#WineWednesday – Cozy Date Sunday Night Dinner Edition

It’s my favourite post of the week! Wine Wednesday. I know it seems silly, but I really like celebrating everything in life. Glass of Prosecco because it’s Friday? Sure! A fun (and indulgent) coffee because it’s Monday? Absolutely! Trying a new wine on a #WineWednesday? Always. This week’s post is high-low. The champagne is cheap and cheerful, and the red is a bit more of an investment but it’s a beautiful wine to try and I would highly suggest breaking it out for a special occasion. I’ll definitely be buying both for the holiday season.

Read below for my pairings to go with the Beef Bourguignon & Truffle Herb Popcorn.

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Savigny Les Beaune Premiere Cru with Beef Bourguignon

There truly is no pairing more classic than a beef bourguignon and Burgundy. Julia Child, herself, even said “I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food…” While you wouldn’t want to throw this Burgundy in the stew, there’s no harm in savouring a glass while you cook. It’s light enough to sip on it’s own, but holds up very well to the rich flavours of the dish. The bottle is absolutely beautiful and it’s always fun to pull out a French wine when you’re sitting down to dinner with friends. It looks fancy without even trying. At $35.95, it’s more of a special occassion wine (in my opinion), and would be great to bring as a hostess gift for American Thanksgiving turkey dinner, or even with Turkey at Christmas!

There is a strong jam note on the nose when you first sniff it. Upon further oxidating the wine (ie: swirling it), a beautifully balanced green pepper and fruit forward taste emerges. The acidity brings out the fresh carrot flavour in the stew, and with each bite the wine becomes more and more rich, layered by currant and raspberry. Julia Child would be singing about the perfection of this pairing.

Side note: if you give this as a gift, let them know it can be aged until 2020 (pretty cool, eh?)

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Marquis De La Tour with Truffle Herb Popcorn

First of all, this wine is $14.99 (run to the wine store, don’t walk). This is the type of wine you buy by the case and don’t hesitate to open for parties, a casual dinner at home, or even to pair with popcorn. Champagne and popcorn is actually a very classic pairing. Upon first taste, the wine is strong in apple flavours. The freshness complements the truffle oil (which is very rich) beautifully. Champagne is also known for imparting a certain amount of yeast smell and taste. The parmesan on the popcorn enhances this flavour and brings out the Champenois characteristics of the wine.

I really like serving Champagne very cold. It becomes a refreshing end to the meal alongside the rich and herbaceous popcorn.

Let me know what you think of these pairings!

Photos: Christie Graham Photography

Cozy Date Sunday Night Dinner: Dark & Stormy

I love pairing wine with food, but sometimes it’s nice to switch things up a little bit. A few months back, I had my first Dark & Stormy. I was surprised with how refreshing and light it was considering the name of the drink. I had a feeling it would pair really well with cheese – especially a mixture of smokey and creamy cheeses, and boy was I happy I was right! The refreshing nature of the cocktail (coming from the fresh lime and ginger beer) made it a perfect complement to the heartiness of the cheese. At the same time, it got my appetite ready for a heavy meal ahead. Read below for the easy recipe. This is something I’ll be making through every season.

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Dark and Stormy

Makes 1 cocktail

1 large ice cube
2 oz. Angostura dark rum
3 oz. ginger beer
1 oz. lime juice
lime wedge to garnish

1) Add ice cube to your favourite cocktail glass.
2) Add rum, ginger beer and lime juice. Stir to combine.
3) Garnish with lime wedge.

Make sure to check back tomorrow for the #WineWednesday post to accompany this Sunday Night Dinner!

Cheers!

Photos: Christie Graham Photography

Cozy Date Sunday Night Dinner: Beef Bourguignon & Truffle Herb Popcorn

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Yesterday I shared a cozy date night Sunday Night Dinner. Today, I want to share two very easy recipes that can both be made in advance and elevate your date night in to another level. When I think of comfort foods, my taste buds immediately gravitate to a few things: savoury, salty, and rich. That’s why I started the night off with a small selection of cheese and my favourite olives (castelvetrano). I paired this with a Dark and Stormy cocktail (more on that tomorrow). A small cheese plate and cocktail is always a great touch to whet your palate for the meal to come.

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In my mind, there’s nothing more wintery and cozy than a beef stew. Take it to the next level by making Beef Bourguignon and pairing it with a fancy-sounding red wine (more on that Wednesday). Read below for the Beef Bourguignon recipe.

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Most people like to end their meals with a little something sweet. Me? I prefer savoury. I popped up a big batch of truffle herb popcorn and served it with champagne. Easy and delicious.

Beef Bourguignon (adapted from Barefoot Contessa) with Parsnip Fries

Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
8 oz bacon, chopped
2 pounds of stewing beef, dried
salt and pepper
1 pound of carrots, cut into 1 inch rounds
2 white onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 bottle of cheap, dry red wine
2 cups of beef broth
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
4 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1/2 lb portobello mushrooms, cut into 1 inch pieces
handful of baby parsnips
olive oil
salt and pepper

1) Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the end off of the baby parsnips and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper.
2) Roast parsnips for 30 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside.
3) Change the oven temperature to 250F.
4) In a dutch oven (I have this exact one), add the olive oil on medium high. When hot, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove from pot.
5) Add the beef, one layer at a time, and brown on each side. Add to the bacon plate.
6) Add the carrots and onions with salt and pepper and cook until softened (10 mins).
7) Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (30 seconds).
8) Add back the meat and bacon. Add the bottle of wine and beef broth along with tomato paste and thyme.
9) Bring to a simmer, add the lid and put in the oven for 1 hour.
10) Meanwhile, sauté the mushrooms in 3 tbsp butter.
11) Mash up flour and 1 tbsp butter and add to the stew once removed from the oven.
12) Add the mushrooms and cook for 10 more minutes on the stove. Salt and pepper to taste.
13) Serve in a bowl with parsnips on the side.

Truffle Herb Popcorn  

Serves 4

1) In a small bowl, add a pinch of each dried thyme, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes.
2) In air popper, pop 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels.
3) Add herb mixture and popped popcorn to big bowl with 1 tbsp truffle oil. Toss to combine.
4) Serve in individual bowls and topped with a sprinkling of grated parmesan.

Make sure to stop by tomorrow for an amazing Dark & Stormy cocktail recipe!

Photos: Christie Graham Photography

Sunday Night Dinner: Cozy Date Edition

During the cold winter months, there’s nothing I like more than cuddling up by the fire with warm food and a glass of red wine. It’s the best time of the year to get your house winter-ready by adding a new faux-fur blanket to your couch or even sprucing up your old throw pillows. The benefits of staying in? You’re most likely saving money, eating healthier, and it’s infinitely more relaxing! Why not move your date night in this month and enjoy the comforts of home? This Sunday Night Dinner is all about savouring quiet moments by the couch with good food, good wine, and even a good movie!

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I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: a small flower arrangement (by The Flower Factory) goes a long way. Try tying in the palates of the dinner: red berries stand out with the red wine, the white spray roses complement the marble table and thai orchids bring in the warmth of the gold.

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Eating around the coffee table is a comfy way to enjoy a night in. Just plop some furry pillows on the ground and you’ll be good to go!

sophie october- christie graham photography-4908It doesn’t get more simple than a tray of popcorn and champagne. Spice up your popcorn with your favourite mix of dried herbs and some truffle oil and you’ve elevated your savoury dessert to a whole new level.sophie october- christie graham photography-4898sophie october- christie graham photography-4931sophie october- christie graham photography-4833

Sunday Night Dinner – Cozy Date Edition

This Sunday Night Dinner was all about rich foods: cheese paired with a warming cocktail, beef bourguignon paired with a Burgundian red wine that is full of flavour, and popcorn and Champagne enjoyed while cozying up on the couch.

The goal for this Sunday Night Dinner was to keep things simple: a small flower arrangement, a few candles, but most importantly, time spent with someone you love. You don’t have to go over the top to enjoy a night in. Make it easier for you by making your favourite foods and enjoying a couple different types of drinks!

This idea would be as good for a date night in as it would be for a girls night at your place. The cheese plate is as easy to assemble as 1-2-3, the beef bourguignon can be made in advance, and what’s easier than popping up a bowl of popcorn? Not much. Entertaining at your home can be easy and special.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting my favourite beef bourguignon recipe along with an easy way to spruce up your popcorn. Tuesday will be focused on my favourite new cocktail recipe (umm, how delicious is ginger beer!?) and Wednesday, of course, I’ll be delving deeper into the food and wine pairings.

Pictures: Christie Graham Photography

Flowers: The Flower Factory

Rum for Dark & Stormy: Angostura – 7 Year Old Dark

Wine: Marquis de la Tour – Brut, Savigny Les Beaune Premiere Cru

Styling & Concept: Sophie Collins of Sip Savour Share

Table runner: West Elm

Gold flatware: West Elm

Pillows: Chapters

Perfect Pairings

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I’ve always been fascinated with food and wine pairing. Growing up, my dad taught me the basics of wine pairing: lighter food with lighter wine, a little bit sweet with a little bit spicy and how to put wines together that truly complement each other. There are literally infinite ways to pair food and wine. At the end of the day, all that matters is your tastes, but it’s important to know a few basic ground rules so you can impress your guests.

Last weekend I attended Perfect Pairings at Cornucopia, hosted by WineDiva Daenna Van Mulligen and Rachelle Goudreau of Provence Marinaside. Both women are trained sommeliers who have loads of experience and seriously on-point palates. I learned so much from this seminar and can’t wait to attend more like it next year. Here are the top five things I took away from Perfect Pairings.

1) Portugese wine is delicious! I rarely head to the Portugal section at the liquor store, but the Adriano Ramos Pinto Reserva Duas Quintas Red Blend has me changing my tune. This red paired fabulously with Chorizo sausage. It had licorice understones and the tannins cut directly through the fat in the sausage.

What you need to know: Portugese red + spicy grilled sausage.

2) Rosé really does go with everything! As Daenna mentioned during her lecture, rosé is a great middle ground between the lightness of white and the complexity of red. Throw in the Gamay Noir grape and you have a wine that can pair with pork to popcorn. My favourites are here.

What you need to know: when in doubt, rosé all the way!

3) Pinot Noir can stand up to fatty foods. When I think of Pinot Noir, I think of light foods or even sipping on it’s own. However, little did I know I was missing the deliciousness that came with pairing Pinot with a super flavourful food. It was paired with a duck confit and the pairing got better with every sip.

What you need to know: light wine + heavy food can be amazing.

4) I used to think that every bottle with the word “Fumé” on it would be full of oak and smokiness. Boy, was I wrong (and embarassed). The first wine we tried at the tasting was the Joseph Mellot Le Troncsec Pouilly-Fumé from the Loire Valley. It was herbaceous, full of flavour and paired fantastically with a goat cheese crostini.

What you need to know: don’t judge a wine by the words on the label – try it!

5) I’m not a huge seafood person. I like it, I try it, but it definitely isn’t my preference. However, when paired with the right wine it can be quite lovely! We had a typical provençal seafood salad paired with the Monte del Fra Ca Del Magro (an Italian white) and all I could think while trying the pairing was “take me to Positano.”

What you need to know: wine really can change the taste of food – and vice versa.

That’s all for my recap of Corncuopia 2014! I highly recommend checking it out next year if you haven’t in the past. I’ll see you there!

*photo by Christine Williams Photography for Framework Magazine (post here)

Cornucopia: Best Argentine Wines

Last year I was lucky enough to go to Argentina and Chile with my business school. We learned lots about the South American economy and doing business in both of those countries. In our off time, we got to spend time enjoying the local culture through cooking classes and of course, wine tasting!

This past weekend at Cornucopia, I attended what was to be one of my favourite seminars of the weekend, Argentina: Malbec is Only the Beginning. Every flavour, sip and swirl reminded me of being back in South America with my classmates! There is something so nolstagic about smelling and tasting a familiar wine, it brings you right back to the first place you tried it, and the people you were with.

Without further ado, here are my top 5 favourite Argentine wines from that tasting (hosted by the hilarious and smart House Wine girls).

Bodega Vistalba Corte C Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon

This was my favourite wine from the tasting. It has beautiful spice notes on the nose and was brand new to me. I will definitely be picking up a few bottles of this. When I was in Argentina, all I had was Malbec and Torrontes so knowing you can get a good Cab shows the versatility of this growing wine region.

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Dominio Del Plata Crios Torrontes 

I’ve wrote about this wine before, and I will continue to unless it ever changes. It’s a beautiful, inexpensive wine that pairs as well with grilled fish as it does with a sunny patio. Smells sweet, tastes dry. Unbeatable at this price and I always reach for it.

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La Mascota Mendoza Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Who knew – another Cab! This wine is very subtle and smooth. There are not a ton of tannins, yet it is firm. The minerality in this wine really shines through and it has great balance. I would pair this with grilled pork sausage.

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Bodega Atamisque Catalpa Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011

This bottle is as beautiful as the wine inside it. The wine has a fragrant nose filled with red juicy fruit. The taste is high in acidity, meaning your mouth waters when you taste it. This is due to the diurnal temperature, meaning the temperature dips quite low at night, allowing the grapes to retain acidity. It has a dry herb flavour.

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Bodega El Esteco Don David Reserve Malbec 2011

How is this wine $13.99?? I’m a huge fan of this label and glad I got to try their Malbec as I usually stick with their Cab. It has ripe fruit flavours and would be great with steak (as well as before dinner as it’s very easy drinking).

156455Did I miss any of your favourite wines from Argentina? Do tell!