Reviews of the Round Table
The majority of the time.
Coq au Riesling - We had the unnamed cooking gods, and food writer Nigella Lawson, to thank for this spring play on a classic French dish. Typically, coq au vin is a slow cooked, savory dish involving red wine, cream, and of course, chicken. But I'm all for messing with tradition, and Nigella's change of pace was a rousing success. Ditching the heavier red wine and cream combination for (an entire bottle of) riesling, adds a liveliness and acidity to the dish that we found altogether scrumptious. Perfect for those upcoming April summer days. Any wine-salesman worth his grapes can recommend a dry riesling for cooking this dish.
Learn from our mistake: We did not eat until 9pm. Why? Nearly a collective century of schooling between the four of us, and yet we still haven't quite mastered the art of reading directions. This dish takes around 2 hours to prepare. Don't be like us. Plan ahead folks.
Wine of the Night:
The Raats Chenin Blanc 2014. My friends and I reached a swift agreement soon after arrival: We should dutifully start tasting wines as soon as possible. Therefore, most of this bottle didn't make it past the cheese and crackers. But we'll just chalk that up to over-eagerness. The Raats has the fruit of a bombastic sauvignon blanc, with only a slightly reduced acidity. Simply put, a slight bit less of that tartness leaves this bottle light, bright, and summer fresh. If you have more self control than us, drink it alongside light chicken dishes, and easy conversation.
Winemaker Bruwer Raats wisely writes:
"Our wines should essentially be enjoyed in the company of good food, by people appreciative of the passion and dedication that go into the making thereof."
Couldn't have said it better friends. Appreciate your winemakers, and your cooks.
The Raats Family Winery hails from the Stellenbosch region of South Africa, which makes up part of the aptly named, "Cape Winelands." 10 points from Hufflepuff (who would definitely be the winemakers in the Harry Potter universe) for lack of originality. But 30 points to Hufflepuff for making such a good wine.
"I'm sitting here so I can keep track of everything. Mainly the cheese."
On Love Lost:
"I've seen 'Hitch' upwards of 10 times. Will Smith knows how to plan a date."
"What happened to Willow? I mean, 'I Whip My Hair Back and Forth?' Seriously, nothing has really topped that."
"I don't know if this wine is getting better, or if I'm getting less critical."
Mid-consumption, I typically ask my friends how much they would be willing to pay for the chosen wine (no relation to "The Chosen One" Anakin Skywalker).
Raats Chenin Blanc 2014
Willing to Pay: $17, $12, $17.
Actual Price: $11
The Rating: 2 - The Raats Chenin Blanc is great bang for your buck, and, for some, might be a nice detour off the well-trodden road of Sauvignon Blancs and Chardonnays. Refreshing and crisp on a weary day.
Historical Note: Grapes were first planted in South Africa by the Dutch East India Company, in order to ward off the 17th century scurvy scourge. It didn't work.
I'd also be farmisht (link if you need to brush up on your yiddish) if I failed to mention that you should probably own the New York Times Cooking App. My mother turned me onto it a while back, and I often wonder how I got on without it. Whether you cook once a day, once a week, or once a lightyear, it offers a plethora of dishes that are bound to please those special food-eaters in your life (yourself included).