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myMEGusta

Named for things that please me (“me gusta” in Spanish) and rhymes with balabusta (Yiddish for “good homemaker”).

Archive for the month “November, 2018”

Do you know where YOUR fish came from?

Probably not, but there are interesting exceptions.

In some cases, like live shellfish, the provenance – exactly where caught, by whom and when – is noted on a tag. Copps Island Oysters purchased at the Greenwich CT Farm market come with such a little tag, even if you’re only buying a dozen. (Great oysters, by the way http://www.coppsislandoysters.com ).

On a recent voyage to Halifax, Nova Scotia, myMEGusta went on a foodie walking tour, which included a stop at Goldwater Seafoods, a modest dockside store, backed up by a worldwide seafood shipping business, and with many stories to tell.http://www.goldwaterseafoods.com/

Nova Scotia Lobsterman

The proprietor explained how the lobster industry works: very entrepreneurial, potentially dangerous, and most definitely not for the faint of heart, including when rubber banding those claws.

Goldwater Seafoods

Who knew, for example, that the pots have to be tended daily, rain or shine, snow or squall, to harvest the creatures and bring them to the pound. There they are kept healthy, and live out their lives until being shipped out in the leaner months when fishing is either not possible or productive enough to keep up supply to stores and restaurants.

Or, that lobstermen (and they are mostly men) keep mum on exactly where they have found where the crustaceans like to congregate (and go into traps), or their exact catch. It’s almost like the white truffle hunters in Italy, except that no dogs are involved.

Bahia Solano, Colombia

On a very different cruise last spring, myMEGusta visited Bahia Solano, Colombia, a sleepy fishing village on the Pacific Coast, extremely rustic, but with a claim to fame as a tourist resort: not exactly like Puerta Vallarta with luxury hotels and great wine lists, but simple inns catering to serious sport fishermen (one website calls them “adventurists”) and scuba divers, mostly from Europe.

Colombia Fishing Districts

The other economic mainstay of the village is fishing within the legally designated artisanal fishing district, several miles off the coast where larger commercial vessels are forbidden to operate. The artisanal fishermen comply with regulations on the size of their boats, and their fishing methodology is limited to more traditional means than the industrial ships.

Bahia Solano Fish Ready to Fly

While they catch plenty of average fish, which is all consumed locally, their big win is the finer fish, red snapper, tuna, and such, which are sent to the coop, iced down, and then flown to markets all over South America and the world.

When you see/hear how hard all of these folks work to capture the sea’s bounty for us, particularly in cold, Northern waters or the choppy Pacific, never mind the logistics involved in getting the catch to us, the cost of top quality seafood makes very good sense!

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Fifty Shades of Rose

Shades of Rose

Roses are red, and. never mind about the blue violets, we are talking about rose wine.

Most rose wines start as grapes with red pigment in their skins – Grenache, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir to name a few.

The winemaker takes an extra step (literally, more on that later) to gently crush them, so that the skin pigment begins to seep into the juice. The timing is precise and closely monitored, and when the correct tint has been achieved, off go the grapes to the press, squeezing that pink must (unfermented grape juice destined to become wine) away from the skins before it takes on too much color.

A little known fact is that all red wine is made from grapes with red skins and white interiors. The skin’s pigment colors the juice once the skins are broken, and red wine is then pressed after fermentation is over.

Four Grapes, Four Hues

The exact hue of each rose, which means “pink” in French, is determined by the red grape variety and how long the skins   sustained contact with the juices.

If red grapes are pressed immediately after harvest, the juice is separated from the skins very quickly before it has time to absorb color. The best known white wine made this way is Champagne, with each house using its own blend of Chardonnay (white), Pinot Noir (red) and Pinot Meunier (red) grapes.

Pinot Meunier                  Chardonnay                     Pinot Noir Grapes for Champagne

Occasionally a rose is made from grapes that are not boldly red, but have some color in their skins. One of these, which myMEGusta tasted recently, was Rose of Gewurtztraminer, more of a novelty than a treat, truth be told.

On a recent visit to the David Hill Winery (https://www.davidhillwinery.com/) in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, myMEGusta stumbled upon an interesting crate of red Gamay grapes, before and after they were “galosh stomped”, the winemaker’s process for breaking the skins of red grapes destined to be rose. Note the difference in the volume before and after, when the juices were starting to run and the grapes starting to settle into the bin. Their destination soon after this photo was taken was to have that pink juice squeezed off into a fermentation tank.

After Stomping

Before Galosh Stomping

 

Rose has always been a favorite of wine lovers, the traditional fine ones having been made by this painstaking process, and most of them quite dry, or fruity at best, never sweet.

Then came the Swingin’ Sixties and our friends from Portugal came out with Mateus and Lancers, happy little roses that had a touch of sweetness and zero complexity, perfect for neophyte young adults as starter wines (and, if our parents were not wine drinkers, them, too).

The White Zinfandel boom came a few years later, and rose became known as the wine for people who don’t like wine. All the rest of the roses, which had never changed from their original elegance, went swiftly out of fashion.

It has only been a few years since people have started realizing that a well-made rose is a delicious wine, particularly in the summer time, although the good ones stand beautifully alone as aperitifs and accompany good food all year round.

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