When you go to a restaurant or a hotel, mostly all the wine is chosen by their sommelier. A Sommelier is the one developing the wine menu and working with the kitchen to make the best pairings with the food.
But what happens when you have 100 sommeliers instead of 1?
This is exactly what happens at Mercure at their annual Weinlese. A group of 100 people test wines and decide which ones are the best to be added to their wine list. A very colorful group of people testing the final round in search of the best for this year's wine list.
When I arrived, I was sent to the parking lot. Super weird but cool... a looong red carpet with a security guy was the only thing I could see. There were music and laughter behind the entrance. Once I got in, all the "sommeliers" were sipping some bubbles, listening to live music by a trio of guitar, saxophone and "cajón".
When the music stopped we were greeted and explained how the evening was planned: Bubbles and finger food, Wine Tasting and last but not least, Dinner. We all got a different letter in our name tags and were instructed to follow the group upstairs. My letter was a "D".
We got into a very bright conference room filled with tables. Each table had a different name. Mine was "Dornfelder" hence the letter "D" on my tag. Every table was trying different wines. About 150 different wines were gonna be tasted! Three bottles of each kind, 5 kinds per table.
After reading the list on my table I was super happy with it: A Weissburgunder, followed by a Grauburgunder... My regular choices when buying German wine.
It was fun to be seated at the table with no bloggers this time. Got to talk to a very mixed table: a hotel owner, a teacher, a sports store owner and even a winemaker. Though I kept going to talk to the girls at the next table... Afterall I kinda missed them a little bit ;)
After all the wines were tasted, we gave our notes for the final counting. And we all left to the restaurant area that was beautifully decorated and filled with appetizers for us.
The tables were filled with small and delicious appetizers like Avocado Salsa, Sesame Chili Popcorn Salad, Hummus, Pan-fried Cauliflower, and oven baked cherry tomatoes. These were paired with a 2017 Weisser Burgunder from Bermersheim Rheinhessen.
The first course was Le Poisson! Cod with Skin Fried served with a red prawn, green sauce, and rice in a Nori leaf. It looked like a maki but it wasn't a maki. Very interesting taste.
The pairing was a 2017 Aufwind Grüner Veltliner & Riesling white wine Cuvée from Bad Dürkheim in the Pfalz.
Le Beof arrived... Poached Beef Filet M VII Sud with a zucchini flower, Jerusalem artichoke puree, and a potato layer cake. It came with an excellent pairing: 2015 M VII Red wine Weingut Markus Klumpp from Bruchsal.
And after the beef and some more glasses of wine, we changed location for the desserts and cheese. A sweet buffet with ham, cheese and grapes were we read the final winners of the event. It was very much fun to compare my notes to the winners. Was I on spot? I was in some of them, but then again it was all about different kinds of taste... Tho I was happy to have at least 3 winners on my notes :)
I finished my night with a great craft beer for a change and some delicious sourdough bread with liver pate. I had loads of fun, ate great food in the company of great wine. I got to learn more about wine and met loads of cool people in the process. We even went out clubbing until late, talking about how awesome this evening was.
Whether red or white, sweet or dry: At Mercure, you can enjoy a fine selection of the best quality wines. All wines are sourced directly from local winemakers with a bold concept that fits perfectly into today's world.
And what is the best part? the guests get to choose: Le Club AccorHotels Participants can participate in the wine tasting at the annual final tasting. And for sure this event has something for every taste. I am pretty sure everyone will find their favourite wine here.
When Bordeaux Wines asked me to make a cozy winter Xmas dinner, I was super excited. But how to make a dinner extraordinary? I decided to make it vegan! But I am not vegan... you all know this. Many of my close friends are and I have been testing different methods. Before I start, all pictures were made by my dear Friend and Amazing Blogger & Photographer Katja Hentschel.
But first things first: decoration. I wanted this Christmas to look like all those pinterest pictures I liked through the years.
I am not into Christmas trees. TOO much mess, all those pine needles everywhere. So I bought 2 big pieces of tree. Already dried of course. I could have gone to the forest and get them for free. But let's accept it: I have no fricking time lately. I put Max ladder on my table and got to drill my over 4-meter high ceiling. With 2 hooks and iron rope, I hanged these 2 babies. I hanged 4 Christmas ornaments and 100 fairy lights. I added some sheepskins on the chairs and banks. (Not so vegan, but Scandinavian Cozy)
I made the menus, covered the bread with jute and rope, Used jars instead of water glasses. In the middle of the table we had mistletoe pine needles and other forest greens. Candles were there as well. And the water bottles were from old Bordeaux wines. And we started the evening with Lateyron Crémant de Bordeaux as aperitif.
The guests started tasting this bubbly, while learning about the Bordeaux Region. In the table was beaten margarine with truffles and sea salt. Starting with a delicious umami taste together with the bread.
You can see here Christine from Lilies Diary enjoying one Rose Vegan Wine, While IHeartBerlin's Frank enjoyed the Chai de Bordes Bordeaux. YESS, Bordeaux has not only amazing red wines, but they come in every color.
It was time for the first course. I love deconstructing traditional dishes and this wasn't an exception. I transformed the traditional pumpkin soup into a Pumpkin, Apple & Ginger Soup served with a gingerbread Panna Cotta. Say Whaaaaat? Normally the cream is incorporated in the soup. But I made the Pannacotta using the "cream" I think it was a cute detail. All the guests got the mini panna cotta and I passed by with a jar full of pumpkin soup serving it around the cream. They made sooo many insta stories of it, so I guess people enjoyed it. *winkwink* I added gingerbread spices as after all it was a Xmas dinner.
It was time for the next course, so I took the mini pies from the oven. The second course was a Chard and Walnuss Cheesy Pie. I love chard! and the red colored chard even more. the greens and reds are so Christmasy. This was my favorite dish, so creamy and tasty. The pairing for this dish was the Rose Chateau Penin Rosé from Bordeaux of course.
The brussel sprouts with agave were ready and the loaf as well. It took me 5 times experimenting on how to make the roll taste like meat. Oh umami, dear umami flavor. It was perfect. a "Turkey and Beef" roll with Christmas Stuffing. I love stuffing. I....LOVE....IT Next to it was a Sweet Potato Mash and the sprouts. The wine chosen for this dish was: Chateau Magondeau Beau Site - Fronsac Red Wine. Perfect Match.
I am pretty sure we were all stuffed at that point. I gave it an hour rest before I started the dessert. We enjoyed the wine, the pup, and great conversation.
I ran to the kitchen... or rolled. The next course was a Cinnamon & Cloves Norwegian Waffle with Baked Apple with Almonds and Coconut Vegan Ice Cream with the dry white Château d'Arricaud 'Réserve du Comte'.
What an amazing evening. My food was on spot (as I heard) and for having some Omnivores sitting at the table, everyone was happy. The wines were very well paired with the menu. Not by me but the great guys from Bordeaux Wines.
The food was so good, that I am actually thinking on posting my recipes before Christmas, in case you are vegan yourself or you invited some vegans to your table this Christmas. Let me know which recipe you would like to, and I will gladly make a blog post asap. Merry Vegan Christmas and a Happy Bordeaux Night. Over and out.
The Blogpost of this evening by Bordeaux Wines (in german) can be found HERE
This Blogpost was not Sponsored
We all know what a pub crawl is, and last week, I was invited to the first Côtes du Rhône "Blogger Gourmet Crawl" we took a tour in several venues to eat and have some drinks at each of them.
As we learned with Paul Truszkowski, You just have to follow the river! Along the length of its winding waters, Côte du Rhône vineyards thrive across 171 rich terroirs and vineyards, A valley bathed in the generous sun with 21 grape varieties that are officially included in the appellation.
We started at the wine shop Wine ++ in Kreuzberg, where we savored a our first wine: La Ferme Du Mont 2016 Côtes du Rhône "La Truffière" This exquisite white wine combines all the charm of the southern Rhône with the elegance of the northern Rhône.
With scents of lime blossom, mint, tarragon and lemon zest, and taste of apricot and quince. The well-integrated acidity gives the wine freshness and balance.
We started munching these delicious bites. Nutty, veggie or bacon. the 3 different appetizers were excellent and between this and the wine, we were looking forward to see where this evening of "progressing dining" would take us.
We walked our way to the Falckensteinstraße, to the wine shop NOER. They make your wine choice easier, as they divide their assortment into five NOER wine types: Funatiker, Wachmacher, Verführer, Abenteurer & Entschleuniger. And we got the explanation of it while we had a Château Rochecolombe Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2015 - A blend of Grenache and Syrah. This gourmand wine is smooth and unoaked - tremendous quality and taste for the price! It has a blackberry aroma, and notes of fragrant herbs. Very Fresh mouthfeel, enhanced by smooth tannins and a breezy finish.
Wines are described by adjectives like "easy", "heavy", "tangy", "crispy", "fruity", "woody", "mild" or "oily". There are hundreds of nuances that can be expressed in this way.
NOER collected these words, condensed them and arranged them according to their effect on the different situations of pleasure.
Funatiker: slim to strong wines, fruity, uncomplicated.
Wachmacher: delicate, crisp, racy, invigorating
Verführer: delicate, gentle, subtle, fragrant
Abenteuerer: wild, mineral, expressive
Entschleuniger: strong to heavy wines, soothing, soft, fine spicy
Cheese and cured meats arrived! woohoooo love it! One cheese with cristals, a delicious terrine, salami, venison ham and 2 mouth watering soft cheese with olives.
To match the wild and strong flavours of the cured meats and cheese, we were presented to a Halos de Jupiter 2014. This would be in the category "Abenteuer", with 88% Grenache and 12% Mourvèdre that was aged in neutral demi-muids. Its shockingly deep purple color has notes of exotics spices, leather, and darker fruits. Full-bodied, rich and nicely concentrated, with fine tannin and notable, acidity.
Next stop was BRICOLE (blogpost coming soon with the delicious menu I had last month) and we started with a Vacqueyras AOC 2014. A wine produced on a very clayey terroir with stones from the Ouvèze river, the Grenache is dominant and develops a fleshy wine. It's typical aromas of chocolate, cherry and fig match beautifully with the Syrah.
The food arrived and it was astonishing. An ox tail ragout with german "knödel" with fava beans and créme fraîche sprinkled with Valrhona chocolate. Oh my! I loved it. The whole ensemble was perfect. Maria from IN SEARCH OF went with the vegetarian dish with goat cheese balls.
The last wine of the evening arrived dancing with the dessert. A Cötes du Rhone AOC E. Guigal 2012. This wine is deep and dark red. Full and round with smooth tannins. A full-bodied, rich and intensly aromatic wine with the taste of fresh fruits, red berries and spices. I found it incredibly elegant and pleasing.
The dessert was a out of the ordinary Créme Brûlée made with black sesame, plums, mascarpone and vanilla crumble. An awesome dish for the end of such a nice evening jumping around districts, drinking great wines and eating delicious food.
Since a couple of months, it is legal and possible to buy insects for food in Zwitzerland. You can actually jump into a supermarket and buy some mealworm patties or locust falafel. Can you imagine?
Some years ago, when I went to the famous NOMA restaurant in Copenhagen, I had the pleasure to eat ants and crickets, So I am ok about eating bugs.. yeah BUGS!
I was invited by Visit Zürich to their food week called Food Zürich. And one of the events I signed up for was the "Essento Dinner - Insekten Genuss" by Pfefferbeere. An Insects Dinner, A full 5 course dinner just using insects. That sounds exciting, right?
The dinner was in a beautiful building, looked like we were in the theater backstage: Raw walls, props, paintings. A very used Atelier. Beautiful.
Waiting for us was a table serving Marius Blanco 2016 and 3 kinds of insects: Mealworms with salt, crickets and locust with curry powder. They were exquisite and super crunchy. like chips or popcorn.
It was an open kitchen, so we could see the guys from Pfefferbeeren work. The first course was pickled quail egg with mealworm "soil", watercress and balsamic pearls. It was a perfect combination of soft and crunchy. The soil was delicious, but it was weird to see the little parts of the worms while eating them. Still, mouth-watering.
Our Sommelier of the evening, Thierry, paired this dish with a swiss wine Chasselas Cru de Champrevéyres, Neuchâtel. Delicately fruity, flowery and silky.
While we were finishing our wine, the kitchen was already busy. They were making little nests that would hold the mealworm and locust soup and next to it, the black mealworm panisse over rape butter. This was absolutely my favorite dish of the evening. The little "brownies" were salty and crunchy outside and soft like melted cheese inside. I wish i had a bucket full of those while watching a movie... just WOW.
We had the same wine as pairing, the sommelier chose this wine because it is so versatile that fits this two courses. a really good match.
And now... There was loads of smoke coming from the plating table. I had to run quickly there to see the magic happening. It reminded me the time I had dinner at the chefs table in Maaemo. loads of Nitrogen making a thick mysterious mist.
This course was kohlrabi ravioli filled with peas cricket and a forest berries gel. I loved the idea of not using pasta to make this ravioli. I will definitely try to recreate this at home. Stay tuned!
The wine pairing for this course was Tremenda from Alicante. Beautiful wine, intensive, with a hint of berries... very elegant.
Some logs starting to arrive and the kitchen was filled with rosemary scent. The grilled locust pinchos were sticking of the logs. There were 3 kinds of beauties: BBQ, Tahini and rosemary. My fave was BBQ. On the side: rosemary potato boats, hazelnut-mayo-salsa and quark. They were served all together in the table, so I am showing you the potato boats still in the pan ;)
The wine of choice was a Petit Verdot from Alicante as well, a strong and intensive wine. My favorite of the night. you could taste a flavour of dark berries in this one.
The cooks started looking like mad scientists and it was time for dessert. Nitrogen clouds started filling the room and we all started making pictures, videos, instagram stories and just going Ohhh-Ahhh. This was ice cream in the making.
Meanwhile the Barolo di Villa a very sweet but delish Recioto della Valpolicella appeared in the table and we couldn't wait for the dessert. It was a brownie with flower pollen and mealworms with a cricket covered in caramel on top. A mealworm-nut ice cream next to it. When we turned around there was spider webs made out of cotton candy and sweet crunchy locusts where hanging from them.
A delicious perfect evening that wasn't missing meat, it tasted marvellous and even tho it was weird to see little legs and heads, it was adventurous and exciting. I cant wait until there is legal to buy insects in Germany.
Thanks again Visit Zurich for let me be part of this gorgeous event!
A blind tasting of Bordeaux red wines at Restaurant Ni&Tyve during an early spring afternoon. We love wine, we love Bordeaux and the restaurant was unexplored by us so far. Blind tasting of wine sounds easy, right? You taste, and you either like it or not, no? Well, it's not quite that simple. We also had to describe the smell and taste, guess the area (if we could) and rate them.
We were together with far more experienced wine tasters, for sure. Wine writers from different specialty magazines and sommeliers from known restaurants and wine bars, amongst them our friend Magnus from Territoriet. Regardless of that, we tried our best to describe the seven different glasses of red wines from Bordeaux. In the end we rated them, and to no surprise, when the identities were revealed, it turned out Andrea's favorites were the three most expensive wines.
We also learned about the bacteria "Brett" or Breattanomyces. A fault in wine that can both add flavor to the wine or ruin the wine completely. Young wines can get more complexity and/or an aged character from Brett. When a wine is spoiled by Brett it smells of horse manure or a musty basement, and it may have a metallic taste. This could of course be confused with cork taint as well, which makes it even more difficult to distinguish.
After tasting we went to the terrace to eat. We were served a three-course meal from restaurant Ni&Tyve and we enjoyed red, rosé and white wine from Chateau Rauzan Despagne. They come in plastic bottles (PET), which is very handy e.g. when you are traveling to your cottage or going to a picnic. The bottles are less heavy and can't be broken. The wine is quite cheap, but still with a good quality to it. We tasted the Chateau Rauzan Despagne Bordeaux rouge too, and in July that will be released in a three liter bag in box for NOK 450.
Anders picked to no surprise the entrecôte with béarnaise sauce and fried potatoes. He asked for rare and they managed to cook it correctly. The meat was decent, the fat was soft enough so you could eat it, and the sauce was rich and tasty. The potatoes were ok, but the mushrooms and green beans were a bit boring.
I am Andrea, or as my friends call me, Jinx. I am a foodie living in Berlin, eating my way through life. Here are my recipes, cooking events, dining experiences and more...