Coffee, Wine, and New Recipes… PAZAZ™ Style

I believe that most of you think I know a thing or two about food and wine. Another part of the equation would be coffee. I always tell people I train in the restaurant business that the customer will remember the first three minutes and the last three minutes of a meal more than any other part.

The last three minutes would include the very important beverage, coffee. A few years ago I stumbled upon a great coffee that hits on all cylinders; or, if you prefer, it checks all the boxes. Now, having said that, many have a preference, lighter roast or a darker roast. I prefer the richness of the darker roast.

Urth Caffe out of Hawthorne California produces many different blends and flavors of coffee. The one for me (if you love a dark roast) is called, ” Old Grandpa”. This coffee has the rich yet smooth flavor that comes from triple sorted by hand, (using only the finest organic ripe cherries) grown at the highest altitude, old stock heirloom trees. Because of this the acid is low and the flavor blends dark chocolate with toasty goodness finished with the smoothest cherry non-bitter taste. This coffee is the perfect beverage compliment to the molten chocolate cake or even a bananas foster.

If coffee is not your beverage of choice then I highly recommend either a port wine or a sauterne. The best bang for the buck regarding port wines is the 20 year old tawny port. The aromatics coat the palate with a delectable sweetness, not over powering, but smooth in its constitution. As abruptly as it descends down your throat it embellishes the sweetness of the dessert. This perfect pairing provides a flavor profile of butterscotch, caramel, walnuts, honey and raison completing its journey with a slight candied apricot on the finish. Fonseca, Grahams, or Cockburn are the 20 year old tawny ports I would recommend if you so choose this beverage. Also, remember that a 20 year old tawny port will last after the bottle is opened (without any diminishing quality) 10-12 weeks.

Now we get to the “BIG DADDY” of meal finishers… the sauterne. Sauterne is a French sweet wine from the region of the same name located in the Graves section of Bordeaux. Sauterne wines are made from semillon, sauvignon blanc, and muscadelle grapes that have been affected by Botrytis cinerea, also known as “noble rot”. If you’re going to go big (or go home) there is only one Sauterne to finish the meal in the elegant style you’re accustomed to… Chateau Y’quem. Chateau Y’quem (for sweet wines) has a classification of premier cru superieur, it is quite literally in a league of its own. The grapes are hand picked after they reach an exceptionally high brix content (sugar content) that ultimately produces the most delectable, mouth watering dessert wine in the world. Most recent 100 point wines from Chateau Y’quem are 2011 and 2013. Try these and you will have experienced what the term “Nirvana” is all about.

To finish this expose on coffee, wine, and food I would be remiss if I didn’t mention John McDougall, MD’s vegan recipe, “Summer Fettuccine”.

This recipe (for vegans) incorporates the following organic items:

      • 1 pound fettuccine
      • 1/4 teaspoon of garlic, minced
      • 1 small onion, cut into wedges
      • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
      • 2 yellow summer squash, thinly sliced
      • 1 cup of green beans
      • 1 cup of corn
      • 1/4 cup finely chopped basil
      • 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
      • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
      • ground black pepper to taste

Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente to taste.

Place the water in a large saucepan. Add garlic and onion and cook for two minutes.

Add the tomatoes, squash, green beans, and corn. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.

Add the basil, parsley and tomato paste. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Season to taste with pepper.

Drain the pasta in a large bowl. Spoon the sauce over the pasta and serve immediately.

Enjoy this blog delving into the realm of coffee, wine, and food. Incorporated into this lies the experience we all are looking for which entails the beauty of food coupled with the pairing of wine finished with the rich and satisfying coffee that brings it all to life. As a side bar the wine that should be paired with this dish is Sancerre a sauvignon blanc from the Loire Valley in the Bordeaux region of France.