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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.
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Olive Oil Tasting Party
Posted: May 29, 2005
If you're looking for an outdoor dinner party idea this summer, try an Olive Oil Tasting Party. You'll be in good company....Homer called olive oil liquid gold. Olive oil has ancient roots with cultivation dating back to the fifth century B.C. in the Mediterranean region. This timeless symbol of abundance, health, and glory sounds like a great center-piece for a unique summer gathering.
I suggest you ask each guest to bring a different variety of first cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, each from a different country of origin. Remember "Olio nuovo e vino vecchio", an Italian saying for "new oil and old wine." Italy and Spain are now the most prolific producers of olive oil, although Greece is still very active.
You, the ultimate host or hostess, will prepare for your guests several summer dishes just waiting to be adorned with liquid gold. Simple and light is best for summer. Greek style penne pasta with fresh tomatoes, feta and dill or cool Mozzerella and Roma tomatoes lightly dusted with oregano....or a different type of pesto made with arugula....you get the idea.
Now here's the fun part. Present a simple olive oil tasting as an appetizer course using a single carrier such as lightly toasted French bread. No garlic or herbs as they will distract from the taste of the oils. If you have medium sized appetizer plates with a Euro flare, all the better. Pour each olive oil variety into an individual plate and begin your tasting. Let your guests describe the flavors. The experts tell us that descriptors like apple, nutty, artichoke, buttery and fruity are all descriptors of excellent olive oil while earthy, bitter and brine are not as desirable.
Check out the links below for olive oil party trivia. Why not send the winner home with a delightful gourmet food gift? Perhaps Myer Lemon or Blood Orange olive oil?
Olive Oil Trivia
Thanks to GourmetStation loyal customer and friend Mark Stine for suggesting the olive oil summer taste party. If you have an idea for a unique party, please let me here from you either in the comments secton of the blog or email email@example.com.
Champagne Serving Tips
Posted: May 11, 2005
I could make a career out of champagne…it’s history, personality, traditions. Champagne was a region long before it became a sparkling wine. The location lies at crossroads to northern Europe and was the setting of many a drama in the history of France including invasions by characters like Attila the Hun.
Did you know that champagne is produced when wine goes through a second fermentation to produce carbon dioxide….the bubbles? Well, never mind all the technicalities. It is possibly the most versatile of sparking wines and can brighten up any dull dinner party. Did you ever consider a champagne dinner party? Think about it – asking your guests to bring a specific brand for sharing and comparing.
Here are a few tips: Serve champagne throughout the meal if you wish, or use as a “cool me down” for spicy food. Extra dry and Brut champagnes can be served from the onset and through dessert. Spumante, a sweet champagne, is typically reserved for dessert. Opening the bottle is pomp and ceremony – make sure the bottle is very cold. Remember, a silent opening is the best kind.
My favorite brands are Mumm Cordon Rouge and Taittinger. Now don’t tell the champagne purists, but Watermelon Champagne mixer for a summer cooler is refreshing and makes a gorgeous presentation. Serve it during dessert at your champagne dinner party!