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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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Honey, oh My Honey
Posted: August 26, 2007
Specialty Food Magazine did me a great service when they wrote an article on honey in their July 07 issue. So you think you know a little or a lot about honey? Here’s how they describe the “honey novice’s four stages of awareness.”
It’s nothing like the stuff in the squeeze bear.
I had no idea that honeys could be so different.
What makes a honey crystalline versus creamy versus liquid?
What can I do with this honey at home?
Multiple flavors are as complex and rival wine and olive oil with their broad spectrum profiles. “A taste of rare Sardinian Corbezzolo honey reveals why it’s called the truffle of honeys; intense and bittier, it defies the traditional sweeten-your-tea honey profile, and instead is outstanding drizzled no pecorino and other aged cheeses. The same differences apply with color and their rainbow spectrum hues from gold and amber to translucent pale yellow. As you would expect, lighter honeys have milder flavors. Below are the twelve “notable” honey varietals:
Acacia – Popular table honey
Black Button Sage – Rare flower that blooms only 3 out of 10 years on west coast of US
Chestnut – Italian variety dark amber in color
Clover – Most common honey flower in US
Corbezzolo – from the rare “strawberry tree”
Lavender – Often used on desserts
Leatherwood – From an endangered tree that grows only in Tasmanian wilderness
Mango Blossom – From Javanese tropical forests
Manuka – dark brown, bitter from New Zealand
Orange Blossom – Popular in citrus-hospitable climates
Tupelo – Rare flowers grown only n wetlands of southeastern US
Now let’s see how much of a honey expert you are with this little quiz provided by the National Honey Board:
GourmetStation is a trusted food gift merchant since 2000 specializing in dinner gifts, gourmet meals delivered, dessert gifts and other gourmet food gifts. They also offer dinner of the month programs and gift certificates, an nice alternative to restaurant gift cards. Their exquisite gourmet food delivery is offered on a nationwide basis.
World's Best Grilled Hamburger
Posted: August 19, 2007
Summer is still in full swing and outdoor grilling is a passionate hobby pursued by many foodies. The fierce competitiveness of who has the best barbecue sauce or which family or church can produce the best baked bean recipe amazes me. So I decided to do a little research & come up with my own suggestions of who’s who in outdoor grilling.
Time, heritage and proven recipes are part of winning formula. And while meat quality is an important factor, the secret is in the sauce. Take Country Bob’s grilling sauces for example. Bob Edson first developed is steak sauce in 1968 and has since grown a thriving business. The nice people at Country Bob’s were generous enough to supply us with samples and recipes and here is out pick.
Honolulu Bob Burgers
2 lbs. Ground beef
Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce
4 well drained fresh (or canned) pineapple slices
4 slices Cheddar cheese
Divide beef into 4 portions and shape into patty.
Grill one side over hot coals & turn patties.
Spread Country Bob’s sauce
Grill until desired doneness is achieved
Place pineapples slices on burgers
Grill a minute or so more & apply cheese slices
When cheese melts, you’re ready to assemble your Honolulu burger
Sounds simple – well it is, but the secret is in the sauce & the sauce will make you a hero at your next grilling event. There are many more recipes on Country Bob’s web site & you can ever purchase his cookbook. Happy grilling!
Food and Wine Pairing – Creating The Third Flavor
Posted: August 11, 2007
Traditionally, food and wine pairing has been made either far too easy, “drink whatever you like” or limited to “red wine with meat, white wine with fish”. Or way too complex, using only the “proper matches”. Food and wine is meant to be savored and enjoyed, since one enhances the other.
The basic idea of food and wine is to fuse the two flavors together to create a third. And magic can happen when you combine the two. So lets discuss some simple guidelines to use when searching for that perfect bottle of wine to accompany a meal.
The main consideration of any match is to balance the flavor and texture of the food with the flavor and texture of the wine. Similarity of flavors between wine and food makes for pleasant combinations. Use a flavor component of a wine by using it in the meal: say the mushroom, truffle flavors of Pinot Noir can be matched by using mushrooms in a sauce.
Texture is the tactile experience your tongue has when it encounters the sensations of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and fat. Because textures are recognized on a very basic level of the senses, their influence is often stronger than defined flavors. Here are some guidelines to use when picking out a wine:
Sweet – The sweetness of a dish should always be less than the sweetness of the wine. Otherwise, the palate cannot perceive the fruit in the wine and it seems thin,
tart or bitter.
Sour – Always make sure acid levels are less than the wine, such as salad with a vinaigrette. If a wine doesn’t have more acid, it will seem flat or dull.
Salty – Salt and acid oppose one another well. Salty foods go well with high acid wines. Say, smoked salmon with Sauvignon Blanc or Champagne. Salt also opposes bitter, reducing the perception of tannin or bitterness in food or wine.
Bitter – Bitter foods such as oil-cured olives will diminish the perception of bitterness from the tannins in young red wine, allowing the fruit flavors to show.
Fat – Cheese is often served at red wine tastings, because the fat in the cheese coats the palate and lessens the palate of tannins or bitter flavors. High-fat foods generally require the intensity of rich wines to balance them.
The richer the food, the richer the wine should be that accompanies the meal for everything to remain in balance. For instance, a full-flavored reserve-style California Chardonnay would overwhelm the delicate flavors of Dover sole, but this wine is wonderful with grilled wild salmon and lemon butter.
And finally, brilliant combinations can be made by using contrasting rather than similar, flavors or textures. A famous contrasting match is salty Stilton cheese served with sweet Port. Visit GourmetStation wine shop for a selection of wines already paired with the appropriate entrée. Enjoy!
A Personal Tribute to the late, HRH The Princess of Wales….our Queen of Hearts!
Posted: August 4, 2007
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the untimely death of Diana Princess of Wales. Here in the United Kingdom, the occasion has so far been officially commemorated by a glorious tribute of music and dance hosted by Princes William & Harry. Although unable to attend the concert in person, I enjoyed every moment of it on television…….it was incredibly moving and a perfect way to remember our beloved and sadly missed, Diana, Queen of Hearts. This event is to be followed by a formal Service of Remembrance in London on August 31st which will be attended by senior members of the Royal family.
It’s interesting to reflect ten years on from the event on just how Diana is perceived and remembered now. For many of us, it’s as though she never really left us! She lives on in hearts, spirits and minds. If ever we needed evidence of the power of LOVE, then this must be precisely that phenomenon! Most of us never met her, yet somehow, we feel as though she was, and still IS a part of OUR lives. She was indeed unique, and quite, irreplaceable!
I for one will never forget her. I watched her grow from a sweet and charming, somewhat innocent young lady to an iconic Princess able to hold her own on the world stage (with or without the support of the Royal Family!). Her grace, elegance, sense of style and genuine sensitivity made her stand out from any other member of the Royal Family, past or present. If she had lived on, who knows what she may have achieved. Perhaps as many suggest, she may indeed have gone on to cause some (minor) “embarrassment” to the establishment; but there is no doubt that more importantly she would also have gone on and fostered worthy humanitarian and social causes on a personal, sensitive and influential level that no other world leader seems capable of. She is, truly missed.
And so as the anniversary of her tragic death approaches, I prefer not to mourn her passing, but instead CELEBRATE her life. Short it may have been, but Diana lived life to the full and made every moment count. Let her legacy to us all be one of hope……and of dreams for a better future.
To mark this special occasion, I want to share with you a favourite dessert of the Princess….Tiramisu Hearts. According to her butler, Paul Burrell, this dish was introduced to her by a chef from world famous Cipriani Hotel in Venice. It then appeared regularly (and perhaps all too frequently!) on lunch menus at Kensington Palace.
Tiramisu Hearts, for the Queen of Hearts!
7oz/200g piece chocolate marble cake
1 tablespoon cold, strong black coffee
4 tablespoons brandy
7oz/200g mascarpone or medium-fat soft cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon icing sugar, sifted
1 ripe, small mango
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
white chocolate shavings & cape gooseberries to decorate
Eat and enjoy!