Tuesday, February 23, 2010

a perfect match

in this month's newsletter, we featured Chef Candice Butler's succulent beef brisket recipe from last week's Fundamentals of Beef class, so kudos to those who followed the link and found us here - you will be rewarded with a wine that will sure to become a dinner party favourite! urban element Resident Sommelier, Stacey Metulynsky, discovered this divine Malbec to pair with our delectable mid-winter dish.

we hope you enjoy this "perfect match" as much as we did.....

Groovy Grapes Wine Pairing: KAIKEN ULTRA MALBEC 2007 VINTAGES 50849 | $ 19.95 | Uco Valley, Argentina The 2007 Malbec Ultra saw 80% of the wine aged in French oak for 12 months. A saturated purple color, it offers up a perfume of cigar box, violets, mineral, and black cherry. It has a ripe core of spicy fruit, excellent concentration, succulent flavours, and a lengthy finish.

About the Grape: MALBEC
By: Stacey Metulynsky, Resident Sommelier, the urban element & groovy grapes co-founder

Malbec is like Merlot's quiet but quirky pal. Like Merlot, Malbec is a red grape from Bordeaux, France and produces medium to full bodied wines with dark fruit flavours and velvety tannins. But compared to Merlot, people are just starting to get to know Malbec, and it distinguishes itself from it's hometown friend with its dark, inky colour and distinctive anise and smoke characters.

Though Malbec hails from France (where it now plays a very minor role in Bordeaux) it really has come into its own in Argentina, where it has become the country's signature grape. Argentine Malbec is made in a softer, lusher New World style when compared to its French counterparts, and the warm climate there makes the grape stand out from the crowd. It has ripe blackberry, cherry, and licorice aromas and flavours, a touch of earthiness, and an approachable texture that is best described as velvety - there are some tannins but they're soft and pleasant, not harsh as they sometimes are in French Malbec. And it has dark, rich notes of black licorice, chocolate, and coffee.

Because of Argentina, Malbec's popularity has caused winemakers in other New World countries like Chile, Australia, and the United States to plant the grape as well, though you'll mostly only see it blended with other grapes.

Back in France, you can find intense and distinctive Malbec from Cahors, a town near Bordeaux where the wines are required by law to contain at least 70% Malbec (sometimes referred to there as "Cot"). These wines are deep and dark in colour, and tend to be harsh when they're young. If you let them mellow a few years in the bottle, however, these wines are intense and delicious, especially when paired with local cuisine such as cassoulet or duck confit.

Aromas & Flavours
. Rich fruit flavours of blackberry, plum, and cherry
. Spicy, chocolaty, and black licorice notes
. Full bodied, and can range from low to very strong tannins

Food Ideas
. Hearty red meats such as beef, lamb, and game
. Braised beef short ribs
. Burgers and other grilled meats
. Mushrooms, beans, and other earthy flavours

My recommended regions for Malbec are:
. Argentina
. Cahors, France,
(courtesy of Groovy Grapes, This Food That Wine Cookbook and Wine Pairing Guide)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wines of Ontario

We had the great privilege of possibly sampling dozens of Ontario wines yesterday through the Winter Wine Fest.

Although we were quite familiar with a majority of them, there were some exciting discoveries! I have to admit that I am a big fan of white wine and so was my partner in crime - the reds will be for another day.

Here were some of our favourites:

The ultimate Sauvignon Blanc for the day, Southbrook Triomphe. You stole my heart.

My favourite Rosé, Serendipity, from Cattail Creek Estate. You would imagine too fruity from the color, but it was refreshing and crisp.

My sidekick's favourite Rosé, Echos from Tawse Winery. Summer, please be here.

We didn't get to picture all that we wanted, some booths were so popular...

A few things for sure : I will have Cave Spring Chardonnay Musqué in my refridgerator always. I will splurge on Cuvée Catharine Brut more often. I definitely long for a bottle of Stratus Red and a Rusty Shed Chardonnay from Flat Rock Cellars.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Anti-bottled water movement

I just returned from a trip to New York City. In many many restaurants and all over our hotel were signs encouraging people not to purchase or drink bottled water.

They are having a major issue with trash disposal, and in an effort to limit waste, they encourage people to consume a bit more wisely. One funny example were napkins in a dispenser that said: use your sleeves and save some trees.

I was surprised at how crisp the tap water was in New York, and how even in upscale restaurants, they did not offer mineral or sparkling water. On almost every table, there were beautiful glass bottles, all shapes and sizes, with plain old tap water. Some tables had stickers stating that they proudly served NYC water.

At ue, we have stopped using bottled water about 3 years ago. We used to set them out for corporate meetings and even though we encouraged people to refill them, we saw that once emptied, they drank in glasses. (So we are using water and energy cleaning those on top of the waste of the plastic bottle that was just used...)

How long will it be for Ottawa to catch on?
Some restaurants are still selling them, some even bottle and label their own. I have to admit that I am quite skeptical about that - what is wrong with our tap water? Why are we paying to bottle and market it? Imagine all the plastic that we could save if strictly serving tap water in restaurants...


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ottawa Food Bloggers Unite!

Oh what a fun evening last night was!

Ottawa food bloggers all gathered to hear Ron Eade, the Master of breaking news for the food scene in Ottawa, enjoy delicious food bites and see our resident chef Candice Butler prepare a chicken liver pâté.

It was a delightful opportunity for all of them to meet. I compared it to pen pals, finally putting a face (and personality!) to what we read.

I don't know about you, but I take time every evening to read blogs: more than just recipes, this is about people with a passion for food, and these are people taking the time to share.

You enter their world and get inspired. Learn new tricks. Take on healthier habits. Discover new restaurants. These are real people opening up their world: unlike magazines and tv shows, they have no hidden agenda, no brand to push. Their recipes actually turn out - and if they don't, they will share a laugh with you.

You can read up on the evening and see the food on
rachelle eats food's blog for now. Maybe some more blogs entries will pop up about this in the days following... I have never seen so many people taking pictures of food in one place!!

Get the official scoop on the Chicken Farmers of Canada's blog!

On behalf of the host, the Chicken Farmers of Canada, thanks to all that braved the cold!

after the harvest
eva's food world
ottawa food
foodie prints
the bacon bible
all things edible
simply fresh
a peek inside the fishbowl
sorry, i'm weird
urban hippy
sticky fingers
daily dinner
eaten up

...and if I forgot some of you, please pipe up!

Thanks to Ryan Anderson for the event planning and great pictures!