Wine Food Pairing - Rib Eye on the Barbie!

Wine food pairing .... the winters in SW Florida are mild and balmy ... OH MY!

This is the best time of the year for most Floridians where they practically live outside ... doors and windows open with soft breezes blowing through the house, bare feet and shorts are the norm and using the BBQ is something that is done at least a couple of times a week. After all, summer can have oppressive heat and humidity making outside activity brief, at best ... lol!

Is there a better way to have wine and food than a marbled rib eye steak that has been marinating for 24 hrs .... ? Stabbed with my tenderizer to perfection, with my favorite BBQ sauce seeping in along with some Caribbean jerk seasonings .... YUMMO!

I have a potato packet ready for the grill first ... these take about 1/2 hour ... place next to the fire to get them warm and then on the shelf for lots of indirect heat. I prepare these by slicing the taters into thin quarter size pieces along with green pepper and sweet Vidalia onions. Drop these "bad boys" into a ziploc bag, add a bit of veggie oil along with S & P and Emeril's original seasoning for a little "kick". Shake the bag to coat the potatoes and then seal into a neat foil package ...EASY!

Asparagus is always quick way to bring some greens into your dinner ... break off the woody ends, wash and toss into your steamer for a 5 minute "steam" when the steaks are almost ready. I like to garnish them with a drizzle of Pumpkin Seed oil from Austria and a few toasted slivered almonds. Gourmet cuisine made simple!

BigAl is in charge of the actual "grillmeister" duties ... searing the steaks to give them nice cross marks and then lowering the temp until done.

I paired this terrific meal with a James Marcus Malbec from Argentina ... dark purple in color, it smelled of raspberry and cherry. The Malbec tastes of plums and dry cherries and finishes with a pleasant spicy fruit taste. Perfect for the heavy rib eye!

An awesome wine food pairing adventure.

PS. don't forget to warm your plates on the grill ... nothing impresses them more than to serve on a sizzling plate.


Wine Food Pairing - COOL Tools .. GO Vinturi!

Wine food pairing asks "what do you get someone who has everything"? Aunt Patti and Brewski Bob found this cool new wine tool ... a Vinturi wine aerator!

Of course, we had to do several test runs with it and tried drinking the same wine with and without aeration. I noticed that the wine had a "richer" feel in my mouth and the tannins were not as harsh. BigAl wasn't sure if he noticed a difference, but he had had a beer before the experiment and that may have "clouded" his judgement.

After we got home from the different tastings and did a bit of research we found out that you can use the aerator either to pour by the glassful or to fill a red wine decanter. This nifty device has a rubber collar that seals the decanter nicely to protect the wine from deterioration or "buggies" that could be flying about.
We use the Vinturi Wine Aerator all the time now and the wine food pairing crew has decided it definitely makes a difference to the wine tasting experience .... all in all ... we have given it a 4 thumbs up. CHEERS!

Try it for yourself:

Wine Food Pairing - A Merry Christmas to All!

Wine food pairing celebrates Christmas with its own special traditions. Christmas in Florida is different than other parts of the US ... we look for ways to entertain ourselves that don't involve fighting snow and blizzards! A white Christmas for us is a day on the sugar white sands at the beach. The love of Great food and wine always plays a big part.

Friends and family gather at our next door neighbors, they load up the boat with Santa and his elves, then we share our "spirit" with the rest of our neighbors .... of course, it always begins with the popping of the ceremonial champagne "cork" ... this one from California's Crane Lake, a nice Brut ... see video ... and then the merriment progresses from there ...

Singing and entertaining the homes on the waterfront ... after so many years, people have started to send in their requests ... lol! After all, everyone loves to have a personal visit from the Jolly Old Elf!

After the exhausting boat ride, we take a few moments, gather up our yummy food offerings and celebrate. There is so much to give thanks for this time of year, but most of all, our wonderful friends that gather together each year. This is an awesome wine food pairing event!

Terrific wines from the Finger Lakes region of New York spotlight the Turkey dinner ( I chose a Dr. Frank Rkatsiteli ) ... what more could you ask for?

So from our families to yours ....
Merry Christmas .... CHEERS!

Wine Food Pairing - Christmas Boat Parade

Every year the tiny community of Isles of Capri, Florida gets together with Marco Island, decorates their boats in their Christmas best and has a PARTY! Wine food pairing looks forward to this event every year ... what a great way to get in the spirit of the season with all the friends and neighbors.

Living in a "water community" definitely has its advantages ... the options are always there ... do you want to dress up your boat and participate or do you want to sit back, sip champagne and enjoy everyone else's boat?

It shouldn't take you too long to figure out which decision I came up with ... lol! I love to munch on tasty finger food and sip Freixenet Brut out of a Tervis tumbler .... life is truly grand!

We had dips, chips, sloppy Joe's, deviled eggs, wiener schnitzel ( the Austrians, of course!), shrimp and stone crab claws. Wonderful brownies and sweet Christmas goodies, OH MY!

The boat decorations were great ... they showed so much imagination ... from angels hanging from the yard arms to Santa riding a turtle ... enjoy the video clips ... !

Wine food pairing shares the Isles of Capri Christmas Boat Parade. CHEERS!

Wine Food Pairing - Wine and Whopper ... YIKES!

You just never know what the major advertisers will come up with. Wine food pairing asks the question ... "What wine do you pair with a Whopper?" .... Do you really want to smell like a hamburger or do you want the object of your lustful desire to smell like one?

Check this out .....

NOW go to the actual ad:

Wine Food Pairing - The Kraut Report 2008

The Kraut Report 2008 is an Expose on how to make homemade sauerkraut the right way!

WFP - Kick off Your Shoes, Let's Get Barefoot!

The holidays are always great for wine food pairing. A lot of new foods and wine seem to appear on the store shelves and scream at you to pay attention. Barefoot Bubbly is just such a wine. It seems that I never noticed it before ... or maybe it was never stocked before.

Anyway, I am a sucker for sparkling wines and this just caught my eye one day ... let's give it a try! I bought the brut cuvee in hopes that it would be very, very dry ... in other words not sweet. In this case, while it was indeed a pleasant tasting sparkling wine, I was a bit disappointed. It had wonderful bubbles, but was a bit too sweet for my taste.

We paired our cocktail hour bubbly with some "party mix" that Aunt Patti had made just before she left to go north to the colder climes. The Barefoot Bubbly paired nicely with it and made for a terrific pre-dinner snack.

As for the Bubbly, yes, I would get it again, but only to pair with an appetizer ... it was just too sweet as a stand alone.

Wine food pairing makes tough decision ... lol. CHEERS!

Wine Food Pairing Does Szegediner Gulasch ....

Wine food pairing
asks the important question, "What, my friends, is Szegediner Gulasch?"

It is party time again and this time we have the opportunity to visit with our friends Angela and Hans who are our hosts for this evenings dinner ( the couple on the right


It is interesting to note that these two live 6 months in Vienna and then 6 months in Florida ... only 3 blocks away from us.  It was a chance dog walking encounter when we met several years ago. I began talking with Angela when I asked her where her accent was from .... little did we know that we were neighbors both here and in Austria!

Anyway, I digressed, lol .... Angela is a terrific hostess and we were met, upon entering, with the question would we like champagne or a refreshing holiday punch made from Compari, sparkling wine, sliced melons and raspberries.  We all went for the punch and what a great choice it was! Tasty, as well as thirst quenching.

As you can see, the table was laid with the Austrian traditions in mind and everything was just so, from the Austrian crystal goblets to the decorative napkin rings.  The table was already set to begin with our first course ....  a tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil salad ... YUMMO!

Our main course was the Szegediner Gulasch .... this is the answer to the opening question! Szegediner Gulasch is really Hungarian Sauerkraut Goulash.  This is made with pork tenderloin, sauerkraut, onions, sour cream,  spicey sausage along with  sweet and hot Hungarian paprika ... WOW ... this was great! Angela made fresh semelknoedel, or Austrian bread dumplings to go along with the goulash and they were light, tender and melt in your mouth yummy.

We paired this with a chilled Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio from Italy and the dry delicate flavor was perfect to put out the fires caused by the Goulash!  We went through several bottles and then switched to Cavit Pinot Grigio when we ran out  ..... lol!

Next came the "sweet" portion of the meal ... a flourless rich chocolate mocha cake that was served with whipped cream on the side .... mmmm .... everyone had a second piece.

After a bit of rest ... all this eating is tiring business .... we were on to the cheese and fruit plate.  Holy cow .... everything was delicious!

Wine food pairing, what a job.  CHEERS!

Wine Food Pairing - Stone crabs are FAB!

Wine food pairing is ready for party time!  Our snow bird neighborhood is beginning to fill up with our friends and well ... we all needed a party and catch up with all the latest!

We are so lucky to live in SW Florida and in fact we have a neighbor that actually owns a fishing boat and gets us the freshest stone crab claws plucked right from the Gulf of Mexico .... holy cow, er, crab!

The picture below showcases the "star" of the show, but everyone brought something yummy.

The before party "mingle" with all kinds of appetizer goodies
from the healthy veggie plate and stuffed mushrooms to Aunt Patti's butter laden bread with all kinds of delicious surprises.  Carol came up with a new twist on fried chicken drummies using rice flour and a thai sauce to tempt our palates and I believe to be the hit of the party!

Everyone seemed to have a different favorite wine so we had Yellow Tail Chardonnay, Cantina Rose Pinot Grigio, a White Merlot and Zinfindel from Beringer and a delicious Xplorado Cabernet from Chile.  Of course, the party has a hit!

I also made a hearty seafood chowder with clams, shrimp and scallops ... YUMMO!

Joanna finished us up with a sinfully delicious hot "candy bar" brownies topped with vanilla ice cream ... YIKES!

You can see from the pictures that by the end, all was well with the world. Even Holly, Houdini's guest, was sitting at the table enjoying the bounty!

Wine food pairing in the neighborhood.  CHEERS!

WFP - Here a Whack, there a Whack .... !

Stone Crab Party Prep ... here a whack, there a whack .... everywhere a whack, whack!

Wine Food Pairing Does the BIG Seven-0, Mahlzeit !

What better place to hone your wine food pairing skills than at a big 70th birthday celebration?

Here is the Birthday Boy himself, our good friend Hans!  

Keeping the Austrian tradition alive even in the USA, the birthday boy plans and pays for all the celebrations that go on, so if you get an invitation to a birthday it really is something special.

Of course,  Champagne was in order for the opening ceremonies and we all toasted to 70 more happy years for Hans with an iced down Cook's California Champagne.  Not really champagne, but a sparkling wine, it has a wonderful pale, straw yellow color.  It is quite bubbly, with presence of some large bubble and a constant, regular stream of small bubbles that tickle your nose long after the first sip!

His wife, Elisabeth, was on hand and did all the meal preparation of his most favorite food items.

We began the meal with steamed asparagus topped with a dollop of Hollandaise ... decadent!

' Kalbsgulasch ' or Viennese Veal Cream Goulash was the entree. 

Kalbsgulasch is prepared with equal amounts of cubed veal and 
chopped onion along with sour cream
and sweet Hungarian paprika.  This gives
the goulash a rich smokey flavor, but is quite mild compared to the "9 alarm" goulash made with Hungarian hot paprika!

Traditionally, this can be served with rice, noodles, potatoes or spaetzle.  Spaetzle is a dish of tiny noodles or dumplings made with flour, eggs, water or milk, salt and sometimes nutmeg. The spaetzle dough is then forced through a sieve, colander or spaetzle-maker with large holes. The small pieces of dough are usually boiled (poached) before being served.  

Elisabeth made her spaetzle with whole wheat flour to make it a bit healthier and then a crusty bread was served alongside to help sop up the gravy .... totally delish!  We drank a crisp Italian Pinot Grigio with this course.

Now, things get a bit fuzzy in my American mind ... I believe we had a plum schnapps about this time called Slivovitz.  Slivovitz, I believe comes from Croatia and is used to toast everything from births, deaths and everything in between including as a digestive aid.  All I can say is that is seemed like a good idea at the time ... hehehehe!
As you can see here ... birthday boy Hans is just now getting to the cake.  We switched to California Merlot now ... these Austrians sure know how to party !  This chocolate cake, as you can see, was anything but low calorie.  The fresh sweet strawberries were the only the beginning of the goodness.  OH MY!  The complex Merlot brought out all the flavors of the dark chocolate cake and I thought I would go into diabetic shock just licking my fork ......

Believe it or not there was more!  Yes, my friends, there was terrific cheese and fruit plate that came our after the cake.  It had all the wonderful "stinky" and unusual cheeses that you see in all the cool deli displays.  By this time I was ready to lay down on the couch ... no kidding!

Wine food pairing, what an adventure.  CHEERS, or as the Austrians say, MAHLZEIT!

Wine Food Pairing with a Zippy Dip in Monkey Bay!

Wine food pairing .... work, work, work!

This time of year is when you can expect unexpected guests to drop in or in my case, with a friendly neighborhood, just walk by and you invite them in.

Of course, you always want to have something simple to serve that is quick and easy.  You also want to make everyone think that you are indeed wonderful (which of course, you ARE!)

One of the all time no brainer, tasty and terrific looking things to do for impromptu get togethers is putting together a YUMMY dip with a brick of Philly cream cheese ... I do low fat ... and pour about a half of a jar of Harry and Davids "Pepper and Onion Relish" over it.  This makes a "zippy" tasting dip with just the right amount of heat and the colors are festive, also!

Harry and Davids also have this same relish with Zinfindel added which is a bit sweeter, but with the same zip .... so many choices to make in life ... lol!

Put a napkin lined basket of your favorite crackers out and give everyone their own cheese spreader.  There are so many cute ones available.

My wine of choice to pair with this great appetizer is a chilled Sauvignon Blanc from Monkey Bay.  This refreshing white from New Zealand is just what the doctor ordered to cool down the palate.

Wine food pairing during the holidays should be fun, festive and no stress.  Thanks Harry and David.  CHEERS!

Wine Food Pairing - A Bloody Mary Morning!

AHHHH .... the wine food pairing crew is home and enjoying our first weekend back.  Perhaps we celebrated a bit too much the night before as it seems that the fog is not outside, but right in my own head ... lol!

What a terrific time for our good friends Aunt Patti and Brewski Bob to invite us down to their house for Bloody Mary's to get our eyes really opened and our heads on straight for the day.  Even Houdini is feeling the jet lag a bit, but he has chosen to stay with fresh spring water as his "poison" of choice ... Bentley Brown, the "top dog" at the Brown household is more than happy to share!

I have never had that old southern favorite of biscuts and sausage gravy so Bob gets busy and whips up a plateful with the help of Aunt Patti doing the eggs.  Talk about a hearty breakfast, this is certainly it ... I could go out and plow a couple of fields about now ... just kidding, more like take a nappy!  I didn't know what I was missing all these years.

For some unknown reason I was operating under the misconception that biscuts and gravy were also known as SOS, or as the military folks call it, "sh*t on a shingle" ... YIKES ... I would never eat something named that!  After a bit of research, I found out that SOS is actually chipped beef or hamburger in gravy and served on toast.  Beef boullion is also added for extra flavor and actually doesn't taste all that bad, in addition, it is an inexpensive way to serve a bunch of people.

Well, Bob and Pat did a SUPER job! What a great way to start a Sunday morning with tasty drinks and a YUMMY breakfast.  Needless to say, we didn't linger too long after breakfast .... our couch back home was calling us!

Great wine food pairing is all about great friends, good food and refreshing beverages.  CHEERS!

Wine Food Pairing - Would You Like Cheese with that Wine?

Wine food pairing ... that old joke "would you like some cheese with that wine?" always is good for a chuckle or two ... !

Back in my homeland, the good old USA and busily trying to reclaim my house from the dust bunnies and other "critters" that have been inhabiting the house for the last few weeks ... lol ....

What is better than a quick snack of wine and cheese with some whole grain crackers?  Of course, you need to have some grapes nearby also to cleanse the palate.

I tried out a Cabernet / Merlot from Gato Negro "black cat" from Chile.  The cheese (from Publix) had cranberries in it and was wonderful, but a bit too sweet to pair with the cab ... ahhhh ... better luck next time.

All in all, a nice relaxing time to kick back and enjoy the Florida lifestyle .... afterall, wine food pairing should be stress free.  CHEERS!

Wine Food Pairing - To Florida via Greenland ... lol!

Wine food pairing is heading home ... or at least to one of our homes ... the one in beautiful, warm and sunny Florida.  It has been a lot of fun to be in Austria for the last few weeeks and the weather has been terrific, which is also a plus!

Our flight boards on time, but for some unknown reason we have a delay ... we probably really don't want to know why.  As soon as possible after take off we order a glass of red wine to take the edge off and to hopefully be able to fall asleep soon after our meal. Air Berlin has been serving this Tur Tur red by Schneider for a few years now and it is always a good standby.

Houdini is all settled in under the seat ahead of me and he looks to be napping.  The "Hoots" is a great traveler ... he has never had to be sedated to fly and as long as he is with his "Mom and Dad" all is well in his doggie world!

The Captain comes on the PA system and it seems that there is a storm somewhere in the UK and we will be taking a slight detour our the weather by way of Greenland ... YIKES!  It adds about 2 extra hours to our flight time .... oh my!

A quick peek out my window shows a lot of snow and ice ... holy cow, this looks darn cold.  I hope we don't need to make an emergency landing anytime soon.

This is now going to be and 11 1/2 hour flight so I guess we will pace ourselves.  Our first meal is served and is surprisingly good!  Air Berlin must have changed purveryors since we flew over.  A tasty chicken, rice and broccoli that actually is a bit crisp.  The herbed cheese pairs great with the red wine and really, what more could you ask for in the back of the bus?

Florida here we come ... wine food pairing raises our glass to the USA. CHEERS!

Wine Food Pairing - Munchin or Bust!

Wine food pairing hits the road once again and this time we are going to make it to Munich .... we go by way of Grieskirchen, the small village where BigAl was born. Actually, the closest we got was the sign post, but all the same it was a trip down memory lane!

We get on the freeway ... or autobahn ... that interesting road system where you have the unusual dichotomy of very expensive cars going very fast and normal cars going semi fast and then a whole lot of truck traffic that would like to go fast, but can't and they make you crazy ... !

This picture shows us entering Germany from Austria. The EU "states" have no official border patrol crossings and it is terrific that traffic is no longer backed up while very official "guys" with big guns scrutinize your passport and decide if you may pass into their country. Just having to go through one of those crossings makes you feel guilty .. remember the time you snuck that extra cookie when no one was looking ... lol?

YIPPEEE!!!! We are finally in Munich!

We go to our friend Juergen's apartment in the Schwabing district where we will spend the night and some quality time chatting, eating and drinking ... what are friends all about?

Juergen has an eight floor penthouse that has a terrific wraparound deck that gives you wonderful views of Munich. You can see a lot of park area as well as skylines of this pretty neat city. Off to the left a few blocks we can see the stadium that was used for the Munich Olympics ... this evening, blue neon lights ring the top of it signifying which soccer team will be playing.

Many years ago, the Schwabing district was known for its "Bohemian" culture, but now it is one of the more sought after places to live in the city because you have access to just about

We take a short walk up the tree lined street and come to an Italian restaurant.

This fall afternoon is perfect for the outdoor garden setting. The food is diverse and plentiful . The Chianti is a wonderful pairing for all the dishes.

Cousin Franz is checking out the Octopus. YIKES! I have never been a big fan of it, but Franz said it was great and Houdini gave it a "4 tail wag"!

I went with shrimp fettucine with a marinara sauce and loved it. It had just enough heat in it to make it interesting. The Chianti cooled the palate right down!

A great late afternoon meal ..... our last in Europe for a while ....

Wine food pairing bids our second home goodbye. CHEERS!

Wine Food Pairing Visits Waizenkirchen .... !

Wine food pairing makes an overnight stop to visit some of BigAl's relatives before we get to Munchin.  Cousin Franz has graciously been chauffering us around and our evening stop is to visit his sister and her family in Waizenkirchen.

The Austrian's are always such terrific hosts and out came the bottles of wine ... a local Blauer Zweigelt and a large platter of cheeses and cold cuts ..... teamed up with fresh bread and pickles and other assorted peppers and veggies ... YUMMO!

Here we are in their comfy kitchen with the "boys" Wolfgang and Christian.

You can see that the tableware is from Gmunder Keramik.  This is used in almost all of the households in Austria ... BigAl and I have a set also ... and it seems that these are all hand made and known worldwide for their distinctive green ripple design!

Another comfortable evening in Austria for the wine food pairing adventurers.  CHEERS!

Wine Food Pairing - Oldtimer Road Trip!

Wine food pairing has been a lot of fun in Austria, but our time is getting short here. Six weeks has gone by in a flash and we are on the downward slide, so to speak. We are starting our trip home to Florida by taking a road trip ... from Breitenau, Austria to Munich, Germany .... eventually and then catch a flight to the USA.

It will take us a couple of days .. not because it is all that far, but we plan on enjoying ourselves along the way!

A stop we always make on our road trips is to the Oldtimer Restaurant. These motorway eateries that dot the Austrian autobahn's always have great food ... you can either order off the menu or go the the food bar where you can find almost any type of food you want.

Crazy advertisements, also!

We are about 3 hours into our trip and it is a perfect time to stop and "rest" ... lol!

The Oldtimer has fuel as well a restaurant and plenty of grass for Houdini to exercise his little legs.

A little lunch and a little wine ... after all I am not driving ... you think these guys would let me drive on the autobahn???? I enjoy the back seat with Houdini!

A quick coffee for the road ... I had a melange .... a Viennese specialty .... half coffee and half frothed milk ... so tasty and always served with mineral water on the side, very European!

Back into the car for another hour of fun!

Wine food pairing takes a road trip ... always an adventure.  CHEERS!

Wine Food Pairing- Corn Flake Schnitzel, Oh My!

Sunday, Sunday .... wine food pairing is looking for great food in a relaxing location. What better place to go than the Dorfwirt Gasthaus in Peisching Austria? Just the next village over it is always a good place to stop by and with Cousin Franz in tow we head on over!

The Dorfwirt was hosting a big event for the morning with a band and dancing ... this is just winding down and everyone is starting to kick back and relax a bit ...... the servers are joking around and cleaning up from the standing room only crowd.

We decide that a good way to begin our dining experience would be with their super yummo pumpkin soup! Kuerbissuppe is always a wonderful treat on a sunny, but chilly fall afternoon. They serve it just right, too ... with a dollop of creme fraiche and a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil!

Creme fraiche, prounounced "krem fresh", is a thick and smooth soured cream with a rich and velvety texture. This matured cream has a nutty, slightly sour taste produced by culturing pasteurized cream with a special bacteria.

For my main course I decided to pair my Zweigelt, local red wine, with another one of my favorite "schnitzel's" .... this one is a puntenschnitzel or turkey schnitzel. I am always of fan of this, but the Dorfwirt Gasthaus makes it extra special by dredging it in cornflakes first ... OH MY ... it gives the whole thing a terrific crunch!

It is served with a half of peach and a compote of lingonberries. Lingonberries are sometimes called the mountain cranberry and are a bit sweeter and less tart than the traditional cranberry and pair beautifully with the turkey schnitzel.

BigAl decided to take advantage of the fall season by going with "Bambi" ... wild meat this time of year in Austria is plentiful and he really doesn't have the opportunity to eat it very often in the US. Florida tends to offer more fresh fish than wild game on the menu ... lol!

Of course, the usual semelknoedel, or Austrian bread dumpling sat proudly on his plate!

Cousin Franz, being a vegetarian in this country of "meat," chose his usual veggie plate and ate every morsel!

The food was great and the wine exceptional. Another wine food pairing adventure for the blog history books. CHEERS!

Wine Food Pairing - An Afternoon with Franz Strebinger

Enjoy Franz' home and gallery with my photo show ...

A crisp fall day in Austria and wine food pairing decides to spend the afternoon with BigAl's old friend Franz Strebinger. These two grew up together in Austria and had a bit of catching up to do on all the latest goings on.

Franz, a well known Austrian artist, has been very busy with his art career. He began photography at the age of 25 and then when his children got a bit older he began to paint. As he told me, they were old enough to know not to eat the paints ... lol! His prestigious career has continued and he now is known worldwide for his work in ceramics and pottery.

He has traveled to exotic places and gotten inspiration from many different locations. His home in Neunkirchen Austria is a stunning gallery of just a few of his works, but he also spends a great deal of time in Thailand.

We spent lunch time enjoying a yummy Thai dish that his wife prepared and a delicious red wine while discussing his many adventures and watching some of his home videos. What could be better than wine and food along with good conversation?

Houdini, of course, found a nice place to watch all the activities snuggling up with the girls on the couch ... he is such a "chick" magnet!

A great afternoon and another successful Wine food pairing adventure.