Cava / Jamon and Peas Fared Well in Debut

If you know me you know how I live. My life is nestled very comfortably on the receiving end of a beautiful relationship with my best friend. Not unlike Secretariat in his ’73 Belmont Stakes, she, too, moves like a tremendous machine. However her track isn’t The Big Sandy, it’s our kitchen.

Her name is Stacy and she has more cookbooks than anyone I know. Constantly trying new things, new dinners, appetizers, drinks, whatever strikes her fancy, if she comes across something new that causes her to raise an eyebrow, it’s usually on our book shelf within a week.

Her latest? Wine Food by Dana Frank and Andrea Slonecker (Lorena Jones Books).

It is a wine course in a cookbook for those of us with an interest in learning more about wine the best way there is: by drinking it. Their hook? Recipes that are not typically partnered with wines but deserve to be.

Frank is a sommelier and Slonecker a “wine loving recipe writer” who combined their expertise to give us nearly 70 wine and food combinations worth trying. Categories range from brunches, salads, picnics, cozy nights in and so much more.

Our first venture was from the “Prefunk” category. The wine, a Spanish sparkling white called Cava.

Made mostly in the NW region of Catalonia, it’s generally composed of the grapes macebeo, parellada and xarel-lo. Bubbly like Champagne but not as expensive. Both however are made the same way. The second fermentation – the one that makes the wine sparkling – occurs in the bottle itself.

Cava goes beautifully with Spanish ham. The Spanish jamon and Cava are, as the authors put it, “old friends.”

The ham is a bit gamey, but also salty and fatty and the authors believe it is the perfect compliment to Cava.

They weren’t wrong. They paired beautifully.

The Cava impressed Stacy more than it did me. She smelled baklava but didn’t feel the wine was sweet.

Me? The citrus and baked apples were all I smelled. Perhaps to those with a better nose they would have smelled the pastries (Stace did) and the honey. Stace caught a whiff of that also. But not me.

Along with the ciabatta bread (with a dash of olive oil), the jamon, prosciutto, Parmesan and machego cheeses was a spread put together with sweet peas, mint, lemon zest, salt, pepper, a bit of mancehgo cheese and lemon juice. Very refreshing and light.

Not to my particular liking as the mint played a more prominent role than I would have liked, although the refreshing aspect of the spread paired really well with the Cava; no doubt. Not the case with Stacy, however. She was really pleased with the sweet pea spread, putting it on toasted ciabatta and also water crackers.

Overall, a fun debut into our Wine Food adventures, with so many more to try. We are excited to try them all and although we have not yet decided what is on next week’s menu, we do have three bottles of wine suggested by the book to choose from.

Can’t wait to try something new again and to share it all here with you.