April 23, 2009
On a recent trip to Québec I visited the Cidrerie Michel Jodoin. There I tasted a range of apple ciders and spirits, all of which were interesting and most of which were pleasant to my palate. What most captured the fancy of my taste buds was Cidre Léger Rosé Mousseux, a sparkling apple cider made of Geneva apples. This red-fleshed apple yields a pink juice that is treated by Michel Jodoin to the methode champagnoise (the traditional way that Champagne is made). The combination of light effervescence and sweet-tart fruit was delightful.
The tasting took place after a tour of the cider house where I'd seen the pink bottles stuffed into riddling racks. I'd most been looking forward to tasting it. When it wasn't initially offered I asked why not. "It's not ready," I was told. I must have looked sad because within moments a bottle appeared on the counter. "It's not quite ready," I was warned by the guy uncorking it. I promised to keep that in mind. After one sip I said, "I'd buy a whole case if I could." But since airplane travel today presents liquid-lovers with a range of obstacles, I bought just one bottle to stuff into my checked bag alongside the few bottles of maple syrup I'd already purchased.
One recent late Sunday morning I cracked that bottle open to serve alongside pancakes topped with maple syrup and a side of Canadian bacon. It proved to be a perfect pairing that captured some of North America's best flavors. I wish I had been able to buy a case of that cider. Unfortunately, quantities are very limited and Cidrerie Michel Jodoin doesn't export or ship to the U.S. Guess that means I'll have to go back!
To learn more visit http://www.cidrerie-michel-jodoin.qc.ca/site. Click on "products" then "sparkling."
April 22, 2009
To serve alongside a dinner of stuffed Greek steak and feta mashed potatoes, I uncorked a bottle of Domaine Mercouri 2003.
Produced and bottled at the Mercouri Estate in Korakochori Ilias, Greece, this "Vin de Pays des Letrinon" (regional dry red wine) was a very pleasant surprise. I wish I had another bottle in the rack to look forward to some other evening.
As the label promised, the wine was rich in color, aroma and body. Forward tannins were met head-on with fruit and spice. The longer this wine breathed in the glass, the more it opened up. It was tasty and gave our Greek dinner authenticity for around $17.
April 21, 2009
Photo courtesy of Combier Liqueur D'Orange.
April 18, 2009
I once bought a dragon fruit out of curiosity, lured by its bright pink skin dotted with green shoots. Cutting into it revealed white flesh speckled with black seeds, a surprising contrast to the flamboyant exterior. Biting into it was an even bigger shock in that it was neither pleasant nor revolting, just bland. Whether I'd chosen an unripe or atypical piece of fruit I don't know, but at best it tasted like a drop of kiwi juice in a tall glass of water might—which is to say, like nothing much. So while the name “dragon” suggests something fiery, the fruit’s impressive flair seems limited to its skin and its name.
I opened a bottle of Bacardi Dragon Berry interested to find out if I’d be able to detect any unique flavor that I could attribute to dragon fruit. The verdict on that is no, but I give a thumbs-up to the spirit anyway. Infused with strawberries and dragon fruit, the dominant taste is (no surprise here) strawberry.
This yummy cocktail would be perfect to sip by a pool on a hot summer day:
Bacardi Dragon Berry Fizz
2 parts Bacardi Dragon Berry flavored rum
1 1/2 parts fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 parts simple syrup1 part cranberry juice
club soda, to top
Combine all ingredients (except club soda) into a shaker filled halfway with ice. Shake well and strain into a glass filled with ice. Top with club soda. Garnish with a lemon wedge.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Bacardi