2009 was the year of the cupcake – 2010 is shaping up to be the year of the eclair.
But before you start salivating about the simple delights of choux pastry, lashings of fresh cream and icing, this year’s variation comes with a very controversial twist.
Yes, among the cake cognoscenti, eclairs have gone savoury.
Chocolate eclairs are out, and are being replaced by savoury incarnations
Passé: Chocolate eclairs are out, and are being replaced by savoury incarnations
Forget chocolate and cream. This year’s most fashionable eclairs are filled with creamy ricotta cheese and basil, and crab and crème fraîche. One trendy London hotel even serves a Veuve Clicquot eclair, which comes with a complimentary glass of champagne.
The French may have invented the eclair in the 19th century, but it is a British boutique hotel, The Arch in Marylebone, central London, which is at the very heart of the eclair revolution. For it is here that many of the most outlandish savoury eclairs are served to fashionable ‘ladies who lunch’.
Early reviews suggest experts are split: some are in awe of the new concoctions, while others remain rather unconvinced, especially by the foie gras and Sauternes creation.
But few can deny the hotel setting is a massive improvement on your average cake shop.
The Arch serves the eclairs in its stylish Martini Bar, giving the chattering cocktail crowd something controversial to chew over.
Glasses are definitely a key part of wine tasting. Finding the right glass for each individual wine could well be the hobby of many wine geeks, still for me it is also crucial to provide the best possible experience to Dom Pérignon lovers. I have always had a friendly relationship with Georg Riedel, born of our mutual esteem. The Riedel family business, established in 1756 in Bohemia, is known worldwide for its high-quality crystal glasses: their Burgundy Grand Cru crystal glass, handmade and mouth-blown, is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Last August I had the visit of Maximilian Riedel (Georg’s son, representing the 11th generation of the family in the glass business) who came to me with a large selection of stemware: our aim that day was to find the perfect glass for Dom Pérignon Rosé, a glass that would do justice to the wine by presenting it in the best conditions for appreciation. It would have been possible to create a specific glass for this Champagne, but I preferred to choose from the existing collection. At the time I also had the upcoming 1990 Dom Pérignon Rosé Œnothèque in mind. I settled on the Pinot Noir Vinum XL, which is not so surprising given the assertive Pinot Noir character of Dom Pérignon Rosé. This fantastic glass really shows the wine in an uncompromising way, especially on the palate.
The first aspect that grabbed our attention was the intensity of the nose and how the wine could breathe in the glass. Second, I felt it put the fruit right at the center of the tasting experience without compromising the complexity of the aromas. Third, it rendered the right expression on the palate, especially the amplitude and texture, both of them fundamental qualities of Dom Pérignon. And incidentally, I could only appreciate the lyre shape of this glass that resonates with the Oriental theme of the Silk Road dinners!
of Dom Pérignon
Rosé is being rediscovered as a fun, versatile wine that complements today’s lifestyles.
How Rosé is made
Red grapes are crushed and the skins remain in contact with the juice for two to three days. The grapes are then pressed, and the skins are discarded. The longer the skins are left in contact with the juice, the more intense the color of the wine. Hues range from pale orange to a vivid near-purple, depending on the grapes and wine-making techniques.
How to choose a Rosé
The qualities to look for in good Rosés would be crispness and freshness. When you buy the most recent vintage you are guaranteed fruitiness and good balance.
Range from 45-55°F (7-13°C).
So very Versatile
Many foodies consider Rosé THE pairing wine because it complements many dishes. With its crisp, cool flavors a well-balanced Rosé pairs well not only with traditional Provençal cuisine, but with spicy, full-flavored dishes from around the world.
What the experts are saying
“A more versatile food wine you won’t find in any color, at any price point.”
Proven Rosés are “…gently made, intriguingly perfumed , and dry enough to be the perfect foil for the garlic and olive oil that characterize the region’s cuisine.”
-The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson
“Not just for summer sipping and bouillabaisse, Rosé wines pair well with all kinds of cuisines, all year-long.”
Easter is a sign that spring has finally arrived and also is a time for family celebration. Traditional Easter menus center around either a roasted ham or lamb, begging the question, “Which wine goes best with either the roasted ham or lamb?”
For roasted ham, the best “tried and true” companion wines are Riesling or Gewürztraminer. Both tend to offer fresh, flavorful taste profiles with enough sweet fruit to balance the salt in the ham and enough acidity to support the combination, without compromising the flavor in either the ham or the wine. If choosing a red wine, fruit-forward Zinfandel would be the perfect choice to handle ham’s sweeter side.
Lamb, the traditional meat of the day, whether it be spring lamb, leg of lamb, rack of lamb or stuffed lamb, the strategy is to stick with well grounded reds such as Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Tempranillo or Shiraz. These have decent tannin structure, good fruit and a long finish. The over-all goal is to have a red wine with enough fruit and acidity that handles the robust flavors of the lamb, but not overpower it in the process.
Hop in and celebrate Easter by pulling the cork on that special bottle of wine – something new you haven’t tried!