Curing Olives at Home: Part 3

This is the third entry in the series about curing fresh olives at home. Through a program by The Foodie Blogroll and Penna Gourmet Foods, I was selected to receive a free five pound box of olives for home curing. Penna was looking for bloggers who were into preservation, canning, etc. and since that sort of thing is right up my alley, I was happy and honored to participate.

You can read about my first experience curing olives a few years ago. It didn’t go very well. But it did set me up with a lot of knowledge for this time around, which was very helpful. One of the main issues with my first batch was that the olives were mushy. So instead of pounding or cracking them to release the bitterness, I sliced them. The results are much firmer and crunchy olives. The second major issue I had the first time was with the olives remaining bitter even after soaking them in water for almost 2 months. Most olive curing recipes tell you to soak in water for 2-4 week max, but even after 2 months the olives were still inedibly bitter. I fear that extra soaking time didn’t help in the soggy olive department either.

To start this off right, I must say that the olives I received from Penna were absolutely gorgeous. Bright green and gigantic! There were only a few that had bruises or imperfections that I discarded right away. So I have to say the quality of these olives were fabulous. So a day or two after the olives arrived I began preparing them for curing.

This time I decided to follow the instructions from Penna that they have on their website for Mediterranean Partida Style, which looked similar to the recipe I tried the first time. But alas after almost two weeks of soaking them in water and changing out the water each day, when I tasted the olives they were still very bitter.

I have to say, I love my facebook readers. They are always an invaluable source of information and help when I need it. So I put a call out to my readers asking them if any had ever cured olives before and I got some very helpful advice from Maha from Maha’s Fine Egyptian Cuisine . She rescued me and this batch of olives by telling me how they cure olives in Egypt. Since I had already soaked the olives in plain water for 10 days, I decided to just follow her directions from there. But if you are just starting with your fresh olives, you can skip soaking them in plain water, and just start at step 1:

Always rinse the olives in fresh water prior to preparing and discard any olives that are terribly bruised or have any holes.

1) Make a couple of cuts with the knife on each olive and then soak the olives in salted water : use ½ cup salt to each liter of water, for one week covered on the counter.

2) Then take the olives out of the salted water and put it in jars with alternating layers of the following mix: chopped garlic cloves, diced Chinese celery, hot green peppers sliced (jalapeño will be good here) & slices of carrots.

3) After filling jars with the layers of the previous mix and layers of olives, prepare the following liquid to fill the jars with: 1 cup salt+2 cups lemon or lime juice+3 cups water (all mixed together) I use the lemon or lime shells that I used for lemon juice to cover the top of the jars and press very hard then I fill the jars with the above liquid of lemon juice, water and salt.

4) Leave some room in the jars to cover with some olive oil on the top because the oil will keep everything from rotting. Also don’t be shy on the salt because the salt will preserve everything and will not let it be mushy. Cover with a plastic wrap then cover tightly with the lid of the jar. Leave on the counter for 2 weeks and then you can eat the best pickled olives in your life.

These olives are very delicious and fresh tasting. I did mostly layers of hot pepper and carrots. I am not a fan of celery, so I omitted that. Would I cure olives myself again? It is really fun to cure olives at home, but I am not sure that I am the best olive maker but if I do it again in the future, I am definitely going Egyptian!

Other posts in the series:
Curing Olives at Home: Part 1
Curing Olives at Home: Part 2

Curing Olives at Home, Part 2


Don’t they look delicious? I wish that this picture was of a batch of olives that I had cured in my home. Some of you might remember my first attempt at curing olives, it went a little something like this. Which resulted in delicious olives on the outside, but when you bit into them, they were bitter. Even after doing the initial soaking process for almost 2 months and then adding raw apple cider vinegar to the finished jars in hopes of calming some of that bitter taste, they were disappointingly inedible, for us.

So in the end, after keeping about 10 jars of olives in the fridge for about a year and a half, maybe trying one every month or so in hopes that it tasted better, over the past few weeks, we have been feeding them to our chickens. Nothing goes to waste around here! The only explanation I have is just that I got a bad batch of olives that were maybe not ripe enough when they were plucked from the tree.

Penna Gourmet Foods has given me renewed hope that I can cure olives at home and I am so looking forward to it! Penna is a Northern Sacramento California based company run by a husband and wife who call themselves olive enthusiasts. The Pennas have combined Old World curing and spicing practices with safe, modern technology to produce a unique, flavorful and consistent olive. Their company, M&CP Farms, sells both fresh olives for home-curing and retail olives. They are dedicated to sharing the full-flavor range of their California olives while continuing to be involved in all aspects of their product’s production, processing and packing.

“They are distinguished as the only ripe style olive processor in Northern California. M&CP Farmer have been producing pre-ripened green olives since 1975 on farming land that has been in the family since 1951. However, the olive orchards themselves have been commercially viable since 1915 and are some of the oldest in the state. The focus for the Penna’s is on quality olives and olive produces that puts M&CP Farms at the forefront of the custom packed fresh olive market in California.” ~February 2001 Issue of the California Olive Oil News

Their website even gives you updates on their olive crops!

So I am going to keep my eye out for updates and cross my fingers that this fall we might be successful in curing delicious olives at home! Why don’t you think about joining me? It is not labor intensive, but fun and experimental!

Penna Gourmet Foods provides fresh olives to cure at home for the people who enjoy the art of home processing and canning, their website offers recipes for home curing techniques and their fresh olives are available starting around the middle of September (weather permitting).

If you don’t want to cure your own olives, you can purchase fresh and gourmet cured olives, gift baskets, olive oil and more!



* Disclaimer: This sponsorship is brought to you by Penna Gourmet Foods who we have partnered with for this promotion.

Summer Solstice 2011

Happy Summer Solstice to all my readers in the Northern Hemisphere!

 

The Summer Solstice marks the beginning of summer and is the longest day of the year! Here in Northern Vermont, it began getting dark around 9:30 PM. Sitting out on our side deck enjoying the mountain views and listening to all the sounds – barnyard animals, birds, frogs, insects made me think about past Solstices, and I recalled my time living in Norway when it was still bright as day at 2 AM! Very different but both great experiences!

 

I like to celebrate my Northern European roots on the Solstices and usually we toast with a local sparkling mead. Unfortunately we were not able to find the mead yesterday, so we settled on Sah’tea by Dogfish Head Ales. I was drawn to the graphics on the label – as it features my favorite animal, the Reindeer. Sah’tea is based on a 9th century Finnish recipe, Sahti. It is brewed with rye and juniper berries. They break with tradition by adding chai tea at the end of the boil. The flavor of the ale was intense with the chai spices tickling the palette. The color was a darker amber than we are used to seeing in an ale. It is a very unique brew, not something I would want every day, but it was definitely a good choice for a celebratory meal!

As for the nibbles, we decided on an antipasti of sorts. For proteins we had prosciutto, fresh marinated anchovies, duck rilettes and 2 types of cheese – a raw cow’s raclette and a sheep’s milk Lancashire. We also had assorted olives, peppadew peppers (which were delicious stuffed with rilletes), artichoke hearts homemade pickles – daikon radish and carrots. For dessert we had fresh, local, organic strawberries with fresh whipped cream!

 

We had a great evening, enjoying our al fresco meal and ending the night by “tucking in” all the animals. It is quiet moments like this that make everything feel right in the world. Hope you enjoyed yours too!

“Greek” Green Beans

 

I am going to start off by stating clearly, that I  make no claims to the authenticity of this recipe.  I got it from one of my very first cookbooks, ever, when I was still in high school. “Greek Green Beans” is just what we have been calling it for years. The book is called A Little Greek CookbookCooking, Food & Wine References) and it was given to me by my mom as a gift when I discovered my love for Mediterranean cuisine. There are some great tasting recipes in there and I have been using it ever since.

I have been making this dish for about 20 years now! I have only eaten something similar in one Greek restaurant that was near my house growing up –Athens Grill, so maybe it is a regional dish? The restaurant was a family restaurant, owned by Greek immigrants from Athens. I loved their food so much and begged my mom to take me there often! We used to get gyro platters, or souvlaki served with Greek salad, pita bread and the best French fries ever. Sometimes we would eat at the restaurant, al fresco, on little wrought iron tables right off the parking lot. Other times, we would take it home to eat while watching a movie. I thought it was the best food ever. What I wouldn’t give to pop over there for lunch today!

In the cookbook, the name they give this recipe is Fasolakia Freska or Green Bean Casserole, in English. It is a simple recipe with a lot of flavor. I am making it tonight to accompany some pan seared fish. But it also goes well with chicken or beef dishes, and of course lamb. Sometimes I like to sprinkle feta cheese on it, and eat a large bowl full for lunch. This is a great recipe to double – and it is also one of those recipes that tastes all the better a day or two later. It has a large amount of olive oil in it – but don’t skimp on it – that is what makes this dish so rich and flavorful.

Normally I follow the recipe as is, but sometimes I might add Kalamata olives for bite, or pearl onions instead of the sliced onions, for pretty. You can also omit the potatoes, but that would be silly.

INGREDIENTS:
1 lb of fresh green beans, topped and tailed (I have also used frozen with great success)
1 large onion, finely sliced – or half a bag of pearl onions
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 cup olive oil
14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
This is not part of the recipe, but I usually add some oregano as well.

METHOD:
Slice beans in half, rinse and drain. Sauté onion and garlic in hot oil until pale golden. Add beans and potatoes and sauté together until well coated in the oil. Add the tomatoes and seasoning. Cover and cook for 30-40 minutes or until beans and potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. If needed, add a little hot water to keep from burning. This can be served hot, or at room temperature.

Isn’t it fun trying something from one of your favorite restaurants? I thought so too.

Curing Olives at Home

I intend most of my Thursday, Let’s Get Cultured posts, to be about cultured dairy products. However, from time to time I might feature non-dairy cultured items on Thursdays. Today I am going to talk about curing olives at home.

I learned about home curing olives from Jenny’s blog, Nourished Kitchen. She has an awesome and easy to follow step-by-step guide on how to crack, cure and season olives. She also has one of the best blogs out there, so I suggest once you are over there, to check out her fabulous recipes. I am not re-inventing the wheel on olive curing, so I will refer you to her fantastic blog where you too can see the process for olive curing at home. I do however, have some notes, and then I would like to share with you the various flavors I added to my olives.

But first I will share with you my source for the olives. Chaffin Family Orchards is a diversified farm in the Sacramento Valley of California. Their farm has been in the hands of the Chaffin family for 5 generations. Most of their olive trees are over 100 years old. The farm has been harvesting and producing olives and olive oil for over 75 years. Their olives are farmed without using chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. They use cover crops and rotations of cattle, goats, sheep and chickens to control vegetation and fertilize the orchards. The goats are also used to prune the trees!

Most of the research I did on olive curing suggests that you should soak your olives in water (changing twice daily) for 2-4 weeks. This is the process whereby the raw olives lose their bitterness. If you have ever tried eating a raw olive, you will see why this step is of utmost importance.

Olive Curing Notes:

I found that even 4 weeks was not enough time – I think we soaked our olives for close to two months, and they were still a bit bitter after all that time. I am not sure if it is because I cured them during winter, and it was just too cold in the house, or what. So after about 2 months, we decided to decant the olives, and flavor them but we added about ¼ cup of raw apple cider vinegar to the individually flavored jars. This seemed to take care of most of the rest of the bitterness – but it is not consistent from olive to olive. Some olives still are bitter. We have only started eating one jar, so we will see how the other jars are as we get to them. Maybe they just need a little more time.

Curing olives is really quite easy and straightforward. It is a fun project, especially if you have children and would make great presents to give to family and friends! It is a great traditional skill to add to any homesteader’s repertoire.

My Flavors:

*Lemon, Bay Leaf, Saffron
*Lemon, Bay Leaf, Herbs de Provence
*Lemon, Bay Leaf and De Arbol Chili
*Juniper, Mustard, Lemon and Black Pepper
*Lemon, Bay Leaf, Habanero Pepper
*Lemon, Bay Leaf, Coriander Seed, Cumin Seed, Sumac, Ras el Hanout

Canard aux Olives, Preserved Plum Tart and an Ode to Applecheek Farm

This year we joined a CSA – a meat CSA. Most people are familiar with vegetable CSAs but this was the first time I had heard of a meat CSA. We are very fortunate here in our little piece of heaven called Vermont, to have many amazing diversified farms, including one in our town, Applecheek Farm. For us, Applecheek is not just a place to get raw milk, free-range chicken eggs, delicious grassfed beef, or pastured pork. It is also a community hub. Since we have moved here we have been to numerous “Localvore Dinners” catered by and served at the farm, a pig roast, as well as several farm tours.

Applecheek has become a destination for our out of town guests that come to visit us and want to see and experience a real farm, where many animals co-exist together, grazing on green grass, as opposed to a feedlot where there are thousands of one type of animal grazing in, well, their own excrement.

(My step-daughter Gwen having fun with chickens, Jenn at the Welcome sign, Rocio w/ pigs and llamas, a real tractor, Jenn with a goat and the happiest cows you will ever meet).

At Applecheek people can get up close and personal with happy cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, turkeys guinea fowl as well as non-food animals like emus, llamas, draft horses and retired pet goats. It is also a place where the local community gathers to eat good food, learn about sustainable farms and spend time with each other.

Rocio and John who have recently taken over the farm operations from John’s parents John and Judy, and Jason and Sarah, who run the catering operation and the Localvore dinners became the first friends we made when we moved here. They have helped us immensely by providing tips for where to get various things locally and of course where the good eats are. We all share a love for good, nutrient dense foods as well as home-brewing, lacto-fermentation and food preservation.

Here is the Applecheek Farm philosophy:

“We strive to produce food that encompasses dignity for our animals, stimulates local economy, provides optimal nutrition for our customers and restores the ecological capital within our soils. Our priorities here on the farm begin with the soil and the nutrients that develop within our land and ultimately passed on to those who eat our food. From our perspective, this is a grass farm that converts grasses into meat, milk and eggs. While many people refer to our farm as a sustainable farm, we feel it is simply not enough to sustain. We are committed to a restorative approach to farming our land and animals in an effort to increase the quality of our soils.”

A dream come true. It is the kind of farm that all of us dream we had in our town after watching Food Inc. or reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Our dream was realized when we moved to this part of Vermont, and we are grateful for it daily, as inevitably some food item from Applecheek graces our table at least during one of our daily meals, be it fried eggs and sausages for breakfast, a delicious burger, or in this case a whole roasted duck.

I am getting really familiar with duck in this household since joining the CSA, which invariably make the fire department really familiar with us because no matter what, I cannot stop myself from frying potatoes in the fat from the duck – which always makes the house a smoky mess, and sets off our alarm! But look at this beautiful dish – it is totally worth it!

Besides that, I am always trying a new recipe with the duck, this time, I decided to make something simple, a classic French dish – roasted duck with olives, or Canard aux Olives. I pretty much followed this recipe, except that I used white wine instead of broth, added some lemons (also stuffed the bird with lemon wedges), skipped the vermouth and used all green olives. I also cooked it in a 350 F oven, instead of on the stove top. I served them with those delicious duck fat fried potatoes. The result was an incredibly good roasted duck that was unanimously declared to be the best duck I have prepared to date. The bones and leftover meat I used to make a delicious stock and soup. Nothing went to waste.

For dessert I made individual preserved plum tarts. I made a crust using almond flour and butter, vaguely fashioned after this recipe pressed it into my individual baking dishes, and baked for about 20 minutes at 350F. Then I placed some of my plum preserved in brandy-vanilla-cardamom syrup and topped with fresh maple whipped cream.

Now since Applecheek really is a special place, I don’t expect that all of you, my dear readers have access to such a farm. But I am sure that you do have farms in your area where you can buy free-range, organic eggs, or humanely raised meat, or if you are lucky raw milk. So support them, learn from them, ask questions and help to make the food on your table a little bit better for you and your family. The more we support these farms, the more farms like this will be available to us! To find farms in your area, check out LocalHarvest.

Sourdough Spelt Pizza Dough

Gal_Liz_Jenn_making pizza

(Gal, Liz and Jenn making Pizza)

Pizza night is a weekly tradition in this house, and something we love to share with friends and family when they come to visit the homestead. Two weeks ago, I had a reunion with my best friend from high school, Liz, or as she is affectionately known to me, Lizard. We fell out of touch, like many of us do, over some boys…and we hadn’t been in touch for nearly 10 years. BAD BOYS. I thought about her often over the years, and we were so happy to be reunited on Facebook! She lives in Brooklyn, with her beautiful family, and she and her awesome husband came to visit us.

Pizza is the perfect food for entertaining. It is also a great way to feed a crowd when you are not sure what kinds of dietary restrictions people might have. Toppings can range from all veggies, to anchovies, some sausages, or whatever. You can even use pesto or barbecue sauce in place of traditional tomato sauce. You can even forego the cheese, if someone in your group is lactose intolerant. Making pizza together is a great way to spend time with friends – rolling out the dough, making personal pizzas, and then enjoying it together, with a nice glass of red, maybe a beer, and a lot of laughs! See how much fun we are having?

Gal_Liz_Jenn_making pizza 2

We are really passionate about our pizza here. Roberto grew up eating pizza in Italy, and I grew up thinking I didn’t like pizza (don’t blame me, blame “cheesefood”). This all changed when I discovered thin, crunchy, crust, fresh mozzarella cheese and the amazing array of fresh toppings that one can come up with when you make pizza at home! So you could say that we are both very picky pizza eaters. We might even be pizza snobs. So, in order to do justice to homemade pizza, we have been experimenting and creating for the past two years to come up with THE PERFECT PIZZA (TM).

We used to use the Olive Oil bread dough from Artisan Bread in 5, religiously. However, during that time, we had a bit of a wrench thrown into the works, when I discovered that I was having trouble with wheat. So we experimented with gluten free flours, and pizza dough recipes, and all of them really left a lot to be desired. So we had some sad and disappointing Friday nights. I was determined to find a pizza dough that was up to par taste and texture wise, and at the same time didn’t make me wake up with a hangover feeling the next day. This is where the sourdough comes in. I had heard through the blogosphere that people with wheat intolerance (NOT Celiac) were able to tolerate sourdough bread products. It has to do with neutralizing enzyme inhibitors, which interfere with digestion and breaking down phytic acid, which generally blocks mineral absorption. Sourdough cultures also predigest or completely break down the gluten during the fermentation process. Creating a bread that is more digestable. I also used spelt flour, because I have found that it is not as “heavy” as whole wheat, and closer to the feeling of a traditional pizza crust, like you would find in Italy.

For us, one of our secrets to making a super flavorful pizza is to use tomato paste in place of tomato sauce. This is a family secret, that one of my great aunts came up with. Roberto feels that this “proprietary” information should not be shared with the public. But like I told him, now maybe if we have homemade pizza at someone else’s house, maybe they read my post, and we will like it all the better! :) That punch of tomato paste flavor really comes through in all its sweetness once it is baked in the oven. Also, the cheese matters. Get the best quality mozzarella that you can, not the shredded stuff. Nice slices of fresh mozzarella add something wonderfully light to the pizza – and go easy on it. It is OK to have some bare spots, where you can actually see only sauce. Trust us…

Spelt_pizza_on_Plate

Some of our favorite toppings are: fresh tomato slices, fresh mushrooms, prosciutto, arugula, anchovies, olives (capers if we are too lazy to pit olives) peperoncini peppers, and sun dried tomatoes. And you must remember to salt and pepper your pizza, and a nice drizzle of olive oil over top doesn’t hurt either!  We mix and match the toppings on different pizzas. Usually we make 2 pizzas, and then have leftover for lunches. Another favorite is using pesto as the sauce, and then adding thinly sliced potatoes, that you have baked slightly beforehand.

Perhaps the most important aspect  to the perfect pizza is a HOT oven. We preheat our oven 20 minutes ahead to 500 F. We bake our pizzas on cookie sheets, lined with parchment paper. This makes the crust super crisp and delicious! I have heard all the rage about pizza stones, and one day I might add one to my kitchen tools. But I use my Italian husband as a barometer for a good pizza, and so far, we have done well without the need for a pizza stone.

So we suggest you get your crust ready tonight to have pizza tomorrow!

INGREDIENTS:

¼ cup sourdough starter

5 cups spelt flour

2 TBS olive oil

1 TBS salt

2 cups water

3 cups sprouted spelt flour (or you can use regular, if you prefer)

1 tsp olive oil

METHOD:

Combine starter, 5 cups spelt flour, olive oil, salt and water in a large bowl. Cover loosely with a towel or lid and allow to stand in a warm place for 5-10 hours, or overnight is best. Next add 3 cups of sprouted spelt flour and work it into the dough, enough so you can handle it without it being too sticky. Form the dough into a ball, and rub 1 tsp of olive oil all over it. Place it back in the bowl and let it stand 20 minutes. Then knead the dough with your hands until it is smooth and elastic, then place it back in the bowl, and allow it to double in bulk – about 1 hour. At this point you can use it to make pizza. This recipe makes about 4 large cookie sheet rectangular pizzas. If you are not going to use it all, you can rip off 4 grapefruit sized balls and store each one in a freezer bag, until you want to use it. When you want to use it, take it out to defrost, and then roll out, and put your favorite toppings on.

Brunello Aperitivo

Brunello-Tasting_bottle

Brunello di Montalcino is a very special wine variety made in the Tuscany region of Italy. It is known the world over as being a very good wine. Our friends Erin and Chris, who lived for a year in Florence, had a bottle that they wanted to share with us. They had fond memories of a night in Florence that they spent with friends savoring a bottle of this wine, and wanted to spend another evening like that with us! So of course we were game and very excited to taste wine from a very different bracket than what we are used to.

Since they were bringing such a nice bottle, I offered to find some tasty morsels to go along with the wine, so we could have a proper Aperitivo – or the Italian version of Happy Hour! If you would like to learn more about Aperitivo, please check out Ms. Adventures in Italy. Sarah has a great passion for Aperitivo and has great tips on how you can have your own – or where to go for the best ones in her hometown of Milano!

I knew this was a special wine, so I enlisted the help of a professional to come up with food ideas to compliment it. With the help of my buddy, Vince DiPiazza (no known relation – though I am sure there is one somehow, not many of us DiPiazza’s in the world) from D’Italia – an online specialty store of food products from Italy, we came up with a menu of aperitivi, or small plates:

Brunello-Tasting_snacks

Variety of cheeses of different flavor profiles served with Rosemary Grissini and Garbanzo Crackers

Parmigiano-Reggiano is Italy’s most famous cheese, known as Parmesan in the English language. We know it well as a cheese for grating on top of pasta. However, if you eat it in cubes, it is a whole other experience. The cheese is made from raw cow’s milk, it is then put into a brine bath for 20-25 days to absorb salt, and then aged for 12 months. My favorite part (and Erin’s too) are the little crunchies you get in a good Parmigiano – the crunchies are bits of crystallized salt.

Morbier is a raw cow’s milk cheese from France. It is a Gruyère-like cheese with a vein of ash running through its middle. The two layers of the cheese originally came from two milkings, one in the morning and one in the evening, over it with a protective thin layer of tasteless ash, both to prevent it from both drying out and to keep away the flies. The next day, they would add the leftover curd from the morning milking and production. The result was a two-layered cheese.

Goat Fromage Blanc is from a batch of the pasteurized goat milk cheese that I made recently. I added some basil and a little dried dill – as well as a few sun-dried tomatoes (Vince said they pair well with Brunello) stirred in.

Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar is one of our favorite cheeses, and we decided to add it at the last minute. It never tastes the same from one batch to the next. It is the cheese variety that Cabot used to sell to hunters and truckers…on their way out of town. Chris said it tasted like ham to him, which as a vegetarian, was a weird experience. This cheese is amazing paired with a sweet bread and butter style pickle.

Miscellaneous Treats

Sautéed Mushrooms
Hummus
Assorted Nuts
Assorted Olives
Pickles

Dessert

French Truffles
Chocolate covered mint cremes

*********************************

Brunello-Tasting_sipping-wine

The Tasting :

When Erin and Chris arrived we opened the bottle to give it about 20 minutes to breathe. We decided to do the tasting in two stages, the first without food, and then one with food. We each had a piece of paper and a pen. We spent about 5-10 minutes sniffing and tasting the wine, and individually writing our impressions of both the nose and the taste without sharing.

NOSE:

Erin: cheese – brie, sweet chocolate, metal
Chris: robust, dank – wet wood or earth, finishes smoky
Roberto: cherries
Jenn: woody, tannins, blackberry/cherry

TASTE:

Erin: milk chocolate, cheddar, old smoke – like what your clothes smell like after a BBQ or fire
Chris: pungent, truffles, finishes with citrus (mild burn, fruity end) and something like ginger, but not quite ginger
Roberto: old fermenting cherries, blueberry and ends with citrus
Jenn: black pepper, herbal/smoky, cherry

After we shared our observations, we found it interesting that both the guys had noticed a citrus end, while the ladies had both noticed a smoky taste. Is it coincidence, or do males and females taste wine differently?

Once we headed over to the food, and had a second glass with food, we all agreed that the wine tasted much sweeter, and it was at that point that Erin and I noticed a bit of a citrus taste.

It was a really fun night. I can’t say that I have ever really enjoyed wine in this way, and I think it is a really great way to spend the evening with friends. We decided we had so much fun, that we definitely need to do it again, with different wines and food pairings.