Friday night Bliss Travels had the pleasure to lead a food and wine pairing. So, off we went to Montclair, New Jersey to meet a great group of about a dozen people to share French wines, stories and photos (courtesy of our photography partner, Anthony Bianciella). We are leading a private one again today! Many of the same wines, but with cheeses this time.
Below are some of our pairings and suggestions from these two events.
We compared the Cotes du Rhone (Provencal wines from the area around Chateauneuf du Pape)
Our two favorites both to visit and to drink.
1. Muscat. This is served all over the South of France as an apero. Usually, the accompanying food is salty –such as olives, tapenade, anchoiade. (For cheeses, we pair this with a Bleu, and serve this last, rather than first in in our tastings.)
Mas Amiel, Muscat de Rivsaltes, 2008
2. Cotes du Rhone, white! A Fleur de Pampre, Cotes du Rhone Village, Visan, Domaine La Florane. Great bouquet. Floral. Light and slightly sweet. We paired with this with an aged goat cheese from the region, served on toasts, and topped with a fig confit brought back from Provence on one of Bliss Travels recent trips. For our cheese pairing we are taking orange and fennel pastry spoons, made by a world famous Parisian bakery (we brought them back from Paris on this last trip) and filling them with a fresh, mild goat cheese, a drizzle of lavender honey will complete this amuse bouche! (Want more recipes and food ideas? Contact us!)
3. Burgundy, white. A 2008, Saint Veran, Tirage Precoce, Domaine Corsin. This was served with a smoked salmon. The full flavor of the Chardonnay pairs well with the full fatty flavor of the salmon. This Chardonnay also pairs well with Comte cheese.
4. Roses from Provence. These are under appreciated in the US. Rose is drunk all over France, all summer long. With fish, meats, vegetables…
We recommend the Roses from Provence very highly.. The Bandol’s are wonderful (Mediterranean). The Tavels (Northern Provence) are a favorite. Every community will have it’s own, and it will pair beautifully with the foods.
We paired ours with an Aioli,made using Bliss Travels recipe. It’s a dish we made last May in Provence –and will make again this May when we go with Anthony Bianciella to Provence for our custom spring trip through the region (his photos are here. If you’d like to see more, look at his website).
It pairs equally well with our Soupe au Pistou. Click on the link for the recipe and to “see” the lesson.
5. Burgundy, red. 2009 Savigny-Les-Beaune, Les Picotins, Domaine Jean-Luc Dubois. This pinot noir paired with sauteed mushrooms and a light ratatouille. It would have been wonderful with our lamb dish as well. We are pairing this with a hard cheese of Sheep’s milk , and also with St Marcellin.
6. Cotes du Rhone, Red. 2010 Mas de Libiun, Khayyaim. A full bodied Grenache. We served with with a herb encrusted rack of lamb. In Provence, we recommend lamb or even a strong local goat cheese to stand up to this full flavored wine. Coming full circle, this red can be paired with a strong, aged goat cheese, on a fig bread, with a fig confit….All of these items live, grow and are made in the same small towns.
Thank you to our wonderful host (and very frequent traveler) Karen! Thank you to Chef Nikko for making dishes to pair with our wines!
Want to know more about our trips or learn what our travelers have to say? Read our testimonials. Or contact us at 609 462 6213 or email@example.com. Spring and Summer in France are spectacular!
Chocolate and Wine….
Much like wine, chocolate is harvested, fermented, liquified and “made” into the final product. The “terroir” and the “maker” bring much to the final product.
Cocoa grows near the equator, and the heat and type of plant (like wine) create distinct flavor profiles. Cocoa beans are harvested and then fermented. They are dried and processed and eventually ground, roasted and broken down. Finally, they go through a process called “conching”, which is akin to constant kneading–and determines the texture of the chocolate. At this point the chocolate is then used as a raw product for artisans and large manufacturers to make their bars, ganaches, clusters and other candies.
Each manufacturer adds his/her own special mixture of ingredients –vanilla, sugar, cream, spice, nuts. Different cultures tend to produce similarly styled chocolates. American chocolates tend to be sweeter, less pure (i.e. milk v. dark) and larger. Belgian and French tend to use much less sugar, rely on thinner more delicate shells for their filled chocolates, use pure creams in the centers (not ‘creamy’ sugar fillings), and produce higher percentages of purer (i.e. more dark and less milk) chocolate.
This blog is going to focus on Pairing French Wine and Belgian or French Chocolate, of course!
Here are 7 tips and pairing suggestions to sweeten your Valentine’s Day at home or abroad.
1. Pair Champagne with chocolates. Especially with lighter less rich chocolates, or fresh filled Neuhaus creams. Also, this pairs well with chocolate fruit combinations.
2. Pair a French Burgundy (Pinot Noir) with mild, but rich dark chocolates, and dark chocolates with mild spice, roasted nuts or ripe berry fruits. So, consider chocolates with cardamom, hazelnut or dark cherries for these wines.
3. Pair Rhone wines, such as a Chateauneuf du Pape (and other Grenache heavy wines) or wines with rich spicy flavor and high tannins with highly spiced complex chocolates that can match the power of the wine. So, consider chocolate and chili pepper or chocolate with pink peppercorns or strong tea flavors and spice mixtures as good combinations.
4. For purists, wanting to experience the depth of one flavor, use a single origin chocolate with a single grape wine. You can focus on the subtly of each more easily.
5. Pair a dessert wine, we prefer a Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, with a salted chocolate or salted caramel chocolate. Make sure you use a rich full flavored deep chocolate. Not a milk chocolate.
7. Come with Bliss Travels where we do custom pairings and tastings of these things all over France, and in Brussels! At all the best spots! That’s why we call it Bliss!
We are planning our twice annual, super exclusive, insider, trip to Burgundy for April and September. What could be better than Spring and Harvest? We note that Burgundy wines are red hot right now, flying off the shelves. So, if you like Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, this is the region for you!
Here’s a taste of Bliss in Burgundy:
Below is the private lounge we use for our breakfasts, and an afternoon aperitif. There are only 4 rooms in this stunning private property.
Below is the living area for one of the 4 rooms (2 of which are suites)
One of the baths:And one of the 2 non suite rooms. Notice the original antiques and art!
After you’ve relaxed, we visit vineyards and taste wines. The tastings are private and custom.
Visit the centuries old cellars of a winemaker for a private barrel tasting.
Visit the famous villages, markets and winemaker’s of the region.
Then, finish in Paris, the City of Lights for fine dining, custom menus and special experiences
Contact us now to be part of this very small, special trip. firstname.lastname@example.org
Owner, Bliss Travels
609 462 6213
Want to have the “ultimate” experience in Burgundy, tasting wines and visiting vineyards? Who doesn’t! Here are some tried and true tips for ensuring your trip is over the top fabulous!
1. Location, Location, Location! Experience the “terroir”. Find someone to take you around and “introduce you” to the various parcels of land. You know that fabulous Chardonnay you love? The one from “Les Charmes” (perhaps). Well, visit that plot. See where it’s grown. It’s all about real estate.
2. Think Small! Some of the best vineyards, and best wine production in Burgundy is from small parcels of land. Just cause it’s tiny and just cause you haven’t heard of it means nothing. Good things often come from small packages!