Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cheese and Wine Pairing? Wine Not?!

I will not apologize for the pun. It is hilarious, darn it!

In keeping with my last post's theme, I thought I'd share an interesting website I stumbled upon via Pinterest. If you click on the picture, it'll take you to a website with advice for pairing wine not only with cheese, but with meats, chocolates, and even entire meals!

Side note... What is up with that black cheese? I'm assuming it's a rind?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Wine, Olives, Vinegar, Love

Lavender, cypress, and grapes
This past weekend, I went to Paso Robles for a wedding. The wedding was beautiful; the ceremony was in a wine cellar, which, besides being beautiful and cool in the 104° weather, had the bonus of no cell phone reception, and therefore no interruption.

But weddings only take a few hours! So what did we (Boyf's family + friend family + me) do with the rest of our weekend?

Why, we went wine, olive oil, and vinegar tasting, of course!

In the past year or two, I must admit I've become a bit of a wino. Just a bit! Now, I'm not picky and I'm not snobby, but I know when to appreciate a good glass, and I try to pair chicken and fish with whites and beef and chocolate with reds. I try to keep track of the wines I do and don't love (I use this app when I remember), and I am the proud owner of a really cool wine bottle opener that my dad bought for me.

We actually stayed in a house attached to the Stanger Vineyards Tasting Room.
Wine tasting was very convenient.
But olive oil and vinegar? That love goes back much, much further. It is deeper, more true. I will always love wine, but I always have loved oil and vinegar.

Baby olives!
The first oil/vinegar tasting we did was at Olivas de Oro, which not only lets you try oils and vinegars, but also has an array of tasty flavored salts (that I vaguely regret not purchasing), goat cheese, lamb (we got to meet the sheepies that would eventually end up in their freezer. The babies were new and cute.), and the juiciest olives I've ever eaten.

The very best part, however, was the Pacific Spice Vinegar. "Our Pacific Spice Vinegar starts with fresh kiwis, ginger, citrus, peppers, and herbs locally grown on neighboring farms." Does that sound amazing? Because let me tell you, it is. I tried each oil and vinegar once or twice, with the exception of this one. This one, I tried about 16 times. I tried it in combination with some of the oils. I tried it with bread. I tried it on a spoon. I made everyone try it more, because it is fresh and it's got a kick and it's quite possibly the most delicious thing I have ever consumed. And because I am on a stupid budget, I did not buy it.

Fast forward to a few days later, when Boyf and I were celebrating our anniversary. I gave him the copy of Foundation that he's been talking about for weeks, and he reached into his bag and pulled this out:

Please excuse the insta-filters;
I am too excited about this to  properly stage a picture.
Cue lights shining down from the heaven. Cue angelic harmonies filling the air. Cue my excitement! And then my confusion.

"How did you buy it? We were there together!"

He shrugged. A light bulb appeared above my head.

"Oh! You got someone else to buy it for you, didn't you?" I asked, thinking I was so sneaky and clever.

He laughed. "Nope!" The light bulb turned off.

...Apparently, I was so busy playing with my camera that when he said, "I'll be right back, I have to go to the bathroom," and came back with a bag, I failed to notice. Surprise!

Other highlights from Paso Robles included trying a red wine from 2002 (incredible), talking to an old couple from Florida who now run their own olive orchard and oil business (very interesting), and eating brie on toast instead of a proper lunch (sounds fancier than it felt; I ate it standing at the kitchen counter).

What a beautiful place. Wine, oil, and vinegar tasting is best paired with love. Love that Boyf & I celebrated with gifts of books and food. Love of friends to spend time with. Love of family and feeling accepted within one. And love of a newly married couple, off to create their own stories. Hopefully those stories include lots of delicious food.