Posts Tagged ‘washington’

To Merlot or Not To Merlot Craft Beer – SAVOR Craft Beer Press Conference 2011

June 12th, 2011 • No Comments

To Merlot or Not to Merlot..that seems to be the question according to Lost Abbey Brewing’s Tomme Arthur that is dogging the craft beer business. This Press Panel discussion lead by JT Smith of Flying Dog Brewery covered what motivates the craft beer industry to grow and yet stay small at the same time. In Tomme’s comparison of beer to Merlot, his concern that craft beer had to avoid becoming generic like the consumer readiness to focus on specific wine varietals and price points to the detriment of the character of the product.

I attended “The American Craft Beer Revolution” panel discussion held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Friday, June 3rd in order to learn more about the American craft brew story. The panelists included Paul Gatza (Brewers Association), Tomme Arthur (The Lost Abbey), Jim Caruso (Flying Dog Brewery), Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head Craft Brewery), Rick Kempen (Bier & cO), Ken Grossman (Sierra Nevada Brewing Company), & J.T. Smith (Flying Dog Brewery). As the organizer of the Mid-Atlantic Craft Brew Festival – MAC Brew Fest my interest in craft beer has grown with the production of the event. Even though MAC Brew Fest won’t be held until the Fall (October 15th, 2011) I wanted to better understand the major players in the industry.

This video interview relates to the issue that all small craft beer producers are currently experiencing: fast sales growth with the ever-present nagging of bottom-line company concerns. If your market is growing at 60% a year, but you can only produce 20% more per year, what’s a craft beer producer to do? As Sam Calagione of Dogfish mentions, sometimes the best decision is to grow slow and re-focus marketing and distribution efforts in attainable markets. If you bite off more than you can chew, you could end up swallowing big debt, production problems and frankly some pretty watery brew!

Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler

Mama Mia – Pasta Making 101: Agnolotti Stuffing

February 15th, 2011 • No Comments

Over at TasteDC we love to roll out pasta for Agnolotti (pretty much the same as Ravioli)..and knead it, mix it, stretch it, stuff it, cook it, and then eat it! The above video was from TasteDC’s Pasta Making 101 class on Sunday, February 13th, 2011 – the day before Valentine’s Day, so people were a bit more enthusiastic than usual, which made it quite a fun event!

Here’s the recipe:

Agnolotti alla Piemontese
Authentic Piedmont-Style Rich Beef filled Ravioli in a Savory Sauce

Ingredients Pasta:
1 lb Durum flour water as needed
4 lg eggs
1T olive oil
1 pinch salt

Ingredients Stuffing:

2 oz butter

3 T cooked rice

1/4 lb tinned peeled tomatoes

a small carrot

1/2 onion

1/2 stick of celery finely chopped together

a little parsley

1/2 lb lean raw beef, finely minced

1 glass white wine

4 cabbage leaves, boiled and chopped rather finely

 to taste
freshly ground black pepper

grated nutmeg

2 eggs

1 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions Stuffing:
PUT a very small amount of butter in a small frying pan. When it is foaming add the cooked rice and fry, stirring, for 1 minute. Put on side.
TAKE the seeds and liquid out of the peeled tomatoes, and pass them through a vegetable mill.
PUT the rest of the butter in a frying pan together with the chopped vegetables and parsley. Cook gently until the onion becomes transparent. Add the minced beef. Cook gently, stirring all the time, until the meat is golden brown. Add the wine. Reduce completely, so that no smell of wine remains. Add the tomato pulp and the rice, the chopped cabbage leaves, salt, pepper, and a little nutmeg. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer gently for half an hour. By this time you should have a fairly thick mixture.
TRANSFER this to a mixing bowL. Let it cool. Add the eggs, beating them first, and the Parmesan. Mix well.

Directions Pasta Dough:
Combine all ingredients, except water into a kitchen aid mixer with a hook attachment. Mix ingredients until made into a dough, add water if needed. Wrap in Saran wrap and refrigerate for thirty minutes.
In another bowl beat an egg that will be used to seal the ravioli with a basting brush. Cut dough bundle in half and flatten out enough to pass through pasta machine, from thickest to thinnest. On a flat surface lay sheet of pasta and brush with egg wash half of the sheet. Fill pastry bag with meat filling and make 2 tsp size deposit onto the pasta sheet, at 1 ½ inch intervals from each other. Once the sheet is filled overlap the sheet and seal the edges using your fingers. Exclude any air bubbles which may have formed. Use ravioli cutter to cut sheet into separate ravioli. Sprinkle flour on a tray, lay ravioli on top and cover with a clean cloth. Refrigerate.
Boil pot of water and cook ravioli to your liking. In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt 1T butter add short rib sauce, bring mixture to simmer for a couple of minutes. Once ravioli are cooked, strain and toss ravioli in sauce pan. Sprinkle Parmigiana cheese and serve.

A Lombardy Perspective on Wine

June 23rd, 2010 • 1 Comment

Yesterday, I stopped by the Wines of Lombardy Tasting in Washington, D.C. to taste a wine region I knew little about. I love Italian wines – especially because I love the way Italian’s see food and wine as part of their culture. Lombardy is considered one of the more industrious parts of Italy with Milan as its center, but it is still a part of Italy – the meal is still a central part of daily life, and yes, wine is consumed with daily meals!
My first video interview was with Gianpetro Poletti who is sort of Chamber of Commerce for the Lombardy region:

One point to note is that Gianpetro considers the Nebbiolo – the noble varietal used to make Barolo and Barbaresco in neighboring Piemonte – as native to the Lombardy region! I really enjoyed his Nebbiolos, particularly one that was made from dried grapes also known as the “appassimento” method. As the translator explained to me, wines produced using the appassimento process are known as passito wines. This is the same process that Amarone is made in neighboring Veneto, but with different grape varietals. The Sforzato di Valtellina DOCG Tinaia 2005 had 14.5% alcohol and the concentrated flavors of a rich wine, but was amazingly balanced by the acidity of Nebbiolo and the tannins as well. It wasn’t nearly as “beefy” as an Amarone, much more refreshing in comparison and I think therefore a year-round wine.

My next interview was Daniele Travi of Sorsasso, a wine maker and Agriturismo in the Lake Como region. His specialty is a wine made from a unique grape which he called “Verdesa”, but it is probably related in some way to the Spanish “Verdelho”, but it’s hard to say. He mentioned to me a dried fish unique to the region that I had never heard of before – Missoltini, a type of salted and dried shad, here’s a very hard to understand recipe for it: Missultitt Recipe. As they say, you should eat and drink the region, here what he has to say:


Wine Basics – Getting Started Right

November 9th, 2008 • No Comments
TasteDC's Wine Basics 101

Every year around 1,000 people in the DC area attend TasteDC’s Wine Basics 101 in order to get a solid understanding of wine.  Over 11 years, 15,000 people have attended and I like to think that this has had a significant effect on Washington, D.C. both as a place to find many excellent wine stores and restaurants serving wine as well as a very wine educated public.  Originally, this class was taught by local wine professionals, but I teach it now because it is so important for people to get the basic message/premise of drinking wine at TasteDC – it’s all about pleasure and fun, snobbery can stay at home!

I’ve found after teaching this class for the last 5 years that many people are confused about wine, in particular:

  • Most people think that quality and price are directly related, but this isn’t true,
  • Try to “describe” wine with accuracy when this is relatively unimportant and misleading at best,
  • Spend too much on glassware and other accessories that don’t improve much the wine drinking experience,

This Thursday, November 13th is the next Wine Basics 101 class and my chance to cover the hot topics and important facts on wine.  If you know very little about wine or are looking for a refresher class, give us a try at www.tastedc.com.

Charlie “I Drink On the Job” Adler