Sherry sales are booming. Well, everyone loves an underdog
Not so long ago, people wouldn’t touch sherry with a barge pole – but old friends have a habit of returning
Everyone for sherry? Photograph: Patrick Ward/Corbis
Amid the nostalgia-fest that is Christmas, news has broken that sherry – which many people will forever associate with that disgusting sweet liquor they sipped as a child from auntie’s glass when no one was looking – is suddenly terribly fashionable and selling like hot cakes. But to the sophisticates among you, this will be no revelation. In fact British appreciation of pale, dry sherries, which are nothing like the stuff granny served in dainty, cut-glass schooners, has been bubbling up for a decade, largely thanks to the rise in very good tapas restaurants.
Wednesday’s report points out that, along with sales going through the roof (M&S’s figures are already up a third on last year’s), specialist sherry bars are now popular: 35 opened in London alone over the past three years. This isn’t a bunch of students ironically knocking back a “blue-rinse” tipple – it’s young professionals sampling fine sherries in elegant wine glasses, which allow drinkers to appreciate the camomile and coastal aromas of their manzanilla.
What a turn-around – it isn’t that long ago that no one would have touched sherry with a barge pole…
Pigs Ass Porter
Brewed by Harvest Moon Brewing Company, Montana
First brewed by Harvest Moon in 1997, this beer is a multiple award-winning dark ale brewed in the Burton, England style owing to the similarity of water chemistry in Belt compared to this classic porter producing area in England. Plenty of body without a sharp bite, this ale is brewed with pale, caramel, chocolate and black malts to create a creamy, smooth, roasted, slightly chocolate tasting ale with a touch of hops in the finish. This ale can be enjoyed in every season and is best when served cool, not cold. And why the name? While drinking this new brew one evening back in 1997, the local hog farmer showed up to collect our spent mash and we that what could be better for fattening pigs? – Harvest Moon Brewery
Reblog from: jenkakio
I am not a beer expert by no means. I can’t tell you by taste if a beer is made with wheat or hops. I leave that to the experts like TBQ. What I do know is what I like. All beers are not the same. I am always on the quest to finding the perfect beer, in the meantime, I will try all the beers in world–one pint at a time.
1. Wailua Wheat Ale
Read more 11 beers
It’s a bean!
Noooo, that’s soya.
Soju is to South Korea like grappa is to Italy, or cachaça is to Brazil, or sake is to Japan, etc.
Interesting fact: Three times more soju is sold around the world than vodka.
A spirit distilled from rice, between 20% and 46% ABV.
Soju: the most popular booze in the world
The South Korean spirit is the globe’s best-selling alcohol. But they’re not just drinking it in Korea these days – you can try chilled shots or soju cocktails in New York and London
A shot of soju: ‘The best is described as buttery, grainy or malty, with hints of sweetness.’ Photograph: Washington Post/Getty Images
Attention pub quizzers and booze geeks. There’s a brand of one particular spirit that sells more than twice as much as any other in the world. Any guesses? If you said vodka, back of the class. The answer is soju, national hooch of South Korea. Jinro Soju…
Soju now sells in 80 countries, with a rising profile helped by Korean superstar Psy, who not only proclaimed soju his “best friend” but also lent his dark-glassed visage to various campaigns to get the rest of the world smitten too.
Psy is just sharing his countrymen’s passion. In a country with the world’s highest per capita alcohol consumption (hey, it can’t be easy living next door to North Korea), soju takes a whopping 97% of the spirits market. But this is a drink embedded in Korean culture since the 14th century, when Mongol invaders taught the locals how to distill, with fermented rice as the traditional starter. Today, the final spirit ranges in strength from 45% ABV to more common varieties that hit your glass ataround 25% ABV.
As with most spirits there’s good stuff and bad stuff about – the latter being low-grade muck made from sweet potatoes and tapioca rather than artfully distilled fermented rice. Look for respected brands such as Chamisul or the delightfully named Chum-Churum. If you’re in Korea, search out Andong – a 45% ABV beauty so highly regarded it has been officially designated as Korea’s Intangible Cultural Assets No 12.
In the UK, it’s the less potent soju you’ll find in Korean bars and restaurants, where many punters drink it neat, chilled in a shot glass. This is also, of course, a great chance to discover soju’s ubiquity as a novel complement to nosh.
Fried Olives typically from the Ascoli area are pitted, stuffed with minced meat, breaded and deep fried.
But not only minced beef, savoury cheeses or prosciutto can also be used for the filling.
This appetizer is one of the most representative of Italian culinary tradition and it will surely be a hit with your friends.
• 2,2 lbs (1 kg) of soft tender olives from Ascoli
• 1 oz (30 g) of the soft, inner part of bread
• ¾ cup (80 g) of grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 egg / the grated zest of ½ lemon
• (A pinch of) nutmeg / (a pinch of) clove powder
• About a cup (200-250 ml) of white wine
• Salt / a small stalk of celery
• A small carrot / ½ onion • 3,5 oz (100 g) of chicken breast
• 3,5 oz (100 g) of beef meat
• 3,5 oz (100 g) of pork meat
For breading and frying, we’ll have:
• breadcrumbs / 2 eggs / some flour
• 2 cups (½ l) of extra virgin olive oil
Right click on the video for the link and full text.
For the ladies.
Ever tried it? Too late, Molson Coors reported to be off the market at the end of 2012.
Here’s an advert…
You can read more about it on: Esquire
Reblogged from Wine Wankers go there if you want to know more
Champagne Vending Machine
Is nothing sacred?
To be more accessible and approachable to shoppers during the holiday season, French champagne house Moët & Chandon is selling mini bottles in vending machines at British department store Selfridges in London.
The company is looking to change their brand image by placing their champagne in an ordinary display.
The vending machine is located at the store’s “Destination Christmas” section. The machine has the brand name displayed prominently and comes in a metallic champagne-colored finish. It holds 200ml champagne bottles that sell for $29.
The vending machine has created buzz both for Selfridges and the champagne brand as people share and post about the machine on their social networks.
These… actually, a selection from New Zealand.
For info & notes on each, check: Beer Diary
Single Origin Coffee Aged in a Pinot Noir Barrel? Only in Portland
[Photo: James Holk]
I know, I know. We’re all thinking the same thing. Portland found one more thing they could infuse with booze? This time, a beautiful single origin coffee from El Salvador, aged in an oak Pinot Noir barrel? Sure. But think again: beyond gimmick and Portlandianism, to a subtle, thoughtfully conceived coffee roasted by Southeast Portland roaster Water Avenue Coffee, balanced and still very much a coffee beverage.
Water Avenue partner and roaster Brandon Smyth came to the unusual idea—coffee beers are sometimes aged in oak barrels, but not coffee coffees—through winemaking.
“A long while back, when I was still roasting at Stumptown, I was making my own wine. And you can either go out and buy a barrel, which is pretty expensive, or you can add oak powder to wine. And I was making a red wine and I was tasting it before and after I put the oak in there, and what I expected was the oak to tasty oaky, to taste woody. But it actually brought out a bunch of berry, fruit flavor! So I thought, oh man, that’d be cool to try that with some coffee.”
Smyth originally dropped the oak experiment on some Sumatran coffee beans, post-roasting, and found the final brew fruity and “more burly” but overall a bit extreme. His next move was to try aging green, unroasted coffee beans for a short time in a barrel used for making red wine. But it’s not as easy to find a good used wine barrel as you might think—Smyth says one vintner was “so confused by what I was asking and what I was planning to do with it that he thought I was a crackpot.” But when he finally came into possession of a decommissioned Pinot Noir barrel from Oregon vintners Crowley Wines, he knew he just had to use the right coffee. “I opened it up and it just smelled amazing,” Smyth said. “Like cherries.”
Luckily, Water Avenue already had a coffee called El Manzano from El Salvador in their repertoire—a coffee with whose farm they’ve had an ongoing relationship, and which offers flavors of apple, dark berries, caramel and chocolate, while still maintaining a sunny acidity. It’s also a pulp natural processed coffee, meaning the freshly harvested coffee undergoes its drying period with the fruit’s mucilage still on the bean, which can result in sweeter and fruitier flavor in the cup.
“I thought, it’s a pulp natural, and the fruit flavor it had had a lot of red apple to it,” said Smyth. “There’s a certain crispness to it that I felt if you were going to add anything to it, that clarity of that coffee would only bring it out more. The barrel’s not going to cover anything up that would actually be detrimental to the flavor,” said the roaster.
“To me, those fruits that come out, the cherry from the barrel work really well with the red apple from the Manzano. I also feel like having a little bit of pulp helps the coffee absorb the flavor. Pulp naturals age really well, they have a lot of that pectin on the bean that helps protect them from the environment.”
And the results are vivid: a balanced coffee whose intrinsic apple and cocoa flavors and the delicate oak and cherry additions exist in harmonious parallel. You can separate them out in your brain—but in a way that is more likely to surprise and make you rethink tasting than anything else.
Water Avenue has already gone through 300 pounds of the 13-day-aged coffee beans, and they expect to be able to age another 500 pounds before they think the barrel flavor will begin to fade—then again, Smyth doesn’t really know when that will happen, because he’s never tried this before. What’s next?
“I know a guy down here who’s a cooper making cedar barrels, so we’re going to do a cedar one which might be interesting. I don’t want to get too far into it because, while it’s interesting and it’s fun, I’d like to have one thing going on, or all of the sudden, are we flavoring coffee? Is it just manufacturing it, or a certain kind of gimmick,” mused Smyth. “I don’t want to get too weird.”
About the author: Liz Clayton
Source: Serious Eats
Schmeat: a tasty-sounding word, but what does it mean?
Oxford Dictionaries’ intriguing runner-up for word of the year refers to the synthetic meat grown from a soup of antibiotics and foetal bovine serum. Feel schick yet?
Schmeat isn’t murder … a lab-grown slab of schmeat. Photograph: David Parry/PA
Age: About six months.
Appearance: Almost like the real thing.
Schmeat? Schwat? It’s one of the runners-up for Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year.
Schwat does it schmean? You know, that could get real old, real fast.
Schokay. Schi’ll schtop now. Thanks. It’s the name of that meat-type-stuff scientists grew earlier this year.
Oh, you mean that hamburger that started life as a few cells cultured in a delicious nutritional soup of antibiotics and foetal bovine serum but is still ethically and ecologically better than hacking lumps off actual cows? Yes.
I don’t get it. Has it been dismissed as nonsensical by the Guild of Jewish Mothers? “Meat-schmeat!” No, it’s a combination of “sheet” and “meat”.
Sheet? Because that’s how you grow meat that does not have to be supported by a cow/sheep/pig skeleton. In sheets.
I’ve just been a little bit schick in my mouth. Schfair enough. No, wait, schtop – I mean, stop – it.
Hang on – shouldn’t it be “shmeat”? Why’s the “c” there? That is a question for more cunning linguists than I.
OK, then – why is it only a runner-up? It seems like a pretty good word to me. Neat. Rolls off the tongue. Probably very useful once we’ve reduced the world to a spinning ball of dust and are living in pods and depending on petri dishes for our food. Yes, but it hasn’t had the 17,000% increase in usage that the winner has had over the last year.
Which is? “Selfie” – a picture people take of themselves on their phone and post on social media. Coincidentally, most of them look about as prepossessing as the average bunch of meat fibres emerging from dish of foetal bovine serum.
But let’s go back to the schmeat of the issue. Is it arriving on our supermarket shelves anytime soon? Scientists predict it will be producible in sufficient amounts by the end of the decade.
Is it going to be the best thing since sliced bread or the worst thing since turkey bacon? Time alone will tell, my friend. Time alone will tell.
Do say: “Scha fantastic idea! Schign me up.”
Don’t say: “I bet it tastes like schite.”
Is it possible to improve on the simple perfection of the original Lancashire hotpot – and where do you get your mutton?
The perfect Lancashire hotpot. Photographs: Felicity Cloake for the Guardian
One of the great stews of the world, Lancashire hotpot is a dish that makes a virtue of simplicity. The name, often assumed to refer to the cooking vessel used (traditionally a tall, straight-sided earthenware pot) is actually more likely to be connected what lies within, which originally would have been a hodge-podge or jumble of ingredients – whatever was to hand that day.
Millworkers are often said to have invented this particular hotpot, but, as has been pointed out, few people would have had ovens at home in the mid-19th century, when the first recipes appear; perhaps it was baked in the communal bread oven as it cooled, or the recipe may have originated somewhat higher up the social scale. Whatever the true history, it is an indisputable northern classic.
Jane Grigson’s Lancashire hotpot.
Jane Grigson sadly observes in English Food that “in the old days, mutton was the meat used [but] now it is almost impossible to buy” – most contemporary recipes call for lamb instead. I try one, from Margaret Costa’s 1970 Four Seasons cookbook, that uses mutton, which does indeed prove surprisingly difficult to track down; halal butchers are often the best bet. It’s well worth doing, though: the meat is leaner, the flavour more savoury and it stands up much better to long, slow cooking.
I’d assumed that the hotpot would be a repository for tougher, less desirable cuts of meat, but cutlets – the tiny, delicate chops from the top of the best end – are surprisingly common, used by Lancashire chef Paul Heathcote, Grigson and Costa. Gary Rhodes goes for meatier chump chops, while Michelin-starred Nigel Haworth sticks in a medley, including the neck chops, but also shoulder, neck, shin and loin.
I’m also going to use a mixture: the lengthy cooking time suits tougher cuts like neck and shin down to the ground, transforming them into something silky and succulent, but the bones from the cutlets add flavour, as well as being traditional – JH Walsh’s 1857 Manual of Domestic Economy calls for “fine chops from a neck of mutton”, trimmed nicely. I prefer the slightly larger middle neck to the best end, if you can get it.
Costa adds kidneys, which also pop up in many early recipes, along with oysters, which no longer seem in the thrifty spirit of the dish. The kidneys aren’t to my taste – after two and a half hours in the oven they’re tough and rubbery, but if you like them, by all means cut one per person into quarters and add them to the rest of the meat.
Margaret Costa’s Lancashire hotpot.
That meat should sit in a richly savoury gravy – Heathcote adds no extra liquid, which means the dish is moistened only with greasy lamb fat, while Grigson’s water makes the whole thing sadly insipid. Much better to cook it in stock, as Costa suggests; Rhodes goes for white wine and veal jus, but it needs no such fancy flavours.
I do like Heathcote’s idea of flouring the meat before cooking, however. This is never going to be a gravy you can stand your spoon up in, and Rhodes’s notion of removing the meat and potatoes after cooking in order to reduce and thicken the sauce proves an impossible mess, but a bit of body is never unwelcome.
Nigel Haworth’s Lancashire hotpot.
I’m always surprised when recipes that make a great feature of the potato make no mention of what variety to use – waxy and floury yield very different results, yet only Haworth specifically calls for maris piper. Because they’re sliced and baked in the manner of a dauphinoise, I initially warm to a waxier sort, which holds its shape. After eating Haworth’s version, however, I realise one of the chief joys of this dish is the way the potatoes that have come into contact with the gravy dissolve into a rich, meaty mash, while those on top go crisp and golden – for which one needs a floury variety such as, indeed, a maris piper.
Using two layers of potato, one in the base of the dish and one at the top, as Costa suggests, doubles the pleasure. Brushing the top with melted butter, as Haworth and Grigson do, helps the crisping process, as does uncovering the dish to allow it to brown at the end. It’s also very important to season each layer as you go; a dish this simple stands or falls by its seasoning. Pouring the gravy over the top of the potatoes, as Rhodes suggests, is a good way to add yet more flavour.
Rhodes also pre-fries his potatoes in dripping before adding them to the dish. While they’re good, they’re no better than Costa’s, so I decide to skip this step. Heathcote, meanwhile, cooks his potatoes separately, in vast amounts of clarified butter, to produce a rich potato cake reminiscent of a pommes anna. Potatoes and butter are always going to be delicious, but it’s a shame they’re never given a chance to mingle with the meat – the hotpot is not a dish in need of deconstruction.
Paul Heathcote’s Lancashire hotpot.
Onions form the third prong of the hotpot trinity; there’s no need to pre-cook them, as Heathcote suggests. Lamb is a meat that tends towards fattiness as it is, so adding any more takes the dish perilously close to greasy.
Rhodes and Heathcote use carrot, which adds a welcome touch of sweetness, but doesn’t stand up well to such prolonged cooking. Rhodes also chucks in celery and leek for good measure, both of which are an unnecessary distraction. Heathcote, meanwhile, makes a gravy which includes bacon and lentils for his modern take on the hotpot, which, like his roasted shallots, is frankly just a bit bizarre. Like Rhodes’s garlic and rosemary, it is needlessly complicating a dish that should be a simple pleasure. Costa’s thyme and bay leaf seem to blend into the whole far more harmoniously.
You want to know the how and the recipe? Then check The Guardian