Paris Grocery News 9/30 Friday, Oct 1 2010 

While she's certainly learning a valuable skill, I suggest: let's be our own Sally Drapers.

Cocktails @ PG

The few flavors of bitters that we carried in the shop were in such demand that we decided to bring in the complete line of bitters from Fee Brothers. We don’t think the fun-at-home-with-cocktails trend is going anywhere (not with la Niña on the loose again this winter), and we’ve got some great ideas for how to try these bitters in your cocktails, along with our fantastic vermouths, aperitif wines, and garnishes.

These guys know their bitters.

Try all 8 Flavors!

Old Fashioned

For use in Manhattans and Champagne Cocktails.

Orange

Try a “Classic” Martini (2 oz gin and 1/2 oz dry vermouth, dash of orange bitters).

Mint

For use in Mojitos and Mint Juleps.

Grapefruit

An excellent match in cocktails based with Cynar or Campari.

Cherry

Sweeter than the other flavors, this will deliver pure fruitiness to brandy-based cocktails.

Lemon

Promises to add a “snappy citrus taste with a hint of lemongrass” to drinks. Yum.

Cranberry

This newest flavor may take some experimentation. We think its tartness may be an excellent counterpoint to gin.

Rhubarb

The internet has turned up some interesting ideas; they apparently work in cocktails featuring tequila. Here’s one from Portland mixologist Jacob Grier’s blog, Liquidity Preference.

Mexican Martinez

2.25 oz reposado tequila (Chamucos)
1/2 oz Dolin Blanc vermouth
1 bar spoon maraschino
2 dashes Fee Brothers rhubarb bitters

Stir over ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a slice of orange zest.

And finally, try Fee Brothers Orgeat Syrup (pronounced Or-SHOT): For use in Mai-Tais and Momisettes.

Dolin Vermouths

Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry

The only Vermouth that has earned an AOC designation. Dolin has none of the cloying sweetness or overly bitter qualities found in bottom-shelf Vermouths. The particular mixture of plants found near Chambéry give a fresh, restrained, and elegant nose with a subtle, complex, and bittersweet palate. Excellent both as a mixer and as an apéritif. In Sweet, Dry, and Blanc. $13.99/each

Bonal

This aperitif wine is made from a base of Mistelle (partially fermented grape juice to which alcohol has been added) that is infused with quinine, gentian, and renowned herbs from the Grand Chartreuse Mountains. Try it on the rocks or to amp your classic Negroni cocktail.  $18.99/each

And don’t forget, a customer favorite:

Griottines

Famous throughout the world for their freshness and refined taste, these delicious Morello cherries have been pitted and prepared in a Kirsch liqueur. Add to desserts, aperitifs, and cocktails like the perfect Manhattan. We pack them out into 4-ounce containers so you get just the right amount.

Craves @ PG

Paysan Breton butter

I once enjoyed an extremely memorable dinner on a cold dark night in Brittany with an American, a Corsican, and our host, a Spaniard. Go figure. But our meal was very French and très Breton. Along with salmon and whiskey and individual tarts for dessert, the most life changing item on the table was a hunk of buttercup-yellow butter, chock full of crunchy sea salt crystals. We served it up on slice after slice of substantial loaf of rustic brown bread. This stuff slays me.

Feed Your Mind @ PG

Mini-Cocotte by Lissa Streeter

I don’t even know what more I need to say. Mini-cocottes could not be any cuter or more comforting. Recipes include Spinach Soufflés, Cherry Tomato Tatin, Cherry Raspberry Clafoutis, and Almond Milk Pudding.

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery

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Paris Grocery News 7/2 Saturday, Jul 3 2010 

How to Taste Your Way Through the Tour de France

France is more than ready to forget about the World Cup, even though it is barely halfway done. Luckily, we’re on the eve of another great sporting event for Europhiles: Le Tour de France! Inspired by the cyclists’ route, we’ve organized a tour of our wines and cheeses. You’ll be able to follow the bikers as they travel through the peaks and plains of France. Winning teams will come and go, but France’s culinary delights will always be there.

Recapturing national honor off the soccer field.

Like the fearless riders, we begin our tour in France’s northerly neighbor, Belgium, with Lindeman’s Faro Lambic ($5.99). Lambic is a classic Flemish ale with a wheaty flavor profile. Created by spontaneous fermentation, the Faro Lambic is sweetened by Belgian candi sugar, following a traditional recipe from the bars in Brussels. Fruit and caramel aroma, balanced by subtle complexity and refreshing acidity. The flavor starts sweet, with suggestions of brown sugar or orange marmalade, and finishes with crisp tartness. Like a cross between a beer and a cider.

From there we drop down to Reims, one of the famous villages of Champagne. One of our favorite Champagnes is from this village: Henri-Abelé Brut Champagne ($42.00). Over 90% of the grapes for this Champagne comes from Cru villages. The wine is aged for four years in the bottle before being released, and the quality of the grapes allows the bright aromas of green apple and citrus to linger on among the notes of brioche and almond. We were lucky enough to get a few bottles of this Champagne, as only a limited number are sold to the U.S. each year! 90 points Wine Spectator

Next, we move to Montgardis in the Loire Valley, home of the Cone du Port Aubry ($9.25/quarter lb). This superlative raw goat’s milk cheese from affineur Herve Mons has a flavor that starts buttery and mushroomy, then fades into a pronounced acidity and nuttiness. Slightly pliable and crumbly texture. This will pair conveniently well with the Henri-Abelé Champagne!

The route then takes us to Burgundy. (Oh darn!) Seeing the rolling hills and pristine vineyards will quickly get you in the mood for the 2007 Domaine Arlaud “Roncevie” Burgundy ($24.99). Father, sons, and sister run this natural estate by the village of Gevrey-Chambertin. The Roncevie is 100% Pinot Noir, a pure and persistent bottling from a graceful vintage. It is a steal, outclassing wines from the villages-level appellation.

Alpine heights are the next obstacle for our fearless riders, and they will surely be craving a refreshing drink, like the 2009 Domaine L’Idylle “Cruet” Vin de Savoie ($10.99). Savoy is a region better known for its landscapes and cheeses than its wines, and that’s a crying shame. Just west of Burgundy, in a cool climate with steep terrain, grow a range of rare grapes, aromatic and bright. Domaine de l’Idylle has been making wines in the village of Cruet since 1840. This one is 100% Jacquère, a native variety that is vivacious and fragrant. Exudes pear, citrus, and floral notes, with bursts of green apple and minerality. The short period of sur lie aging gives a nice complexity and sleek body. A perfect foil to the richness of fondue and raclette, it also makes a wonderful choice for Kir (white wine with crème de cassis).

Being so close to Switzerland, you may as well indulge in the Scharfe Maxx ($6.75/quarter lb), a slightly smoky, deeply beefy, and immensely tangy Swiss cheese. Aged for 6 months, this thermalized cow’s milk cheese is washed with brine and herbs, giving it a powerful and sharp (scharfe) flavor and a dense, creamy texture. A fantastic melting cheese!

There will be a stop in Chambéry, the birthplace of Dolin Vermouth ($13.99). The only Vermouth that has earned an AOC designation, Dolin has none of the cloying sweetness or overly bitter qualities found in bottom-shelf Vermouths. The particular mixture of plants found near Chambéry give a fresh, restrained, and elegant nose with a subtle, complex, and bittersweet palate. Excellent both as a mixer and as an apéritif.

Looping up to Valence, the cyclists will speed through Montelimar before heading to the Pyrenées. Montelimar is known for its delicious Nougat. This Provençal treat made from almonds and pistachios are great with the Château de Pena Muscat de Rivesaltes ($12.99/375mL). A late harvest Muscat is a beautiful way to start or end a meal. Full bodied with a balanced sweetness, it exudes light floral notes, exotic fruit aromas, and orange rind. Try it and you’ll see why this wine is prized in the Pyrenées and beyond.

The finish line will be in sight when the tour arrives in Pau. Raise a glass to a race well ridden with the 2005 Chateau Montus Madiran ($37.99). Quite possibly the best wine from Madiran, this blend of Tannat (80%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (20%) is made by Alain Brumont. It is a lusty wine, its inky color suggesting the richness on the palate and the nose. Aromas of toasty blackberries, leather, and oak make a complex and deep bouquet. The wine is firm, with well-integrated flavors of blackberry, raspberry, smoke, and clove. The finish is superb, lengthy and flavorful. This wine will cellar for several more years.

The last stop before Paris will be Pauillac, near Bordeaux. Not that you ever need an excuse to buy some Tome d’Aquitaine ($8.25/quarter lb), one of our all-time favorite cheeses. The beautiful snow-white interior of this washed-rind goat’s milk cheese will catch your eye. Washed in Sauternes by the respected affineur Jean d’Alos, it displays delicately balanced fruit and floral notes, and has a delicate nuttiness on the finish.

Craves @ PG

Muscat de Rivesaltes

Feed your Mind @ PG

Pampille's Table

An indispensable guide to the culinary regions of France. This cookbook was originally published in 1919, and the newly translated and updated edition makes it accessible for the modern kitchen.

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Abi & Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery