Archive | June, 2014

Getting Serious about Wine

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I distinctly remember the day I discovered that wine could be an integral part of a meal.  I was home from college and my dad had cooked our traditional Saturday night meal – grilled steak, baked potatoes and salad. Dad decided that I was now old enough to share in wine with dinner and opened a lovely Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon, a full-bodied red that paired perfectly with the expertly cooked ribeye. I was in heaven and my palate was opened to a whole new world.

I casually studied wine, trying new things, attending wine tastings with friends and listening intently any time someone was willing to share their knowledge with me. But my understanding of wine was very haphazard until I attended my first TEXSOM conference in 2012. This annual conference for area sommeliers, industry professionals and wine enthusiasts has excellent programming and if you want to learn about wine, attendance is a must.

TexSom-Session-web

Session at TEXSOM

At the beginning of that first conference, I participated in a session on blind tasting, the practice of tasting wine without knowing what varietal it is or where it was from. I could not believe all of the subjects the sommeliers had to know at a very detailed level – geology, geography, agriculture, climatology and everything about food. I was awed.

Sommeliers in action at TEXSOM

Sommeliers in action at TEXSOM

As I left the session, my brain was swimming, overwhelmed by the amount of information I’d just ingested.  I was happy that I knew more than I thought I did (I knew four of the six varietals in one tasting), and I was hooked. I wanted to know more.

Over the last two years, I have soaked up everything I can about wine through the outstanding programs at the TEXSOM conference (2013 notes), panels at the Austin Food & Wine Festival and blind tastings like The Sip, organized by fellow writer and Certified Sommelier Matt McGinnis. As much as I’ve learned from these experiences, I knew I still had big gaps in my knowledge.

The Sip blind tasting

The Sip blind tasting

Master Sommeliers Devon Broglie and Craig Collins being introduced by Sommelier Vilma Mazaite at the Austin Food and Wine Festival

Master Sommeliers Devon Broglie and Craig Collins being introduced by Sommelier Vilma Mazaite at the Austin Food and Wine Festival

Egged on by fellow writers who have already taken the plunge and encouraged by the local sommelier community, I’ve decided it’s time to get serious about wine. This year before the TEXSOM conference I’m taking the Introductory Sommelier Course and Exam offered by the Court of Master Sommeliers.

I’m both excited and nervous. I’m intimidated because I don’t work in the industry and I’m studying like a mad woman to make up for it. You want to get odd looks at the gym? Read a wine atlas on the elliptical at 6:30 am.

Needless to say, you can expect to see more about wine on the blog, particularly about the Texas winemakers who are winning international accolades. And, feel free to join in on the studying. I’ll be posting updates to Facebook and Twitter as I work my way through the study materials. This week’s lessons were on Australia, New Zealand and South Africa so orderly accordingly.

Cheers to this new adventure!

 

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Summer Is Heating Up With Texas Food Events

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Image from Edible Austin Sipping Social 2013.

Image from Edible Austin Sipping Social 2013.

 

Sipping Social 
Saturday, June 21, 7-10pm

It is not to late to get tickets for Edible Austin’s Sipping Social! Step back into the roaring 20’s with Texas spirits, wines, craft brews, and small bites between drinks. Dress to the nines, and come out  to the newly-opened Fair Market to drink and dance the night away. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Austin Food For Life.

The Big Chill
Thursday, June 26, 6-9pm

Cool down with the Austin Food Blogger Alliance at The Big Chill. Top Austin restaurants are creating special menu items which will be paired with chilly cocktails and live music at the beautiful Bob Bullock Museum.  Come ready to bid on great items from the silent auction as well! Proceeds from the event will benefit Meals on Wheels and More.

Sustainable Food Center &Happy Kitchen Classes

The SFC is hosting several fantastic classes this summer, including, Market to Table: All about Chilies on June 24th, Preserving Summer Fruits and Vegetables on July 8th, and Break It Down: Cutting Up a Whole Chicken on July 10th.  Classes are $35 – $40 and more information and registration can be found on their website here.

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Recipe Roundup: Texas Peaches

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There are few things I look forward to as much as peach season in Texas. If I don’t eat my peaches  in the car on the way home from the Farmers Market I love to incorporate them into savoy dishes. I think most people associate peaches with dessert and sweet dishes, like peach cobbler (which is probably my favorite dessert) but I challenge you to try a new preparation of the glorious peach this summer. There are some peachy keen ones out there!

Peach

Smoky Heirloom Tomato and Grilled Peach Pasta Salad – How Sweet It Is

Peach Gazpacho – Addie Broyles

Caribbean Peach Slaw Salad with Crispy Tofu – Taste Mag

Peach and Goat Cheese Sandwich – Madaket Home

Rustic Strawberry Peach Tart – Sally’s Baking Addiction

Lamb Burger with Peach Chutney – Kimberley Hasselbrink

Peach, Rhubarb, and Ginger Crisp – Eating Well

Peach Salsa – She Wears Many Hats

Rustic Grilled Peaches Pizza – The Healthy Foodie

Tomato, Radicchio and Grilled-Peach Salad with Basil Oil – Food & Wine

Continue the peachy fun with us on pinterest!

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