THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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PRODUCT: Schuman Cheese Wizardry

Fontina Aging Room Yellow Door Creamery

Hand Rubbed Fontina Yellow Door Creamery

[1] Cheeses aging in the Alpine Room. [2] Fontina in a variety of flavorful rubs, $6.99/wedge (photos courtesy Schuman Cheese).

 

As food swami Anthony Bourdain has said, “you have to be a romantic to invest yourself, your money, and your time in cheese.”

Where do you go looking for real romantics these days? In Wisconsin. Turtle Lake Wisconsin.

Turtle Lake is home to the Schuman family’s largest cheese making facility, which has quietly been importing and manufacturing award-winning cheeses for the past ten years.

Never heard of them? It’s because they’ve primarily focused on supplying wholesale distributors with their superb products for a roster of demanding chefs, food service contractors, private-label markets, hotels, and restaurants around the world.

Now though, they have a new name and some new cheeses that will richly cater to your own discerning taste. Newly named Schuman Cheese (formerly Arthur Schuman, Inc.) has begun to send two of their most intensely researched, developed and tested cheeses to markets where they’re awaiting your shopping cart.

WHAT’S UP AT SCHUMAN CHEESE

Focusing on cheeses people love to cook with and snack on every day, Schuman has created two brand families: Yellow Door Creamery, and Cello for Italian varieties. These unique cheeses are made by hand to European specifications.

Separately, Schuman has formed an exclusive five-year relationship with France’s École nationale d’industrie laitière (ENIL), a series of five regional colleges that operate under the French Ministry of Agriculture and which defines the standards for cheesemaking artisans.

The partnership is devoted to immersing Schuman’s cheesemakers in the same European techniques that make us crave French and Italian cheeses.

Heading up this highly creative, passionate, and scientific effort is Christophe Megevand, who began his career in the French Alps. Having won numerous gold medals in cheese competitions for years, he oversees all of Schuman’s cheese production.

 

His passion for cheesemaking is with him 24/7, and every six months his hand-picked colleague Julien Rouillaud, who has taught at the ENIL for ten years, have led the Schuman company to an evolving educational partnership with a single mission: enhancing the everyday quality of cheese.

YELLOW DOOR CREAMERY

Yellow Door Creamery’s award-winning Fontina, semi-firm and velvety, has been taken in hand and given a new flavor profile.

Each perfect wheel gets a surface massage of distinctive, aromatic herbs directly from the hands of Schuman’s specially trained staff. They’re then cryovac-ed and aged for up to 50 days so that flavors ripen and fully develop.

These are the three you should look for to make your cheeseboards (and your guests) smile:

  • Harissa: just-right heat and the excitement of Moroccan cuisine.
  • Habanero-Lime: an unusual combination that works like a dream, with the tiny pepper’s hot zap…and
  • Tuscan: bursts of the Italian herbals we love, like thyme, oregano, and basil.
  •  
    Soon on the way to join its family is a melodious Bergamot & Hibiscus-rubbed Fontina. It is maturing in the aging room, waiting to reach the same degree of perfection as its relatives.

    All are perfect cheeses to accompany cocktails or wine, and are welcome in the refrigerator for snacks. The cheeses are delicious in popular recipes, from stuffed mushrooms and onion soup gratin to frittata and fondue.

    New Alpine-Style Cheeses

    Starting in May, Yellow Door Creamery’s three new Alpine-style cheeses, long in the making and perfecting, will be introduced to consumers. Christophe, who grew up in the French Alps, is particularly fond of these, even though they are the most difficult ones to make.

    The cheeses are “naked cured” (not brined or aged in plastic), so that they are completely moisture-free, and are cultured and aged completely differently from softer cheeses. They are consistently tested and fine-tuned to produce different flavor notes.

    The three coming to market indicate the specific mountainous regions from which they originate:

  • Valis (valley) typifies the lower Alps, with gentler grassy flavor and a more pliable texture similar to Raclette.
  • Monteau (mountain) is more like a Vermont cheese–a bit stronger and firmer, similar to Appenzeller, with more complex flavor…and
  • Alta (high mountain), with its intensely sweet, nutty flavor, similar to Gruyère.
  •  
    The Alpine selections are great cooking cheeses (think raclette and fondue), and are heaven for grilled cheese lovers. They can also easily be grated over cooked dishes just before serving. Dried fruits and nuts are able-bodied partners.

    Yellow Door Creamery’s Hand-Rubbed Fontina is available at Costco, Sprouts stores, Sam’s Club, and Kroger supermarkets. The Alpine cheeses will launch in stores this summer.

    –Rowann Gilman

     

    RECIPE #1: FIG JAM & HARISSA FONTINA CROSITNI

    Prep time is 5 minutes, cook time is 10 minutes.

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 baguette, sliced diagonally into ½-inch slices
  • ½ cup fig jam
  • 6 ounces Yellow Door Creamery Harissa Rubbed Fontina, cubed
  • ¼ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  •  
    Preparation
    1. PREHEAT the broiler to high. Brush the baguette slices with olive oil on both sides and arrange on a large baking sheet. Broil for 2-3 minutes, just until the baguette is golden-brown and toasty.

    2. REMOVE from the oven and immediately top with the cubed cheese. Set aside for a few minutes to allow the cheese to melt slightly.

    3. PLACE a dollop the jam over the cheese and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

    RECIPE #2: FONTINA-STUFFED MUSHROOMS WITH PICO DE GALLO

    Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 20 minutes.

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 pound crimini mushrooms, thoroughly cleaned
  • 6-8 ounces Yellow Door Creamery Habanero and Lime Rubbed Fontina, shredded
  • 1 poblano, thinly sliced
  • Garnish: micro cilantro
  •  
    For The Pico de Gallo

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 1 green onion, thinly diced
  • 1 tablespoon micro cilantro
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the pico de gallo: Toss the ingredients together and set aside.

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Remove the stems from the mushrooms; reserve the stems for another use. Lay the mushroom caps top side down on a baking sheet.

     

    Fig Jam Harissa Fontina Crostini

    Fontina Stuffed Mushrooms

    [3] Crostini with Harissa Rubbed Fontina and fig jam. [4] Mushrooms stuffed with poblano chile and Habanero And Lime Rubbed Fontina (photos and recipes courtesy Schuman Cheese).

     
    3. COMBINE the poblano and fontina and generously fill each mushroom with the mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the mushrooms are nicely browned and juicy and the fontina is all melted. Let cool slightly.

    4. TOP with micro cilantro and serve with pico de gallo.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Pretzel Bites For National Pretzel Day

    What do you bake on National Pretzel Day (April 26th)? Pretzel bites!

    These soft, chewy pretzel bites are a version of the jumbo soft pretzels sold by street vendors, and are easier (well, let’s say more elegant) to eat than pulling apart a six-inches-wide pretzel.

    Warm from the oven and served with a cold beer: There’s no better way to celebrate the day.

    The recipe that follows is from King Arthur Flour. If you want a gluten-free recipe, they’ve also created a recipe for gluten-free pretzel bites.

    There are more recipes below.
     
     
    RECIPE: SOFT PRETZELS

    Prep time is 20 to 30 minutes, resting time 30 minutes, baking time is 12 to 15 minutes.

    Ingredients For About 6 Dozen Pretzel bites

    For The Dough

  • 2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 7/8 to 1 cup warm water*
  • Vegetable spray
  •  
    For The Topping

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • Coarse, kosher or pretzel salt (see Salt Alternatives)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  •  
    Salt Alternatives

    Don’t want salt? You can leave it off, or substitute:

  • Crushed chile flakes
  • Cinnamon-sugar
  • Grated cheese
  • Pearl sugar
  •  
    Plus

  • Mustard, for dipping†
  • ________________

    *NOTE: Use the greater amount in the winter, the lesser amount in the summer, and somewhere in between in the spring and fall. Your goal is a soft dough.

    †DIPPING MUSTARD doesn’t have to be ballpark yellow, even if it’s your standard. Go gourmet with a great mustard from Maille. The company makes 50 different flavors, including seasonal limited editions. For spring, there’s a limited-edition honey mustard collection (photo #5). The mustards can be paired with meats, fresh vegetables, and cheese, mixed into vinaigrettes…and used to dip pretzels, of course!
    ________________

       

    Soft Pretzels Recipe

     Pretzel Bites Recipe

    Glass Of Lager

    [1] Pretzel bites, mustard and beer: a great way to celebrate (photos #1 and #2 courtesy King Arthur Flour, photo #3 courtesy Pizzeria Uno).

     
    Preparation

    You can make the dough by hand or with a bread machine.

    1a. MAKE dough by hand: Place all of the dough ingredients into a bowl, and beat until well-combined. Knead the dough, by hand or with a mixer for about 5 minutes, until it’s soft, smooth, and quite slack. Flour the dough, place it in a bag, and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.

    1b: MAKE dough with a bread machine: Place all of the dough ingredients into the pan of the bread machine, program the machine for dough or manual, and press Start. Allow the dough to proceed through its kneading cycle (no need to let it rise). Then cancel the machine, flour the dough, and give it a rest in a plastic bag for 30 minutes.

    While the dough is resting…

     

    Maille Honey Mustard

    Maille Honey Mustard

    Maille Old Style Mustard

    [4] and [5] Did someone say Mother’s Day gift? The limited edition honey mustard set from Maille. Mustard with Acacia Honey and Balsamic Vinegar, Mustard with Acacia Honey and Orange Blossom and Mustard with Acacia Honey and Walnut, are available individually or as a boxed set. [6] Are you old school? Use Maille’s Old Style grainy mustard.

     

    2. PREPARE the topping. Combine the boiling water and baking soda, stirring until the soda is totally (or almost totally) dissolved. Set the mixture aside to cool to lukewarm or room temperature.

    3. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it with vegetable oil spray, or lining it with parchment paper. If you’re not using King Arthur Flour, do both: grease the parchment with vegetable oil spray to make double-sure the bites won’t stick.

    4. TRANSFER the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into six equal pieces. Roll the six pieces of dough into 12″ to 15″ ropes. Cut each rope crosswise into about 12 pieces.

    5. POUR the cooled baking soda solution into a pan large enough to hold the bites. Place the bites into the solution, gently swish them around, and leave them there for a couple of minutes. Transfer them to a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, and top with pretzel salt or sea salt; or with pearl sugar or cinnamon sugar, for sweet pretzel bites.

    6. BAKE the bites for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove them from the oven and roll them in the melted butter. For cinnamon-sugar pretzels, toss with cinnamon-sugar once you’ve rolled the bites in the butter.

    7. PLACE on a rack to cool. In you’re not going to enjoy the bites the same day, store them, well-wrapped, at room temperature. Reheat briefly before serving.
     
     
    MORE PRETZEL RECIPES

  • Buttery Soft Pretzels: moist, with a brush of melted butter.
  • Classic Soft Pretzels
  • Everything Pretzels
  • Gluten Free Soft Pretzels
  • High Fiber Pretzel Rolls
  • Pigs In Pretzel Blankets
  • Rye Pretzels
  • Sourdough Soft Pretzels
  • White Whole Wheat Pretzels
  •  
     
    PRETZEL HISTORY

    The first pretzels were baked by monks to reward children for learning their prayers, way back in the year 610. The shape represents their arms folded in prayer.

    More pretzel history.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Sauvignon Blanc Styles & Pairings

    April 24th is National Sauvignon Blanc Day, a grape that grows easily around the world and makes wines that are popular wherever they are made.

    Sauvignon Blanc (SAW-vin-yawn BLON) is an AOC-classified* French wine that is planted around the world. Its origin is the eastern part of France’s Loire Valley, where it abuts Burgundy.

    In France, where wines are known by their region or city, the Loire produces two major appelations: Sancerre after the city in Sancerre on the left bank of the Loire River, and Pouilly-Fumé from the town of Pouilly-sur-Loire, on the opposite bank. Elsewhere in the world, wines are known by their grape varietal names (i.e., sauvignon blanc).

  • In France, the grape is also used to make White Bordeaux (Bordeaux blanc), commonly blended with Semillon and Muscadelle, and often barrel-fermented and aged.
  • A smaller amount of Sauvignon Blanc is grown in the southwest of France, in Languedoc-Roussillon.
  • There is one White Burgundy made from Sauvignon Blanc: St. Bris, and its about $12 (photo #5, courtesy Goisot).
  • The Loire Valley also grows a smaller amount of red wine grapes (about 25% of total production), used to make red Sancerre and rosé.
  •  
    THE DELIGHTS OF SAUVIGNON BLANC

    The Sauvignon Blanc grape produces refreshing, dry, white wines with one of two key flavor profiles: grapefruit/citrus or grassy/herbaceous, depending on the terroir†. Both are delicious.

    The wine is known for high acidity, light to medium body and medium alcohol. It is most often unoaked.

    It is also very affordable, with bottles available from around $10, many in the $12 to $15 range, and the finest of the breed (such as Sancerre’s Ladoucette Comte Lafond) in the $35 to $45 range.

    By comparison, Chablis is double the price, with Grüner Veltliner in the middle.

    If you like white wines such as Chablis and Grüner Veltliner, you’ll likely be a fan of Sauvignon Blanc.

    Its acid backbone complements everything from plateaux de fruits de mer (raw seafood platters) and grilled chicken and fish to buttery sauces and rich cheeses; although the AOC cheese of the Loire, chèvre (goat cheese), is its most popular pairing.

    We go deep into food pairings at the end of this article. First, it’s important to understand the styles of Sauvignon Blanc.

    ________________

    *AOC, an abbreviation of appellation d’origine contrôlée, is a legal designation that places rigid standards on how and where a French product can be produced. This ensures consistent quality and preserves its reputation.

    †Pronounced tuhr-WAH, terroir is the French expression for sense of place, the unique environment in which something grows—its specific soil composition and microclimate. Microclimate includes temperature, amount of sunshine and rain. The flavor nuances of agricultural products, from grapes to olives to milk to cacao, is a function of its terroir.
    ________________

    STYLES OF SAUVIGNON BLANC BY REGION

    We start off with the tip to have a tasting get-together. If your group shares in the work, you can assign everyone a Sauvignon Blanc from a different region, and a food that goes with it.

    The grape is relatively easy to grow, and thus is grown in more than 10 countries, from Canada to Italy to New Zealand to South Africa—even in Romania, Moldova.

    With so many different terroirs and national preferences, you can find Sauvignon Blanc in a wide range of styles and flavors.

    Sauvignon blanc delivers minerality and very high acidity. From there:

  • Cool regions like the Loire and New Zealand produce grassy and herbaceous flavors, with notes of lime, minerals and sometimes, honeydew melon.
  • Warm climates like California and South Africa produce fruity, citrussy wines.
  •  
    The best regions for Sauvignon Blanc beyond the Loire Valley are California and Chile—but don’t let that stop you from trying examples from everywhere.

    Many thanks to Wine Folly for making these invaluable distinctions:

    Australia’s Sauvignon Blanc Wines

    Australia overall is a hot climate region, but there are cooler climate areas within Australia (Adelaide Hills, South Australia) suitable for growing good Sauvignon Blanc.

    These terroirs generate flavors of kiwi, honeydew, and white peach with medium-high acidity and light body.

    Wines from Western Australia (including Margaret River) have both vegetal and fruity flavors. Nuances of bell pepper and chervil mingle with passionfruit and minerality. The wines have high acidity and light body. Some high-end producers use oak for creaminess and texture.

    Chile’s Sauvignon Blanc Wines

    Most exported Sauvignon Blancs come from Chile’s Central Valley. The terroir generates flavors of grass, lime juice, green banana and pineapple, and, unique to the area, a bit of salinity.

    France’s Sauvignon Blanc Wines

    France is the world’s largest grower of Sauvignon Blanc. In the cooler climate of the Loire Valley, the wines yield flavors of cut-grass, nettles, elderflower, blackcurrant leaf and gooseberries combine with flinty minerality.

    These are the classic flavors of Sauvignon Blanc. But you may prefer flavors from other regions.

    Further south in Bordeaux, the terroir generates flavors of lemon pith, grass and gravelly minerals with high acidity and a simple light body. The high-end wines are often aged in oak, and develop other fruit flavors (gooseberry, kiwi, lemon curd, lemongrass, honeyed grapefruit) with a subtle nutty-creamy texture from the oak.

    Italy’s Sauvignon Blanc Wines

    The majority of Sauvignon Blanc in Italy is produced in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, in the northeast bordering Austria. It is usually labeled as Sauvignon, as opposed to Sauvignon Blanc.

    The primary flavors are fruity: gooseberry, orange blossom, pear and white peach. The acidity is very high and the body is light. High acidity and light body characterize more stringent wines, making this our least favorite country for Sauvignon Blanc.

    New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc Wines

    New Zealand is a cool climate country and Sauvignon Blanc is the country’s most planted grape. It is grown in the northern part of the South Island, in the Marlborough region.

    It is here that the wine is made in the most assertive style anywhere. Dpending on ripeness levels it can be more vegetal (e.g. green pepper) or smack of tropical fruit (grapefruit, guava, mango, passionfruit).

    South Africa’s Sauvignon Blanc Wines

    The warm, warm climate of South Africa produces high-quality Sauvignon Blanc, mostly in the Western Cape region.

    Most are not aged in stainless steel, but there are several smaller, more distinct areas that are known for producing barrel-fermented and aged (i.e., oaked) wines. Look for wines from Elgin, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch for these powerful oaked wines.

    Most Sauvignon Blancs from the Western Cape have a light-medium body and acidity. Flavors include green herbs, green bell pepper and guava. High-end wines may show you jasmine, honeysuckle, Meyer lemon and nuttiness.

    Spain’s Sauvignon Blanc Wines

    The majority of Spanish Sauvignon Blanc comprises value-driven bulk winegrows in the south, in La Mancha. However, there are a few quality producers elsewhere.

    Look for wines from Castilla y Leon: medium-high acidity and medium-light body, with dusty minerality and flavors of bell pepper and honeydew melon.

       
    Sauvignon Blanc Vineyard

    Sauvignon Blanc Grapes

    Sauvignon Blanc Glasses

    Sauvignon Blanc La Doucette Comte Lafon Loire

    Sauvignon Blanc  St Bris Burgundy

    Massey Dacta Sauvignon Blanc

    Jean Marc Barthez Bordeau Blanc

    [1] A Sauvignon Blanc vinpeyard in California (photo courtesy Ghielmetti Vineyard). [2] Sauvignon Blanc grapes on the vine (photo courtesy Italian Recipes. [3] In the glass, crisp and refreshing (photo courtesy Betches). [4] Our favorite: Ladoucette Comte Lafon, from Sancerre in the Loire Valley. [5] The only Sauvignon Blanc-based white Burgundy, Saint Bris AOC. [6] Massey Ferguson is a manufacturer of agricultural equipment, including tractor used in vineyards. The slang word for the tractor in New Zealand is “dacta.” Yes, the vineyard is named after its tractor! It’s a favorite of our wine consultant, Mary Taylor, and it’s around $15. [7] Another Mary Taylor favorite: this Sauvignon Blanc-based Bordeaux Blanc from Jean Marc Barthez.

     
    Rueda produces high quality Sauvignon Blanc and Verdejo wines. The Verdejo grape produces wine with that tastes very similar to Sauvignon Blanc.

    The United States’ Sauvignon Blanc Wines

    Numerous wine-growing regions in the U.S. grown Sauvignon Blanc; but the best wines come from the North Coast region of California (Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma) and the Columbia Valley of Washington State.

    The California wines have medium acidity and body. In Napa, you’ll find flavors of grapefruit, honeydew and white peach. In Sonoma, the wines deliver light-medium body and medium-high acidity, with notes of green apple, honeydew and pineapple.

    Head north to Washington for light body, high-acidity wines with flavors of lime, grapefruit, and gravelly minerals.

    SAUVIGNON BLANC: A NOBLE GRAPE

    What makes a grape noble?

    The term is used to describe the grapes that are grown internationally, yet retain their fundamental characteristics regardless of growing region and the local terroir. The French term is cépage noble” (SAY-paj NOBL).

    There are six noble grapes (all grown in France), with an argument for a seventh. They are:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon (red)
  • Chardonnay (white)
  • Merlot (red)
  • Pinot noir (red)
  • Riesling (white)
  • Sauvignon Blanc (white)
  • Syrah (red—the seventh contender)
  •  

    Bowl Of Mussels

    Plateau de Mer

    Salmon With Sauvignon Blanc

    Goat Cheese With Sauvignon Blanc

    Sauvignon Blanc Sorbet

    [8] Serve Sauvignon Blanc with seafood, cooked or raw (photo of mussels courtesy Duplex On Third | Los Angeles). [9] Plateau de mer at The Smith | NYC. [10] Serve it with salmon or any fish (photo courtesy Preserved Cherries). [11] With any and all goat cheeses (photo courtesy Bella Sun Luci).

     

    THE HISTORY OF SAUVIGNON BLANC

    The vineyards of the Loire Valley date back to the Roman era, where the grapes that grew wild were first cultivated.

    Sauvignon Blanc is likely a mutation of that wild grape cultivated by the Romans. “Sauvignon” derives from the French word sauvage, wild; blanc is white.

    With the collapse of the Roman Empire until the 12th century, monasteries became the main keepers of viticulture and winemaking; sacramental wine (vinum theologium) was essential to celebrate the mass.

    Monks had the resources, education and time necessary to improve their viticultural skills. slowly over time. Throughout the Middle Ages, monasteries owned the best vineyards. Their wine was superior to others, and they also produced large quantities for sale, to support their orders [source].

    In the Loire Valley, Sauvignon Blanc vineyards (and other grapes still grown there today) were maintained and enhanced by Benedictine monks.

    Red wine lovers will be interested to know that the white Sauvignon Blanc grape is one of the parents of the red Cabernet Sauvignon grape. The other parent is the the red Cabernet Franc grape.
     
    SAUVIGNON BLANC FOOD PAIRINGS

    It is a truth universally acknowledged, that wines pair best with foods from their regions in which they are produced. That’s why winemakers bring out particular flavors, acidity levels, and so forth.

    In the Loire, this cuisine is noteworthy for its:

  • Fish: The ancient rivers have always provided fish, cooked simply: bream, eel, pike, perch (zander) and shad are common. In more modern times, beurre blanc, a butter sauce flavored with shallots and vinegar, has become a standard accompaniment.
  • Game: The Loire is full of duck, pheasant, pigeon, quail, rabbit, venison, and wild boar. Rich sauces made with the area’s wild mushrooms are classic.
  • Rillettes: A shredded, textured pâté served in a crock for spreading on bread. Pork is the principal meat, but duck and salmon rillettes are also classics.
  • Goat Cheeses: Crottin de Chavignol, young and spreadable or old and dry (this cheese was originally created for Sancerre: a perfect pairing); Pyramide de Valençay, a pyramid-shaped goat’s cheese also dusted with ashes; Sainte-Maure, a cylinder shape coated with ashes; Selles-sur-Cher, a tangy goat also dusted with ashes.
  •  
    What’s with all the ashes?

    Goat cheese is very fragile, and before modern packaging, plant-based ashes covered the cheeses to protect them on their way to market, over bumpy roads in horse-driven carts.

    There are more food pairings below, that address favorite foods beyond the Loire.

    For Dessert

    While you likely don’t want to have dessert with a dry wine, the region offers sweet, Chenin Blanc-based wines to end a Loire-focused feast. Look for:

  • Anjou-Coteaux de la Loire AOC, moelleux, doux orliquoreux‡
  • Bonnezeaux AOC, liquoreux
  • Coteaux de l’Aubance AOC, liquoreux and sélection de grains nobles (SGN)
  • Coteaux de Saumur AOC, moelleux to liquoreux
  • Coteaux du Layon AOC, liquoreux and sélection de grains nobles (SGN)
  • Quarts-de-Chaume AOC: Liquoreux
  • Vouvray moelleux, doux or liquoreux
  •  
    There are other sweet wines made in the Loire, but this is an excellent starter list. Two noteworthy desserts:

  • Sablés: The cookie, which originated in Normandy, has become very popular in the Loire. Sablé is a buttery, shortbread-like cookie that is often flavored with almonds, lemon or orange zest. The treat originally hails from the Normandy region but has also become quite popular throughout Loire. In the translation, “sand,” refers to the cookie’s crumbly texture. : plain, dipped in chocolate or sandwiched with jam.
  • Tarte Tatin: An apple tart with caramelized apples, this beloved dessert was an accident. It is now also made with different fruits ans aavory versions are also made. Here’s the history of Tarte Tatin.
  • ________________

    ‡Both moelleux (moy-YOO), doux, liquoreux (lih-coe-ROO) are general French terms for sweet wines. The translation of moelleux is sweet, soft, tender, smooth, mellow. A wine labeled doux in sweeter still. A liquoreux designation indicates the richest, most luscious sweet wines. Labels of sélection de grains nobles (selection of noble berries, abbreviated as SGN) indicates that the grapes were affected by noble rot (botrytis). These are the sweetest and richest wines, with the most concentrated flavors (and greatest cost).
    ________________
     
    MORE FOODS TO PAIR WITH SAUVIGNON BLANC

    Because Sauvignon Blanc is tart and tangy, it is the best wine to serve with salad, including Caesar salad topped with chicken or salmon. Its acidity complements the vinegar in a vinaigrette.

    Other classic food pairings are:

  • Asparagus, mushrooms.
  • Cheeses: In addition to fresh and aged goat cheeses, look for goat cheddar and nutty cheeses such as Gruyère and Alpine (a.k.a. Swiss mountain) cheeses. There are also cow’s milk cheeses made in the Loire. If you’re there, look for Cendré d’Olivet and Feuille de Dreux.
  • Citrus sauces (e.g. on chicken or fish).
  • Dairy: butter, crème fraîche, sour cream, yogurt.
  • Chicken and fish, especially roasted or grilled, and/or with beurre blanc.
  • Garlicky recipes.
  • Greek mezze (spreads), anything with yogurt and dill.
  • Herbed recipes, including those with basil, chives, cilantro, dill, fennel, mint, parsley and rosemary, tarragon, thyme.
  • Pork, pan-fried, grilled or roasted.
  • Veal, chops or scallops.
  • Smoked fish, including smoked salmon.
  • Spices: coriander, fennel, saffron, turmeric, white pepper.
  • Spicy foods and spicy international cuisines (Indian, Mexican, Vietnamese, e.g.).
  •  
    In addition to being drunk as is, Sauvignon Blanc is also popular in spritzers and white sangria.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Teriyaki, Beyond Japanese Food

    Teriyaki is a Japanese cooking technique in which foods are broiled or grilled with a glaze of mirin*, saké, soy sauce and sugar†.

    Proportions vary according to recipe: You can create a more sweet or more savory sauce, a thicker or a thinner sauce. Here‘s a basic teriyaki sauce recipe.

    The alcohol in the glaze gives a luster (teri) to the grilled (yaki) protein; the brown color comes from the caramelization of the sugar.

    Proper preparation of teriyaki involves repeated applications of the sauce during the latter stage of cooking, until the sauce thickens and acquires luster (the meat or fish can also be marinated in the teriyaki sauce up to 24 hours before cooking).

    While some Americans grilling the meat and then pour on the sauce, this does not produce the same results.

    The addition of garlic, ginger, sesame seeds and/or and chiles to teriyaki may be tasty, but is not traditional. The bottled teriyaki sauces that contain them are actually versions of the spicier Korean bulgogi sauce, which features garlic and hot chiles.

    Teriyaki dishes are served with steamed white rice, which is made flavorful with the excess sauce. The dish is often garnished with chopped scallions (green onion).

    While chicken teriyaki seems to be the most popular in the U.S., it isn’t even on menus in Japanese.

    Instead, the authentic teriyaki protein of choice is fish, such as mackerel, marlin, skipjack tuna, salmon, trout, yellowtail and sometimes, squid.

    ________________

    *Mirin and saké are types of rice wine. Both are fermented from rice, but mirin has a lower alcohol content and higher sugar content (as an analogy, thing of sweet and dry vermouths). If you have saké but no mirin, make a mirin substitute by adding a half teaspoon of sugar to the saké, and warm it slowly to dissolve the sugar.

    †Modern American substitutes include honey for the sugar and other alcohol for the saké (e.g. bourbon, vodka).
    ________________

    THE HISTORY OF TERIYAKI

    Most of the modern Japanese dishes familiar in the U.S. first appeared during Japan’s Edo period (1603 to 1867), an era characterized by stability and economic growth. That included exposure to new ingredients from abroad, which gave rise to new styles of cooking.

    Food historians believe that teriyaki was created in the 17th century, one of a number of new dishes using roasted or grilled fish and meat. The special sweet-and-savory glaze distinguished teriyaki from other grilled dishes.

    With the proliferation of Japanese restaurants in 1960s America (thanks to the 1965 Immigration & Nationality Act, which enabled many more Asians to emmigrate), teriyaki dishes became popular [source].

    To cater to American tastes, beef, chicken, lamb, pork, salmon and tofu with vegetables were offered instead of the traditional varieties of fish.

    More recently in the U.S., fusion cooking has engendered teriyaki burgers, meatballs and other variations; and teriyaki sauce is used as a dipping sauce and a marinade ingredient (more about this in a minute).

    In fact, the concept of a discrete teriyaki sauce (as opposed to a glazed fish dish cooked teriyaki [grilled] style) is believed to have originated in Hawaii, among Japanese immigrants. Local pineapple juice was incorporated, not just for flavor: It’s enzymes also help to tenderize the meat.

       
    Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

    Chicken Teriyaki

    Beef Teriyaki With Salad

    [1] Homemade teriyaki sauce (photo courtesy Olive This). [2] Classic chicken teriyaki with a not-so-classic side of sautéed bok choy. Here’s the recipe from Chowhound. [3] A fusion “steak and salad”: beef teriyaki bowl (photo courtesy Glaze Teriyaki).

     
    According to a history on Leaf TV, “there is apparently no official teriyaki sauce history, and the term refers rather to the aforementioned cooking method, and applies primarily to the preparation of fish, such as mackerel, salmon, trout and tuna.”

    TERIYAKI ON TREND

    Teriyaki was part of the first wave of Asian flavors to find a foothold here (source).

    Modern trends find teriyaki in all sorts of comfort food, from burgers and meatballs (try a meatball bánh mì sandwich) to grain bowls.

    Flavor And The Menu, a magazine that shares national restaurant trends for chefs and restaurateurs, notes dishes like these popping up nationwide:

  • Chicken Teriyaki Bowl: Grilled chicken with snow peas, onions, carrots, broccoli and rice; topped with teriyaki sauce (at RA Sushi, multiple locations). See the teriyaki bowl ideas below.
  • Fish Teriyaki Bowl combines wild mahi-mahi with tropical salsa, macadamia nuts, and lemongrass teriyaki sauce (at Tokyo Joe’s in Colorado).
  • Hawaiian-Style Meatballs with roasted pineapple, modernizing the teriyaki sauce by introducing coconut milk (from R&D chef Andrew Hunter).
  • Mexican Mash-Ups: tacos and burritos with teriyaki-seasoned fillings. Teriyaki Chicken Tacos, at Da Kine Island Grill in San Jose, combine chicken teriyaki, tomatoes, green onions and a fiery mango sauce.
  • Prime Teriyaki Tenderloin Bites with scallions and orange supremes (at Metropolitan Grill, Seattle).
  • Teriyaki Burgers, brushed with teriyaki sauce, served with teriyaki mayo (at Hotel Monaco | DC, photo #5).
  • Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich: grilled chicken breast, teriyaki, grilled pineapple, melted Swiss, lettuce, tomatoes and mayo (at Red Robin, multiple locations).
  • Teriyaki Lamb Pops with spicy apple-pepper jelly (at Share Kitchen & Bar, Williamsville, NY).
  • Teriyaki Meatball Hero: Teriyaki meatballs, Asian slaw and kimchi on a baguette with fresh basil or mint leaves, sliced jalapeño and scallions (at THE NIBBLE offices).
  • Teriyaki Peppercorn Shrimp with sun-dried pineapple (at Angelina Café, NYC).
  • Wings: Chicken Wings In Whiskey-Teriyaki Sauce (at The Comedy Zone in Greenville, NC), Wasabi Teriyaki Wings (at John & Peter’s Place, New Hope, PA), Maple-Bacon Teriyaki Wings (at Preston’s, Killington, VT), Sesame-Pineapple Teriyaki Wings (Dry Dock Bar & Grille, Norwalk, CT).
  • Other Meat Snacks: teriyaki-glazed meatballs, ribs, lamb riblets and skewers.
  •  

    Teriyaki Meatballs

    Teriyaki Burger

    [4] Teriyaki meatballs (here’s the recipe from Mom On Time Out). [5] Teriyaki meatball at Dirty Habit | Hotel Monaco | D.C.

     

    BUILD YOUR OWN TERIYAKI BOWL

    Mix and match:

  • Teriyaki-style fish or meat of choice
  • Grain of choice
  •  
    For The Salad

  • Salad of choice: mesclun, Asian cabbage slaw (recipe), other greens of choice
  • Bell pepper
  • Carrots (shredded if possible)
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Cucumber, sliced
  • Edamame, shelled
  • Onion, sliced
  • Peas: spring peas (shelled), snow peas, sugar snap peas
  •  
    Dressing

  • Ginger Dressing
  • Japanese Restaurant Salad Dressing (recipe below)
  • Mint cilantro vinaigrette
  • Miso salad dressing
  • Nobu’s sashimi salad dressing
  • Rice vinegar sesame oil vinaigrette.
  • Wasabi-passionfruit dressing
  • Yuzu dressing
  •  
    Garnish

  • Chopped scallions
  • Sesame seeds (ideally toasted)
  •  

    Love that textured, orange salad dressing at Japanese restaurants?

    It’s easy to make at home:

    Ingredients

  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 two-inch piece fresh ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE all ingredients except the oil in a blender. Process until liquified.

    2. ADD the peanut oil and pulse a few times to combine.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: 10 Things To Change On Earth Day (Pick 1)

    April 22nd is Earth Day an opportunity to make small changes to our eating habits to contribute to a healthier planet.

    The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970 (here’s the history). It led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.

    Forty-seven years later, the need to save the planet is even greater. You’ve heard all this before; but if you make even one of the following changes, you’re helping the cause.

    Here are 10 little changes you can make. Pick [at least] one!

    LOOK CLOSELY AT WHAT YOU EAT

    1. Add more plant-based protein into your diet.

    Industrial farmed meat has a higher impact on the environment than any other food group. For a healthier and more environmentally friendly protein, try beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds instead.

    Meatless Monday only goes so far: If you consume cheese or other dairy products, they still come from animals that require deforestation and excrete methane, a greenhouse gas.

    Action Steps:

  • Smaller portions of meat, larger portions of vegetables and grains.
  • Aim for two veggies at lunch and dinner (a salad counts as one).
  •  
    2. Go locavore.

    You don’t have to have a diet of 100% local food; in fact, if you drink coffee or tea or eat bananas, it’s pretty impossible.

    But seek out local foods when you can, or at least those grown and made in the U.S.A. (photo #2). It’s the best way to lower your carbon footprint.

    Bonus: Locally-grown crops are typically fresher and often taste better compared to foods that are shipped across the globe.

    Here’s more about locavorism.
     
    3. Eat seasonally.

    This is a corollary to eating locavore. Foods that travel across oceans are often those from the southern hemisphere that are out of season in the northern hemisphere.

     
    4. Eat more raw foods.

    You don’t need to embrace raw foodism; simply enjoy more raw fruits and vegetables.

       

    Nutritious Dinner

    Fresh Green Asparagus

    Apple Pie

    [1] Less meat, more veggies: better for you, better for the environment (photo Tara Donne | Food Network). [2] Americans demand asparagus year-round; but except for spring’s domestic asparagus, it’s shipped in from Chile (photo courtesy Baldor Food). [3] Apple pie: tempting, but… Fresh apple: better for you, better for the environment (photo courtesy U.S. Apple Association).

     
    The environment benefits by the savings on energy to cook the food, as well as the packaging of, chips and cookies. You benefit from all the hydration and nutrients in the raw fruits and veggies.

    The next time you’re thinking about packaged snacks instead of crudités, or apple pie instead of an apple, make the raw choice and tell yourself: “I’m saving the planet.”

    Bonus: fewer calories.

    5. Cook once, eat twice.

    Make double batches when you cook, so you’ll have leftovers for another meal. Even though you might need to reheat the food, even freeze it, the net energy saved is tremendous.
     
     
    REDUCE THE DISPOSABLE PACKAGING ON THE FOODS YOU BUY

    6. BYO Bags & Containers To The Store.

    We always have two fold-up nylon shopping bags at the bottom of our backpack or purse. They come in endless colors and patterns, and you don’t have to take bags from the store (photo #4).

    If you want large-haul reusable bags, we like these collapsible boxes (photo #5).

     

    Reusable Produce Bags

    Collapsible Grocery Bag - Box

    [4] Embrace reusable produce bags (photo courtesy Bekith) and [5] grocery bags and boxes.

     

    7. Avoid excessive packaging.

    Look for foods with the least amount of packaging. While cardboard boxes can be recycled, certain types of plastic cannot be—including the plastic produce bags.

    You don’t really need them: The cashier will weigh your fruit or vegetables without a bag.

    But if you prefer the convenience, get a set of these reusable produce bags, which go from shopping cart to refrigerator.

    Yes, this might keep your food fresh and protected, however the excess packaging only ends up in landfills and adds more pollution to our land. Try buying produce that is not in a package.

    8. Carry water in a reusable bottle.

    Bottled water doesn’t necessarily mean its cleaner or better for you than tap water. Look for a filter system to install in your kitchen sink or even a water pitcher filter will work well.

    The fewer disposable plastic bottles we use, the cleaner our planet will be. There are so many attractive, efficient, reusable water balls on the market. Just pick one and use it!

    If you buy bottled water because you don’t like the taste of your tap water, consider a faucet-based, countertop or under-sink filtration system.

    If you do need to buy a bottle of water, bring home the empty and refill it. Give it a life beyond Day 1. See the infographic below and the bottled water crisis.

     
    9. Get a Sodastream.

    If you drink a lot of carbonated beverage, you’ll save on empty bottles and lugging both, with a Sodastream carbonater. The flavors are delicious and the carbonation units are recycled.

    10. Reuse plastic containers.

    We do purchase fresh prepared foods packed in plastic containers, but we reuse those containers for everything from leftovers to storage.

    Make Every Day Earth Day!
     
    Bottled Water Chart

      

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