The Times has a story about a handful of “all-natural” gelato shops in Rome that are bucking convention and trying to boost year-round sales. Their strategy? Make savory flavors (such as anchovy, smoked salmon, pepperoni or gorgonzola) and even do wine or beer pairings, particularly to drive sales and interest in the frozen treat during winter months.
The story mentions Claudio Torcè of Il Gelato who estimates only 30 shops in Rome–out of 2,500–use “all-natural” ingredients. The author speaks with Andrea Puddinù, one of Torcè’s students who runs Il Gelato Bistrò. He pairs savory flavors of gelato with Champagne or prosecco as an “alternative to the classic aperitivo.” Marco Radicioni of Otaleg pairs craft beers with them, such as Moinette Belgian blonde with artichoke gelato.
So just in case you thought savory gelato was…impossible…to pair with wine, there are a few brave souls braving the cold to do it. Have you ever attempted the pairing? Would you, could you in a boat, with a goat?
We just finished up another session of my wine class at NYU this week. As part of an assignment, one student decided to present an “impossible” food to pair with wine to a wine shop. She made some homemade peanut brittle, went to Chambers Street Wines, presented the challenge to the staff there who–lo and behold–had never been hit with this precise challenge before. But they rose to it! A few ideas came up but the student had budgetary and practical considerations (had to be cold right then and there if it needed to be). So the suggestion was…a Felsina Vin Santo with 14 years of age on it! Although it wouldn’t occur to me to even pair peanut brittle with wine, the nuttiness of the mature wine and it’s richness worked well. And the brittle was darned good.
So, if some peanut brittle is in your near future, how would you pair it with wine if you had to? Or is it…impossible??
One of the popular features on this site is the challenge of the “impossible food-wine pairing.” But while we often focus on the virtues of sparkling wine with zany foods, there’s one that a classic 80s commercial told us about: Riunite!
Today, a blast from wine advertising’s past. While the refrain of “Riunite, on ice” is well-known, don’t forget the other compelling text: “Riunite and burgers so nice. Riunite and tacos so nice….goes great with all your favorite foods.” Problem. Solved.
Anchovies are polarizing: a recent poll found them to be among the three foods the are most disliked by Brits (along with oysters and liver). But then there are people like Jeremy Seysses of Domaine Dujac who recently tweeted a photo with this caption: “Christmas came early: just received over 2kg of my very favorite Sicilian anchovies. Umami for dayyyssss.” He later elaborated that he likes them on caesar salad, salsa verde, pasta, and everything, including eating “anchovies and avocados for breakfast.”
It’s not as if Jeremy needs any wine advice, but maybe there are other anchovy lovers out there who do. Which wine would you pair with them? Or are they…impossible?!? (Maybe you just eat them for breakfast, sans wine.)
In a talk, the renowned innovator and leading protagonist of molecular gastronomy laid out what’s happening at the new El Bulli Foundation, the successor to the famed restaurant. The sprawling project includes a museum at the site of the El Bulli restaurant outside of Barcelona, a center in the city (“El Bulli DNA”) which will host 20 chefs as interns, and an online knowledge base known as “El Bullipedia.” It’s set to open March 15, 2015.
For one fleeting month of the year, the center in Barcelona will provide dining experiences (they will not take reservations). Half the seats will be to students and others as a form of social work. The other half will be allocated to members, with membership capped at about 200. “The first who have the chance to become members will be those who have helped us through the auctions in New York and Hong Kong,” Adria told the group in the large hall on the seventh floor at Sotheby’s. Members will also be able to spend a day with the creative team.
Along with Adria were two sommeliers from the restaurant who continue to work with the foundation. I asked them about the challenge of pairing wine with such unusual dishes. David Seijas said it was a “nightmare” pairing wines with the food since, among other factors, diners were presented with 50 (!) courses in a meal during the last year of the restaurant. Aside from the sheer number of dishes, he said a challenge was to follow the unconventional ordering which could zigzag from vegetables to seafood to game and back again with diners never knowing when a sweet course was coming or even if it would be the end. “There is no order,” he said, “there is only Ferran’s order! He loves surprises.” Read more…
The world of processed meats has been on a wild ride lately: the starting bell rang in mid-January when burgers in the UK labeled as beef were found to contain horse meat. This prompted more inspections and the labeling scandal went from a trot to a gallop when Irish processors were found to have 80% horse meat and some UK grocery store meals contained 100% horse meat.
But the scandal got fresh legs yesterday when Czech inspectors found traces of horse meat in IKEA meatballs, the furniture store’s signature food item. To riff off a tweet from Daniel Gross, if you have some meatballs before starting to shop at IKEA, are you putting the horse before the cart?
While some may find this hard to swallow, eating horse meat (or not) follows cultural norms. In France and parts of Asia, eating horsemeat is not taboo and the recent scandals have stimulated an appetite for it in Quebec. So what say you: which wine to pair with IKEA meatballs? A little Cheval Blanc? Or is it…impossible?!?
Dwight Garner, the astute book reviewer for the NYT (be sure to check out his hilarious review of The 4-hour Body from last year), ventures into the food section this week with what he calls a “thrifty and unacknowledged American classic”: the peanut butter and pickle sandwich. Or PB&P, if you will. He delights in the “vinegary snap of chilled pickle cuts, like a dash of irony, against the stoic unctuousness of peanut butter.”
I can’t say that I’m swayed by this description and remain skeptical of the appeals. Nonetheless, given that the NYT spotlight is now focusing on this, the question everybody’s going to be asking–sort of the Rule 34 for bizarre foods–is which wine goes with PB&P, or is it impossible?!?
Hit the comments with your thoughts! Thanks, @trouty for the suggestion!