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Tuesday, April 08 2008

How about wine food pairing all in one bowl?

In the dog days of summer, when the heat and humidity rise, what better way to lift the spirits of your friends and neighbors than an impromptu party to cool off a bit? One of my very favorite hot weather treats is a cold champagne soup with diced ripe mangoes. Truly decadent! Fortunately, we have a mango tree in the neighborhood that supplies the whole street with sweet, Florida mangoes.

I like to use Freixenet's Cordon Negro Brut. It is a crisp, dry sparkling wine that has a soft, smooth flavor and pairs beautifully with the juiciness of the sweet ripe mango. The Freixenet also works great with ripe, full flavored peaches as the fruit addition. Serve this wonderful soup into cut crystal bowls and it will knock your guest's socks off! YIKES!!

Pair the soup with warm from the oven croissants and fresh creamery butter, what could be better. Many times I cheat with the croissants and use the dough from the tube and just pop them in the oven as the guests arrive . The best part is they only take a few minutes to bake. Cloth napkins seem to add a touch of richness, after all we want this to be a special treat, and add fresh cut flowers as a centerpiece. Your guests will think you spent hours on preparation. I won't tell!

How about dessert? Summertime always offers up such terrific bounty when it comes to fruit and berries. Big, juicy strawberries dipped into a melted healthy dark chocolate are always a winner. Be sure to melt your chocolate carefully in a water bath. Perhaps you are even lucky enough to have one of those new chocolate fountains, they work great, too. I always leave the stem on for added color and it also makes a great handle on the berry to keep your fingers from getting burned! Let the berry cool off on waxed paper and then present them to your guests on your favorite platter. This is a super, make ahead, dessert that can be done a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator.

You definitely want to pair chocolate with a red wine. For the dark chocolate dipped strawberries try a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot from Concha y Toro. This Chilean wine is bold enough to stand up to the dark chocolate and bring out the best in both the wine and the dessert. YUM!

Now as your party starts to wind down, you'll want to offer your guests a cup of coffee. The Austrians invented a coffee beverage called a mélange. This drink is served throughout Austria in all the coffee houses and is a fifty-fifty mix of coffee and milk with a foamy top. Traditionally, they serve this with a glass of sparkling mineral water on the side. Add sliced lemons on the table for those that like a bit of citrus with their water and you have a delightful end to a wonderful party. Remember to get out all your fancy glasses and crystal, they don't even have to match to make it festive! Garage sales are a terrific resource for items like this.

Wine Food Pairing is not difficult. With just a bit of pre-planning you can show your guests what a terrific host/hostess you are and enjoy the party right along with your friends! CHEERS!

Posted by: Send a Meal AT 10:36 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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