We’re welcoming the first sunny weeks of spring with magnums of elegant white wine from Provence. This minuscule production Bandol Blanc from Château de Pibarnon is a blend of mostly Clairette and Bourboulenc with some Roussanne, Ugni Blanc and small amounts of other white grapes including Viognier. Wonderfully aromatic with pear, peach and acacia flower aromas, it’s dry and fairly rich on the palate with more peachy-apricot fruit and a bit of salty spice. This lovely wine really lingers with a long, smooth finish.
The bad news is we only received six bottles of this luscious stuff. The good news is the bottles are huge! There are 10 glasses worth of wine in each bottle, making it a great choice for a beach weekend or an al fresco dinner party. As an aperitif, pair with fresh goat milk cheeses and classic Provençal snacks like anchöade or vegetables with aïoli. For a main course, pair with white fish, crab or shrimp dishes or simple grilled chicken drizzled with extra virgin Provençal olive oil like Jean-Marie Cornille or Nicholas Alziari. We also have magnums of Château de Pibarnon’s rosé and regular-sized bottles of their wonderful old-school red Bandol.
If you’re interested in a magnum-sized bottle of Château de Pibarnon’s lovely white, please give us a call at our South End location at (617) 350-6996 or send me an email and we’ll set one aside for you. Cheers!
Julie Cappellano is the General Manager and wine buyer at Formaggio Kitchen South End, Boston.
Posted in Wine, Beverages | Tagged Wine, Bandol, Château de Pibarnon, Bandol Blanc | Leave a Comment »
Last week, Ihsan shared with us a few memories from one of his early cheese sourcing trips – a 1993 trip to the Castelmagno region of Italy. In that post, he described one of his revelatory food experiences: Gnocchi al Castelmagno. Since that trip, he has been working on recreating the dish at home. Here is the current permutation of that recipe, one he says gets pretty close to that amazing, first taste! Continue Reading »
Posted in Cheese, Italy, Main Dishes, Recipes | Tagged Castelmagno, Cheese, food, gnocchi, gnocchi alla Castelmagno, Italy, Piedmont, recipe | Leave a Comment »
Santuario di San Magno in Castelmagno
One of the most memorable trips my wife, Valerie, and I have taken in pursuit of new cheeses was in 1993. We traveled to Castelmagno, home to the famous Italian cheese of the same name. Located on the very northwest fringes of Italy, Castelmagno is a small commune or municipality, consisting of several hamlets. We were invited to visit the region by our friend and mentor, Matteo Ascheri. The hamlet we visited had only one albergo (inn) and a total population of 56. Eleven of those inhabitants made Castelmagno.
Matteo, a Piedmontese food and wine authority, is a winemaker and knew everyone in town. On our first day, he organized a lunch for us with several local food producers, including a fellow who crafted hard candies and exotic elixirs. We all ended up having the most amazing lunch in the local albergo’s lunch room. For our first course, we were served lake trout cured in vinegar with mountain bread. The bread was made with flour from our friends at Mulino Marino and ice cold water from a nearby brook. In that one course, we enjoyed flavors and textures we had never experienced before – and it wasn’t even the highlight of the meal.
Ristoro del Pellegrino – the entrance to the albergo’s cave.
The trout and bread was followed by the dish of my dreams: Gnocchi al Castelmagno. Continue Reading »
Posted in Cheese, Italy | Tagged aging cheese, Castelmagno, Cheese, food, gnocchi, gnocchi alla Castelmagno, Matteo Ascheri, travel | 3 Comments »
Porto, or “port” as it is known in English, is made in the Douro Valley of northern Portugal. There are many grapes port-makers are allowed to use, but the most common are Tinta Roriz (aka Tempranillo), Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cão, Touriga Francesca and Touriga Nacional.
Port was a byproduct of the ongoing wars between France and England. Without wines from France, the English were forced to look elsewhere to satisfy demand. Portugal provided a good alternative, but the long boat trip from Portugal often resulted in spoiled wine. To combat spoilage, winemakers began adding high-alcohol aguardente to their wines to stop fermentation, leaving a more sturdy, higher alcohol wine with some residual sugar. These new fortified wines could make the trip no problem! Continue Reading »
Posted in Beverages, Food History, Pairings, Portugal, Producer Profile, Wine | Tagged Catherine Roseira, Douro Valley, Joao Roseira, port, Portugal, Quinta do Infantado, Wine | Leave a Comment »
Sherry (“Xerez” in Spanish) is made in the region of the same name on the southern tip of Spain near Gibraltar. There, Palomino grapes are grown on chalky soils called albariza. The grapes are fermented into dry wines, then fortified and placed into large, 500L oak barrels. Some of these barrels develop a thick layer of yeast called flor (literally “flower”).
Flor is naturally occurring, unpredictable, and can’t be induced or controlled once it occurs! When it does form, the wine ages underneath without oxidizing, resulting in what is known as a fino Sherry. If the flor forms, but then dies off or doesn’t develop, the wine, if deemed rich and robust enough, is fortified a bit more and then allowed to slowly oxidize and become an amontillado. If a flor does not form at all, the wine will be fortified further and will be aged in wooden barrels to become a richer and darker oloroso Sherry. In the case of amontillado and oloroso styles of Sherry, exposure to oxygen turns the wine a coppery color, and encourages the development of toasty, nutty aromas. Yum. Continue Reading »
Posted in Beverages, Food History, Food Science, Pairings, Spain, Wine | Tagged amontillado, El Maestro Sierra, fino, flor, Jose Antonio Sierra, oloroso, Pilar Pla Pechovierto, Sherry, Spain, Wine | Leave a Comment »
Here are some posts and articles related to food and drink worth a read from various sources on the web:
- The Truth on Olive Oil Health - a post from Tom Mueller about Dr. Mary Flynn and her work to “…start separating the wheat from the chaff in olive oil health, by building a canon of solid scientific information, and debugging a number of widespread olive oil misconceptions.”
- How to Eat a Porcupine - not only one of the best post titles but a beautifully written travelogue about the emotional progression of eating bushmeat in a foreign land. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food Writing, Good Reads | Tagged Beer, bushmeat, cacao, Cheese, cocoa, E. Dehillerin, food, olive oil, Wine | 2 Comments »
Growing up, my favorite waffles were, of course, Eggos. Flavorless, with a fun catch-phrase, they were the perfect vehicle for syrup and butter. It’s no wonder that I always preferred pancakes at renowned breakfast restaurants, like IHOP and Denny’s. In college, our cafeteria was equipped with a flip-waffle iron and a bowl of batter. You could make waffles at any time of day. But, after eyeing the thin batter and tasting the outcome, it was clear that these were merely pancakes posing as waffles.
Then, I moved to Massachusetts, where I learned a lot about food (Aunt Jemima’s isn’t real maple syrup!?). I worked at a creperie as a barista who didn’t drink coffee. The crepes were filled with strange, exotic ingredients I had never heard of, like arugula and Brie. I also learned that the owner actually specialized in a variety of waffle called “Liège waffles” (also sometimes known as Belgian waffles). I had no interest in trying one – I knew what waffles were all about. But an extremely enthusiastic coworker convinced me to give it a go. She took the deep-pocketed rectangle, toasted it, got out the whipped cream and strawberries and impatiently watched as I took my first bite. And then my taste-buds exploded (with flavor, not literally exploded). Sweet, dense, yeasted, chewy, filled with sweet crunchy pockets of sugar that also caramelized on the surface of the waffle – why ruin this with whipped cream and strawberries? Eggos were no competition – in fact, I wasn’t even sure if they were really waffles at this point – these were the best waffles I had ever had!
Continue Reading »
Posted in Bakery, Bakery Supplies, Belgium, Breads, Desserts, Recipes | Tagged Belgian Pearl Sugar, Belgian waffles, breakfast, dough, Liège waffles, sugar, waffles, yeast | 13 Comments »