Archive for May, 2010

The concept of balance in wine

May 27, 2010

This is a concept that on the surface seems very simple, but that turns out to be quite challenging. It is important to have some familiarity with what balance entails if you are to become a good wine taster.

Balance in wine refers to the interaction and harmony between two or more of the wine’s constituents. By far the most straightforward balance is that between sugar and acidity. Not all wines, of course, have residual sugar, though all have some acidity. Sugar-acid balance is thus limited to wines which have an interplay between these two elements.

There is no accurate formula for calculating the perfect acid-sugar balance in a wine, despite the fact that there are some people who advance that very notion. In its simplest sense, a wine which has a good acid-sugar balance tastes neither too sweet nor too acidic: the sugar exists in the right quantity for the acid, and vice versa.

Read more on www.nysaes.cornell.edu

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Enjoy your wine and food- regardless of the paring rules

May 26, 2010

Some food and wine connoisseurs have made food and wine pairing so rigid that they are missing the point completely. Traditionally, certain wines are recommended to be served with certain dishes. The “rules” state that red wine will complement red meat, while white wine is recommended with fish or fowl.

Some people who are not huge fans of white wine, instead, prefer a Pinot Noir – which is a light-bodied red wine – with salmon or fish. If someone does not particularly enjoy red wine, you simply can’t force them to pair a Cabernet with steak.

New food and wine pairings are all about bending the rules to suit your palate. For example, uniquely South African Pinotage with medium body is also delicious served with seafood such as salmon.

The only “rule” to remember is to match the wine intensity or body with the flavour of the food so that the wine does not overpower the food, or vice versa. Even a so-called untrained palate seeks what it likes – trust your tastebuds and mix and match until you find something that you enjoy.

Rules? You know what to do them! Wine is simply something that must be enjoyed – regardless of perfect pairings.

Source: pioneerlocal.com

The history of Elephant jokes

May 24, 2010

Elephant jokes have been around for many a year but where does it come from and is there a specific formula?

Elephant jokes have been described as the  following:

 An elephant joke is a joke, almost always an absurd riddle or conundrum and often a sequence of such, that involves an elephant. Elephant jokes were a fad in the 1960s, with many people constructing large numbers of them according to a set formula. Sometimes they involve parodies or puns.

Two examples of elephant jokes are:

Q: How can you tell that an elephant is in the bathtub with you?

A: By the smell of peanuts on its breath.

Q: Why do elephants paint their toes yellow?

A: So they can hide upside down in the custard.

Elephant jokes first appeared in the United States in 1962. They were first recorded in the Summer of 1962 in Texas, and gradually spread across the U.S., reaching California in January/February 1963. By July 1963, elephant jokes were ubiquitous and could be found in newspaper columns, and in TIME and Seventeen magazines, with millions of people working to construct more jokes according to the same formula.

Both elephant jokes and Tom Swifties were in vogue in 1963, and were reported in the U.S. national press. Whilst the appeal of Tom Swifties was to children, and gradually faded over subsequent decades, the appeal of elephant jokes was mainly to literate adults, and has lasted. Elephant jokes began circulation primarily amongst professors, and have been discovered afresh by subsequent generations of adults, remaining, in Isaac Asimov’s words “favourites of intellectuals and of sophisticated adults”.

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Moderate wine drinkers have healthier lifestyles

May 20, 2010

Moderate wine drinkers have a healthier lifestyle than teetotallers, according to a surprising new study.

This is because those who enjoyed a few glasses of wine a day tended to take more exercise, have a higher social status and suffer from less stress, according to researchers

Researchers from the Public Assistance Hospitals in Paris looked at nearly 150,000 people and concluded those who enjoyed low or moderate intake of alcohol tended to exercise more, have higher social status and suffer from less stress compared to people who never touched a drop or drank to excess.

The volunteers included more than 97,000 men and 52,000 women. Researchers split them up into five groups that consisted of no alcohol consumption, low alcohol consumption, moderate drinkers, heavy drinkers and former drinkers.

The results showed those who drank moderately were more likely to have lower cardiovascular disease risk, heart rate, stress, depression and body mass index (BMI).

“Importantly, the findings showed moderate alcohol consumption is a powerful general indicator of optimal social status, and this could be a key reason for improved health  in these subjects,” study author, Dr. Boris Hansel said.

Moderate drinkers also scored higher on health measures such as respiratory function and physical activity.

Read more on www.dailymail.co.uk

Laughter and red wine: The key to longevity

May 17, 2010

Two separate research groups have released findings that might confirm what you may know: Laughter and red wine and a handful of walnuts or peanuts are the best longevity, disease-fighting and anti-aging secrets out there.

Reports from the Montefiore Einstein Cancerdefine Center at Montefiore Hospital are that they have been using ‘strength through laughter’ therapy to cure patients for the last five years.

During the laughter therapy session, the patients crack each other up and laugh to forget their own illness; they also use good film comedies, books and stand-up specials during the session.

The American Cancer Society and other medical experts say that laughter is the best therapy to reduce tension and relax the body. It lowers the blood pressure, reduces stress hormones define and increases muscle flexion.  Many medical experts laud laughter’s unique internal organ massage benefits.

To add to this, Harvard researchers have made claims they have a critical key to unlock the secret of aging. The Harvard studies showed that resveratrol also found in the crust of peanuts and walnuts, in grapes, peanut butter, pistachios and other foods seemed to ward off the effect of age on heart, bones, eyes and muscles.

Read more on www.monstersandcritics.com

Dancing elephant

May 13, 2010

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Balance- The key to wine and food pairing

May 10, 2010

The main rule to remember about pairing wine with food is that there are no rules: you should drink the wines you like with the foods you like. That being said, there are some basic guidelines that can help you maximize your enjoyment of wine-food pairing.

Match the weight & texture of the food to the weight & texture of the wine
Example: A light-bodied fish like sole works best with a light-bodied white wine like pinot grigio, while a heavier-bodied fish like salmon calls for a richer, fuller-bodied white like chardonnay.

Balance the intensity of flavours in the food and wine
Example: A mildly flavoured food like roast turkey pairs well with light-bodied white and red wines like sauvignon blanc and Beaujolais, but in the context of a Thanksgiving dinner featuring stuffing, cranberry sauce, and other strongly flavoured side dishes, an intensely flavoured white like gewürztraminer or a rich, fruity red like syrah or zinfandel would be preferable.

Balance tastes
The five basic tastes are sweet, sour, salt, bitter and umami (the recently discovered fifth taste found in savory foods like mushrooms, tomatoes, soy sauce, and aged cheeses and meats). Salty and sour tastes in food make wines taste milder (fruitier and less acidic), while sweet and savory (umami) tastes make wines taste stronger (drier and more astringent).

Match flavours
Flavours are combinations of tastes and aromas, and there are an infinite number of them. You can fine-tune food and wine pairings by matching flavours in the food and the wine.

Counterpoint flavours
Sometimes, the best choice is to counterpoint flavours rather than matching them.

Read more on drinkwine.com

Bright Elephants in London

May 6, 2010

London will be invaded by a herd of colourful Elephants in a conservation campaign.

Elephant Parade is a conservation campaign that shines a multi-coloured spotlight on the urgent crisis endangered Asian elephant. The  elephantfamily.org has organized this venture and the event sees over 250 brightly painted life-size elephants located over central London this summer.

Here is one of the exhibitions.

A herd of ‘baby elephants’ hand-painted by artists and designers including Tommy Hilfiger and Matthew Williamson are setting London ablaze with colour.

How to Balance Flavours -Sweet, Spicy, Sour, Salty

May 4, 2010

Traditional Oriental medicine believes balancing flavours in your food promotes physical and mental well-being. Certainly a main dish that includes sweet, spicy, sour and salty flavours is more enjoyable than one that concentrates only one or two flavours.

Bring more pleasure to your meals by following these steps.

Instructions

Step1: Assess how salty the ingredients of your dish are without adding any salt. Buy unsalted foods when you can so you can balance flavours more easily.

Step 2: Consider using other salty ingredients besides table salt to add more flavour to your dish. Soy sauce isn’t just for Asian cuisine. Garlic Salt or bouillon adds something extra to your plain white and brown rice. A little Parmesan or cheddar cheese goes a long way in a salad.

Step 3: Stock your pantry with different types of vinegar. Pickled vegetables can add a sour zing to your salads. Lemons and limes have vitamin C in addition to their pleasant sour taste.

Step 4: Balance the sourness in your dish with something sweet. Experiment with different sweeteners. Honey is better than sugar in salad dressings. Use brown sugar in a teriyaki sauce. Even the acidity of tomatoes in Italian dishes is enhanced by adding sugar.

Step 5: Be careful when adding spicy ingredients to your dish. Know what your guests can tolerate. Consider adding a slight amount to perk up the dish and leaving powdered spices in plain site for those who like to set their tongue on fire.

Step 6: Use freshly ground rather than pre-ground black pepper. You’ll notice the difference right away when you swirl the pepper mill and catch a whiff of quality pepper.

Step 7: Add dry spicy ingredients at the beginning of the cooking to balance the flavours better. Consider substituting your basic black pepper with curry, chili powder, hot paprika and mustard.

Read more on ehow.com