Sunday, August 19, 2007

Cooking with Expensive Wine.

I have been so busy recently, with work, with organising our move following the sale of our house and organising things here in the UK getting ready for our move to Gozo next year. Asa result I am only managing to Blog about once a week.

This post, as promised is part 2 of "The Most Expensive Pie in the World".
If you have read my previous post you will see I was talking about culinary extravagance in the extreme, even if you do have pockets full of money is it actually worth the expense and does the use of a bottle of wine at this price, for making gravy justify the expense?

The following are comments from a variety of restaurant critics, wine writers and chef's having been told the true story of "The Most Expensive Pie in the World".
  1. Nick Lander (Restaurant Critic) "I agree, the better the wine the better the dish, to a point. At this level it is a complete waste of a great wine".

  2. Raymond Blanc (Micheline Starred patron) " I cannot believe such ignorance, utter sacrilege".

  3. John Cambell (Chef) "It almost makes me want to cry".

I could go on but without exception every Chef that had been spoken to had the same view. So what is the cut off point? where do you draw the line in regard to quality and cost of a wine to cook with?

I suppose you could break wines into a couple of categories, all wine is made ultimately for drinking, but then some wines are better suited to the cooking process than others. A fine wine for example (due to it's long slow ageing process) would normally have layers of subtle complex flavours, that would simply be swamped if used in a cooking pot, so forget your fine Burgundy's and ancient clarets for cooking, these wines should be savoured slowly by the glass until the bottle is empty. For the cooking process you need a gutsy red wine with high tannin, lots of fruit and enough acid to balance the whole thing out.

You should refrain from using a very cheap wine in your cooking, anything under the cost of about £6.00 a bottle that is but certainly no more than £20.00 a bottle, it's more important to get the wine style or grape variety right I think, you could also think about using a wine to cook with that comes from the region from where the dish originates. If for example you made an Italian spaghetti ragu you might consider using a nice Sangiovese based Italian wine, this is usually a robust red with straightforward fruity flavors.

Good food should be made with good ingredients, and that includes the wine, up to a point.

"We owe something to extravagance, for thrift and adventure seldom go hand in hand". Jennie Jerome Churchill

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