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Archive for June 24, 2012

TIP OF THE DAY: Switch Wines For Summer

Enjoy affordable, sparkling Prosecco all
summer long. Photo by Marcelo Terraza |
SXC.

 

In the hot weather months, we eat lighter foods and drink lighter styles of beer.

How about wine?

In addition to pairing well with lighter foods, consider three summer-appropriate wines—Albarino, Malbec and Prosecco—that are also lighter on the wallet ($10 to $15 a bottle). And, they’re vinified to be drunk as soon as you buy them—no aging required.

VERO restaurant and wine bar in New York City is highlighting three wines on its summer menu: red Malbec, white Albariño and sparkling Prosecco.

They work with lighter summer foods, as well as with bold-flavored favorites—such as beef and spicy dishes—that we enjoy year-round, and which require wines that are equally intense and full-flavored.

So instead of sticking with the tried and true, embrace the joy of wine and discover new favorites.

WHAT TO TRY

Argentinean Malbec instead of Cabernet
Sauvignon

Both red wines are robust in body and flavor, with firm tannins that pair beautifully with grilled meats. But Malbec is vinified to be drink younger than Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

Malbec has been called “the more rustic cousin of Merlot” by wine expert Jancis Robinson. The primary red grape of Argentina, Malbec is deep purple in color and lush with ripe, juicy berry and plums flavors. Some yield herbal, licorice/anise and violet notes. VERO is serving the 2010 Callia Alta Malbec (black cherry and plum flavors with hints of oak and spice, around $10 in stores) with a seared New York strip of beef and fries, finished with a smoked chili aïoli.

Spanish Albariño instead of Sauvignon Blanc

The grapefruit notes of both of these white wines compliment appetizers, grilled fish, shellfish, poultry and vegetarian dishes, as well as spicy seafood-based foods such as jambalaya (recipe).

Albariño is the primary white grape grown in the Rias Baixes wine region, in the northeast corner of Spain (the part that sits on top of Portugal). The wines are highly aromatic with excellent acidity, an attribute that makes them very food-friendly. The palate yields apple, citrus and/or pear notes.

VERO is serving the 2010 Morgadio Albariño (kiwi and mineral flavors, around $15 in stores) with pan seared mahi mahi over creamy polenta, with roasted tomatoes, baby fennel and sundried tomato vinaigrette.

Prosecco instead of Champagne

The effervescence of both sparklers is charming. But whereas Champagne’s sophisticated profile is heavy on yeast and breadiness/toastiness, Prosecco is light and fruity on the palate, with a nose of almonds, apples, and pears. Because it is meant to be drunk young, it is typically non-vintage. Serve it with charcuterie, salads, fish and seafood and spicy Asian foods. It is a very food-friendly wine.

VERO is serving the Ricardo Pasqua Prosecco (an extra-dry spumante with a nose of sweet almonds, about $11 in stores) with a rock shrimp tempura and yuzu chili aïoli.

So hit the wine store and start trying different bottles to find your favorite producers. Remember that you can search for reviews online to match up the specific wine producer’s profile with your tastes.

*Champagne is unique among wine regions. The bottlings are usually a mixture of wines from different vintages (called non-vintage or NV). Vintage Champagne is a blend of wines from that one particular year indicated on the label, when the quality of the harvest, measured by the sweetness of the grapes, meets the requirements to declare a “vintage.” True vintage years may happen three or four times a decade, or fewer; vintage Champagnes need to be laid down for a longer period of time to mature. Because vintage Champagne commands a significantly higher price, some Champagne houses “declare” a vintage in a year when others do not feel the quality of the harvest merits it. This doesn’t imply that nonvintage Champagnes are inferior; in fact, in non-vintage years, wines are blended together to create the house’s “perfect” recipe.

  

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PRODUCT: Chocolate Pudding, Lactose Free & Cholesterol Free

People who are diagnosed with a food allergy have to give up some favorite foods or turn to less-than-tasty substitutes. But enough Americans are diagnosed with allergies that businesses are rising to the occasion to make good-tasting alternatives.

Often, allergen-free products are made because a family member develops the condition. In one of the more ironic situations, the Coffins, a Montana farm family that has been dairying for generations, had to remove all dairy products from the diets of mom and the kids.

After trying the less-than-satisfactory alternatives the family began to create their own substitutes, tasty enough that everyone—including the non-allergic—could enjoy. The WayFare line of puddings, cheese spreads (regular, Mexican and smoked, our favorite) and sour cream was the happy result. Ice cream is currently under development.

The “secret” ingredient in the line is certified gluten-free, whole grain oatmeal. In the course of using oatmeal to replace the body of milk, the products also became cholesterol free and vegan.

The line is 100% dairy-free, soy free, cholesterol free, trans-fats free and non-GMO. The products are certified kosher by Star-K.

 

WayFare lactose-free puddings. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

 

So how do they taste?

The butterscotch and chocolate fare well; the vanilla, to us, doesn’t have significant vanilla flavor and works better as a hard sauce or creamy topping.

There’s a store locator on WayFareFoods.com, and information for retailers who want to amp up their lactose free foods.

FOOD ALLERGY FACTS

There’s an economic opportunity in products that address food allergies. Anheuser-Busch makes a gluten-free beer, the Girl Scouts sell three varieties of milk-free (lactose-free) cookies and General Mills reformulated Rice Chex earlier this year to be gluten-free. Kellogg’s makes its Pop-Tarts in nut-free factories. If vodka is your drink of choice, look for products distilled from non-grains, such as grapes and potatoes.

An estimated 12 million people in the U.S. have food allergies; 2 million more have celiac disease, a potentially deadly form of gluten allergy.

Medical experts don’t know why the number of people with food allergies is increasing. Theories include reduced contact with germs, exposure to certain environmental pollutants and, in the case of peanut allergies, the way peanuts are processed and at what point they are introduced into a person’s diet. Much research is needed; there is very little of it, even though allergic reaction to food causes about 30,000 emergency room visits and 150 to 200 fatalities each year.

Statistics from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) reveal that in the U.S.:

  • Some 8% of children have a food allergy: an estimated 5.9 million children, of whom 38.7% have a history of severe reactions. Peanut is the most prevalent allergen, followed by milk and then shellfish.
  • The prevalence of food allergy among children under the age of 18 increased 18% percent from 1997 to 2007 (peanut allergy doubled from 1997-2002).
  • Some 3% to 4% of adults have one or more food allergies. Six and a half million Americans (2.3% of the general population) are allergic to seafood; more than 3 million people are allergic to peanuts, tree nuts or both.
  • Food allergies account for 35% to 50% of all cases of anaphylaxis. Mayo Clinic studies estimate that the number of cases more than doubled, from 21,000 in 1999 to 51,000 in 2008. Fatal food anaphylaxis is most often caused by peanuts (50%-62%) and tree nuts (15%-30%).
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    So read the labels, and look for more good food coming from allergen-free manufacturers.

      

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