Wine Food Pairing - Holiday Eating and Drinking Tips!

Wine food pairing .. this is the time of year to gear up for some wine and food pairing.  My friend Jean sent me this advice:


1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Holiday spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls. 

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare... You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas! 

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat. 

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission. 

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Holiday party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello? 

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog. 

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again. 

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three.. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day? 

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards. 

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by: 

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand and wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!" 

Have a great holiday season!!

Wine food pairing is all about enjoying great food, good wine and wonderful friends ...


Wine Food Pairing - Capri Cafe Rockin' the Isles of Capri

Wine food pairing on the tiny Isles of Capri Florida ... for a fun filled evening of casual waterfront dining, awesome Italian food and toe tapping music wander on down to the Capri Cafe.  This takes casual waterfront dining to a new level with the roll down curtains and outdoor heaters so you can enjoy most Florida winter evenings outside.

BigAl and I decided to check out the Sampler platter and honestly, I don't think that I have ever had calamari so tender.  Usually it is "chewy" ... you know ... kinda like gum, but this lightly dusted and fried delicacy simply melted in my mouth.

Now we got serious with the house specialty ... Pork Osso Buco.  I am familiar with the "pig" shank from my travels in Austria and enjoying their version called stelze.  Well, this is totally different ... same part of the pig, but with an Italian spin.  The Osso Buco had been slow cooked in a light red sauce, came out fork tender and was sans skin ... served on a bed of Angel Hair pasta it was awesome.  We split one dish and that was more than enough.  We paired it with their house Chianti and had our very own wine food pairing "event!

There was even live entertainment ... Johnny Fusco had the crowd rockin' with his singing impersonations.  He had the crowd dancing, singing and laughing.  An all around great evening on isles of Capri.

Check out my video:

The Capri Cafe on Isles of Capri is definitely Naples "Best Kept Dining Secret".


Capri Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wine Food Pairing - A Ton of FUN at the Breitenau Austria Fire Department

Wine food pairing ... fun in the firehouse!

The Breitenau Fire Department in Austria knows how to have a great time ... who would have thought that you could savor good Austrian wine, home cooked schnitzel and then get a personal tour of this station?

Watch and enjoy this wine food pairing adventure ... btw ... I went with a Grüner Veltliner ... a white wine grape variety grown in Austria.  This tasty wine has a reputation of being a particularly food-friendly wine ... and it did.


Wine Food Pairing - How about a Baloney Sandwich?

Wine food pairing .. there are so many ways to enjoy wine ... sometimes I enjoy a crisp chilled white along with a good belly laugh ...

BTW ... I think this would go great with a baloney sandwich ... HEhehehehe ...


Wine Food Pairing - #1 Family Reunion in Austria

Wine food pairing shares the #1 family reunion in Austria.  Enjoy !

Wine food pairing .... CHEERS!

Wine Food Pairing A Special Treat in Vienna

Wine food pairing once again made the trek into Vienna to visit one of our good friends, Winnie Dichtl.  Dr. Dichlt has been a close friend of Big Al's for probably 40 years now and he is the only one that Big Al allows to touch his teeth and I agree.

Well, once we were done in the office we walked over to a local eatery to enjoy some super food and conversation.  The Kolonitz Beisl is just around the corner from the office and is well known for its local Austrian food as well as some delicious vegetarian dishes.

I went for a a vegetarian daily special called "Spinat gefüllt Palacinke" which translated is a spinach stuffed crepe like pancake ... served with a creamy garlic sauce ... it was heavenly to say the least!  To start ... a creamy carrot soup ... oh my goodness.  This lunch was so filling that I shared with Alfred and still was full at dinner time.

Wine?  Did anyone ask about wine with lunch .... of course!  Actually, we all had Sturm.   We are at the beginning of "Sturm" season and all the gasthaus' have little billboards advertising this special Austrian "juice".   I have written about sturm before ... actually about the first time I was introduced to it ... the guys thought it hilarious to tell me it was carbonated juice and got me totally blasted.  It is, in fact, a very young, yeasty wine that tastes very sweet and has a high alcohol content.  There is rot (red) Sturm and weiss (white) Sturm.  I chose the red yesterday because I think the "rot" is pretty.  I am a such connoisseur ... hehehe ....

Wine food pairing .... another adventure ... this time in Vienna Austria


Wine Food Pairing - Weingut Hans Tinhof

Wine food pairing once again traveled to the Burgenland region of Austria ... this time to visit our friend and vintner Hans Tinhof.  Located in  St. Georgen, this heuriger is one of the best!

Hans was there to offer us tastings of his latest Zweigelt, one of my favorite Austrian red wines, as well as a Rose which was light and fruity ... very thirst quenching!

BigAl and I shared a "house plate" filled with all kinds of wursts and meats along with a cabbage and Austrian potato salad which paired well with the early red wine ... take a look ...

Wine food pairing ... when you look for a Burgenland heuriger don't forget to stop by and see Hans and his family.  CHEERS!

Wine Food Pairing – Wine Tasting Adventure in Gols Austria

What an adventure for wine food pairing!  We spent the afternoon sightseeing and bumping around some of the wine areas of Burgenland in Austria.  Burgenland is a famous grape growing region and known worldwide for their delicious wines.

BigAL was on the "Starfighter Team " over 30 years ago ... flying with vintage airplanes low over the vineyards to scare the birds out of the area without hurting or killing them. The Starlings , in German are called "Star", can devastate the crops by stripping the vines of grapes.  The planes fly low over the rows of grapes “fooling” the birds into thinking that the plane is a REALLY BIG BIRD and that they need to leave the area NOW!

Well, we searched the sky to see if any planes were flying and then followed … as we drove into the landing field we came upon a small shack manned by a couple of the wine growers supervising the action.  Alfred got out of the car, exchanged a few words and soon Alfred, Houdini and I were invited in.  Well, as you can see from the picture, the “house” was probably about 8’x10’, a table with benches and a couple of shelves and 2 very friendly wine growers … one who remembered Alfred from over 30 years ago.

Hans Beck spoke English and told me that over the years he had exported over 1,000,000 bottles of wine to the US … his wines were served exclusively on Austrian Airlines for several years.  He just happened to have a couple of bottles of his “house” wine that they were tasting when we came in … of course, soon we were enjoying the wines, also.  Oh MY … these wines were terrific … if these were his everyday wines, I can hardly wait to taste the “good beans” … LOL.  In fact, we did get an invitation to come back at a later date for an exclusive wine sampling from his wine cellar … I can hardly wait!

I was lucky enough to get Hans Beck on video explaining his 2 house wines … take a listen …

Just imagine, enjoying a Cuvee Heideboden 2009 and a 2006 Zweigelt with the producer himself.

Wine tasting ... what a lot of fun. CHEERS!

Wine Food Pairing at the Breitenau Frühschoppen

Wine food pairing just spent an exciting Sunday in Breitneau, Austria ... I was promised that we would go Sunday "frühschoppen" at the "Feuerwehr Breitenau", or firehouse.  Well, you guys know that my German is poor, even on a good day, but for some reason I was thinking that there would be "FREE shopping" ... sounded like a plan to me ... LOL!

Well, much to my surprise "Frühschoppen" has absolutely nothing to do with shopping, let alone FREE shopping.  It is a type of brunch event ... well, let's say it is a meal after church and before lunch, but let me tell you it lasted until way after dinner time.

We walked to the firehouse .... an enjoyable jaunt for BigAl, Houdini and me with the weather in the mid 70's.  The circus tent was in place, music playing from Musikerein Breitenau and the crowd eating, drinking and gossiping.

A quick gander at the menu and I made a decision on the surschnitzel ...  "brined" pork that is then "schnitzeled" .... what better beverage to pair this traditional Austrian treat than  a refreshing white wine spritzer  from a Welsch-Riesling made locally here in Lower Austria.  In fact, it was so tasty that after a while I decided to skip the spritzer and just go the wine all by itself ... fresh, light and fruity ... YUMMO!

In addition to the great music, wine and food they had events for the kids and a raffle with all kinds of goodies donated from local shop owners ... what more could you want?

Take a look at the quick video that I made ...

Wine food pairing ... CHEERS!

Wine Food Pairing - Thai Food and Fine Wines

Wine food pairing ... a video glimpse of our evening with Franz Strebinger and Busaba's authentic Thai food.  Talk about "delish" !

Great wines from the Fischer Heuriger ... a great evening was had by all.

Wine food pairing with Thai food ... why not?  CHEERS!

Wine Food Pairing - A Treat from Thailand

Wine food pairing is always an adventure and last night we had the opportunity to enjoy terrific Thai food, awesome wine and the company of old, as well as new, friends.

An invitation from BigAl's childhood friend, artist Franz Strebinger, to partake of his wife, Busaba's, authentic Thai cuisine is something that is always a delight, but in addition we met vintners from the Fischer Heuriger.

The Fischer family has been making top quality Austrian wines since 1953 ... does it get any better?  They shared with us the care that is taken with each bottle, the long months that each wine ferments in oak barrels ... the use of oak in wine plays a significant role in their winemaking and has a profound effect on the resulting wine ... affecting the color, flavor ... even the texture of the wine.

Let me tell you ... the spicy Thai food and the wonderful "reds" from the Fischer Heuriger made for a wine food pairing that was second to none!

Of course the evening wouldn't be complete without an after dinner schnapps ... this is typical for Austrian dinners ... I have been told that it is strictly a digestive aid, but usually they taste pretty darn good!  Franz brought out a special Thai whiskey ... it was mellow, but definitely had a "kick" ... YIKES!

All in all, a wonderful time was had by all with the wine and food flowing freely ... who said that Red wines only go with beef?  CHEERS!

Wine Food Pairing ... A Stelze Treat!

Wine food pairing is a lot of fun with family.  Cousin Michaela in Austria whipped up this tasty treat of Stelze and paired it with a local red wine "Zweigelt" from Burgenland ...

Too bad you can't enjoy the aromas of this hearty meal.

Wine food pairing at it's best.


Wine Food Pairing - Adventure in Linsberg Austria

Wine food pairing has the opportunity for wine adventures at every turn.  BigAl and I recently met our friend Herbert at the Castle Tavern, also known as the Schlosstaverne in Linsberg .  This cool little place is run buy a husband and wife team that are friendly, serve yummy local food and have portions so large that will be asking for a doggie bag.  Of course, we bring Houdini Clarke with us so no need for the bag ... LOL!

Houdini really likes the roasted turkey ... one of my faves ... but the Austrian boys opted for some "pig" parts.  I went with the Zweigelt ... a local red wine and the guys started with beer, but ended up with red wine also.

To get the full "scoop" just watch the video and enjoy!

Wine food pairing ... an Adventure in Linsberg.  CHEERS!

Wine Food Pairing - Graz and Apfelsaft Gespritzter

A beautiful sunny summer day and wine food pairing finds itself in the city of Graz, Austria ... beautiful, clean and friendly ... and with about 250,000 people it is Austria's second largest city!

A bit of history on this beautiful city ...

I found out that the year 1128 is the first significant date in Graz’s history ... where the city was referenced in documents ... 250 years later, in 1379, Graz had grown enough to be designated capital of "Inner Austria", an area which comprised Styria and Carinthia, along with Krain, Inner Istria and Trieste (now in present-day Slovenia, Croatia and Italy). As the capital, Graz was residence to the Hapsburg dynasty until 1619.

Later, Italian architects and craftsmen came and  shaped the city with their building skills. Graz served as a mighty stronghold of the Holy Roman Empire against threats from the southeast. Then, during the Napoleonic Wars, the last walls of the castle fell without even being stormed. The citizens of Graz, however, paid the invaders to spare both the Glockenturm and the Uhrturm, the clock tower and bell tower that crown the Schlossberg. This "insurance" cost the citizens 2987 gulden and 11 kreutzer, around 87,000 euros in today's money. It seems a fair price to have paid for two buildings which are now famous Graz landmarks.

Graz has distinguished itself primarily in the worlds of science, culture and technology and is today the capital of the province of Styria.

Quite some history ... hope you enjoy our walking tour ...

Walking around in the Austrian summer heat required hydration so I tried out a very popular beverage in Austria ... an "Apfelsaft gespritzter" ...pronounced G'spritzter.  Spritzer is derived from the variant of the German language spoken in Austria, where this type of drink is very popular ... bottom line ... this is apple juice combined with soda water ... what a thirst quenching drink!

Wine food pairing without the wine ... who would have thought?

Wine Food Pairing ... Back in Austria!

Wine food pairing is back in Austria for the summer.  We have been busy getting ready to get ready for the long stay.  Plans are to work on the main headquarters here, re-acquaint ourselves with life in Europe and of course drink some darn fine wine!

For our first adventure we visited the city of Graz, Austria.  One of the coolest places to wander around is the Farmer's market ... known as the "Bauermarkt".  We took the opportunity to pick up a couple of liters of some of the tastiest pumpkin seed oil around.  Graz is the heart of Styria where this liquid gold is produced!

Enjoy the quick video of BigAl, Houdini and our friend Rudy ...

Yes, wine was consumed, but unfortunately my battery died before I got the pictures.  This just goes to show you that wine food pairing is not the easy job it appears to be ... LOL!

So, be sure to follow along, there should be many more wine food pairing adventures to follow!

What is not to love about Wine and Food?

Fun with wine food pairing.... especially while traveling the world ... CHEERS!

in reference to:

"This particular adventure began about 10 years ago when our friend Viktor came to Florida for a visit. Viktor is from Hungary and lest you think we might have trouble communicating, you need to know that Viktor lived several years in Australia and perfected his English skills "down under" before he went back to his Hungarian homeland."
- Adventures of Wine Food Pairing!: Wine Food Pairing ... Fun from Florida to Vienna (view on Google Sidewiki)

Wine Food Pairing ... Fun from Florida to Vienna

Adventures of wine food pairing is all about the fun you can have around the world with friends that you have known for many years.

This particular adventure began about 10 years ago when our friend Viktor came to Florida for a visit. Viktor is from Hungary and lest you think we might have trouble communicating, you need to know that Viktor lived several years in Australia and perfected his English skills "down under" before he went back to his Hungarian homeland.

Now, imagine having a Crocodile Dundee in your home cooking up a storm, serving up wine, food and humor with an Aussie twist .. LOL!

I caught Big Al and Viktor filling up their health drink bottles with chilled Pinot Grigio ... HEhehehe ... gotcha!

Bringing this saga to the present .... Big Al just recently shared "schnitzel" with Viktor and his Hungarian friend Tomas in Breitenau Austria ... I did mention that these wine food pairing adventures are worldwide .... anyway, the boys were served up some awesome food at Gasthaus Tauchner

...... Tanja and Franz Tauchner always have great food.

Now I, unfortunately, am drooling back in the United States and they only sent me a picture of the goodies ....

Wine food pairing ... have an octal of zweigelt for me, please.


Wine Food Pairing a Blast on Isles of Capri!

Wine food pairing adventures can be right in your own backyard. Isles of Capri Florida, is a sleepy little gem nestled between Naples and Marco Island, but just because it is tiny doesn't mean that we don't have fun.

Enjoy a bit of tom foolery at one of the local eateries ....

Wine food pairing .... it is about the friends and the fun.


Puppies and Dogs ...

Puppies and dogs bring so much fun into your life! You need a good resource to consult, though, when you decide to make that move .... is the site to search out that important information ...

in reference to:

"Puppies and Dogs   Are you ready to be a puppy parent? Puppies and dogs are the cutest bundles of fur in the world, but if you aren’t prepared for this new member of your family it could turn your life upside down! First off, if you are thinking about buying a puppy or dog, be aware that this one small action will change your life … mostly for the better … and you need to be prepared, as this change will happen instantly upon bringing the new puppy or dog into your home."
- Puppies and Dogs - Puppies and Dogs (view on Google Sidewiki)

Wine Food Pairing goes Garbanzo!

Wine food pairing .... In 2009 I noticed that many of my eating and feasting had fallen into a rut ... and this meant that I could have been eating healthier by doing thing just a little bit differently.

Sooooo ... it is time to announce the resolutions for the "2010" New Year ... HEALTH ... mine and my family's eating, cooking and exercising habits are going to change for the better ... and to all of this I say GARBANZO!

I decided to take a closer look at the much forgotten legume that most people rarely think about. The lovely "chickpea" AKA garbanzo is versatile and tasty.

Chickpeas are high in protein and they are one of the earliest cultivated vegetables. 7,500-year-old remains have been found in the Middle East. Chickpeas are a super source of zinc, folate and protein. They are also very high in dietary fiber and hence a healthy source of carbohydrates for persons with insulin sensitivity or diabetes. Chickpeas are low in fat and most of this is polyunsaturated ... how cool is that?

Well, I sauntered off to the local Winn Dixie, picked up a bag and set about my journey with the great garbanzo. I boiled some RO water,tossed the beans in, let them boil for 2 minutes and then removed from the heat, kept them covered and let them sit for several hours ...

Now, I love hummus, but it is expensive to buy and know I can do it better ... so ... I got out my food processor and gave a couple handfuls of "chickies"a spin. I added water, pumpkin seed oil, EVOO, raw sesame seeds, S & P, and a squeeze of lime juice. I dolloped this out into a crystal bowl, drizzled a little more pumpkin seed oil and sprinkled a few raw pumpkin seeds on top. What an easy healthy recipe!

Ok, so I didn't want to ruin the "healthy" aspect of this treat so I sliced up some crunchy celery sticks and used those for dippers .... YUMMO ... I mean it ... tasty, crunchy and fresh ... a super combo.

Wine food pairing .. it is all about taste and the love of food. CHEERS!