Cocoa & Lavender

Provençal Pairings: Wine with Food

Wine for Food

I was perusing the rosé section at Total Wine last weekend in search of a bottle to have with my Moroccan harira, a soup I enjoyed when traveling in Morocco in 1991. The thing I love about winter - even here in Tucson - is that the stock of rosé wines is good. But this is also dismaying to me, as people - people who should know better - say [...]

Provençal Pairings: Wine with Food

It’s a Family Affair

It isn’t often – at least, I don’t think it is – that I get to taste a premier vintage from a vineyard. But that is exactly what I did this week. It's a new wine from a debut vineyard, yet created by a family that is a leading producer of some of Provence's best rosés. It is a joint effort by Château la Tour de l’Évêque (Régine Sumeire) and [...]

Provençal Pairings: Wine with Food

Babette’s Blunder? Or mine?

In the 1987 film BABETTE'S FEAST, our protagonist serves her quail dish (Cailles en Sarcophages - the recipe can be found on Cocoa & Lavender) with a Pinot noir. Specifically, it is an 1845 Louis Latour Clos Vougeot. I decided to do the same, but found a more recent Pinot noir vintage from the Verdon, in the Var: a 2012 Louis Latour Domaine de Valmoissine. [...]

Provençal Pairings: Wine with Food

Muscat Love

It's been twelve months of Provençal wine and food pairings now, and I imagine you have seen some patterns. I love pairing special meals with special wines, and sharing the experiences with special people. Which makes me chuckle when I think of how the French use the descriptor "special" in not so nice a way. «Ouai, ça c'est très SPECIAL...» But, I digress... [...]

Provençal Pairings: Wine with Food

A Special Occasion

Special wines, and special foods, should be saved for special occasions. Today is the 10th anniversary of Mark's and my move to Tucson, and we wanted to celebrate in an appropriate fashion. The wine - a 2007 Château Vignelaure Coteaux d'Aix en Provence - was chosen to mark the day, and the meal to go with it had to be equally special. I chose to serve a roasted pork tenderloin crusted in Provençal herbs [...]

Provençal Pairings: Wine with Food

Jumping to Conclusions

I did it. I jumped to a conclusion. I made an assumption. And I was wrong. I have been eating lobster most of my adult life, and as far back as I can remember, Viogniers were among the wines of choice to pair with lobster. I assumed that was a good idea when I made Lobster Thermidor, as I had a lovely Viognier from [...]

Provençal Pairings: Wine with Food

On the Marc

Unless you are headed to France, or know someone who brought back a bottle (that was my method!), you probably won't be sipping Domaines Ott's Vieux Marc Rosé. Sadly, it is not imported to the United States! I paired this vieux marc, made from the skins of grapes used to make rosé, with a really old-fashioned dessert: Crêpes Suzette. Although my recipe is toned down in its buttery sweetness, it still requires something special for pairing. [...]



We always harbor the hope that we will discover a good wine at a really reasonable (read: cheap) price. Who doesn’t?

We’ve had some real duds in this quest—wines that wouldn't even qualify as marinades and went straight down the kitchen sink—and we’ve made some terrific discoveries. The wines from Gascony and its neighboring appellations definitely fall into the latter category. [...]
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