Archive for February, 2010

Elephant jokes

February 25, 2010

Here are some great elephant jokes:

An elephant always remembers, but what animal always forgets?
An owl, because ifs always saying “Who? Who?’

If an elephant crosses the road, rolls in the mud and crosses back again, what is it?
A dirty double-crosser.

If storks bring human babies, what bring baby elephants?
Cranes.

What do you get if you cross an elephant with a dog?
An animal that remembers where it buried its bones.

What do you get if you cross an elephant with a flea?
Lots of very worried dogs.

What do you get if you cross an elephant with a ghost?
A big nothing.

What do you get if you cross an elephant with a goldfish?
Swimming trunks.

What do you get if you cross an elephant with a goose?
An animal that honks before it runs you over.

What do you get if you cross an elephant with a gooseberry?
A pie that never forgets.

What did Mrs Elephant say to Mr Elephant?
I hear the thunder of tiny feet.’

What did the banana do when the elephant chased it?
The banana split.

What did the elephant say when it was bitten by a snake?
Nothing: elephants can’t talk.

For more elephant jokes visit elephantjokes.co.uk

Trick photos with old vinyl records

February 22, 2010

Here are a few great trick photos.

See what happens when people use sleeves from classic vinyl records to create thick photos.

More photos

Valentine’s Wine winner

February 22, 2010

Congratulations to Loudeac Swanepoel
Her Facebook comment was judged to be the best and she has won a Balance Wine hamper .

Life is too short to drink only one kind of wine

February 16, 2010

The famous quote goes “Life is too short for bad wine”. I would like to add that Life is too short to only drink one kind of wine. South Africa has a great wine variety and the consumers are spoiled with choice but some people just get stuck on one cultivar of wine.

It seems that many consumers have their preconceived ideas and are reluctant to change.
The other day at a dinner party one of my guests insisted that he only drinks Sauvignon Blanc and no other white wine. This rigidness is typical of many South African wine consumers.

Sauvignon Blanc has become the go-to white wine and when in doubt; wine drinkers go for Sauvignon Blanc. In America it seems that Chardonnay is their go-to white drink. In a recent American article I read that the most versatile white wine is Sauvignon Blanc , yet most Americans drink Chardonnay.

But South Africa has another alternative and very versatile cultivar , Chenin Blanc.
According the John Platter guide, this white cultivar accounts for 19% of SA vineyard area.

Edward Deitch ,an American wine columnist, wrote that ” Chenin Blanc is to South Africa what Chardonnay is to California”. He added that “there is no better source for good, inexpensive Chenin Blanc than South Africa.”

So the Americans perceive SA to make great (value for money) Chenin Blancs, yet South African wine consumers are still stuck in their rigid white wine preferences.

With the economic hard times, the consumers will probably be more conservative and will stick to what they know. So, in the immediate future, Sauvignon Blanc will remain the go-to dry white wine for South African wine drinkers.

My suggestion to my , dare I say , narrow-minded guest , is to try something new. Come on , live a little. There is great dry Chenin Blancs, white blends and Rosé wines on the market. Try it.

Source: msnbc

Balance Chenin Blanc

Win wine for you and your Valentine –

February 11, 2010

Love is in the  air and in the Valentine’s spirit Balance Wines are giving away a wine hamper  for the best quote / comment on our Facebook page.

All you have to do is become a fan of our Facebook page and leave a comment or quote on the page.

Cooking with wine- Balance the flavours to create a synergy of tastes

February 11, 2010

Cooking with wine means more than a splash of red wine in your spaghetti sauce.

Not that there’s anything wrong with merlot in the marinara — especially if you’ll be drinking it with dinner — but there’s more to cooking with wine than pairing red sauce with red wine.

The wine that is used in the recipe should, ideally, be the one that is served with the course of food but first, consider the aroma of a dish. “The flavour of the wine should complement the aromas of the food.”

There should be a balance between the flavours of the food and the wine in order to create a synergy of tastes and aromas.

Debra Gordon, co-author with her husband, Keith Gordon, of the new book “Wine on Tuesdays” , notes that ‘“the key to cooking with wines is that you do want to bring it to a boil to burn the alcohol off” and impart a depth of flavor.

She’s not picky about the wine she uses, as long as the color and flavor make sense for the dish. “If I’m making a white sauce, I’ll use a white wine,” she says; for a butter sauce she’ll use a buttery chardonnay and a sauvignon blanc or an unoaked chardonnay for fish. She’ll use reds not only for hearty meats, but also for roast chicken — to deglaze the pan and make a sauce from the drippings.

One thing is a no-no: Never ever use cooking wine. It’s full of salt and preservatives. “It’s awful,” Gordon says.

But if a recipe calls for a specific wine, use it. “There’s a reason they’re calling for those types of wine,” Gordon says, particularly when the wine defines the dish, as it does with a marsala or madeira. Also, don’t underestimate what a wine’s acidity can do for a dish.

Acid will make your food come alive and that’s particularly important to remember when a recipe calls for a specific wine, such as a dry white. Dry white wines are the highest in acid level, so that recipe wants the acid to help with the overall taste of the dish.

From: The Wine and Food Blog

Valentine’s Day palate- Indulge in a little wine and chocolate

February 8, 2010

Since the time of the Aztecs, chocolate has been said to have amorous properties. Wine, too, has long been associated with romance and it is best summed up in the words of 17th century English playwright, Ben Jonson , “Wine is the milk of Venus”.

What better way, then, to satisfy the Valentine’s Day palate than to indulge in a little of both? Pairing wine with chocolate is a culinary delight that has been gaining attention in recent years. And all it takes to make it work is a little know-how and a sense of adventure.

An US wine shop owner ,Sherry Etes, suggests that a lot of people don’t really think about pairing the two, but it can be great fun. There are actually a lot of different wines that pair well with chocolate. Generally, wines that are a little more “fruit forward” make the best partners with chocolate.

Champagnes also pair well with chocolate. Try dark chocolate with a brut champagne, and a lighter (maybe even white) chocolate with a sweeter bubbly. Be careful, though, not to go too sweet.

Balancing act

Balance is important when pairing wine with chocolate, said Julie Waterman, owner of Indulgence Chocolatiers in Waukesha.

“You want to either complement or contrast the flavors in the two,” said Waterman, who specializes in artisan, (Belgian chocolates).

Overall, dark chocolate tends to pair better with wine than milk chocolate, Waterman said.

“Milk chocolate tends to have too many tannins, which can create a clash with the wine.”

That doesn’t mean, however, that people who prefer sweeter chocolate won’t have success in pairing wine with chocolate, she said. Chocolate doesn’t have to be super dark, bitter sweet to be considered dark, Waterman explained. Lighter, very creamy varieties of dark chocolate are available.

A good general rule-of-thumb is to choose a chocolate with 50 percent, or higher, cacao content. Such semisweet chocolates usually pair well with wine, she said.

Read more…

Women more affected by price of wine than men

February 3, 2010

A recent study found that women’s perceptions of wine are more affected by the price than men.

Researchers from the Stockholm School of Economics and Harvard University set out to determine whether knowing how much a bottle of wine cost would affect what people thought of the taste.

They found that disclosing the expensive price of a wine before people tasted it produced considerably higher ratings, although only from women.

The volunteers tasted one of two Portuguese red wines, one cost $5 a bottle and one $40. One-third of the people tasted the wine without knowing the price, one-third was told the price before the tasting, and one-third learned the price afterwards.

All of the tasters were told to rate the wine on a scale that ranged from undrinkable to perfection.

The researchers, whose findings were published by the American Association of Wine Economists, said only women assigned considerably higher ratings when they were told they were about to drink the expensive wine.

In the blind tasting, the average rating from both sexes was slightly higher for the cheaper wine than for the more expensive, showing that most people do not prefer expensive wines.

Source: Read more on Reuters

Moderate drinking linked to longevity

February 1, 2010

I recent study found that men who drink up to half a glass of wine a day may live five years longer than non-drinkers.

Men who consumed light quantities of any type of alcohol daily added two-and-a-half years to their life expectancy. This is according to findings of a study published by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Drinkers were also at a lower risk of dying from coronary heart disease and other ailments associated with poor circulation.

“There is a lot of research pointing to the fact that a glass or two of wine a day is good for a person’s health, and this research just adds to this standpoint,” the study leader said in a statement

The study was conducted at the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands.

It looked at the lifestyles and alcohol consumption of 1 373 men born between 1900 and 1920, examining their health regularly between 1960 and 2000.

During this period 1 130 of the men died from heart disease.

When researchers compared the men’s deaths and their drinking habits, it found that light to moderate drinking of any alcoholic beverage added about two-and-a-half years to the life-spans of drinkers.

It also found that men who drank only wine, up to about half a bottle a day, lived around two-and-a-half years longer than those who drank beer or spirits.

Compared to teetotallers, they lived five years longer.

“Of course this doesn’t mean you should run out and buy a bottle of wine or take up drinking if you are a teetotaller.

You should stick to your regular lifestyle. It’s just nice to know that enjoying a glass or two of your favourite tipple can actually have a benefit.

Read more on IOL