Dec 12

5 Tips for Perfect Food and Wine Pairings

Whether you’re a budding wine connoisseur or simply want to make great selections for your next dinner party, here are some tips for food and wine pairings everyone will love.

1. Emphasize flavors.

Identify the most expressive components of a dish and then select a wine that accentuates them. For example, a holiday bird like turkey or duck served with cranberries pairs very well with the classic fruity notes of a Côtes du Rhône or a Vacqueyras bottle.

2. Look for balance.

Think of the wine and food as equal partners that should both have similar, complementary weights. Pair intense foods with intense wines, rich foods with rich wines, light foods with light wines and so on.

3. Consider the region.

Vineyard location makes a vital difference to the tastes and aromas of wine. Opt for a place with a strong history of producing superior wines, like the vineyards of the Rhône Valley, which are located in a corridor between the Mediterranean Sea and Northern Europe and have been producing wines for over 2000 years. Benefitting from excellent soil diversity, rich and vibrant land, and a variety of appellations, the region is known for its world-class pleasure wines, available in red, white and rosé.

4. Cheat with color.

A great trick that’s helpful if you’re short on time or not sure where to start is to match the colors in your food and wine. Try a light, bright white with hints of green with a garden salad and a dark red with a hearty stew.

5. Trust your instincts.

These guidelines are a helpful start, but remember preferences are unique and individual, so cater to yours. Pairing food and wines is an art that’s informed by what you like to drink and eat, and choosing your favorites is what matters most. If you love pairing a white Saint Joseph or Crozes-Hermitage with your steak rather than the red that tradition dictates for beef, go for it and enjoy.

Jan 22

Sipping and Soaking – The Art of Pairing Essential Oils Baths with Wine

I’ve always enjoyed soaking in the tub and enjoying the emotional and physical benefits of bath scrubs and salts. On occasion I have also enjoyed pairing this ‘love-me’ activity with a glass of chilled wine. It is the perfect hot and steamy date with moi!

The offsetting of the hot, soothing water against my body with the cool wine sliding along my palate is sensuous and relaxing. It’s important to harmonize the aromas of the bath scrubs or salts with those found in the wine. Otherwise one’s mind senses the disconnectedness. This halts the ability to focus and relax. The juicy aromatics of the scrub or salts paired with the wine’s aromas may appear as snobbery at its finest, but it is actually a potent medicinal, emotional and spiritual activity and partnership.

Sipping a glass of wine while bathing has many health benefits. Wine, in general, when consumed in moderation (defined by the American Heart Association as one to two four-ounce glasses a day) has proven through studies to promote longevity, all the while lowering the risks of heart attacks, heart disease, strokes, type 2 Diabetes, gallstones, cataracts, colon cancer and mental decline. The alcohol in wine has anti-bacterial power as well and can help prevent against the common cold.

The art of smelling wine to distinguish its aromas requires single-mindedness and is meditative. Alcohol, in general, when consumed in moderation has proven to reduce stress.

Using quality bath scrubs and salts containing essential oils is a form of aromatherapy and is also emotionally and spiritually beneficial. The inhalation of different essential oils can help balance the body, mind and spirit. Essential oils are not actually oils at all. They are the lifeblood of the plants used to make them. Essential oils are highly concentrated plant constituents possessing powerful medicinal and cosmetic qualities. Different oils contain distinct medicinal and emotional attributes. The elements of heat, light, air and moisture activate the release of their aromatic scent.

While using the bath scrub or salt we inhale the essential oils, which stimulates the part of the brain connected to smell – our olfactory system. A signal is sent to the limbic system of the brain that controls our emotions and helps to retrieve learned memories. This action causes chemicals in the brain to be released like serotonin and makes us feel relaxed and calm. When the essential oils in the scrubs are applied to the skin, they activate thermal receptors, destroy microbes and fungi and can produce healing effects.

It’s important that the scrubs or salts you buy are made of quality, organic essential oils. Our bodies absorb whatever we put on our skin While there are many brands on the market, Arbonne produces bath scrubs and salts that are of the highest quality ingredients (plant extracts and essential oils) that act as exfoliates and antioxidants and condition the skin, as well as soothing the mind and spirit through their aromatics. The oils are minuscule in molecular size, which means they are absorbed well by the skin.

So the next time you decide to take a bath, be sure to take part in the art of sipping and soaking.

Here are a few Arbonne inspired sipping and soaking combinations worth exploring:

Arbonne Awaken Sea Salt Scrub (Essential Oils of Avocado, Coriander Seed, Rose Flower and Bierea Seed) Paired with an organic or biodynamic Sauvignon Blanc.

Arbonne FC5 Exfoliating Body Scrub (Essential Oils of Grapefruit, Sandalwood, Mandarin, Orange Peel, Bergomot, Lime, Ginger, Lemon, Orange) Paired with organic and biodynamic Dry Riesling.

Arbonne Foaming Sea Salt Scrub (Essential Oils of Grape Seed, Orange Peel, Lavender, Grapefruit Peel Spearmint Leaf) Paired with dry Gewurztraminer.

Arbonne Unwind Bath Salts (Essential Oils of Odorata, Bergamot) Paired with chilled organic or biodynamic Pinot Noir.


To discover the 3 Wine Pairing Secrets to transform an average meal into a culinary journey of the senses and to blow the minds of your dinner guests. Click the link:

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Dec 27

How To Organize a Wine Tasting at Home

Wine tastings can sound like the exclusive domain of sommeliers and wine experts, but organizing your own event at home among friends is fun and easier than you think. Here are a few basic guidelines to consider according to Jane Masters, master of wine.

How many people?

As one of the 354 people to hold the title of master of wine, Masters has done her fair share of wine tastings over her career. She says an informal tasting at home should include between six and 10 people. “Below this number the wine budget per head might be too significant if you want to get an interesting array of bottles.” If you invite more than 10, you’ll probably need a second bottle of each wine to have enough for everyone to properly taste.

How many bottles?

Similarly, you want to have enough bottles to taste an interesting variety but not so many that your taste buds end up having a hard time telling the difference between each wine. Half a bottle or so per person is usually a good compromise.

What kind of tasting?

“It’s fun to directly compare and contrast wines from the same region or same grape variety, so make sure you have enough tasting glasses for everyone and a spittoon,” says Masters. This way you can taste how different grapes and blends are expressed within the same region, whereas looking at the variety will instruct you on how terroirs and winemaking techniques affect the final taste of a lone varietal.

How to taste?

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a blind tasting, although this method does have the advantage of preventing prejudices from altering one’s judgment. If you want to go for this option, try covering the bottles as much as possible so that even the shapes remain indistinguishable. Use aluminum foil or paper bags, but make sure the bottles are wrapped before your guests arrive and white wines are chilled.

Still unsure of the dos and don’ts of wine tasting or need a little help choosing the bottles? In addition to offering a selection of wines and mixed case programs that can easily lend themselves to such tastings, Canadian wine club Opimian has a wine concierge always available to advise you. The club also organizes tastings open to non-members on a regular basis, so you can look for a little inspiration before organizing your own. Find more information at

Feb 21

Winter Recipes and Wine Pairings to ‘Wow’ Any Crowd

(BPT) – Winter offers an opportunity for reflection and for gathering around a table with loved ones. Whether you’re cooking for two or a dinner party with friends, these recipes are the perfect accompaniment to winter gatherings. Pair these recipes with the recommended wine pairings for a truly memorable meal. Even if you’re not cooking, make sure to keep your favorite wines, cheeses and sweet treats on hand for any impromptu visits!

Prosciutto, Mozzarella, and Sage Pesto Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Prosciutto, Mozzarella, and Sage Pesto Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Prosciutto, Mozzarella, and Sage Pesto Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Author: Katie Morris of Katie at the Kitchen Door

Serves: 4


  • One pork tenderloin, about 1-2 pounds
  • 1 bunch fresh sage
  • 6 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 15 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 6-8 thin slices of prosciutto
  • 6 thin slices fresh mozzarella

1. Remove the leaves from the sage, rosemary, and thyme. Place the herb leaves in a food processor with the garlic and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Pulse the herbs until a finely minced rub is formed. Season the herb mixture with salt and pepper.

2. Rub one half of the herb mixture on the inside of the prepared pork tenderloin. Top with slices of mozzarella, slightly overlapping, and then with slices of prosciutto. Carefully roll the pork tenderloin up as you would a jelly roll, tucking the filling back in as needed. Use butcher’s twine to tie the pork into a roll, using one piece of twine every 2-inches. Rub the remaining half of the herb mixture on the outside of the pork and marinate the pork in the fridge for at least eight hours.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven or other oven-proof skillet. Brown the pork on all sides, then place the Dutch oven in the preheated oven until the internal temperature reaches 145?F, about 20-30 minutes. Remove the pork from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

Wine pairing: La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir,

Zinfandel Brownies

Author: Dirk Yeaton on


2 cups Murphy-Goode Zinfandel

20 ounces melted Ghirardelli 60 percent cocoa, dark chocolate squares

12 ounces melted unsalted butter

20 ounces sugar

8 eggs

4 ounces all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

8 ounces Ghirardelli milk chocolate, double chocolate filling, chopped

1. In a saucepan, simmer wine to reduce by half, measuring one cup.

2. Mix together butter and chocolate, then in a mixer beat together with sugar.

3. With mixer on low, beat in eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to be incorporated. Beat on medium high for an additional five minutes, or until mixture has lightened in color.

4. Fold in reduced wine and vanilla, then flour and chocolate. Mix until fully combined.

5. Spread finished mixture in a buttered and papered jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes, rotating pan halfway through bake time. Brownies are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out with a sticky crumb.

Wine pairing: Murphy-Goode Liar’s Dice Zinfandel,

Feb 13

5 Ways for Modern Couples to Take Date Night to the Next Level

Apothic(BPT) – Romance is much more than a simple card on Valentine’s Day. Amid the hectic schedules and chaos of everyday life, romantics across the country are looking for ways to spice up that intimate evening with someone special. Since crowded restaurants and cold temperatures are a sure-fire way to kill the mood, a celebration at home can be much more appealing. Incorporate these modern twists on a romantic night in to take your next date night to the next level.

Uncork the night

Set the mood for a romantic evening at home with a bottle of decadent red wine. Apothic Crush is a red blend that combines red fruit flavors with notes of caramel. Its velvety smooth mouthfeel is sure to please every palate.

Modern day gourmet

Meal subscription services make it easy for even novice cooks to create culinary masterpieces. Tantalize your taste buds with exciting seasonal recipes using exotic ingredients delivered right to your door. The joint activity adds an element of adventure, livening up a night at home.

Travel down memory lane

Memories of relationship milestones and special moments generate warm feelings of nostalgia. Create a digital scrapbook of images from your most memorable experiences together and spend some time reminiscing about the magic that started it all.

Personalize your playlist

Surprise your significant other with a throwback radio dedication via Spotify. Your personalized message shared with a special song is sure to impress while evoking the carefree days of mixtapes and long conversations over landlines. To make your dedication, visit

A gift that keeps on giving

It’s important to take time out of our busy lives for date night. Keep the magic of the night alive with a “2016 Save the Date Night” booklet where you can schedule future date night outings or activities all year long. Remember, everyone loves a little mystery and subtle creativity trumps extravagance every time.

For more great date night ideas, visit

Feb 06

Valentine’s Day Wines

A heavenly Valentine - Raspberry macaroons and wine.

A heavenly Valentine – Raspberry macaroons and wine.

Around the world, love is the same. But wines carry a distinctive character that only the soil and climate of that region can produce.

Spanish Madeira Wine Barrels

Spanish Madeira Wine Barrels

Spanish Madeira

There are still those who insist that chocolate doesn’t pair well with wine. We beg to differ. Tell that to someone who has tasted a fine Spanish Madeira while munching on the best French truffles. The robust, fruity taste of this heavy red stands up well to even the darkest chocolate. Neither overpowers the other.




Or, consider how romantically perfect is a pairing of fine strawberries with a delicate Champagne from Champagne, the famed region in France that gives its name to this sparkling wine. Be bold and go against tradition. Dip the strawberries in chocolate sauce.




Even a fine Gewürztraminer, a light German wine, will be appreciated by lovers around the world. Think romance and Germany may not come first to mind. But Goethe and Schiller were THE romantic poets/playwrights of the 19th century – when Valentine’s Day was invented. Indeed, this flavorful, dry white is the perfect way to say ‘I love you’. You can just say it to the glass while that special someone is near enough to hear.

Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes and Wine

Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes and Wine

Cabernet Sauvignon

But, you protest, Valentine’s Day is associated with red. No argument there. Have it both ways. Go with a superb Cabernet Sauvignon made in the heart of Portugal. Too strong? Select a delicate rosé from California and serve it with some roses.


Raspberry Goodness


No, you need something a little more passionate. Never fear, there are lots of choices.  A French Framboise with an infusion of raspberries will provide the fruity red that says ‘Meet me after work’. There’s nothing more passionate than a wine with the exact ingredients needed to celebrate this day dedicated to love.




Some of that French influence migrated to Canada generations ago. Try a fine Chardonnay from Quebec and find out why this region – making wine since the 1800s – produces wines that lovers have truly loved for the past 25 years.

Syrah 2



New Zealand is known for its passion, as well. Thankfully, that comes in liquid form ala the great Syrahs from down under. Say shazam and a shiraz will appear that will light your heart on fire.




Surely, you haven’t forgotten about Italy? No country in the world is more closely associated with romance, after all. It also happens to be one of the major wine producers. Methinks, that’s no accident. Enjoy a superb Merlot from Tuscany and you’ll soon know what love is all about.




And, while we’re on the subject of geography and wines…. America has its own distinctive contribution to the world: Zinfandel. If this hearty red doesn’t get your blood racing, you probably shouldn’t be celebrating Valentine’s Day at all.

Jan 09

Winter Roasted Tomato Soup With Blue Cheese Paired With Wine Is Good for Your Health

Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup

Tomato soup is a staple in our household, enjoyed in every season. My husband Jack and I have slurped our way through the Bubba dictionary of soups celebrating the tomato. (In the movie Forrest Gump, the character Bubba could rhyme off a whole list of shrimp delicacies and dishes; in my case, tomato soups.) We have enjoyed garden fresh tomato soup, tomato and rice, smoked tomato, tomato with bacon and basil, creamy tomato with parmesan and croutons and tomato soup with macaroni and cheese. The list is endless.

If the tomato grows, it’s soup prevails. Paradicsomleves is the word for Hungarian tomato soup. Gazpacho Andaluz is traditional Spanish tomato gazpacho – cold tomato soup. “Saar” is the name from traditional Indian tomato soup. Zuppa di Pomodoro is none other than Italian tomato soup. The name, alone, is enough to make one salivate.

The tomato is so good for us. Its soups can be meat free, gluten free, fat free and peanut free and still taste delicious. Even creamy tomato soup can be dairy free. Simply use whipped Silken Tofu, instead of cream, to thicken the soup. We have long known that the tomato is a good source of Vitamin C and the antioxidant called Lycopene. This fruit is also high in Vitamin K and calcium, which strengthens bone tissue. It is a good source of mineral chromium which helps to stabilize blood sugars for diabetics, as well. New research from Cornell University reveals that cooking this fruit increases its level of Lycopene. However, its Vitamin C level is reduced through the cooking process. Lycopene is believed to be highly beneficial in preventing and fighting cancers and heart disease. It is an antioxidant that our body does not naturally produce. Hence the importance of consuming fruits and vegetables possessing Lycopene. The tomato also contains chlorogenic acid and coumaric acid, which helps to fight against some of the carcinogens brought about by cigarette smoke.

Many avid home cook friends are as obsessed about tomato soup as they are about apple pie and family lasagna recipes. It is a comfort food! It naturally possesses 2 survival mechanisms – natural sweetness and simplistic umami. We all love sweetness. And we also crave umami. Umami is the 5th taste sensation that produces roundness and depth of flavour on the palate. We crave umami, which allows us to retain a healthy appetite and therefore keeps us alive – a survival mechanism. As the tomato ripens and ages, the level of umami increases. When slow cooked, umami moves from simplistic to synergistic, increasing dramatically. (Hence our addiction to ketchup! It is nothing more than slow cooked tomatoes with synergistic umami and sweetness.)

I’m personally a fan of garden fresh tomato soup made from pureed beef steak tomatoes straight off the vine. I serve this soup hot and cold. I love the pure taste of the tomato. I season the soup with sea salt, pepper, high quality extra virgin olive oil and finely chopped basil. Then I garnish each bowl with a heavy dollop of Creme Fraiche or Greek yoghurt, depending on my mood. The trick is to heat up the soup quickly, thus allowing it to retain its garden fresh flavour and acidity. The soup is meant to be hot, not cooked.

In the winter it’s better to use canned tomatoes than out-of-season, out-of-country fresh ones. When hunting for canned tomatoes ignore the label! Hunt for a brand that you enjoy. When you substitute canned for fresh, choose whole, peeled tomatoes. Stay away from the other canned versions like crushed, diced, stewed. The undergo further processing and are made from lesser quality fruit.

Use the following guidelines when substituting canned tomatoes for fresh:

One 28-ounce can of tomatoes equals about 10 to 12 whole tomatoes, peeled (or about 2 pounds)

One 14-1/2-ounce can of tomatoes equals 5 to 6 whole tomatoes, peeled (or about 1 pound)

If serving wine alongside tomato soup, consider its predominant flavours. Fresh tomato soup as described above sings with natural acidity and so demands a white wine with crisp acidity to match. Try Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Vinho Verde, dry Riesling.

Soup made from slow roasted tomatoes will have intense fruitiness, higher umami and low acidity and can therefore partner to a red wine. If you desire roasted tomato soup with an austere red, be sure to roast the tomatoes, even the canned ones. Roasting the canned tomatoes for a few hours at 200 F in a turkey roasting pan concentrates the tomato, fruity-like flavours and reduces the acidity. Roasted tomato soup tastes wonderful when sprinkled with crumbled blue cheese and paired with a wine like Cabernet Franc or Zinfandel. Smoked tomato soup also works nicely with austere reds like Cabernet Sauvignon.

Here’s a Winter Roasted Tomato Soup Recipe using canned tomatoes:

Roasted Tomato Soup with Garlic

Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary or 1 1/4 teaspoons dried
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme or 1 1/4 teaspoons dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or more) dried crushed red pepper
  • 6 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt broth
  • Clotted Cream or fat free Greek yogurt (for garnish)
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)
  • Chunks of crumbled blue cheese (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 200°F. Place canned tomatoes in turkey roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil. Roast tomatoes for about 3 hours. Let cool. Transfer tomatoes and any accumulated juices to blender or food processor. Process until chunky.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, rosemary, thyme and dried crushed red pepper. Add chicken stock; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until soup thickens slightly, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm soup over medium-high heat before continuing.) Stir in basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with a dollop of clotted cream or fat free Greek yogurt.

Wine Suggestion: Cabernet Franc


For more simple and gourmet recipes celebrating cheese and paired with wine, download THE WINE AND CHEESE LOVERS’ COOKBOOK. It’s FREE!

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Jan 03

Wine Tasting – Top 4 Winter Wines

With the cold weather arriving in just a few months, you need to think about what wines will become a part of your daily rotation. Winter dinners are usually filled with hearty foods to keep the body and soul warm. Therefore, you need big, hearty, red wines to go along with the big, hearty foods that you will be preparing. The days of white wine and barbecue are over. Hearty beef stew and Cabernet Sauvignon is what will be on your table now. Here are four of the best winter wines.

Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes and Wine

Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes and Wine

1. Cabernet Sauvignon 
Cabernet Sauvignon is often referred to as the “king of the reds.” It is a very fruit wine, with much more tannins that lighter reds. Cabernet Sauvignon usually have a dark fruit flavor, such as plum, blackberry, cassis, or boysenberry. Cabernet Sauvignons are usually fermented in oak, leaving flavors of dill, caramel, coffee, and vanilla. A common winter food to pair with this one is a big piece of steak. Any cut of beef will work, but I would recommend a good filet mignon to go with your Cabernet.



2. Syrah
Syrah is another good choice for the cold winter months. While many people don’t like it do to the fact that it is so flavorful, it may fit in your winter wine repertoire quite well. With origins in the Rhone Valley of France, Syrah wines have notes of smoke, coffee, cured meats, and blueberries. This flavorful wine requires flavorful food. Some common pairings are lamb (lamb riblets or leg of lamb), and Shitake mushrooms mixed with thyme.



3. Zinfandel
There are many different styles of Zinfandel that pair with many different types of winter foods. Use a lighter style Zinfandel with more savory dishes. The lower alcohol content of the lighter Zinfandel wines will pair nicely with a wide variety of different winter foods. It especially pairs well with Italian cuisine, such as meatballs, spaghetti, or any dish that uses parmesan. Sweeter Zinfandels pair well with chocolate and cheese.

Sirah Grapes

Sirah Grapes

4. Petite Sirah
Petite Sirah is probably one of the best winter wines out there. Petite Sirah is a very big, dark, rich red wine. It is full of tannins, meaning it requires big food. The wine is so dark that it seems that somebody has mixed your wine with squid ink and put it in your glass. Pair this wine with your best beef stew recipe.


Philip Hofman is a New York blogger who works with a wine club [] that specializes in wine tastings in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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Dec 02

Hearts of Palm, Mango and Lime Salad Paired With Riesling

RieslingIn this cold weather with an abundance of snow, it’s fun to taste a little bit of tropical warmth and sunshine. Hearts of palm is the perfect ingredient to add to dishes and salads. It is firm and tender, but subtle in taste, making it an ideal texture-forward ingredient for refreshing salads.

Hearts of palm comes from the interior of palm trees. The heart is bright white and tender and lies beneath the 5th layer of trunk within the tree. Today, this vegetable is farmed in Costa Rica and Hawaii within the USA. It also grows wildly throughout Brazil and so is a staple in the Brazilian diet.

An alternative to wild hearts of palm is a domesticated farm species called peach palm. Peach palm is the most widely harvested for canning. It is a multi-stem variety that grows as many as 40 stems per plant. Due to all the stems, harvesting in moderation does not kill the tree.

Hearts of palm is hand-harvested and takes extensive time to undertake because of the many layers of bark that must be removed to get to the tender heart. For this reason it is considered a delicacy. It is also nutritious, a carbohydrate with some protein and fibre and high in calcium and vitamin C. It adds such wonderful texture to dishes but is subtle in taste and so will let the other flavours within a dish take centre stage. It’s the contribution of texture to a dish.

This ingredient is mostly used in salads, but can also be incorporated into dips and sandwiches, pastas and risottos. Massa ao Molho deFrango e Palmito, known in English as Pasta with Chicken and Palm Hearts, is a Brazilian classic featuring this ingredient. Hearts of palm can be used has an affinity with ingredients like artichokes, avocados, tomatoes, chicken, shrimp, to name a few.

This salad sings with the tropical flavours of mango and lime, a wonderful interlude to our winter blues.

Here is the recipe:

  • 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice
  • 4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) hearts of palm, drained, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper as needed
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 head Boston lettuce, washed and dried

In a bowl whisk together the lime juice and mustard. Set vinaigrette aside. In another bowl combine mango, onion, hearts of palm and half vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide lettuce among 4 plates. Top with mango mixture. Drizzle remaining dressing. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro.

Suggested Wine: This salad has refreshing tanginess from the vinaigrette. Normally a crisp, white wine would be the idea companion to match this tanginess. However, because the mango is sweet, the salad requires an off dry white wine to match. Choose an off dry Riesling, off dry Gewurztraminer, white Zinfandel or off dry rose as a partner. I would choose Riesling from a cool climate to get that zinging acidity to match the fresh lime juice.


Discover how easy it is to pair the right wine with a dish in Harmony On The Palate e-Cookbook. Click the link below:

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Oct 27

Mastering the Red Wine Reduction

Coq Au Vin is a classic dish that utilizes the flavor of a red wine reduction.

Coq Au Vin is a classic dish that utilizes the flavor of a red wine reduction.

Red wine is a classic element in many delicious recipes. But, there is no better way to use red wine in cooking than with the traditional red wine reduction sauce. Once you’ve mastered this sauce, you’ll find many ways to use it.

The most traditional use for red wine reduction sauce is for steak or other beef dishes. The red wine flavor pairs nicely with the flavor of beef, and can really dress up the flavor of an inexpensive steak, as well as preventing it from being too dry. Red wine reduction sauce is also perfect as an accompaniment to a beef tenderloin for a classic holiday meal.

The cooking term “reduction” refers to cooking a liquid long enough to allow some of the water to steam out. This leaves you with thicker, more sauce-like liquid and more concentrated flavors. Following is a basic recipe for a simple red wine reduction that is packed with flavor.

Simple Red Wine Reduction Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3/4 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 (14 ounce) can beef broth
  • 1 1/4 cups red wine (Merlot, Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon), divided


  1. Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat; cook and stir the onions, garlic, mushrooms and shallots until the onions are translucent, about 10 to 15 minutes. Pour in the beef broth and 1 cup of the wine, and bring to a boil, scraping and dissolving any browned bits of flavor from the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat, and simmer until the vegetables are very soft and the pan juices have reduced by half, about 20 minutes.
  2. Strain out and discard the vegetables from the sauce. Return the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat, stir in the rest of the wine, and reduce heat. Simmer the sauce until it is reduced to 1/4 of its original volume, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Once you’ve mastered this simple sauce, you’re sure to want to come up with your own variations. For example, you may choose to add additional vegetables for a more intense flavor. You may also choose to add multiple types of mushrooms to the sauce without straining them out to make wonderful mushroom/ red wine gravy. Mastering the simple, yet elegant red wine reduction sauce is a feat every cook will want to accomplish.