Tasting & Living #42 April 2013

Tasting & Living #42 April 2013

A team of foodies based in Brussels with an international appetite for everything foodie.

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Scratch en ruiken!

October 17, 2013

Weer een aanrader voor de wijnliefhebber: een wijnboek zoals geen ander: krabben en ruiken zonder dronken te worden!

Screen shot 2013-10-17 at 09.24.22 Screen shot 2013-10-17 at 09.20.37 Screen shot 2013-10-17 at 09.20.17 Screen shot 2013-10-17 at 09.20.03

te koop bij Amazon en misschien ook binnenkort in Waterstone’s Brussel

The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert: Take a Whiff of That by Richard Betts Hardcover $14.48

Spanje en Megavino

October 7, 2013

Deze week is het weer zover: honderden flessen wijn te winnen bij FM Brussel. De jaarlijkse Megavino beurs strijkt weer neer in Brussel en deze keer is Spanje het gastland.
Vandaag ben ik te gast bij FM Brussel om culinair te keuvelen over Spanje als gastronomisch land. Luisteren dus om 13.00u.
Meer over de wedstrijd vanaf morgen, olé!

Proficiat Beersel !

September 19, 2013

De bieren Rodenbach Vintage 2010, Oude Kriek Oud Beersel, Arend Tripel en St Idesbald Blond hebben alle vier een gouden medaille behaald op de European Beer Star 2013 in het Duitse München.

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In de categorie Belgian Style Fruit Sour Ale heeft Oud Beersel goud kunnen wegkapen, mooi zo!

De Oude Kriek Oud Beersel is een ambachtelijk product, gemaakt met echte krieken en met lambiek van Oud Beersel gerijpt op houten vaten. Dit geeft deze Oude Kriek een fruitige toets en zijn robijnrode kleur. De Oude Kriek Oud Beersel bevat ongeveer 400 gram krieken per liter wat uniek is in zijn soort. Hij wordt niet aangezoet en bevat geen smaak- noch bewaarmiddelen. Hierdoor komt dat eeuwenoude product volop tot zijn recht.

Bijzonderheden
Alc. 6,5 % Vol.
Kleur: robijnrood
Aroma: verrassend parfum van krieken en amandelen.
Smaak: de Oude Kriek Oud Beersel heeft de aangename zurigheid van
champagne. De echte krieken laten een overweldigende fruitigheid achter
en de amandeltoets van de pit vervolmaakt het genot. De spontane
hergisting verenigt de krieken met de lambiek die samen een aangename
smaakbelevenis vormen.

 

Meer op http://www.straffestreek.be/producenten.php?id=56

Nieuwe Schweppes voor de G&T’s!

September 16, 2013

In hun zoektocht naar de perfecte Gin Tonic heeft Schweppes een gamma Tonic waters gelanceerd die ten volle de smaak van de Gin tot zijn recht laat komen. De Schweppes Premium Mixers concentreren zich op 4 cruciale pijlers die een unieke degustatieve ervaring bieden:

Overvloed aan bubbels: typische Schweppes bubbels die de aroma’s van alcohol versterken
Het juiste suikergehalte: om optimaal te blenden met alcohol
Subtiele aroma’s: om de smaak van de alcohol te benadrukken
100% natuurlijke ingrediënten

SCHWEPPES PREMIUM MIXER

Cooking with Hendricks gin

June 12, 2013 3 Comments

There are basically two ways to use gin in your dishes when cooking. One is the straight forward one: Allegedly when Julia Child was asked what her favourite dish was, she replied: a red steak and a glass of gin. The other is the more complicated for the rest of us that do not posses Mrs Childs qualities: use gin as an ingredient.

Once in a while you come across a product that clearly has more potential than what it looks like. This is how I feel about Hendricks Gin. It is a gin – and a damn good one – but it is more than “just” a gin. Having listened to a presentation of the history of gin and the ways of distilling gin – and there are more than one way – and having sat through a tasting of Hendricks Gin in different cask strengths and combinations, I could not help feeling that something more than adding tonic and lime was needed.

Be not confused: Hendricks Gin is excellent for your drinks and cocktails, as other gins. Just be prepared for the extra taste, that Hendricks has. It is not a simple gin. It has a complex taste which makes it different from other gins. If you prefer a pure gin of excellent quality, I would still refer you to the tasty clarity of the Arctic Gin we tasted some months ago. But if you (also) like your Gin complex in taste, then Hendricks is a good alternative.

But why – I asked myself – just drink it? French cooking is full of cognac, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Armagnac, Poire Williams etc added to dishes at different points in the preparation. While all these alcohols have strong tastes, and thus suitable for adding to dishes during cooking, this is not in general applicable for gin. But that’s where I thought Hendricks Gin might offer new opportunities.

An obvious choice with Hendricks is of course to make a pickled cucumber salad with some gin added to the dressing. Obvious because Hendricks contains this tasty hint of cucumber (and warm summer days). I can recommend to try this, but add the gin after boiling the vinegar marinade. In my experience that enhances the taste.

But I was more intrigued by another recipe I found on the net when looking for “cooking with gin”. The recipe is about curing fish with a mixture containing gin. While I have no doubt that this is probably originally a Nordic recipe, using aquavit rather than gin, I immediately thought it would be interesting to test with Hendricks gin.

The process for curing fish is simple if requiring patience. You take a fresh filet of salmon or sea trout – skin on. And you cover it with salt and spice based mixture, leave it in the fridge for days – depending on size of the filet – clean of the mixture and it is ready to be sliced and eaten on white bread, or crispy bread or blinis. You can also experiment with mackerel, but the fish needs to be fat to survive the curing process.

The interesting thing here was to add Hendricks gin to the mixtures of salts, pebber, lemon or lime zest and juice, juniper berries (crushed), different spices according to your taste (cumin, coriander, cardamom, chilli etc). You cover the fish in this mixture on both sides, wrapped up in film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 24 hours.

The taste is stunning. Cured salmon is always delightful, but Hendricks adds that extra touch. And you have the opportunity to enjoy the dish with a Dry Martini with Hendricks. We all have our own

preferences for a Dry Martini. In view of the nice taste of Hendricks I would tend to go for the recipe where you place your glass in the shade of the Vermouth bottle and then you feel the glass with the shaked Hendricks gin, add the olive and enjoy. Alternatively you can of course – if you prefer your Dry Martini less dry – add a few drops of Vermouth.

Søren

Cointreau Fizz Garden

March 20, 2013

Vanavond cocktails testen in Espace Chambon, hartje Brussel. Een mooi initiatief van Cointreau: pop-up cocktail bar in een verlaten bankgebouw … not bad!

Vanaf 21 maart, kan iedereen er terecht voor een drankje. Ik laat jullie weten hoe het smaakte uiteraard!

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Rust en Vrede in World’s Top 100 wines of Wine Spectator

November 25, 2012

Rust en Vrede Estate in Stellenbosch has joined the class of international vinous icons by reaching the Wine Spectator Magazine’s annual list of the World’s Top 100 wines for the fifth time.

The Rust en Vrede Estate 2008, the winery’s flagship red wine, received a score of 93 points and was placed 78thin this revered list of the World’s Top 100 Wines for 2012 which was announced this week.
This accolade was previously awarded to Rust en Vrede in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 – also for the Estate Wine from the respective vintages of 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000.

Only two South African wines made this year’s Spectator Top 100 list, the other being Hamilton Russell Estate with its 2011 Chardonnay.

According to Jean Engelbrecht, Rust en Vrede proprietor, the award vindicates a belief in specialization and focus. “Rust en Vrede’s ethos is that of a red wine estate committed to excellence and the best expression of our vineyard sites in Stellenbosch’s Helderberg region,” says Engelbrecht.

“This entails focussing on a limited number of red grape varieties from sites with proven track records. The Estate wine, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot, has allowed us to combine three of the finest vineyards bearing grape varieties witha history of superbly expressing themselves on our Rust en Vredeterroir. Engelbrecht says accolades such as these are not only important for Rust en Vrede, but for the entire South African wine industry.

“If South Africa wants to be perceived as a wine-producing nation of distinction, it is not going to do it in the cheap-and-cheerful high volume market,” says Engelbrecht. “What we need to elevate our status is more top-end South African wines grabbing the imagination of the consumer through international recognition and accolades. This includes offering wines of quality at all price points.

“More iconic South African wines sitting alongside the world’s best will not only benefit these producers, but the image and perception of our industry in its entirety. This is what the industry has to strive towards and this is what those representing the industry have to show a greater support of.”

Plus the Queen of Denmark goes there for lunch, so hey try it!

Tijd voor een warme punch!

October 26, 2012

 

Verwarmend. Dat mag je best letterlijk nemen, want Hendrick’s Gin leent zich uitstekend tot het bereiden van een echte hot punch? Hartverwarmend! En gebaseerd op een oud recept uit ‘Drinking with Dickens’ (1850), een receptenboekje van de hand van Cedric Dickens, de achterkleinzoon van de vermaarde Charles Dickens (Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carroll, …).

Het was Charles Dickens zelf die deze concoction voor het eerste bereidde en tijdens het schenken aan zijn vriend David Copperfield de historische woorden sprak: “Punch, my dear Copperfield, like time and tide, waits for no man.”

Hoe maak je de Hot Gin Punch?

Benodigdheden:
• Een kookpot
• Een gasvuur
• Een snijplank
• Een scherp mes

Ingrediënten, goed voor zes kopjes:
(lichtjes gewijzigd tegenover de 1850-versie)
• 70 cl Hendrick’s Gin
• 70 cl Madeira wijn
• 3 kruidnagels
• snuifje nootmuskaat (vers geraspt)
• 25 g kaneelpoeder
• 1 kaneelstokje
• 50 g bruine suiker
• 6 grote citroenschillen
• 1 grote sinaasappelschil
• ½ verse ananas, in stukjes gesneden
• vier eetlepels honing
• sap van twee limoenen
• 9 jeneverbessen

Meng alle ingrediënten in een grote pot.
• Warm op tot 50°C à 60°C en laat een half uur tot een uur lichtjes sudderen.
• Tijdens het koken zal de smaak veranderen. Proef daarom regelmatig, en voeg smaak toe zoals je het zelf wenst. Pas de zuur/zoetbalans aan door er extra honing of limoen aan toe te voegen.
• Serveer warm in theekopjes.

Je kan deze punch ook koud drinken en opnieuw opwarmen. Dat laatste zal de smaak nog intenser maken. Hoe meer je de punch kookt, hoe intenser de smaak. Cheers !

Australian wines are hip!

August 7, 2012

Whenever we see a great food infographic, we obviously share it with you, but in this case when the infographic is actually on the label of a wine bottle … that’s heaven!

Thumbs up to Australian wines!

Hendrick’s Gin Sorbet: a perfect summer time drink

June 26, 2012

Ingredients:
100ml Hendrick’s Gin
25g squeezable glucose
200ml water
180g sugar
1 cucumber
juice of 1 1/2 Limes
handful of mint leaves

Preparation:
Bring the sugar, water, glucose, and mint to the boil. Add the lime juice, stir until mixed and take off the heat. While the syrup is cooling, blend the cucumber with a hand blender (or pass it through a juicer.) Allow the syrup to cool by either letting it rest for a few hours or placing it straight in the fridge. When cooled, add the syrup and Hendrick’s Gin to the cucumber and blend again with a hand blender. Pass through a sieve into a resealable container, adding a bit of the pulp for colour.

Place in the freezer and stir every hour to break apart the ice crystals. (If you have an ice cream maker, feel free to drop the mixture straight in, and let it do the hard work for you!) Serve with a sprig of mint and a tart summer fruit, or put your feet up and spoon it straight out of the tub.

(Photo and recipe from Domestic Sluttery)

June 16, 2012

If you are like me and when you think about champagne, you think about tall thin glasses, bubbles and festivities or special moments.

At a tasting organised by Piper-Heidsieck in Brussels I learned not to think about bubbles. And I can see the point. In fact the champagnes from the Piper-Heidsieck house are noticeable for having been praised as one of the best wines in France, not just one of the best champagnes. And true to the nature of this champagne, most of the tasting took place in normal wineglasses – large and round. Only the basic brut of Piper-Heidsieck was served in what we would call a standard wine glass.

In fact I think it was the first time I really ­tasted  a champagne, rather than just using it as an accompaniment to a celebration or enjoying the bubbles – not least thanks to Regis Camus, the excellent wine-maker from Piper-Heidsieck, who guided us through the bottles and the glasses. And what treasures champagne do hide, when you get to taste different years, different kinds of champagne and in glasses that allow the wine to open and reveal itself.

It also says a bit about Piper-Heidsieck that M Regis Camus has been awarded sparkling Winemaker of the Year in London on several occasions the recent years.

For me the Piper-Heidsieck is mostly a taste of citrus fruits – at different levels and textures depending on the combination and the year. But a citrus fruit, orangy, zesty taste was for me the line through the different bottles. A taste which becomes even more obvious, when you try a demi-sec Piper-Heidsieck. In that bottle you reach tastes comparable to the advanced sweet dessert wines such as Passito de Pantelleria or the Wine of Constantia from South Africa….but with bubbles of course.

Another pleasant surprise was the champagne Rosé. Again tasted in a normal wine glass, you had none of the sticky sweetness some rosé wines can have. In fact you would probably find it difficult to differ between the Rosé and the other champagnes in a blind tasting.

The Piper-Heidsieck is made predominantly on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir occasionally. The grapes are collected from the best parts of Champagne and the combination of the grapes is left to the fine noses of the Piper-Heidsieck people to ensure a consistent and high quality Piper-Heidsieck taste. Great pride is taken into ensuring that the Brut is of high quality also, since it is not only the main trade mark of the house, but it is also the basic for the more refined other champagnes, such as the millesimes. Piper-Heidsieck does not believe in making a millesimes every year – only when the year really merits it.

Your favourite champagne is a personal matter. I will admit that I have recently tended to avoid the big houses, such as Piper-Heidsieck, in favour of more artisanal champagne producers. However, having tasted Piper-Heidsieck in a thorough way I can only say that it is a remarkable champagne, that I would be very happy to try and build an entire meal around and to enjoy as not only a champagne with its festive bubbles, but as a wine with a value in itself.

Soren

 

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