A glass of wine can be delicious, but when it is paired with the right dish, it can resonate in a magnificent way. This gorgeous cookbook lets any cook plan a meal in perfect concert with a favorite or special wine. Mystified by the art of choosing a wine to go with your meal, or vice versa? Is white wine with fish the only rule you know? The Wine Lovers Cookbook is a unique guide for the wine lover and cook who considers wine an essential part of a meal and wants to understand the dynamic interplay between wine and food. Author Sid Goldstein describes in detail the flavor profiles of 13 popular varietals, such as Merlot and Chardonnay, and explains which ingredients balance each wine, giving the reader a professionals foundation for planning meals with each kind of wine. Best of all, he offers 100 recipes, from appetizers to desserts, specifically created to complement a particular varietal. The Wine Lovers Cookbook is a truly essential reference, an irresistibly beautiful cookbook, and an inspiration for all who want to make the most of an excellent glass of wine.Which came first: the chicken or the Eglise-Clinet? Well, if you’re a disciple of author Sid Goldstein–and you will be–you’ve had that Bordeaux decanted long before you even thought of shopping for those Cacciatore ingredients. And “wine-first” cooking is precisely what Goldstein–vice president and director of marketing communications at Mendocino, California’s Fetzer Vineyards–so ably demonstrates in The Wine Lover’s Cookbook, soon to become indispensable to anyone who has ever chosen the wine first and the groceries second. In 100 easy-to-follow-yet-impressive-as-heck recipes, Goldstein shows you how to exquisitely match the tastes and textures of wine varietals to food. In fact, if you want to find specific recipes, you have to look in the back index; the chapters themselves are divided into grape types! Serving a Chardonnay? Chapter 7’s Spinach Fettuccine with Sea Bass and Lemongrass-Coconut Cream Sauce is seamless. Pinot Noir? Coffee-and-Spice-Rubbed Lamb with Coffee-Vanilla Sauce shouldn’t work; and yet lamb marinated for hours in mint, pepper, red wine, freshly ground coffee beans, and rosemary, then grilled and sauced with a combination of honey, brewed coffee, shallots and vanilla bean–any one of which elements should have bullied a Russian River Pinot–provides a tightly woven hammock on which the wine can luxuriate.

Chapters discuss the grape variety and list “Base Ingredients”–the main medium of the dish (Game Hen and Rabbit are a couple for Sangiovese)–as well as “Bridge Ingredients”–those connectors of food and wine (Plums, Fennel, and Green Peppercorns among those for Syrah). This “wine-first” regimen is not without pitfalls: it’s fine to decide that tonight is Riesling or Pinot night, but if you can’t find radicchio or pomegranate, you might as well skip a few pages. Yet if you’ve ever been made to feel immoral by cookbooks that give you the recipe first, then deign to suggest a “perfect” wine pairing beyond your means, let Father Sid absolve you of all your Zins (or Merlots or Viogniers). After all, the Bible talks of wine 650 times; food barely rates a mention. Perhaps if they’d had The Wine Lover’s Cookbook in the Garden of Eden, Adam wouldn’t have wasted all that time trying to pair ribs and an apple with a Sauvignon Blanc. –Tony Mason

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