Thursday, October 27, 2011

do you believe in magic?

well there goes that idea.

i logged on with the intention of filling this space with drool-worthy pictures, fantabulous recipes, a hint of sarcasm and maybe a funny story or two from the dinner i made yesterday that was mind-blowingly delish.

instead, my computer has decided to play a joke on me and fool me into thinking that my pictures are some sort of "error."

but until i figure out who got the better of who, i'm just going to take some time to rant (mostly rave) about my wines and spirits class i am currently in.


wines and spirits class. as in i go to school. and learn about alcohol. funny, most college students normally opt for the second instead of the first. but in this case, i would most definitely push aside even an ice cold corona to sit in this class for 4 hours.

because not only do i get to learn from a professor who literally does calf raises at every exciting point he is trying to make, but i get to watch some rather comical british-made videos. and if you thought that was the good part, you just underestimated the crap out of this class... and peter d'souza which is not advisable. (those of you who know who he is, clearly understand).

because after the furthest-from-boring lecture, we get to taste wines. this is not just a few sips from 2 or 3 kinds of "meh" wines.

this is a full-out-find-your-seat-at-table-quickly-oh-did-i-mention-we're-tasting-a-$250-bottle-of-wine-today-no-big-deal-we're-pairing-it-with-beef-tenderloin-in-a-mushroom-cabernet-sauce-that-we-whipped-up-while-you-were-taking-notes-on-the-five-grape-varieties-that-come-from-Bordeaux-kind of experience.

oh yeah.

and if you haven't already guessed, it's not just the wines that get me so jacked up about this class. it's the food that our ta's prepare to go along with it. to give you a little perspective, on the first day of class, they paired the wines of the day with basic fruits, berries, cheeses and herbs. to put it mildly, i was already wayyyyy excited.

little fontina... little chardonnay... little "ohmygoshthatissoooogood"
nibble of mushroom... sip of pinot noir... slight freak-out session.

you get the point.

so when the better wines came out, the quality and uniqueness of the food came right along with it. we've had duck, perch, beef tenderloin, stuffed pork, leg of lamb, and salmon just to name a few. but today was, by far, the greatest one for me because 3 out of the 6 pairings, i had never even had before.... in my life.

cornish game hen.
excellently-prepared venison. (venison sausage does not count, i've decided.)

the caviar was a little salty and a little too fishy-tasting for me, but i buckled down and ate the whole goat cheese crostada it was served on because one nibble off the corner does not truly count as "trying something" in my book. the cornish game hen was pretty much chicken, so obviously it was good and the venison was pretty much a knockout. peter strongly suggests that if you ever have fresh venison, that it needs to be marinated in lots of red wine, a little mustard and some herbs for no less than 2 days. 2 days, people. and holy guacamole that was the greatest thing ever. makes me want to don some hazmat orange and venture into a nearby tree stand just so i can enjoy dinner midway through next week. complete exaggeration aside, it was absolutely delicious.

the moment i sit down at my spot at the table and gaze at the beautiful arrangements of 6 crystal clear wine glasses expertly arranged in that characterstic half moon shape around my place setting, all i want to do is take a picture and share it to the world. i wish everyone could have that seat. i wish everyone could enjoy wine the way we do in that class. he makes it so much more than our society makes it. he makes it an experience, not just something we think we should drink at holidays because it's "fancy" or something. he makes it fun and educational. and when we breathe in those beautiful aromas and he calls out almost instantaneously what he smells, it makes me want to travel to france and spain and italy and smell a thousand different wines until i have the keen sense that he so clearly has.

and at the same time i know that my knowledge has already just skyrocketed from where i first was. i can pick out certain smells. i am getting a good feeling for which grape varieties i like more than others. and when we bring the food along for the ride, i know there are some foods just have that certain taste or texture to them that so magically pairs with the wine.

i don't normally believe in magic, so if you're a non-believe like i was, do this: make some andouille stuffed mushrooms, drink a glass of blackstone sonoma merlot and see how much convincing you'll need to start believing that Aladdin really had a flying carpet.

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