Make it Mediterranean

We’re not here to talk about the Mediterranean Diet, this post is to share with you easy Mediterranean dishes along with suggested wine pairings. Remember, “What Grows Together Goes Together”!

Avocado and Shrimp with Sparkling Wine

This colorful dish is one of our favorites, so easy to make and very impressive! Cut an avocado in half and remove the pit. Fill with shrimp and top with crème fraîche or sour cream. Add a sprinkle of Mediterranean Sea Salt or lavender salt and garnish with fresh mint leaves. As a side, it goes well with goat cheese. What wine? We chose a Cava Rosé, which is a sparkling wine from Spain. The refreshing bubbles will balance out the texture of the food. The hint of red fruits in the wine complement the dish and adds color to the table. If you don’t have a Cava, you can use any dry sparkling wine or a dry rosé wine. 

Tomatoes Farcis with Red Wine

Let’s go vegetarian. Take two tomatoes and cut off the cap. Remove the inside of the tomato and put in a bowl. Combine with green and black olive tapenade, olive oil and eschallottes cut up in small pieces. Add salt and pepper to taste and if you like, a touch of garlic. Do not bake! This dish is served cool. For the salad, we recommend roquette or mâche. Mix with small rounds of monzarella and topic with fresh basil and of course olive oil. This dish pairs well with a red wine and particularly a blend of Syrah and Grenache? Why? Both grapes are a bit spicy and will enhance the tapenade and eschallottes. A lighter red such as Pinot Noir, risks being overpowered by the strong flavors and acidity of the tomatoes.

Here are some Fun Facts about Quinoa.

  • Pronunciation. Quinoa is pronounced ‘Keen-wah’
  • Quinoa is a seed. … 
  • Quinoa is a complete protein. … 
  • Quinoa is a good source of essential nutrients. … 
  • Quinoa is gluten free. … 
  • Quinoa thrives in a variety of climates. … 
  • Quinoa should be washed before use. … 
  • Quinoa tastes best after it’s been cooked.

Quinoa is SO healthy, yet done right, it is delicious. Buy a box of Quinoa and follow the recipe. Be careful draining out the excess water after cooking as the quinoa grains can easily sneak out through a regular drainer. Place in a bowl and leave in the refrigerator until cool. If you mix in the ingredients while the Quinoa is warm, you risk cooking the vegetables. Here, let your tastes come through, you can add nearly anything! Here we included cucumber, sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, red onion and of course mixed in olive oil. Quinoa has a tendency to drink in flavors, so add salt, pepper and other herbs to your taste. We like to add fresh mint or basil for a hint of freshness and color. A cheese plate with bread is a great way to finish the meal. We suggest you pair this salad with either a fresh white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or a Rosé.

Quinoa Salad


Wine vs. French Grammar

As they say “no good story started with a salad”. Nor did mine, it started with 18th century French Grammar. During my junior year at the University of Puget Sound, I studied abroad at the University of Burgundy in Dijon, France. We were able to choose our own electives and by the time I finally found the university, there were only two left to choose from: 18th century French Grammar or Wine and Gastronomy. Unknowingly, I chose the course that would change the direction of my life. Take a wild guess, it wasn’t grammar!

Where will your life take you?

It sounded wonderful, fabulous French wine, perhaps a chef with a white hat and heavy accent to teach us how to cook coq au vin or make little flower petals of chocolate. Alas, I found myself in a classroom with one of the scariest professors alive. I was the only woman and the only American, a fact he pointed out in the beginning and told me that I was doomed to fail. Hey, bring it on! Terrifying. Each class period we would taste wine and even though I made myself smaller than a baby hedgehog in the back of the class, he would call on me to describe what I smelled in the wine. If I said smokiness (which is true!) or vanilla (again true!), he would theatrically roll his eyes and ask me if I had smoked sausage dipped in thick vanilla sauce for breakfast. I had orange juice, thank you very much. Our first blind tasting exam consisted of a white and a red wine and we were to identify the origin and vintage. He returned my test and said with an incredibly sarcastic voice “at least you got the color right.” Ouch. I waited until I got back to my homestay to cry. But, I studied, drank wine, studied, more wine and emerged alive from the course!

Tasting, Tasting and more Tasting!

Thus, here I am, twenty vintages later, loving working in the many facets of the wine industry. Let’s take a journey together to explore this vast world. Santé!