Where Cheese Meets Wine and Falls in Love

Friends don't let friends use "Cooking Wine." Why? Because its atrocious stuff that will ruin the taste of your food, that's why! Don't believe me? Let's start by rounding up every bottle in your kitchen that says "Cooking Wine", "Cooking Sherry", "Cooking Marsala," or "Cooking Anything". Now let's see what's in it. It's wine, or sherry, or marsala (the cheap and nasty stuff to begin with) to which they have added salt. Yes, SALT! Then they have boiled it. Yes, BOILED it.

You ask why on earth would they do that to any wine? Because then the bottle is "shelf stable" and can sit on your grocer's shelf (or in your pantry) for months or years. Every time you pull it out, it adds the same (lousy) taste to your dish. You may not have realized this, but that may be because you've never tasted the real thing. So what's a girl (or boy) to do?

Let's begin by pouring every bottle of "Cooking Whatever" down the drain. That's right, just pull the cork and let it flow through your plumbing. Then, let's get ourselves some good wine for cooking.

We'll start with a basic red and white. You don't need to be fancy here. Go for a dry red (such as Cabernet, Shiraz or Merlot) in the $8 to $10 range. You'll probably only use a quarter of the bottle, so guess what? You should drink the rest of it. Right away! There's no need to put it back in the pantry when a glass of what's in the dish tastes great with the dish. For a white to cook with, I use something easy on the oak. A Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio or a lightly oaked Chardonnay works well, and I always sip a glass of it while I'm cooking (notice that I'm not re-corking this one either).

So here's the moral of the story. If you wouldn't enjoy drinking it, you won't enjoy tasting it in your food. It's that simple! Cheers!

Wine of the Month

Lunetta Prosecco

Lunetta ("Little Moon" in Italian) celebrates life's small pleasures. The grapes are handpicked and vinified at Cavit's state-of-the-art sparkling wine facility in the northern Italian region of Trentino, at the largest facility in Italy dedicated exclusively to producing world-class sparkling wines.
Enticing aromas of apple and peach give way to a palate that is refreshing and harmonious with crisp fruit flavors and a clean finish. Lunetta Prosecco is delightful as an aperitif or enjoyed with antipasti, hors d'oeuvres, sushi, shellfish and seafood. Drink now.  

Cheese of the Month

Supreme Brie Oval Cheese

Made from cow's milk and hailing from the Burgundy region in France, Supreme Brie is a soft ripened cheese in a white rind. Enriched with crËme fraiche, the heavy cream Supreme is known not only for its smoothness and richness, but it is also credited for being perfectly matured. Supreme is available in two distinctive favors. There is a plain one which is creamy and mellow. The other choice is garlic and herbs mix. When processed with garlic, the cheese has a mild nutty (similar to hazelnut) and garlic aftertaste. Supreme boasts a fat content of 63 percent and it is best enjoyed in small portions. What's more, Supreme cheese is easy to digest. Health-conscious consumers can partake without the guilt. Savor it at room temperature with crackers or hearty breads and a glass of Prosecco.

Recipe of the Month

Skewers with Supreme Cheese & Marinated Vegetables

Ω Red Peppers
Ω Yellow Peppers
8 mini ears of corn
7oz Supreme cheese
4 cherry tomatoes
1 Tablespoon chopped basil
1 Tablespoon snipped chives
4 Tablespoons olive oil
Yields:  4 servings

Cut the peppers into squares and marinate them with the corn and cherry tomatoes in the olive oil and the herbs for half a day. Fry the vegetables in a non-stick pan over medium heat for several minutes, and let them cool. Cut the Supreme cheese into pieces, then intersperse the vegetables and the cheese onto wooden skewers. Serve with the remaining marinade and some salad leaves.

I trust you have enjoyed part 35 of our journey. Please feel free to email me with any comments or queries at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or drop by in person at Piggly Wiggly Shelter Cove. I can be found in the wine, cheese or deli departments. A native of South Africa and the Deli, Cheese and Wine Manager of the Piggly Wiggly at Shelter Cove on HHI, Kent Zimmerman is a Licensed Sommelier and Fromager Master.

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