Why not go out on a limb?

That's where the fruit is.

~ Mark Twain ~

(Lucia, chapter 14)

 

Food and wine take on their own character role in my Virginia wine country series, The Bonaveras. Researching this series has been a lot of fun, doing wine tastings with friends, driving the scenic byways of Virginia's Blue Ridge area, and learning about Virginia's wine industry, and wine in general.

 

As you read these books, you might find yourself wishing you had a glass of wine and some nibbles on the side. I thought it only fair, therefore, to share a few pairings from my research. I hope you find a couple of favorites to satisfy your craving. Bon apetité!

THE BONAVERAS' SUGGESTED WINE PAIRINGS

WINE

Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah

 

CHEESE

Asiago, Swiss, Brie

 

FRUITS & NUTS

Apples, Cherries, Grapes,

Crusty Breads

WINE

Chardonnay

 

CHEESE

Brie, Havarti, Mozzarella

 

FRUITS & NUTS

Pears, Green Apples,

Strawberries, Almonds, Olives

WINE

Merlot, Pinot Noir

 

CHEESE

Provolone, Asiago, Brie

 

FRUITS & NUTS

Red Grapes, Pears, Olives,

Almonds, Crusty Bread

WINE

Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc

 

CHEESE

Parmesan, Gouda

 

FRUITS & NUTS

Figs, Walnuts, Cherries,

Dark Breads

WINE

Viognier

 

CHEESE

Aged Gouda, Chevre Gruyere, Brie

 

FRUITS & NUTS

Peaches, Apricots, Cashews, Macadamias, Rosemary Crackers

A FEW FUN WINE FACTS

  • A 5oz glass of white wine, on average has 120 calories and 3.8 grams of carbohydrates.

 

  • 5oz of red wine is about 125 calories and 3.8 grams of carbohydrate.

 

  • When grapes ferment, yeasts in the fruit consume its sugars and turn them into alcohol, and voila, we get wine.

 

  • Did you know that white wines can technically be made from any color of grape, but reds can only be made from dark skinned grapes? The reason? Wine gets its color from the skin of the fruit, not the flesh. Red wines are soaked with their dark red skins during the winemaking process, while whites are fermented with the juice alone.

 

  • It is believed that the tradition of tapping glasses together in toast originated in medieval times when wine was sometimes spiked with poison as a means for murder. Glasses would be bumped so wine would spill from one glass to the other, thus making sure it was safe to drink. When we toast by clinking glasses, we are in effect, toasting to one's good health.

Charlie's Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes

(from Return to Glebe Point)

INGREDIENTS

BACON INGREDIENTS

  • 10 – 12 slices of bacon, cut into thirds
  • ¾ cup of brown sugar
  • 1 TBLSP powdered, unsweetened cocoa

DRY CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt

WET CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS

  • 4 oz good quality, milk OR dark chocolate depending on your preference, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup cooled, expresso or strong coffee
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • ½ tsp high quality, Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla extract
  • 5 TBLSP canola or vegetable oil

PROCESS

 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine brown sugar and cocoa powder for bacon. Cut bacon into thirds and toss in brown sugar and cocoa mixture to coat. Place coated bacon pieces on a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil and cook in preheated oven until nicely browned, about 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from oven and set bacon aside on paper towels to drain and cool.

 

  • While bacon is cooling, melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for about one minute. Stir. If not fully melted, microwave again in 15 second increments until smooth. Set aside for a couple of minutes to cool slightly.

 

  • In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and mix together well. Set aside. In a medium bowl, combine all the wet ingredients, including the melted chocolate, and whisk until smooth.

 

  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients you mixed together. Pour the wet ingredients mixture into the well, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary to get all the ingredients out. Stir mixtures together just until blended.

 

  • Crumble the cooled bacon and set about one-quarter of it aside (this will be used for sprinkling on top of your iced cupcakes). Add the other three-quarters of crumbled bacon to the cupcake batter, mixing it in well.

 

  • Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners and divide the batter evenly into the cups. Bake the cupcakes in preheated oven until the tops spring back when pressed lightly, about 20 to 25 minutes.

 

  • Let cupcakes cool in muffin tin for about 10 minutes, then remove them to a wire rack and cool completely. When cupcakes are completely cooled, frost with your favorite icing. My personal favorite is dark chocolate, but these are just as delicious with milk chocolate, dulce de leche, or even peanut butter. After frosting cupcakes, sprinkle the reserved bacon crumbles evenly over the cupcakes.

 

  • Now share and enjoy!

Copyright © 2018 Patricia Paris. All rights reserved.