Category: Food & Wine Pairings

The Best Pizza Wine

The weekend Wall Street Journal had a great article by the brilliant Lettie Teague – she always has something new and interesting to say about wines, always brings in experts in the field, and never seems pretentious about drinking wine.

Red Wines of the Veneto: A Vapolicella Tasting

You might be ignoring Valpolicella wines - most folks see them as light, fruity red wines with little character or finesse, a wine that you might find in checkered table cloth, red sauce only Italian restaurants.  We wanted you to re-think Valpolicella, so the Serious Foodie decided to dispel some of these myths and misconceptions with a wine tasting event featuring reds from the Veneto. It's a pity that Valpolicella lost favor with the US market, mainly because of heavy advertising pressure from mass-produced versions (many of which are still light, fruity, and insipid).  Like other Italian wines, there has been winemaking renaissance in the region for Valpolicella, spurred by producers of the outstanding artisan Amarone wines such as Allegrini.  The Valpolicella wines are produced solely in the Veneto region, just west of Verona, in an area between foothills of the Alps and Lake Garda. The primary grapes used are Corvina (40-70%), Rondinella (20-40%) and Molinara (5-20%), but the vintner can also add up to 15% complementary varieties, which include Rossignola, Negrara, Trentina, Barbera, Sangiovese, and the recently revived Oseleta grape (almost solely due to efforts at Allegrini).  What makes these wines so interesting is the variety of flavors and [...]

Wine & Chocolate Pairings: Discover New Ways to Wow Your Valentine

It's a great time to plan for a great Valentine's Day experience.  And we're here to help to plan around two universal elixirs of love:  Wine & Chocolate. Wine & chocolate seems strange to some, but the right wine with the right chocolate is a beautiful thing - magical, in fact.  There is so much exploration to do, since there are so many interesting taste combinations to discover – nuts, fruits, types of chocolates – it really is an endless experiment.  We’ll give you some pairing tips to keep in mind, then some fun wines to discover. Tips for Successfully Pairings Wines with Chocolate Here are a few simple rules – not hard and fast, but more like guidelines: 1.  Chocolate is very complex – just like wine.  For pure chocolate, you’ll find some subtle flavors which are inherent to the region, the cocoa content, and the fat content.  It is best to do some experimenting to find the best wine and chocolate combinations for you. Try to detect some underlying flavors of the chocolate, then the wine separately.  Play with the matches.  If you have several types of chocolates, always work from light to dark. Start with a more [...]

Gavi – a Great Spring & Summer White Wine

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text] White wines from Italy are very often over-looked by the wine geeks, mostly because of the mass-produced, insipid versions of Pinot Grigio that appears on most low-end Italian restaurants.  HOWEVER…what we found over the years is that Italy produces wonderful white wines, if you are willing to experiment a bit – with many quality wines under $20 per bottle. We saw a great article by one of favorite wine writers, Lettie Teague, in the 4/11/15 issue of the Wall Street Journal.  Ms. Teague talks about her early love affair with Gavi – a popular wine from the Piedmont region.  In her words, “Gavi offered a more stylish alternative to other Italian whites such as Frascati and Orvieto, was almost as popular as Pinot Grigio (in the ’90’s) and it was just as easy to say (“Gah-vee”). But perhaps more important, it was the favorite wine of my boyfriend back then. (Love stories of wine often begin with love stories of a different kind.)” We have always loved Gavi, since our first trip to Italy in the ’80’s.  Gavi is a DOCG wine made from Cortese, which is found predominately in the province of Alessandria near the Ligurian boarder.  […]

Spelletich Family Wine Company – A Review & Wine Pairing

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Spelletich Family Wine Company is a relatively small family owned Napa winery, started about 20 years ago. While not well known outside of the region, it has a loyal following (check out their Yelp and TripAdvisor reviews). The husband wife team (Barbara and Timothy Spelletich) and their daughter Kristen are responsible for all aspects of the winemaking, marketing, sales and direction of the winery; Barbara has been the winemaker since their founding in 1994. They produce Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and a blend called Bodog Red (which combines Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah). Their premium brand is the Spelletich Reserve collection, while their Spell Wine brand and 3 Spells brand are all under $25. Their fruit comes from Napa County as well as several other wine producing counties within California; winemaker Barbara focuses on a “natural” style that emphasizes the characteristics of the native fruit. The Serious Foodie team was able to visit the Spelletich winery recently, and we were impressed with their artisan and family-oriented approach to their business. Their tasting room felt more like walking into a friend’s family room, were a glass of wine and a friendly smile is always waiting for you. Here we report […]

Five Sexy Meals Ideas

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text] There is nothing sexier than making a great meal for your sweetheart.  Why battle the hungry hoards on Valentine’s Day, and putting up with dumbed-down menus to accommodate the folks who venture out only on Valentine’s Day.  Besides, this is THE DAY for the Serious Foodie to impress with a hand-crafted meal for the significant other(s) in our life, with matching wines, candle light, flowers, and other romantic touches.  Before you dive into the recipe details, you should also take a look at the Serious Foodie 10 Steps for Sexy Meals (click HERE to see the article now).   While doing our research, we came a across some fun websites that talk about sexy meals: Bon Appetit poles 11 celebrity chefs on their sexiest meals ever (click HERE). There’s a website call Seduction Meals – the title says it all   (click HERE). Food & Wine gives a very broad selection of menus (click HERE). We really liked the meals selected by Delish for Valentine’s Day (click HERE). What about the vegetarian in your life?  Take a look at this great Buzzfeed article (click HERE). Here’s five of the Serious Foodie favorite suggestions on what to serve that special […]

The Serious Foodie 10 Steps for Sexy Meals

We have a saying at the Serious Foodie – there is nothing sexier than good food and good wine.  This is especially true for Valentine’s Day, which is our second least-favorite day to dine out (next to New Year’s Eve).  Why?  The good to great restaurants are packed, the kitchens are stressed, the prices are higher, and many places will dumbed-down the menus to accommodate the folks who venture out only on Valentine’s Day.  Besides, this is THE DAY for the Serious Foodie to impress with a hand-crafted meal for the significant other(s) in our life, with matching wines, candle light, flowers, and other romantic touches. Besides recipes and ingredients, you should also consider certain DO’s and DON’Ts.  Here is our Serious Foodie 10 steps for sexy meals which will help you to impress your date, get another date, and who knows what else? [/vc_column_text][vc_separator color=”black”][vc_column_text] 10 Steps for Sexy Meals [/vc_column_text][vc_column_text] Not all great food is date food! Make sure you find out likes/dislikes before you start getting your ingredients together (“Didn’t you know that I’m allergic to shellfish??!!!) Don’t just buy the most expensive ingredients, especially if you haven’t had experience with them.  For instance, do you really […]

Risotto 101

Risotto is often described as a tricky, fussy – and a bit scary.  Since nothing impresses as a well-executed risotto, The Serious Foodie has put together a risotto primer to  debunk any of your risotto fears. The aim of this article is to understand the different kinds of rice for risotto, the importance of good stock, and the basic techniques such as when to make additions. Risotto does take some attention, but the cooking method presented here  is quite forgiving, and adaptable to many other grains. Here we provide the basic risotto techniques using the classic risotto Milanese.  Our series of articles will then show the versatility of the technique, with recipes using vegetables (sauteed leeks and mushrooms, for example), seafood, and meat.  You can build on these recipes and techniques by adding almost anything, or can be served simply with some chopped fresh herbs stirred in at the last moment. We’ll then move onto showing how other types of grains can be made in the style of risotto – farro, quinoa, and whole wheat pasta. Let’s start with the basics…. [vc_separator color=”black”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1421011169883{background-color: rgba(0,0,0,0.16) !important;*background-color: rgb(0,0,0) !important;}”] What You’ll Need [/vc_column_text][vc_column_text] There are four basic components to any risotto […]

A New Take on Chicken with Lemon, Olives, and Capers

We have made versions of this recipe for quite a few years, and it is close to a classic recipe.  When we came across a bottle of preserved Meyer lemon (Lulu Gourmet, found at Sur La Table), we thought we’d take a shot at updating this classic recipe.  This recipe would probably work with regular preserved lemons, but the Meyer lemons definitely took this dish up a notch. Ingredients 4 chicken breast halves, or 8 thighs (or a combination) All purpose flour (about 3-4 tablespoons for dusting) Italian seasonings (we use the Serious Foodie Sette Erbe) 4 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 tablespoon butter 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes 1 cup dry white wine (Soave works well in this recipe) 1/2 cup sliced pitted green Sicilian olives (or other brine-cured green olives) 2 tablespoons drained capers 1 1/2 cup chicken stock Juice and zest from 1/2 Meyer lemon 1 piece preserved Meyer lemon, finely diced Salt and pepper 2 tablespoons butter 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley Directions Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper and the Italian seasonings.  Dust the chicken pieces with flours, and shake off any excess. Heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium high […]

Pairings 101 – Wine with Passover and Easter Feasts

Passover and Easter meals are always about family and friends – and it is an ideal time to wow everyone with your knowledge on the best wines to match with the foods of the Spring.  The challenge to any meal with a large number of people is finding foods that fit all tastes and dietary requirements.  In this article, we explore possible Spring menus, and provide some general rules for matching wines, with recommendations from our previous tastings. Wines to use while waiting and noshing Brunch wines Wines with poultry & fish Wines with meats The finishing touch – wine with dessert and after the meal    For Starters, Let’s Try…. We are very fortunate to live in a climate where we can serve our guest outside for most of the year – but this is especially true in the Spring.  We like to use wines with a bit of acidity and a bit of tropical flavors – a refreshing treat that can sipped on its own, or used with mildly flavored appetizers.  The general rule of thumb is to keep it light when starting out.  You will focus mostly on white wines such as sauvignon blanc, albarino, gruner veltliner, […]

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