Curious Appetite

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Food and Wine Pairing- Chocolate + Marsala!

I just discovered something a little amazing: dark chocolate and dry Marsala:

 

I’m just about certified in Food & Wine pairing and one of the 1st things I ever learned was: Red Wine and Chocolate is not a good pair. GASP! I’m sorry ladies, it’s true. There is too much bitter clash and the sugar in the chocolate confuses the tannins in the wine. My instructor said it best: It’s like sex on the beach: in theory it sounds like a GREAT idea- but then you got the sand and the rocks…the reality is that it’s pretty uncomfortable.”  I mean, there are ways to pair red wine and chocolate if you really want to. Like with a bitter chocolate with low sugar content and a careful selection of red wine that has some bitterness and tannin to match. But the general rule of thumb is that chocolate pairs best with a fortified dessert wine like port or….MARSALA…

When I was just recently living in the states, the only marsala wine you found was for cooking. And unlike most wine, you don’t drink it as you cook with it. I don’t know, maybe its because how some wine is not imported well that I never believed in a marsala. So recently a friend came and made some veal marsala and left the bottle behind. I asked, what the hell am I going to do with all the leftover wine? I’m not making a tiramisu’ anytime soon. They said: drink it! 

I never would have thought of that, you know.

So I poured some in my snifter, swirled it about and went through the usual motions of analysis….butterscotch, toffee, caramel, vanilla and coconut…and then gulp! Heaven! The nose proved accurate on the palate. Pretty damn tasty.

Together with dark chocolate…the cacao echos…like a nutty hazelnut caramel toasted fairtrade chocolate s’more…

I don’t know if you can get this kinda stuff in the states- but try! The states is always improving the channels of fine imports.

Notes on the Marsala that was left so graciously behind:

Producer: Florio 1833, VECCHIOFLORIO Marsala Superiore Secco (DOC) ’08, aged for 30 months in oak (hence all the toasty toffee notes)

buon dessert! 🙂

{The Book Larder: A literary oasis for "foodies"}

Have you ever been at a massive bookstore and shot straight to the food section, wishing it were bigger and included musings from your local writers? Have you ever dreamed of a bookstore, whose collection was focused on all things food, had a large inviting kitchen for food demos and cooking classes, made fresh-baked cookies waiting just for you on snow days, hosted book signings with the author who might even create one of their recipes on site in said-kitchen?  Well, if you haven’t heard of the Book Larder, you may want to reconsider your ignorance.

This Larder sits next to Dot’s Deli, which is also a new Fremont gem serving up sandys, in-house charcuterie, steak tartare and pates. The Book Larder is in quite the perfect location within this little wedge of foodie haven. Across the street is Caffe’ Vita, Via Tribunali Pizzeria, a few beats past there is Pecado Bueno (home of the $3 margarita) and Uneeda Burger. I love this little nook of Fremont. With the Fremont Abby also within couple steps to furnish your art and culture appetite, you really don’t need to bother tumbling down the hill to the main strip. All this area would need is a grocery store….oh wait, there IS.

Anywho, one of the snow laden days that Seattle shutdown, I received a FB update from the Larder offering up hot cookies and tea for any who dared to make the trek. Oh, you bet I did.

And bet your pants that I went sledding later on for, you know, “exercise”.  These gems were warm gooey buttery crunchy around the edges dark chocolate hazelnut cookies. And it came from a British baking book. Of course it did. Those Brits know a couple things (emphasis on “couple” ;), and those are jacket potatoes and cookies. Our American oatmeal raisin (I’m sorry but raisin in cookies are just gross) and even some versions of the chocolate chip are pathetic in comparison. Americans rarely invite the hazelnut, sorry I mean filberts, to the baking goodies party. Peanuts, maybe. And the Brits also are not afraid of…BUTTER.

During this peruse, I discovered rad rare finds like The Anthropologist’s Cookbook (which you bet it included beetle stews). They have every reference book you can think of, as long as you’re interested say in making your own sausages, DIY butchering and pickling, WINE guides, and even books on IRAQI cuisine! So far, my picks have been Plate to Pixel (a great read and how-to for snapping Food Porn) and The Wine Lover’s Companion (a wicked useful handy dictionary for all A to Z wine talk!).

Here’s a link to their calendar

http://www.booklarder.com/events/2012/01

I hope you get a chance to pop in! But only after you enjoy a treat from Dot’s Deli. I’ve heard their Ruben is to cry for. 🙂