Thursday, April 19, 2007

First Blog: Why Rose Membrillo?

My name is Rosé Membrillo. Today. But be advised that my name will shape shift when it feels fit, when it's so inspired by a wine and food pairing that it can't stand to exist in its present gastronomic state any longer.

Why Rosé Membrillo today? Because the flowering trees outside my apartment window remind me that its Rosé season (a.k.a: spring), and one of my favoirte pairings for the pink juice is membrillo served over Manchego cheese slices, set down next to a chilled Rosé of Grenache. Preferably also next to Marcona Almonds. Classic Spanish pairing.

Rosé (not white zin) is a wine made from crushing red wine grapes such as Pinot Noir, Grenanche, etc.... and only leaving the juice briefly in contact with the squashed grape skins. The wine absorbs a rosey hue rather than a dark red because the color is dictated by the length of time that the skins are left in the tubs. The less time in the tank, the closer color to Barbie's pink mansion. Leave the skins in longer, and the hues going to more resemeble Julia Robert's lipstick in Pretty Woman.
Membrillo is made by cooking the quince fruit- believed to be indigenous to Greece- with sugar and lemon like you're making jam. Upon cooling, the high-pectin quince forms a thick, preserves-like paste that can be sliced. It's sweet, a little tart, and floral. Hint-when I buy this stuff already made into a paste at Mexican markets, it is of top quality and just as good as the overpriced membrillo sitting on gourmet shops shelves.
Manchego is a Spanish sheep's milk cheese with a sharp, bold taste that begs for sweet membrillo.
Marcona Almonds are skinless Valencian almonds that have been fried, salted, and oiled. As addicting as the crunchy things in the bottom of a KFC extra crispy bucket.
With this blog I hope to introduce and deepen the conversation of wine and food pairing online. Without snobbery. As revealed in my profile, I manage the wine bar section of a wine shop in the SF Bay area. I graduated from the California Culinary Academy in 2000, cooked in California and NYC, studied anthropology in UC Berkeley, and now continue to explore food and culture through cooking and wineful means. I love that my job gives me the oppurtunity to play with food and wine, talk about pairing wine and food, in public. Maybe this blog will extend that oppurtunity.

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