Goodbye champagne… Hello champagne!

You can never have enough champagne in the house. Seriously! I’m hooked. I’ve come a far way, though. Before I was really into wine, I used to say : “why would you buy an expensive bottle of champagne if you can have cava for 5€? What’s the difference?!” Well, that was a long time ago… With the discovery of a whole new world of wine during my sommelier training, I also came to appreciate champagne. The aromas of apple, chalk, butter, toasted bread, brioche are now aromas that I cherish every time I drink a good champagne.  Continue reading “Goodbye champagne… Hello champagne!”

If it’s Sicilian, it’s gotta be fishy!

Have I told you already I like Italian food? If I haven’t, punch me. I love Italian food! Whenever I have a proper Italian dish, I can’t help wondering how something fairly simple can taste so wonderful. Not that all Italian dishes are easy to make, but many classics are. And when they’re done well, they make me drool.

From time to time I have a go at making a few of these dishes at home. A recipe that gave me great satisfaction is the ragù bolognese of TV chef Antonio Carluccio. This recipe gives me the feeling I’m eating something authentically Italian. Many people in Belgium chuck in a lot more in the sauce, and I used to do so as well. And that’s ok. Everyone has his or her own way of making spaghetti sauce and many of these versions are also really yummy. But try Carluccio’s recipe for once. It’s pretty good stuff and actually not so difficult to make!

But the ragù bolognese is not the dish I want to talk about in today’s 1+1=3. I want to talk about a Sicilian dish : the pasta con le sarde, or pasta with fresh sardines. Continue reading “If it’s Sicilian, it’s gotta be fishy!”

Boutenac : balance in the Languedoc

The Languedoc was known for a long time as the wine lake of France. The region was the main source of very simple wine, often Vin de France. Luckily, things have changed considerably. Winemakers have become aware of the fact that quality is important if they want to gain respect and sell their wines at a higher price. The evolution in the Languedoc to a tiered system with the AOC Languedoc as the basis, with communal AOCs in the middle and Crus at the top of the pyramid, is one of the things that shows how the region is focusing more and more on quality. Things are changing at a fast pace : Terrasses du Larzac was promoted to cru status in 2014, so was La Clape in 2015, and Pic St Loup was the latest to join in 2017. Earlier sub-regions to have become Languedoc crus were Roquebrun and Berlou (Saint-Chinian), La Livinière (Minervois) and Boutenac (Corbières).

kaart languedoc

Continue reading “Boutenac : balance in the Languedoc”

Slower food, please!

I am not a fan of slow food. With slow food I don’t mean good quality food that’s sourced locally. I mean slow food, like in waiting one hour for your food. If you’re hungry and you’re drinking your third aperitif because the food is not coming, then you’ll end up drunk at table. That’s probably not the ideal scenario for a romantic dinner.

Last weekend I was in London with my wife for a surprise weekend, including romantic dinners, in Margot, top Italian food, and in Nopi, the restaurant of celebrity chef Yotam Ottolenghi. We certainly did not have to wait long for our food in these restaurants. Actually, we hardly had to wait at all. Continue reading “Slower food, please!”

Unique Blogger Award

I am very thankful to Rini for nominating me for the Unique Blogger Award.

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Rini is a foodie who likes to explore some of the most exotic dishes. If you want to know, for instance, how an alligator and shrimp sandwich tastes like, check out Rini’s blog Yes All Roads Lead To Food.

With the Unique Blogger Award come three questions. Rini has lined up these three for me :

1. What is your life motto?

This is mine : Every little step takes you closer! And that can be to anywhere I want to go next. For example when I want to achieve something. Or also when I need to be patient, like when I am stuck again in the train… A very useful motto to have!

2. Do you believe in aliens?

Of course! They’re already here! They have funny blond hair, say weird things, and have already taken over power in the USA. It’s just a matter of time before the rest of the world will be at their feet…

3. Which place is your most favorite country to travel to and why?

Well, being a wine amateur, France is an obvious place for me to go to, and I love it. But having spent a week there last week, I’m reminded of their one billion roundabouts again, and of the very strict lunch times (no lunch after 13.30 where we were!). So that’s why I will put Italy on the first place, because it’s a foodie’s heaven! Really, no matter which village you go to, you will always find a restaurant where you will have authentic and extremely tasty food! And people are just so friendly. We were walking in Cremolino this morning and were spontaneously being greeted by the locals we came across. How nice is that!

I now get to nominate 15 bloggers for the Unique Blogger Award :

https://thewineanalyst.org

https://foodwineclick.com

https://winenoodle.com

http://enofylzwineblog.com

https://winewankers.com

http://oddbacchus.com

https://winepredator.com

https://savortheharvest.com

https://foodandwineaesthetics.com

http://www.sommstable.com

https://theswirlingdervish.com

https://rockinredblog.com

http://culinary-adventures-with-cam.blogspot.it

https://jillbarth.wordpress.com

https://winetalksandtastings.wordpress.com

And me three questions for them are the following :

1. If you could be any of the following three which one would you like to be : the sommelier, the winemaker, or the château owner? And why?

2. If you could choose one bottle for free, regardless of the price, which wine would you take?

3. If you had to choose between having the bottle you answered in question 2 or spending your holidays with Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt (pick one), what would you choose?

These 15 bloggers can now also nominate 15 people if they want. If yes, they should notify them, share the link in a blog post to the blogger who has nominated them. And also ask three questions.

Have fun!

If it makes you happy… #Winophiles

…it must be Sud-Ouest! There are two reasons why I love Sud-Ouest, and why their wines do make me happy. First of all, if you’re a bit of a winegeek like me, you will feel very much like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory if you see the multitude of indigenous grapes that the Sud-Ouest has. Fer Servadou, braucol, duras, abouriou, gros manseng, petit courbu, you name it! Sometimes you will find that there’s a good reason why such grapes never  achieve stardom, and that’s simply because they do not produce very interesting wines… That, however, is not the case in the Sud-Ouest. I already wrote here about a hidden gem in Gaillac, made of braucol and duras. And I strongly recommend you to try out this food wine pairing. The reason why you will not find many of these wines in your typical wine shop is simply because there’s not alot being made. Take an appellation such as Marcillac. I once enjoyed a great Marcillac from Lionel Osmin. But all in all they only have 185 hectares of vineyard. Compare that to the 117.000 hectares of vineyard in the whole of Bordeaux and you’ll be able to put things in perspective. Continue reading “If it makes you happy… #Winophiles”