An ancient Romanian wine starts off our evening with Dracula

Roumanian wine - Tamaioasa Romaneasca Cotnari DOC

An evening with Dracula

The idea for our Dracula-themed dinner party this year stemmed from a bottle of wine we received at Christmas. Tāmâioasā is an indiginous grape variety from Romania, the Eastern European country that harbors Dracula’s castle in the province of Transylvania.

The grape variety is related to Muscat. The name means ‘incense’ in Romanian. This is apparent from the first sniff, which gives off a strong floral and honey scent tinged with orange, acacia, apricot,  and hay.

This pale straw wine has a medium-sweet, medium-bodied taste, with flavors of stone fruit, pear, honey, and citrus, followed by a long finish with hints of white spices. You can get it in Ontario at certain times (like Christmas) for the reasonable price of $13.05 a bottle at the LCBO.

Pairing the wine

I would have liked to serve it with foie gras. It would have been the perfect sweet accompaniment to balance the richness of a goose liver pate. And liver would have been an appropriate ingredient for Dracula’s palate, right?

But instead we settled on grilled and skewered halloumi wrapped in prosciuto. The semi-sweetness of the wine worked well with the salty and creamy texture of the cheese and cured ham.

And I’m sure you immediately see that skewering the cheese through its heart and pairing it with an ancient Romanian wine was an ideal beginning for our Dracula-themed dinner. The recipe will follow at some unknown time…

Naval Museum, Albenga

A thousand amphorae recovered from a ship sunk to the bottom of the Tyrrhenian Sea in the 1st century BC… perhaps they once contained a good Romanian Muscat?

Ancient,  indeed it is

Tămâioasă Românească is a grape variety with a tradition of over 2,000 years in Romania. The grape comes from the South of Greece, and it is one of the oldest varieties in the world. During the Antiquity, Muscat wines like this one were the most appreciated from all countries located on the Mediterranean. The wine,  which at that time was transported in amphorae, was considered as currency in commerce.

Of course, being semi-sweet, you can also serve it for dessert. I like it better than the much sweeter ice-wine, myself. It is best served very cold, perhaps from the freezer or over ice.

Roumanian wine - Tamaioasa Romaneasca Cotnari DOC

Noroc!

I think this is how Dracula might say “Cheers!”

Holiday Open House, Sun Nov 27, 1-4pm

IMG_9356

‘Tis the season, whether we like it or not. I personally love it! So much fun getting together with old friends, sharing some sparkly, sampling baking made at special times of the year, remembering happy days from years past… and meeting new neighbors! I even love the whole shopping thing, searching out little baubles to put under the tree and surprising the people I love.

That’s why I happily agreed to help my daughter Kristina host an open house at her place this year to launch the holiday season. More

Drink Agua de Valencia for some Spanish sparkle

Spanish tapas dinner party

Spanish tapas dinner party

It’s that wonderful time of year when we host our annual gourmet dinner, which has been going on for a very long time now. We never get tired of trying out new recipes for our friends.

This year we chose a Spanish tapas theme, with the hope that we could prepare many of the dishes ahead of time and just enjoy ourselves on the evening.

To welcome our guests, we served a cocktail originating from Valencia, where oranges reign supreme. More

Let’s party! Portuguese sangria, perhaps?

Spring gourmet - Portuguese sangria cup

Last week I posted a menu for a special dinner party. We started our Mediterranean evening off with a pretty wine cocktail hailing from Portugal. Choose a good quality wine, preferably from that country and preferably red (called Tinto in Portuguese). Pair it up with a dry Porto. Throw in a few swigs of  More

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