Month: November 2016
The Best Cheeses To Serve At Christmas Dinner
After reading the headliner of this article, you might find yourself asking, “Does it really matter what cheese I serve at Christmas Dinner?” Ask any cheese enthusiast, critic or connoisseur and they will tell you that, without a doubt, it does matter what cheese you serve at your Christmas dinner to garner the best results from your guests. Cheese has a multi-faceted purpose… that is, it its own taste that it brings to the table and the immense taste it aids in bringing out in other foods at the Christmas dinner table. That said, if you are thinking of putting just any type of cheese out on the dinner table this Christmas, you might want to reconsider using some of the cheese options listed below:
Isle of Mull
An excellent sharp cheddar with bite that finished off with a mellow taste, native to Scotland. Coming in various sizes, this is an ideal cheese to include on your Christmas Dinner table or cheese platter.
Colston Bassett Stilton
Is this a cheese or a military general? Quite the mouthful if you ask me, but if you consider the taste it packs, it might just be a mouthful… of taste! A quintessential part of any British Christmas, this stilton is one of the premier cheeses, with its creamy and crumbly texture and perfect balance of flavor, that can be paired with just about any port (wine) or enjoyed straight-up.
A lighter and more delicate cheese than its French counterpart, this particular version of Clava Brie is native to the Moray coastal region of Scotland. This cheese would be perfectly paired with the more delicate dishes at the Christmas dinner.
Enjoy a little brandy with you cheese? Then Eve is for you. A cheese made from goats’ milk, Eve is soaked in a cider-based brandy and wrapped in a vine leaf. Different from other goats’ cheeses is Eve’s pungent aroma. Similar to other goats’ cheeses is its delicate and creamy texture.
Any fan of bacon would be a fan of this cheese. Its soft, cold smokiness intertwined with a smokey bacon flavor makes this cheese a literal “standout” at the Christmas dinner table.
Another excellent option to have on the Christmas table, native to the Orkney Islands of Scotland. If you are a fan of Wensleydale, a cheese native to England, you will surely love Grimbister at your Christmas dinner table.
Quintessential Wines to Pair with Your Thanksgiving Feast
Among your list of items to get and ready for the Thanksgiving feast you’re hosting for the family is the turkey, stuffing, cranberry dressing, candied yams and pumpkin or apple pie, among others. Now, let’s take a step outside of the norm and delve into a world of flavor enhancement. And what does a more superior job of bringing out the flavors of a feast than a fine bottle of wine?
The World of White Wine
When you think of Chardonnay, its flavor is at its peak when paired with turkey and any cream-based dishes or that has cream in it. There are an ample amount of chardonnays you can try that are sure to fancy your desires, with obvious dependencies on budget. In terms of budget, there are wines on the market that can range anywhere from $10-15 per bottle to prices that soar well through the roof.
Pinot grigio is, overall, a crowd-pleaser. It might not be that “perfect” match with any specific dish on the Thanksgiving dinner table, but at the same time, it most certainly will not combat any flavors at the same time. Native to Italy is a bottle of Cavit, that won’t break the budget by any means, as a the largest bottle of Cavit can be bought for around $10-15. It’s a solid choice and has done historically well with holiday feasts.
Sauvignon Blanc is a near-natural “go-to” wine, regardless of the meal presented on the table. Contrary to pinot grigio’s limited matchings, sauvignon blanc is the better overall wine selection at Thanksgiving with its herb-filled qualities.
The World of Red Wine
That “perfect marriage” at the holiday table comes with a bottle of Pinot noir as it goes well with just about anything on the Thanksgiving menu and is best overall suited for a Thanksgiving feast. A great example of a perfect red wine at your Thanksgiving meal is a bottle of Oyster Bay which can usually go for about $16 on the shelf.
Zinfandel is another pristine wine selection at any Thanksgiving or holiday dinner table. Some top choices for a zinfandel are a Chilean bottle of Dancing Bull or from California, a bottle of Ravenswood, both which can be had for under $15, generally.
While nothing can beat an excellent Thanksgiving meal, or any holiday meal, let a bottle of red or white wine bring out the incredible flavors of every dish at your Thanksgiving dinner table this holiday season.
The Age-Old Thanksgiving Debate: Turkey Stuffing vs. Turkey Dressing
Peanut butter and jelly, wine and cheese, chicken and waffles, tea and crumpets… all are individual items, but when matched with its counter, becomes a beautiful marriage. Now, enter Turkey and Stuffing, er… scratch that, Turkey and Dressing, er… wait, which one is it? Turkey and Stuffing vs Turkey and Dressing has become a heated debate, debacle and in some circumstances, seemingly an all-out, heated holiday war among family members and friends at the Thanksgiving dinner table. A number of people claim that there is no difference between stuffing and dressing, while on the opposite end of the spectrum, there is quite the difference, nearly a night and day difference, in fact. So, is there really a difference between the two iconic, holiday sides dishes?
Stuffing, in its basic form, is a seasoned mix that’s created to fill, or “stuff” the inside of the turkey, hence the name, “stuffing”. According to the Oxford English, “dressing” bears a much broader definition as it is referred to as a “seasoning substance used in cooking”. Well, that helps… actually, it confuses the debate even further…
Turkey stuffing and dressing recipes are known to be interchangeable. The foundation of the recipe is generally a crumbled bread product of sorts, and this can be anything like cornbread, biscuits or sliced bread. The just of these recipes note the addition of chopped onions alongside celery. A number of recipes call for the sauteing of onions and celery to invoke a more tender taste, while other recipes maintain the firmness of the onions and celery.
The differences between the two, and there are a number, are truly what sets these two side dishes apart, finally… One of the main differences is that stuffing is actually “stuffed” into the turkey before it gets places in the oven, making the stuffing, genuinely stuffing. The dressing is generally put into a greased pan, and this becomes baked as well. Further, it is noted in the famous cookbook, “The Joy of Cooking” that the concoction is coined “stuffing” if it becomes cooked inside the turkey. The National Turkey Federation, yes… there is a federation for this bird, tends to think that the terms “stuffing” and “dressing” are quite interchangeable… again, with the indecisiveness.
A number of other ingredients can make these side dishes distinct or similar, and a good bit of the differences between stuffing and dressing could very well be dependent on the region in which they are made, for instance, southern regions of the US generally refer to the side dish as “dressing” while northern regions of the US refer to the side dish as “stuffing”. Additionally, there are recipe deviations across the board that might call for sausage, walnuts, cranberries, and even oysters.
ROUNDING IT ALL UP
When considering all that is on the table, perhaps the debate will continue on for years and even centuries. Perhaps, the age-old debate will never have a set-in-stone answer, and you know what? Maybe it’s best left an open-ended discussion for families, friends and those who appreciate the culinary arts to discuss and debate the similarities and differences for years to come. The main takeaway, though, is that either, “dressing” or “stuffing” are darn good with turkey!
Spice Up Your Fall Pie Choices With Some of These Great Wine Selections
In a mundane world, we would normally drink a delicious, piping-hot cup of coffee or tea along with our slice of seasonal Pumpkin or Apple pie. Fortunately, we do not live in a mundane world, and while it is fitting, as always, to have a cup of coffee or tea with your slice of pie, with the uproaring of societal trends, we are introduced to a new wave of seasonal pie flavor-enhancing means, that is we can enjoy our slice of pie with a fine glass of wine. Believe it or not, wine genuinely enhanced the flavors sealed within the pie and vice-versa. It truly is yet another marriage of flavors as both work in tandem, producing a one-of-a-kind, incredible flavor.
With that in mind, let’s dive into the world of “Wine and Fall Pie” pairings and examine the plethora of options to choose from… enough to fancy our hearts and our tastebuds…
Albeit, apple pie comes in a variety of different styles and tastes, when marrying it off with a wine, the Boundary Break Harvest Riesling takes home the cake… I mean pie, see what I did there? This riesling is an exemplary choice because it exponentiates the fruit-based flavors as oppose to the spice-heavy flavors of apple pie. The wine itself, upon initial taste, brings out the fabulous intensity of stone fruits and honey and a follow-up sip of wine enhances the pie’s fruit intensity, in this case, apple.
To go along with a delicious, hearty slice of pumpkin pie, try a glass of Suideriut Sauterne. The remarkable sweetness of the wine lends the perfect touch to the richness of pumpkin pie. As a measure of additional flavor, try an aged version of this Sauterne, as it presents an added flavor of light honey.
Pecan Pie is a pie with some serious intentions, therefor, it’s best to be paired with a wine of serious intentions. A great wine for this pairing would be The New York Malmsey has a Madeira that should be implemented into every dessert menu and table across America. What makes The Malmsey exceptional is its explosion of incredible aromatic blend of coffee and toffee. Its sternness compliments the nutty richness of a pecan pie.
Let’s travel into the world of exceptionalism. This occurs with the pairing of cherry pie and a glass of Velenosi Visciole, a cherry wine composed of 30% cherries. This flavor intense wine is made by soaking sour cherries in sugar before going through fermentation. As you drink a glass of this, alongside cherry pie, the taste of fresh cherries and blueberries will illuminate your tastebuds.
With any sweet pie or dessert in general, a Port is the quintessentially, complimentary beverage. With its bright, rich, fruity body, a glass of Quinta de la Rosa Ruby Port 601 is the essential pairing for creamy, chocolate pie. Having a black-cherry and chocolate masking flavor, this Port, without question, is the drink of choice for chocolate pie.
Best Coffee Concoctions to Heighten Your Autumn Experience
As we are knee-deep in Fall and Winter is creeping on the doorstep, the days are becoming shorter and the day’s warmth is beginning to give way to colder air, we shift our needs to something that can warm the body and the soul. What a better than a nice, piping hot cup of coffee. And, while coffee is a great warm up, coffee can sometimes become mundane. How do we fix that? With some extraordinarily delicious coffee concoctions. No, it does not take a mad scientist to create such a concoction. Here is a collection of just some of the great coffee pairings to help you get started with your own concoctions, or perhaps, spark your own imagination and get creative with your own concoction.
Guatemala’s Vienna Roast + Caramel Apple
Need a kick-start at the crack of dawn to get your day going, and more importantly, going in the right direction where you can conquer the world? Look no further than a Guatemalan Vienna Roast. This exquisite roast will bring out the apple and cinnamon flavors in your favorite morning breakfast dishes. With an extravagant aroma and decadent flavor, it is the quintessential roast for pairing with apples and caramel sauces. Just the aroma of fresh, Fall apples or cinnamon rolls and a pot of Guatemalan coffee is more than enough to get you rearing out of bed and ready to tackle anything the day hands you.
Total Eclipse Dark Blend + A Shot of Bailey’s
Looking for something to keep you warm through the entirety of the day? Try an Ethiopian Roast. This roast actual comes from Kansas City and goes amazingly with a dose of Bailey’s Irish Cream. An Ethiopian Roast consists of a blend of dark chocolate and blackberries. Adding Bailey’s Irish Cream is an incredible compliment that will make this Ethiopian Roast one you’ll keep coming back for.
Sumatra French Roast + Pumpkin Pie
This pairing is for those with an exceptional craving for the sweet treat. And with it being Fall, how could we forget a coffee and Pumpkin Pie pairing. The idea pairing with a Sumatra French Roast is in fact a slice of Pumpkin Pie which just adds another layer of to the “WOW” factor. If Pumpkin Pie just isn’t your thing, another great companion for a Sumatra French Roast is a lighter, fruit sorbet.
Autumn Harvest Blend + Pumpkin Spice Muffin
This is more than the pairing of a coffee blend with a delicious sweet treat, it might actually be more of a marriage, that is how good it is. Autumn Harvest Blend is a premier roast and might easily be the best one on the list. The roast’s hint of Pumpkin Spice gives it the aroma as if you were smelling Autumn splendor in your coffee cup. Brew a mug of Autumn Harvest Blend, heat up a homemade pumpkin spice muffin and you’ll bring out the best that Fall has to offer, all from the comforts of your very own home.