Monthly Archives: January 2012

wine and food, there is so much that can go wrong

As said, first day of Christmas there was cheese, cheese and wine, in many many different combinations. The idea was to learn to taste and to really note what a wine / food combination does. I got this idea from Anke Gröner’s book ‘Nudeldicke Deern’ that i read just before Christmas, in her book she describes how she did a wine & food tasting with her coach and i immediately thought: cool, that’s what i want to do too. I convinced my friend and so there we were on the first day of Christmas, with three different wines, six different cheeses, from our favourite Dutch cheese stand at the market (which has cheeses from all over europe), sausage, chorizo baba ghanoush (also from Anke Gröners blog), one of our favourite regional hams, and home made rilette d’oie (gänserilette easys peasy! do make it yourself, so nice!).

The cheeses:

  • hard goat cheese, which tastes salty without wine
  • delice de bourgogne, which is rather creamy, nice texture, just a little salty
  • brie fermier, nice (you see, i will need to practice my taste description skills)
  • tallegio, nutty, creamy, very nice
  • leerdammer, light taste of nuts, it’s a little too dry already.
  • kornblume (german blue cheese), as if walking into a horse stall and smelling and eating all of it. yet, it is nice and creamy.

The wines: procesecco (i forgot which one, it was dry), sauvignon blanc, Mendoza Carbernet sauvignon/shiraz (order through, i can recommend it).

I won’t talk about all the combinations, it would take for ever. let’s concentrate on the most important results.

First of all, when you drink prosecco: stay away form cheese. mind you, i really liked all the cheeses, but prosecco and cheese? bleeeeh. The prosecco got sour and especially with the delice de bourgogne and the leerdammer it started tickling, prickling in the mouth in a very unpleasant way. Most other combinations were at best uneventful. The only thing i liked a bit was the prosecco with the brie fermentier, the prosecco got more taste of citrus fruits and a smiley in my notebook. Also in combination with the sausage, chorizo and the baba ghanoush the prosecco did not survive, acid, and not nice at all. (this leaves us of course with the question: what to eat with prosecco, i think salty chips works well)

Interesting was the ham, we bought a so called ‘Knochenschinken’, really a very very nice ham, but NOT after tasting cheeses, and certainly not with prosecco. What used to be a nice ham, turned into giving me the feeling of having to eat the content of an ashtray and inhale the smoke of an eel smokery. i’m not gonna try that one again. The prosecco turned too sweet and tasted greasy, a loss-loss combination I’m afraid.

Than the sauvignon blanc, a light yellow coloured wine, with a fruity taste. I tasted peach, not the normal one, but the wild flat ones, with a light acidity, but nice and fresh.

Let’s again concentrate on the strongest results. The goat cheese, which was really salty, became more creamy and less salty after the wine, and later on tasted a bit like white chocolate, interesting. The wine turned completely mineralic and tasted of flint (the small white stones) and turned into and ice queen really, cool and distant. I was very excited about the effect, but stil not sure whether i liked it or not, i think i did, if only because of this big change. Something similar happened after the tallegio, but now the peachy taste stayed. The tallegio was also much nicer after tasting the wine. Both the brie fermier and the delice the bourgogne ruined the wine, after the brie the wine tasted as if it had gotten bad and after the delice the wine started biting me. Don’t do it. The Kornblume turned the white wine into vinegar, and the cheese itself became sweeter, but still with associations of pony stalls.

I guess the best combination was with the german sausage (which we btw got for free at the market after buying the nice ham). In combination with the other meats, the wine lost, became sour and no, just really a waste of this good wine.

Finally, the floor was for the mendoza. We bought this one through the internet, as said, and loved the wine. We tried two types of glasses for this wine, to first experiment with the effect of the glass. In the smaller glass the wine is dark red, has a very strong smell. It tastes of red forest fruits, some vanilla and it is extremely dry, the after taste is great and stays for a long time, in a pleasant way. It’s nice and warm, and there are hints of wood. In the bigger glass there is more of everything. One should not inhale the wine to strongly, because you’re immediately high :-). the wine was very nice in the small glass and only got better in the big glass. so big glass it was for the rest of the experiment.

After the wine, the brie de fermier tastes of cauliflower, i don’t like that. the wine becomes sweeter, i taste liquorice. the wine definitely beats the cheese. Before the wine, the delice the bourgogne is very creamy and nice, after the wine, cauliflower as well. Together it’s a nice combination though, the wine starts tickling in the mouth a little. Those two seem to like each other, but the after taste. not so nice. a short marriage after all.

I can be brief about the combination with the kornblume: don’t do it. I think the Kornblume asks for a sweet port wine. Next to the tallegio it’s better, the wine gets some sweetness and survives, the cheese becomes rather salty though. One can eat goat cheese with his wine, but one doesn’t really have to. The best combination, interestingly, is again the cheap german sausage. That is really weird, but both the sausage and the wine taste great. How come this cheap German sausage becomes the star of the evening? The wine gets even more dry than it already was. Also with the chorizo, the wine survives and tastes good, the wine survives the ham, but the ham… well nevermind, we ate it the next day, without anything else but bread and then it was great again. The red wine and baba ghanoush also were a happy couple, and with the rilette things worked out well, strangely enough the red wine tasted again as in the beginning, nothing much happenedd, but nice anyway.

And after this, we were absolutely exhausted and asked ourselves: can we now eat and drink a little? I’m hungry… just eat, without thinking? We did, and we watched christmas movies (first some scenes from Loriot, part of my German cultural education program and then The sound of music). It was definitely a very very nice first day of Christmas.


the island and the count

i seem to be in a very sea-ish phase of my life, lots of travelling to the sea, to islands, both for work (Malta, Greece, Portugal) and privately. This weekend i visited Schiermonnikoog, the smallest Dutch waddeneiland with my oldest and dearest friend. To talk, walk, talk, walk talk, and walk and talk a little more. Of course we also had to eat, and since options are limited on the island (only one village), and many restaurants are either in the category ‘expensive and not good of boring’ or ‘cheap and even more boring’, we did some research first. We ended in the restaurant of hotel of Count Bernstorff, which was onces recommended to my by a colleague. Rightfully so. It was a very nice dinner, not very cheap, but worth its price. we had a three-course menue for 39 per person, and we could decide for ourselves what we wanted to have (two starters and a main dish, or a main dish and two deserts, or the more conventional starter – main – desert, which is what we took). There were about 5-6 dishes to choose from, some with more local products, but not all. The service was very friendly, and helpful.

this is what i started with: mozzarella di buffalo, but, not from italy, but from Groningen, i still have to check where they made it, but it was fantastic, with grilled pepper and eggplant, and really as good as good mozzarella from Italy. My friend had rillette from Duck and Goose, which was also very nice, but a little to much different spices to my taste. but it went very well with the fig compote it was served with. After that lamb for her (nice, as she told me) and entrecote with tagliatella for me:

very well done, very tender meat. For me the piece was a little too big, i would have been satisfied with 1/3 less, but also: well done!

We finished with desert, choco terrine for me, and mascarpone cake for my friend, and we left very happy, and more than satisfied.

SO, should you be on Schiermonnikoog and hungry: go there, it is good!

stuffed peppers

A few weeks ago i had bought masses of baby peppers for a good price at the market. Of course way too many for the small household i’m in, so i looked for a recipe with which I could nicely ‘get rid’ of many peppers and landed here.

I made only half of the recipe, because of said small household, and…yummie. The first thing I said was: these are really nice to bring to a party. My tablemate agreed and suggested I make them again today. So, off i went, to get 24 peppers:

small peppers

Beautiful, aren’t they?

I followed the recipe, only instead of pancetta, I used simple bacon, which works fine as well (then again, I didn’t try the pancetta variety, since it is so hard to get here, it might be even nicer).

It is a very nice recipe, and I guess it will impress the guests tomorrow: BUT never ever try this for more than 24 peppers :-)!

small pepppers filledoh…and I have absolutely no idea why one needs kosher salt in it, or even what kosher salt is. I’ll look it up, until then: normal salt it is.