When we can get away from the store we typically head to Spain for hedonistic days of food sampling and drinking top-notch wines that we can’t afford at home. While our first love will always be Iberia, our palates are taking us into the far reaches of the Mediterranean these days. Which is why we took a trip to Turkey last week with our California partners, Andy and Tanya. We spent two amazing days in the cave dwellings of Cappadocia and then met friends in Istanbul. We dined like sultans on the vibrant Turkish cuisine. A vegetarian’s dream, every fantastic meal was loaded with salads, roasted vegetables, pulses and grains. Being carnivores, we dined on savory chicken pilaf in pastry, kebabs with sumac served over eggplant, and slow roasted lamb infused with oregano, paprika and yogurt. Now that we’re home, we’ll be recreating and sharing some of these recipes with the ingredients that we stock here at the shop. Stay tuned.
Cortas Pomegranate Molasses ($4.99/10 oz): In Turkey, this was used as an ingredient in salad dressing. Mixed with lemon & olive oil, it was terrific on mixed greens.
Cuisine Perel Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar ($7.99/6.5 oz): A blend of balsamic, red wine vinegar and pomegranate concentrate, this will give salads an extra snap, or pour it over fresh strawberries and ice cream.
Turkish Cookbooks: The Ottoman Kitchen by Sarah Woodward ($20.00) has general culinary information as well as authentic recipes from Turkey and the Middle East. Great pictures of the countryside and recipes make this a pleasure to read.
TURKEY Mediterranean Cuisine ($16.99) Eleven chefs contributed to this book of traditional Turkish food. Contains step by step photos and easy to follow recipes.
NEW WINES THIS WEEK
2007 Campo Burgo Rioja ($8.99) Clean and bright with soft tannins, Campo Burgo has been aged in stainless steel. With a medium body and structured acidity, notes of cherry and plum, it could even be chilled slightly before serving. Excellent with fideo pasta and shrimp.
2007 Vinas de Olivara, Toro ($7.99) 87 points Wine Advocate Made from 100% Tinta de Toro (Tempranillo), this non-oaked red really over-delivers for the price. Aromatic, with notes of boysenberry, blueberry and mineral, it is full-bodied and gutsy. Subtle tannins are well balanced with acidity and wrap up with a distinctive and elegant finish.
2005 Marques de Campo Nuble Crianza Rioja ($12.99) 88 points Wine Advocate A modern Rioja that hasn’t forgotten its roots, it is made of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Garnacha. Warm and round red fruit flavors spring from the glass backed up by notes of licorice and cedar. A subtle amount of oak and balanced acidity make this Rioja a perfect wine to serve with any pork or lamb dish. This winery is new to the U.S. market and decided to forego advertising to keep their prices low. It is a superb value!
2006 Bodegas Marques de Olivara M.O., Toro ($12.99) Concentrated, bold and spicy, M.O. de Olivara is our go-to wine for brawny and affordable reds. 100% Tempranillo produced from 40-100 year old vines, M.O. is meaty, explosive and earthy with notes of mineral and black fruit. Aged 13 months in French oak, it is a steal at $12.99.
2004 Vaza Crianza Rioja, ($14.99) Vaza’s 18 months in oak give it an edgy smokiness tinged with juicy ripe cherry and black currant flavors. Notes of licorice are front and center on the palate, balanced by great acidity and moderate tannins. This is a tasty Rioja and will appeal to those who like a more fruit-forward style.
2005 Descendientes de Jose Palacios Corullon Bierzo ($57.00) 93 points Stephen Tanzer “Deep red. Smoky raspberry and cherry compote aromas are lifted by stony minerality and fresh rose. Deep, musky cherry and dark berry flavors display impressive poise, with firm tannins adding structure without distracting from the fruit. Turns brighter on the long, mineral-dominated finish, staining the palate with vibrant red berry flavors that cling tenaciously.”
2006 Pingus, Ribera del Duero ($736.00) Quantities limited, available by special order. 95 points Stephen Tanzer “Opaque purple. Powerful, mineral-driven aromas of blackberry, blueberry, creme de cassis, incense and floral oils. Fresh dark berry flavors are youthfully crunchy and strikingly pure, with mounting spiciness and minerality. Silky tannins add support to the broad, palate-staining fruit but quickly fade away, allowing the exotic dark berry flavors to stand out. The mineral element clings impressively on the long, sappy, sweet finish. A superb showing…”
Flor de Sal (“Sea Flower” –$10.99/500 grams) are very thin crystals of sea salt formed at the surface of salt ponds, collected manually with the aid of a special tool. Collected daily, without allowing it to contact the pond’s bottom or sides, it is a product of natural purity, with a delicate flavor and prolonged finish on the palate. Considered the “Rolls Royce” of sea salt.
Sevillana Olives With Lemon: These rich green olives have a tart spicy flavor with lots of garlic and a little red pepper. Watch out for the pits!
Golden Peppadews: This hot sweet little yellow pepper is much like the red peppadew, with a little more meat and a slightly milder taste. Perfect for any place you would put red peppadews or mix them for a beautiful color contrast.
Organic Peruvian Bojita Olives: These organic bojita olives are known for their plump shape, firm meaty texture & tart flavor. They are grown on the high desert plains of Peru.
Manchego marinated in Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Sliced and ready to eat, put it on a bocadillo or serve it as a tapa with a dish of olives and a glass of fino sherry.
New container arrived today from Spain. We’ve now got a great selection of green glass. Ribbed tumblers, cruets, medium sangria glasses and malaga glasses are back in stock. And a new supply of rice has arrived just in time for paella season. Perdiz Bomba and Signo Valencian rice are on the shelf again.