Smorrebrod, A Scandinavian Tradition … Served with a Nova Scotia Rose

Pairing: Smørrebrød Paired with a 2016 Avondale Sky ‘Lady Slipper’ Rosé 

Food: The ‘Dog Days of Summer” are upon us. And, Smørrebrød, a traditional Scandinavian, open-face sandwich is the perfect light, refreshing meal for a hot summer day. Usually constructed from a slice of dense, dark bread, spread with butter, then layered with meat or fish, garnishes, and cheese. We make ours using a dense rye bread spread with whipped cream cheese, then piled high with cold turkey, spinach leaves, ripe tomato slices, and hard-boiled egg. Add a generous shake of salt and pepper. Serve it with a cool, refreshing cucumber salad. We like the one found in Craig Claiborne’s New York Times International Cookbook, widely hailed when it came out in the 1970’s.

The salad is made with thinly sliced cucumber, white wine vinegar, salt, sugar, and dill.

Turkey Smorrebrot with Rose


Wine:  Nova Scotia is becoming more and more the place to enjoy fabulous wines while exploring a bucolic landscape in Atlantic Canada. Numerous wineries now dot prime agricultural land located mostly in the Annapolis Valley and Gaspereau Valley. The Avondale Sky Winery lies on the Avon Peninsula a few miles to the east. In operation since 2009 (though many of its vineyards are much older), it has quickly established itself as one of the premier wineries in all of Nova Scotia, indeed of all the Maritime Provinces.   Their ‘Lady Slipper’ Rosé is one of their most awarded wines, and made from Leon Millot and Marquette grapes, both cold climate grapes.


Avondale Sky Lady Slipper Rose.JPG

Tasting Notes: A pretty bluish-red color, it almost looks like a blueberry wine, but it is not. The nose provides fragrant aromas of fresh strawberry, cranberry, wild cherry, and blueberry. On the palate one can taste sweet strawberry, clean crisp wild cranberry, and lingonberry. It’s like a basket full of ripe, fresh, local (to the Maritimes) berries. A gentle, mellow hint of honey rounds it all out, but one would be incorrect in thinking this is a sweet wine. It gets even better over time as it opens up. The pairing is extremely good with the “wild fruit” complementing the layers of flavor of the Smørrebrød.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Smørrebrød: Riesling – Kabinett (Germany), Gewürztraminer (Alsace, France), Soave (Italy), Chenin Blanc (South Africa)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Rosé: Salade Niçoise, Provençal Pizza, Tuna Salad Sandwiches, Chicken Salad.

View the Beautiful Wine Country of Nova Scotia: Wine Country Nova Scotia

A Source: Avondale Sky Winery




Pissaladiere (Provencal “Pizza”)…Perfect with a Bandol Rouge from Provence

Pairing: Pissaladière Paired with a 2011 Château de Pibarnon Bandol

Food: Pissaladière is a classic pizza-like dish that originated in the city of Nice in the region of Provence in Southeastern France. We make ours with our normal pizza dough, though it can be made with a puff pastry as well. The topping is a generous helping of caramelized onions, anchovies, and black Niçoise olives. Sometimes we’ll add fresh rosemary or thyme to the topping. View different versions of Pissaladière here.

Pissaladiere with Bandol

Wine:  Bandol is seen by many as the premiere red wine of Provence. We count ourselves in that mindset. Bandol is a blended wine composed primarily (at least 50%) of the dark, full bodied Mourvèdre. The remaining is part Grenache and Cinsaut. This combination of grapes produces a rich, full-bodied, satisfying wine that pairs nicely with richly flavored foods. Chateau de Pibarnon is a well-regarded producer of Bandol, not only for the excellence of their reds, but also their whites and rosés.

Bandol - Chateau de Pibarnon

Tasting Notes: A deep garnet hue, almost black. A complex nose with distinguishing elements of blueberry, violet, cinnamon, and plowed earth. Delicious layers of blueberry, blackberry, wild cherry, and earth emerge on the palate, and extend into the finish. This wine is an exemplar of an earthy, old world wine with just enough fruit to keep it balanced. The wine is made mostly from Mourvèdre which can be dark, brooding wine, but this terrific Bandol has a lightness to it that makes it highly drinkable. The pairing with the Pissaladière is inspired, even brilliant (he says modestly). The sweet, caramelized onions and salty olives and anchovies really bring out the great earthiness of the wine.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Pissaladière: Chablis (France), Semillon (Australia), Super Tuscan (Italy), Tempranillo (Spain)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Bandol: Grilled Sausage, Wild Boar or Venison, Calf’s Liver, Pizza

View the Stunning Mediterranean Site of the Chateau de Pibarnon winery:

A Source:  www.






Cullin Skink (!?) … Absolutely Delicious with an Alsatian Riesling

Pairing: Cullin Skink Paired with 2008 Trimbach Cuvée Frédéric Emile Riesling

Food:  ‘Cullin Skink is an absolutely fabulous tasting thick Scottish soup traditionally made with finnan haddie (smoked haddock), potatoes, onion, bay leaf, and milk or cream. “Cullen” is a fishing village located on the Moray Firth, a popular hangout for haddock. “Skink” comes from the German word for shin. Go figure.  Anyway … we are fortunate that we can make fairly regular runs to the NH seacoast (yes, we have a seacoast … all 18 miles of it) to our favorite fish market, Sanders, where we can buy frozen finnan haddie. An excellent online source is Our dish is served with green asparagus and parsley. Pretty and delicious.

Cullin Skink with RieslingJPG


Wine:  Alsatian Riesling is a sometimes overlooked wine, playing second fiddle to the more widely known German Rieslings. Alsace is located in the breathtakingly beautiful northeast corner of France, just across the border with Germany, not too far from the region where the great German Rieslings originate. Riesling has been grown in this area at least since the 9th Century, and the Trimbach family has been producing fine wine there since 1626. Almost 400 years … Remarkable!

Trimbach Riesling

Tasting Notes:  A deep golden color. Lovely aromas of ripe peach and melon. The smoked haddock really seems to bring out the delicious melon flavors in the wine. One could make the case that the flavor is akin to the taste of a French Charentais Melon. And lest we forget, the peach flavor is also there. The Alsatian Riesling is a lot like its German cousin, but a bit drier and with a hint of acidity. The smoked fish and the clean, slightly sweet wine are a perfect match (IMHO).

Other Wines That Pair Well with Cullin Skink:  Gewürztraminer (France), Vouvray (Loire Valley), Chenin Blanc (South Africa)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Alsatian Riesling: Choucroute, Crab, Scallops, Salads or Other Dishes Made with Peaches or Melon

View the Striking Landscapes and Architecture of Alsace:  Alsace

A Source:  www.







Springtime Salad … Paired Beautifully with a Vin de Savoie

Pairing: Springtime Salad Paired with 2013 Veronique Anne Perret Vin de Savoie Apremont

Food:  Maybe it’s just me, but the tug of war between winter and spring seems to be lasting far longer than normal here in New Hampshire. But now at the end of April, spring seems to be gaining a foothold despite winter’s soldiers making a last stand in small bunkers of snow north of the barn and hidden among the hemlocks deep in the woods.  The calendar proclaimed spring six weeks ago, so by golly we’re going to call it spring and celebrate! Here’s a wonderful springtime salad, invented by my wife, composed of a medley of flavors that herald the beginning of warmer days to come.

Start with a base of mixed spring greens. Toss with a dressing made with mayonnaise, hot chili sauce, a bit of granulated garlic and some lemon juice. Play around with your own proportions. Compose the salad with cooked asparagus cut into one-inch pieces, some cooked cold water shrimp, cubed mangos, clementine sections, and sliced hard-boiled eggs. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle additional dressing over the top. This will help you forget that winter ever happened!

Springtime Salad with Vin de Savoie

Wine:  The Savoie wine region lies in the far eastern part of France in the French Alps south of Switzerland’s Lake Geneva. Apremont, just north of the skiing paradise of Grenoble, is regarded as among the finest cru in the Savoie region. The white grape, Jacquere, dominates the wine production in this region and is rarely found outside of this tucked-away corner of France. Veronique Anne Perret’s Apremont wine is 100% Jacquere, an excellent example of this delightfully refreshing, clean-tasting wine, and an absolute steal at $8.

Vin de Savoie Apremont

Tasting Notes:  A pretty pale gold color (12 Karat says my geologist wife!). You can just smell the fresh, clean alpine air along with fragrant honeysuckle and maybe a hint of green melon. Just lovely. On the palate the tastes of white clover and melon persist then linger on the finish. Fairs beautifully with the myriad tastes and textures of the salad.

Other Wines That Pair Well with this Shrimp, Asparagus, Mango, and Citrus Salad:  White Bordeaux (France), Chenin Blanc (South Africa), Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand), Pinot Grigio (Italy)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Vin de Savoie Apremont: Cheese Fondue, Welsh Rarebit, Oysters, White Fish (delicately prepared), Raclette

View the Beautiful Apremont Region of Savoie:  apremont savoie

A Source:  www.





Popovers with Ham & Asparagus … Nicely Paired with a California Red

Pairing: Popovers Stuffed with Ham and Asparagus Paired with NV Marietta Cellars Old Vine Red

Food:  There is always a bit of ham and asparagus left from our special Easter dinner. But never any leftover popovers of which every crumb and morsel is gobbled up before anyone gets up from the table. Well … guess we’re going to have make some more … what a hardship! We like to make them jumbo-sized using a larger muffin tin to bake them in. Easy to make … thoroughly beat up 3 eggs and a cup of milk until light and frothy, add a cup of sifted flour and 1/2 tsp salt, then beat them some more (vigorously!). Then let stand on the counter for at least an hour. Generously butter each cup of the muffin tin you plan to use, putting water in any cups you plan not to put any batter in. Heat up the muffin tin in a 400F oven. Remove from the oven, pour the batter into the hot tin and bake at 400F for about 25 minutes until brown and puffed up. While the popovers are baking, mix up a béchamel sauce with some cheese and add some ham and asparagus pieces. Open up the popovers, ladle some of the mixture into the popovers and dig in. We served ours with potatoes dauphinoise. Good stuff!

Huge Popovers! Fresh Out of the Oven
Popovers with Ham & Asparagus Cream Sauce
Filled with Ham/Asparagus Cream Sauce

Wine:  One of our favorite wines to serve with ham is Zinfandel. The Marietta Cellars Old Vine Red is predominantly Zinfandel, but blended with Petite Sirah, Syrah, Barbera and Montepulciano (your classic “everything but the kitchen sink” blend). Marietta Cellars uses grapes harvested from vineyards scattered throughout Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. Multiple generations at Marietta Cellars have perfected the art of making great blended red wines. And at an amazing price … about $12.

Marietta Cellars Old Vine Red

Tasting Notes:  A beautiful shade of garnet. A nose of rich earth and black currant. A wonderful complex palate with layers of black and red raspberries, black currant, leather, black pepper and other spices. With each sip, a new flavor moves to the front. But the myriad of tastes does not overwhelm the food. The wine makes an excellent companion.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Popovers and Ham/ Asparagus Cream Sauce:  Pinot Noir (Oregon), Chardonnay (California), Syrah (Washington), White Burgundy (France)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Zinfandel-based Blends:  Grilled Chicken or Pork, Baked Ham, Hamburgers or Hot Dogs Cooked Over an Open Fire

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A Lord of the Rings Celebration (2.0) … Sam’s Rabbit Stew … served with Farmer Maggot’s Mushrooms

Note:  A year ago (March 2017) I posted the original “Lord of the Rings Celebration … Sam’s Rabbit Stew”. It proved to be, hands-down, the most widely read posting in the two-year run of Since our family celebrates March 25 every year, we thought we would post a new version of the LOTR meal and paired with a different wine. The changes and additions made to the original version are printed in purple italics.

Pairing:  Samwise Gamgee’s Rabbit Stew served with Farmer Maggot’s Mushrooms paired with a 2014 Albert Boxler Chasselas

Background:  March 25 is a day of very special significance in the history of Middle Earth. It is the day the One Ring is destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom as told by J.R.R. Tolkien in his epic literary masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings (LOTR). This is a special book to our entire family … we’ve each read it multiple times, individually and together as a family.  So, we celebrate the book every year on this most important day in Middle Earth, March 25. We celebrate it by creating a meal composed of foods described in various parts of the story.

Lord of the Rings Books

Food:  This is a meal that Samwise Gamgee made for his master, Frodo Baggins, in Ithilien on the border of the Dark Lord’s fortress lands of Mordor. Their guide (and sympathetic villain), Gollum, has brought Sam a couple of freshly killed “conies” and Sam asks if he might go find him some “taters” for the stew. “What’s taters, Precious?” is Gollum’s response. Sam never gets his taters, but we’ve added them to our stewing rabbit, along with some simple seasoning (salt, pepper, crushed herbs). Sam would be pleased. Sam and Frodo carried dried fruit and elvish honey cakes called “lembas” on their perilous journey to Mordor, so we’ve added them to the meal. Our version of lembas is a recipe for Lebkuchen that we make at Christmastime. We save out some of the cookies, unglazed, then freeze for eating at our LOTR meal.

The mushroom casserole is our invention based on the most welcome gift of a basket of mushrooms Farmer Maggot and his wife gave to Frodo and Sam following their frightening first encounter with the Black Riders, servants of the Dark Lord.

LOTR w: Fire

Wine:  Sam and Frodo did have occasion to drink what was referred to as “the golden wine of Gondor”. In the book, parts of the story take place around the Anduin River. Since the map of Middle Earth looks suspiciously like a map of Europe (I know, it’s a stretch), we’ve imagined that the Anduin might be the Rhone River. And … here’s the connection … Chasselas is a widely grown wine grape throughout the Rhone Valley. Since the Anduin flows through parts of Gondor, the “golden wine of Gondor” must be … drum roll … Chasselas! Ta da!! Clever, eh?

Back to the wine … Chasselas is one of those widely produced wines that few people outside of Middle or Eastern Europe have ever heard of, much less drink. Yet, it’s been grown for at least 500 years in Switzerland, France, Germany, and even parts of North Africa. Today, it is most often used as a blending wine . The wine for this meal comes from Domaine Albert Boxler a highly regarded winery in Niedermorschwihr in the Alsace wine region of eastern France. This family has been making wine here since their ancestors moved here from Switzerland in 1673.



Tasting NotesThis pale golden wine is decidedly floral in both its nose and palate. A clean, fresh fragrance of clover, green grass and a bit of honeysuckle. Very delicate, gentle taste of flowers and apricot. This is a simple tasting wine, with the promise of a nutty, more complex flavor as it matures beyond these four years from the 2014 vintage date. The wine goes particularly well with the honey cakes and dried fruit accompanying the meal.

Other Foods That Pair Well with This Chasselas:  Cheese Fondue (with Swiss Cheese), Mushroom Risotto, Mushroom Pastry, Spicy Noodle Soup, Crayfish Laksa

Other Wines That Pair Well with Rabbit Stew and Mushroom Casserole:  Barbaresco, Bandol, Pinot Grig (Alsace) Chateauneuf-du-Pape (white or red), Pinot Noir

Read About Chasselas:

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Roasted Salmon and Winter Vegetables … Lovely with a Pinot Noir

Pairing: Roasted Salmon and Winter Vegetables Paired with a 2012 Greywacke Pinot Noir from New Zealand

Food:  Simple, seasonal and low in calories … what could be better? Oh, yeah … it’s delicious, too. For this dish, fry up a little bacon then remove and chop. Toss some cubed carrots, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cherry tomatoes in the hot bacon fat. Place vegetables in a roasting pan and roast in a 450F oven for ten minutes. Make some room in the pan for the salmon filets, and reduce temp to 400F for 5-10 minutes until done. Plate up and sprinkle generously with chopped bacon and grated Parmesan cheese. To see more details and nutritional values of this meal, go to A great site.

Salmon Roasted with VegetablesJPG


Wine:  Marlborough, located in the northeastern part of the South Island of New Zealand, is by far the country’s largest wine producer. The region is best known for its Sauvignon Blanc which is the grape that put New Zealand on the wine map. Indeed New Zealand has become famous for making among the best SB in the world. But, the country’s Pinot Noir (most notably Marlborough and Central Otago) is rapidly earning a gold star reputation competing favorably with some of the world’s finest wines. Kevin Judd, founder of the Greywacke winery, earned his stripes with his wonderful Sauvignon Blanc, and now is rightfully gaining a loyal following for his Pinot Noir. For those interested, Greywacke is the geological name of the rock type of the river stones that are in abundance in the soils of the vineyards.


Greywacke Pinot Noir

Tasting Notes:  Lovely garnet color. The nose evokes earth and leather, but most apparent is the aroma of hedgerow jam heating on the stove. Wonderful wild cherry and vibrant, sweet tannins are most present on the palate. The sweet char on the roasted vegetables bring out the full flavor profile of the wine. The crumbled bacon and grated cheese on the salmon do their magic to complement the wine. A great pairing.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Roasted Salmon:  Chardonnay (California), Savenniéres (Loire Valley), Pinot Grig (Oregon), Chenin Blanc (South Africa)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Pinot Noir:  Beet and Goat Cheese Salad, Roast Duck, Mushrooms, Grilled Tuna, Rabbit   … and many, MANY other foods

View the Stunning Marlborough NZ Region:  marlborough new zealand

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