Executive, Nigel Boschetti and head Chef of BAFTA 195 Piccadilly, Anton Manganaro.
If you are hosting a BAFTA night with friends, this is a guide to what to eat like the stars on the evening.

The Official EE British Academy Film Awards Menu 2017

Cornish Crab salad with celery and apple jelly and a burnt celeriac mayonnaise

Vegetarian option: mixed grain salad with pickled vegetables, beetroot relish and pea shoots

Venison Denham Estate Wellington, Juniper berry jus, potato gratin, glazed red cabbage, buttered swede and stem broccoli

Vegetarian option: puff pastry parcel with buttered spinach, wild mushrooms, goat’s cheese, roasted winter vegetables, red cabbage and watercress sauce.

Velvet 65 per cent Buffalo Supermilk Chocolate with Blueberry and Raspberry White Cremeux, with a Pumpkin Seeds Granola

drinks are sponsored by:

Taittinger Champagne, which has partnered with BAFTA for the last 15 years.

Wines by Vila Maria from New Zealand’s most awarded winery,  from its Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2016 or Private Bin Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2014.

Water by Evian and Badoit and the lucky guests can also sip on Nespresso coffee if they need an energy boost ahead of the glitzy after-parties.

For further information and list of nominees visit: 

Disclosure: I was a guest at this event.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Picnic, Crab Flan and Champagne

Champagne is always a good idea! At breakfasts, brunches, lunches, dinners, as an aperitif, at celebrations, when happy and to alleviate sadness! Also, an essential item in my picnic basket!

It's National Picnic week in the UK on the  11th-19th June, what a better way to celebrate than with champagne?  I was sent a couple of bottles of the all newly re-designed Mumm Grand Cordon, in a very innovative designed bottle.

Breaking with tradition, the bottle has no front label - instead, the G.H. Mumm signature and Eagle gold emblem are printed directly on the glass. Another striking feature of the design is its shape, which necessitated a whole series of innovations to the traditional champagne production process.

A very stylish and stunning detail of the Mumm Grand Cordon bottle is its reinvention of the iconic Cordon Rouge red sash, which is commemorating its 140th anniversary this year. On new Mumm Grand Cordon bottle, the red sash is set into the glass. Very chic!

Chardonnay and  Pinot Noir, the emblematic grape variety of the house has power and leaves a freshness in the mouth. Pale gold-tan color in the glass. Berries dominate in the palate and the nose. It has a long finish with plenty of acidity assuring this wine will pair well with food, not just as an aperitif.  It has a hint of lemon at the very end, a great pairing with seafood. I paired with crab flan for a nice picnic nosh. 
Enjoy the picnic and the recipe!

Crab Flan recipe


200g plain (all purpose)  flour
2 large organic eggs
200ml of whole milk
75ml sunflower oil
25ml olive oil
1tsp baking powder
3 tbsp grated Parmesan
1 tsp of dried thyme

5-7 Cherry tomatoes cut in halves
170g white crab meat
150g Garden peas
handful of coriander, chopped

baking tin I used a round 25cm dia (greased with butter and dusted with flour)
Start by pre-heating  the oven at 180C

1) First, prepare the filling, wash and cut the cherry tomatoes in half,  garden peas and adjust the crab meat,  reserve.
2) for the dough: Mix all ingredients in a blender.
3) Fill the prepared baking tin with the dough mixture
4) Add the filling garden peas, crab and last the tomatoes and put the rest of the dough on top.  Decorate the top with the cherry tomatoes and chopped coriander.

Viva l'été!

Mumm Grand Cordon will be progressively rolled out to Maison Mumm's international markets, with an emphasis on trendy nightlife destinations. Spot it soon in Ibiza (Spain), Porto Cervo (Italy), Hvar (Croatia) and Mykonos (Greece).

Where to enjoy Mumm in London:

Disclosure: I was sent samples of Mumm Grand Cordon  by Pernod-Ricard France to taste. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Something for the Weekend: Shellfish & Champagne

Long weekends are bliss. Perfect time to get together with family and friends, share some quality time. And why not catch up over some uncomplicated food and drink?  Indulge and linger over a glass of refreshing bubbly to ease slowly into a pleasant state of relaxation.

I can stress how much I enjoy getting together over a long lunch over the weekend and even more at  Bank Holidays - extra time to socialise and have fun - perfect recreation time.

Sometimes is nice to indulge in some high-quality champagne too and to celebrate  Spring, my chosen tipple this week is Billecart-Salmon Vintage 2006. This Extra Brut dosage wine  (zero dosage = no added sugar) has a beautiful personality of Champenois Pinot Noir (75%), counterbalanced by the elegance and subtlety of the Côte des Blancs Chardonnay.
Billecart-Salmon Vintage 2006
Its Golden yellow hue flowed gently into the glass and highlighted by a plentiful and lively bubbles. Fruity and elegant aromas with a biscuity finish. A sensorial experience accentuated by notes of buttery of pastry.

It's a beautifully refreshing wine with a mousse-like palate. A delicately refined champagne with a  finish is firm and rounded persistent.
Regarding food pairings, it again goes well with top quality fish and shellfish dishes, fine hams and light risottos, not too substantial or robust in flavours.

My suggestion for a meal  to match this beautiful champagne is seafood platter with an appetising sauce. This recipe is actually inspired by my food travels. This time is Barcelona, where they have Suquet de Peix, a Catalan fish stew which is made with picada, a nutty and light sauce. It's a deconstructed version of it.  I added brown crab meat to the sauce and used Brazil nuts; the Catalans used almonds - of course! In any case, it's delicious!
Shellfish Platter

Delightful Shellfish Platter & Crab Sauce Recipe 

drinks suggestion: Billecart-Salmon Vintage 2006

500g Clams, scrubbed
500g Mussels, scrubbed
150g squid, cleaned and  cut into rings
250g white crab meat, already prepared
250g Freshwater prawns

1 cup of preferred nuts, toasted - I used Brazil Nuts
2 cloves of garlic
Handful of coriander (30g)
30g croutons (a handful)
4 tomatoes, grated or crushed
150g of brown crab meat
100ml Olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

start with the crab sauce:
1) in a pestle and mortar, or food processor,  place the nuts, the peeled garlic and the coriander leaves. Pound and mix well. Add the olive oil, croutons and tomatoes. Pound more and mix well. Season to taste and add the lemon juice.  Reserve in the fridge until ready to serve.  It's a thick sauce. Just before serving blend in the brown crab meat. Serve immediately. It makes about 500g.

Platter method:
1) Slowly simmer 1 cup (200ml)  dry white wine, 2 finely chopped shallots, 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried), and 1 bay leaf in a big pot for 5 minutes.
2)Add the scrubbed clams, cover the pot, and turn the heat to high, cook for 5 minutes, shake the pan,  check if most of the shells have opened. If not, continue steaming until they do. Throw away any unopened shells. Reserve.
3)In another pan start the process above but cooking the mussels for 3 minutes, until they all open. Throw away any unopened shells. Reserve.
4) Cook the prawns, brush the prawns with a little olive oil and then sprinkle them with salt, pepper and garlic. Shallow fry for 3 - 4 minutes or until the prawns have turned pink. Remove from the heat and reserve.
5)start to assemble the platter, as you like and see fit,  and at last cook, the squid pieces just need to be cooked for 30-40 seconds on a very high heat. Serve immediately with the sauce on the side and crusty bread.

The RRP for the Billecart-Salmon Vintage  2006 cuvée  from £62, a good price for a great vintage champagne. Harvey Nichols and The Good Wine Shop are good places to find Billecart-Salmon range, either in store or online.
Disclosure: I was sent a bottle of Billecart-Salmon to pair with on of my favourite dish. All views are my own.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Valentine's treat with Billecart-Salmon Rose Champagne

Food and romance are two things that perfectly blend together. This explains why the idea of most people on how to have a romantic date is to have it complemented with good food. Food, without a doubt, enhances intimacy, passion, satisfaction, and desire.

In every stage of your relationship, for sure, food has been a necessary element. Look at this timeline of most relationships and see how food is involved.

•    First Date: You most probably had dinner at a casual restaurant and had a bottle of wine.
•    Third Date: You considered it as an opportunity to show off your culinary skills, which us why you prepared a home-cooked meal.
•    First Sleep Over: A good but awkward morning greeted you with a hearty breakfast.
•    Introduction to Friends: Fun times over wine and food at your favourite wine bar.
•    Introduction to Parents: Dinner at your folks’ house and having a hard time deciding on what to cook to welcome your loved one.
•    Introduction to the Entire Family: A festive dinner
•    When You Realise the Relationship is Getting Serious: Intimate dinner with both of your parents
•    Proposal: Dinner at an expensive restaurant with a beautiful bottle of champagne
•    Wedding: Planning on choosing the best caterer, having food tasting, and deciding on whether to have a sit-down or buffet meal

From the stages of a relationship mentioned above, it is pretty much obvious that food is always involved. Why is such the case?

According to one theory, the involvement of food in a relationship is basically because it shows how much you care for the other person. Giving someone good food is tantamount into showing the other person that you want to spoil them and take care of them. Sharing a hearty meal can lead into a feeling of satisfaction, a feeling that might not be sparked by anything else. It is also believed that your emotional response to food is similar to your emotional response when you receive affection from someone.

For those who like lighter and simple treats today's recipe is a delightful guava mousse topped with various fruits. The best thing about this recipe is you can choose yours or loved one's favourite seasonal fruit to celebrate Valentine's day.  Another unique Valentine's touch is the addition of champagne. Nothing is better than celebrating with a good quality of champagne  - after all; it is a special occasion. What more remarkable than quaff one of the most coveted champagnes, Billecart-Salmon Rose. It enchants all who indulge it with its fascinating berry character and delicately creamy mousse finish in appearance. It's a 'non-vintage', meaning that it is a blended product of grapes from multiple vintages in this case of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir vinified as red wine. Most of the base will be from a single year vintage with producers blending anywhere from 10–15% (even as high as 40%) of wine from older vintages.

This champagne goes really well with red berries  and now I discovered with tropical guava too. 

This is the second time that I paired Billecart-Salmon with food. My first experience was the immensely enjoyable. You can read it here. Despite its royal and aristocratic prestige, Champagne houses also portray champagne as a luxury that can be enjoyed by anyone and any occasion. Billecart-Salmon Rose  is particularly exceptional - worth splashing out on this fantastic bottle.

Fruity Valentine's treat

Makes: 4
can be made the day before

1  box of savoiardi biscuits  or recipe of simple sponge cake
1 cup de fruit of choice, I chose pink/red guava canned and drained, about 250g of fruit (already peeled)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of caster sugar, 30g
1 cup whipped cream, 200ml
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla paste

1) wash, peel- if fresh and dice the fruits
2) blend the fruits, lemon juice, and sugar to puree, for a fine consistency sieve it and discard any peeps and skins. It should make about 200g of puree. Reserve.
3) Beat the cream in the mixer at low speed, to increase to double the volume and fluffy. Keep an eye, not turn into butter!  Switch off the mixer. Add the vanilla paste and the fruit puree, mixing very gently. 
4) Place a very thin and even layer of the cake on the bottom of individual bowls. Top with the mousse and decorate with fruits. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until the time to serve.

Tips: I bought the red/pink guava canned in the supermarket and online,  fresh is nearly impossible to find in the UK.
Until next time why not join me on  InstagramTwitter, Facebook and Pinterest…X

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Brazilian recipe, festive shrimp and lobster in Pumpkin

Shrimp in Pumpkin  (Camarão na moranga) is a typical dish of Brazilian coastal cuisine this delightful recipe is served and prepared with pumpkin, stuffed with shrimp, cream cheese and herbs. The origin of this recipe is said to be Ubatuba, 2nd largest island on the North Coast of São Paulo, with over 800 hectares of lush Atlantic Forest in the midst of mountains and pristine beaches.

The pumpkin seeds are known to have medicinal powers, so the local population began to plant pumpkin because of its seeds to obtain a powerful de-wormer that plagued the area in the 30's.

According to local legend, during one of the island's crossings to the mainland, one of the pumpkins fell into the sea and sank quickly because there was a hole in the place of the stalk. A few weeks later the fruit reappeared about 5 km from where it had sunk. A lady, who had a restaurant on the beach,  found the fruit and did not think twice, stuck a whole pumpkin to be boiled. When she opened the pumpkin, she found inside more than two kilograms of shrimp. Seeing this, she had the brilliant idea of removing the seeds and add green onions, coriander, tomato, garlic, and cream cheese together with the shrimps.

This is how this dish came about - a real 'caiçara' cuisine:  " Shrimp in Pumpkin ", this delicious dish has become part of the menu of many coastal restaurants throughout Brazil. 

 In this particular recipe, I added lobster for a different end of the year celebration dish paired with the splendid  Champagne Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blancs. Blanc de Blancs is white Champagne made exclusively from white-wine grapes; the phrase Blanc de Blancs is French for "white of whites." made with 100% Chardonnay grapes.  This Chardonnay cuvée has been elaborated from the five grand cru vineyards of the Côte des Blancs. This champagne paired well with the light shrimp and delicate sweetness of the lobster in the creaminess of the pumpkin sauce. Thanks to Champagne Billecart-Salmon for  sending a bottle of this delightful champagne (my favourite tipple).

Champagne Billecart-Salmon is a delicate champagne with fine bubbles and buttered brioche and mineral aromas, fresh and elegant finish.

Shrimp and lobster in Pumpkin recipe

Serves: 4 
1 large pumpkin 
Olive oil to taste
8 garlic cloves
1 and 1/2 large white onions
1kg fresh prawns, clean and deveined
 250g of lobster meat, already cooked (optional)
 2 lobster tails (optional)
 1 lemon or lime
 Salt and pepper to taste
 2 large and ripe tomatoes. peeled and chopped
 1 bunch cilantro (coriander), chopped
 150ml of double (heavy) cream
 3 tablespoons of cream cheese, I use Puck Cheese Spread
1) Open the pumpkin, cutting a lid and remove the seeds. pre-heat the oven 180C
2)In a pestle and mortar, make a paste by pressing five cloves of finely chopped garlic, salt and black pepper to taste, half sliced onion and olive oil. Place the paste inside the pumpkin and rubbing inside to season it.
3)Cover the pumpkin, wrap with foil and bake for about an hour, until it is cooked.
4)Season the prawns with the juice of one lemon, salt and black pepper to taste.

5)Fry in plenty of olive oil, three cloves of garlic and chopped onion. When they are lightly golden add two tomatoes and parsley (or cilantro/coriander) finely chopped. Sauté everything until the tomatoes look cooked. Now add and sauté the shrimp for a few minutes and check for doneness by color: pink they are ready. Add cream and cream cheese to the mix. Make sure everything is well mixed and check for salt and pepper. Add the lobster meat.  If necessary, thicken the sauce with flour dissolved in water.
6) Steam the raw lobster tails for 20-30 minutes till they are pink. If using already cooked, steam for 10 minutes only.
7)Remove the squash from the oven and pour all the water from inside. 

8) With a spoon scoop the cooked pumpkin flesh and mix with the shrimp and lobster filling.
9) Fill the pumpkin and bake for about five minutes.
10)Decorate with lobster tails and serve hot with rice.

Happy Festivities!

Monday, 12 October 2015

Chocolate and wine pairing

chocolate and wine tasting at home
If chocolate and wine are two of your favourite things, chances are you have had the thought of combining the two into one spectacular tasting experience. The sad truth, however, is that chocolate can kill a wine faster than you can even imagine unless certain hard and fast rules are considered.

Chocolate is both bitter and sweet: the darker the chocolate, the more bitter it is. In this case, red wine is a possibility, with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and even Rioja being the hands-down best choices. These wines come with their own inherent bitterness in the form of tannins. You notice tannins in wine as a drying sensation in the mouth – much like what you would get if you steeped a tea bag for too long. In this case, matching bitter to bitter is the order of the day. A less bitter wine, such as Shiraz, would not do quite as well because of its low acidity and tannin. Tannin is part of the acid structure of a wine and is found in grape skins, seeds and stems. Although you might think that bitterness is not necessarily a desirable quality to impart to something you might eat or drink, it provides a layer of complexity that allows certain combinations to work better – such as would be the case with dark chocolate.

White wine would not generally be a good choice to pair with chocolate in any case because it lacks tannin. However, a sweet white wine would do very well, as long as it is sweeter than the chocolate itself. Choose a Sauternes, a late harvest dessert wine or an off-dry Champagne for best results. It is never recommended to pair milk chocolate with any type of champagne unless it (the wine) is on the sweet side. The romantic notion of a champagne and chocolate pairing is perhaps not as good in practice as it is in theory.

Milk chocolate is very sweet and creamy, and though it lacks the bitterness of dark chocolate, it is much harder to pair with wine. A general rule of thumb is to make sure the wine is sweeter than the chocolate. Pair a rich milk chocolate with a sweet dessert-style wine like a German Riesling-based dessert wine,   French sweet wine like Sauternes, or a sweet fortified wine like Tawny Port. With milk chocolate, the sweeter, the better!

 wine and chocolate tasting

Laurent Perrier Demi-sec (£38.99)  is soft and gentle champagne. It's bright; shining colour and somewhat dark golden hue. Intense on the nose this champagne has a range of aromas from toasted nuts and dried fruit, honey, and pine. On the palate has hints of peaches and cream. Its richness calls for sweet dessert such as chocolate, enhancing them with considerable depth. Perfect pairing with white chocolate truffles.
We also find out that it paired very well with breakfast pastries, in particular, pain raisin and pain chocolat due to the brioche notes in both food and wine.

Maury, a dark and concentrated fortified French wine.  The Seriously Plummy Grande Reserve (£10.99) is 100% Grenache Noir grapes, goes really well with the dark rich chocolate dessert, as this Brazilian Brigadeirao - a dessert form of the famous Brazilian brigadeiros truffle. The dessert wasn't as sweet as the truffles themselves, so it was a perfect match to Maury.
Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva
As strange as it may seem some red wines pair well with chocolate,  Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva (£12.49) is one of them. It's cherry coloured and complex aroma, medium intensity and tannins paired well with the chocolate nut torte.

For more inspirational chocolate and wine pairings head over to Waitrose Cellar and for recipes at Waitrose chocolate recipes

Until next time why not join me on  InstagramTwitter and Facebook…X

 Thanks to Waitrose Groceries and Waitrose Cellar for providing all the wines and ingredients for this tasting.

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