Menu For Hope 6 – Donate and Win (a wine tasting for 8!)

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Update: Bidding just became easier! This nifty little form will help you choose your items and transfer it directly to the donation site – remember my code is EU23.

Menu for Hope is an annual fundraising campaign hosted by Chez Pim and a revolving group of food bloggers around the world.  For the past three years, Menu for Hope raised nearly a quarter of million dollars in support of the good work of the UN World Food Programme, helping to feed hungry people worldwide. We, food bloggers from all over the world, join the campaign by offering a delectable array of food-related bid items for the Menu for Hope raffle. Anyone – and that means you too – can buy raffle tickets to bid on these items. For every $10 donated, you earn one virtual raffle ticket to bid on an item of your choice. At the end of the two-week campaign, the raffle tickets are drawn and the results announced on Chez Pim.

Once again we’ve chosen to work with the UN World Food Programme. This year, we are supporting a new initiative at the WFP called Purchase for Progress (P4P). P4P enables smallholder and low-income farmers to supply food to WFP’s global operation.  We food bloggers understand the importance of buying locally and supporting our local farms, P4P helps do the same for farmers in low income countries around the world.  More on the campaign, the donation system and the programme we are supporting can be found here.

This year, I am again offering a bid-item:

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(EU23) My Italians wine tasting in Rome for 8! A great opportunity for wine lovers – beginner or expert – to get an overview of Italian wines, learning about and tasting 7 of them. Let yourself be guided by sommelière Hande (me!) through this fun and informative 2-hour tasting that gets rave reviews! Offer is valid for up to 8 persons, so gather your family, friends or colleagues and hop on a plane to Rome!

Small print: Tasting to be taken within 2010 and date to be arranged with vinoroma. No guarantee on exclusive, private date – there may be others taking part in the tasting, especially if your party is less than 8. Winner may not “sell” remaining places if his party is less than 8. Shipping N/A. Worth of bid item is (up to) €400 / $600 (for a group of 8), non-redeemable.

There are many food and wine related items out there that you can bid for. Over at David’s blog you can see the other bid items offered in Europe and at Alder’s vinography you can see other wine related items. For the master list of all bid items you can win with a donation of only $10, have a look at Chez Pim. And if you want to win the wine tasting in Rome, don’t forget to state EU23!

To Donate and Enter the Menu for Hope Raffle

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Choose a bid item or bid items of your choice from our Menu for Hope main bid item list over at Pim’s.

2. Go to the donation site at Firstgiving and make a donation.

3. Please specify which bid item (EU23 for the wine tasting in Rome) you’d like in the ‘Personal Message’ section in the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write-in how many tickets per bid item if bidding for more than 1, and please use the bid item code.

Each $10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a bid item of your choice. For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for EU01 and 3 tickets for EU02, so write: 2xEU01, 3xEU02.

4. If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.

5. Please check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we can contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

Menu For Hope 5 – Donate and Win

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Update: The deadline has been extended to 31st December – You can still donate and win! Unbelievable that we already have the 5th year of Menu for Hope, the annual fund raising campaign hosted by Chez Pim and a revolving group of food bloggers around the world. Each December, food bloggers from all over the world join the campaign by offering a delectable array of food-related prizes for the Menu for Hope raffle. Last year we raised almost $100K! Anyone – and that means you too – can buy raffle tickets to bid on these prizes. For every $10 donated, you earn one virtual raffle ticket to bid on a prize of your choice. At the end of the two-week campaign, the raffle tickets are drawn and the results announced on Chez Pim. Click here to read more about the UN World Food Programme (school lunches in Lesotho) we are donating to and how donations are handled.

This year, I am again offering a prize:

hande_sommeliere

(EU18) My Italians wine tasting in Rome – A great opportunity for 2 wine lovers – beginner or expert – to get an overview of Italian wines, learning about and tasting 7 of them. Let yourself be guided by sommelière Hande (me!) through this fun and informative 2-hour tasting that gets rave reviews! Tasting date (within the year 2009) has to be arranged directly with vinoroma. [Shipping: N/A] [Worth €100 / $140]

There are many food and wine related gifts out there that you can bid for. At Ms. Adventures in Italy you can see the other prizes offered in Europe and at vinography you can see other wine related prizes. For the master list of all prizes you can win with a donation of only $10, have a look at Chez Pim. And if you want to win the wine tasting, don’t forget to state EU18!

How to donate & bid:

1. Choose a prize or prizes of your choice from our Menu for Hope at Chez Pim.

2. Go to the donation site at firstgiving and make a donation.

3. Each $10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. Please specify which prize you’d like in the “Personal Message” section of the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write-in how many tickets per prize and please use the prize code!

For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for EU18 (my prize!) and 3 tickets for UW05. Please then write “2xEU18, 3xUW05”

4. If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.

5. Please allow us to see your email address so that we can contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone!


Been Drinking Wine – Bibenda Day 2008, and others

Bibenda Day 2008

This past 10 days, in between all the last minute preparations for vino roma (like begging wine distributors and reps to sell me wine, please, and when they consent to do so, after many mails and calls, wait for them to deliver), I have been taking part in a lot of wine events here in Rome, most of them thanks to A.I.S., the Italian Sommelier Association, of which I am a proud member.

Marchesi di Barolo 1947

There was a vertical Barolo tasting (vertical not meaning that we were standing all the time, as one of you asked in an email, but that we tried different vintages of the same wine from one winery – in this case Marchesi di Barolo) where I got to drink the oldest (non-sweet) wine of my life, a 1947 vintage, which was very, very good, smooth as silk and velvet, no tannins to disturb your palate, and with very fine, warm fruit aromas.

There was a 2004 Barbaresco tasting with 23 different wineries, where I got to try the first Gaja of my life (I mean the original, Piedmontese, Gaja, not one of his experiments elsewhere – the next day I had the 2nd and in 10 days I will be drinking more and getting to know Mr. Angelo Gaja himself, so I will hold my evaluation of Gaja back till after that event, he is called a “volcano-like man”) along with La Spinetta and Ceretto.

And then there was the Bibenda Day. Bibenda is Italy’s best Wine Mag and is affiliated with A.I.S. Every year they organize a day, where the members get to experience a guided tasting of 25 of the best wines to be found, Italians and international ones, rotating every year, from several (old) vintages. I drank the most expensive wines of my life during this evening: nothing under €60, the most expensive at €500, some were invaluable because not on the market! The picture at the beginning is from this tasting. Do you see the perfect accuracy? 50 rows of perfectly prepared tasting tables for a total of 500 tasters at this event: everything was perfectly organized.

perfect organization

They really thought about everything; there were 6 glasses, a spittoon for each taster, booklet of the wines to taste, a booklet for your tasting notes, a pencil, a napkin, bread and cheese, water….The rows and everything on the table were accurately set, the tasting began on time (all the A.I.S. events- 4 up to now – have been on time and well organized, I have to say, we had been expecting anything but good organization based on our experiences in the last two months here in Rome, but A.I.S. is nothing less than perfect) , the excitement was palpable. I really was nervous (in a good way), I have to admit, I knew I would drink wines better than any I had, and so many of them.The tasting was divided into 5 parts, the bubbly, the white, the red – Italians, the red – international, and the sweet. For each part the 90 sommelier on duty (all very friendly and professional) served the wines for that part in our glasses (each part had 3 to 6 wines, a total of 25 wines) and a different specialized moderator for each part talked about the wineries and the wines and did a tasting of each wine, relating his/her thoughts about the wine.

1932 Marsala Florio

My highlights were:

The bubbly: 1995 Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore Spumante Metodo Classico (I loved the base wine of this spumante most; among 1989 Ca’del Bosco and the champagne from Krug, Jacquesson and Bollinger, all 1996)

The white: 1987 Terlano Sauvignon (this was really hard, as I loved all the whites: 1998 Chardonnay Tasca d’Almerita, 1984 Cabreo, 2006 Riesling Dellchen Dönnhof, 2004 Meursault-Genevrières Jobard and 1991 Chevalier-Montrachet Jadot)

The Italian red: 1995 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Valentini (this was the most “ready now”, doesn’t mean others won’t be grand when their time comes: 1999 d’Alceo Castello dei Rampolla, 1999 Sassicaia, 1998 Sorì San Lorenzo Gaja and 2000 Barolo Giacosa)

The international red: 1999 Chateau Margaux (this was also the most expensive wine – aside from some which were invaluable because not on the market at all – with €500 for a bottle. I loved, loved, loved this wine, it was the best one for me in this evening of superlatives. Other international reds were 2002 Chambertin Rossignol-Trapet, 1998 Latour, 2001 Le Méal Chapoutier, 2002 Relentless Shafer and 2001 L’Ermita Velles Vinyes Alvaro Palacios)

The sweet: 1932 Marsala Ambra Dolce Florio (this being the oldest wine I have ever tasted – the record which has been broken twice within a week -, others were 1996 Rotenberg Vendange Tardive Humbrecht and 1975 Sauternes Suduiraut)

If you want to see all the wines we tasted, here they are (pictures courtesy of Bibenda):

Ca’del Bosco Franciacorta Cuvée Annamaria Clementi 1989 Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore 1995 Krug Champagne Brut 1996 Jacquesson Champagne Extra Brut 1996 Bollinger Champagne R.D. 1996

Cantine Terlano A. A. Terlano Sauvignon 1987 Tasca d’Almerita Chardonnay 1998 Tenute del Cabreo Cabreo La Pietra 1984 Dönnhof Riesling Dellchen Trocken 2006 Domaine Francois et Antoine Jobard Mersault-Genevrières 1er Cru 2004 Louis Jadot Chevalier-Montrachet Les Demoiselles Grand Cru 1991

Castello dei Rampolla d’Alceo 1999 Tenuta san Guido Bolgheri Sassicaia 1999 Valentini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 1995 Gaja Langhe Nebbiolo Sorì San Lorenzo 1998 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Le Rocche del Falletto Riserva 2000

Domaine Rossignol-Trapet Chambertin Grand Cru 2002 Chateau Margaux 1999 Chateau Latour Pauillac 1998 M. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Méal 2001 Shafer Napa Valley Syrah Relentless 2002 Alvaro Palacios Priorat L’Ermita Velles Vinyes 2001

Domaine Zind Humbrecht Alsace Pinot Gris Rotenberg Vendange Tardive 1996 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes Ancien Cru du Roy 1975 Florio Marsala Superiore Riserva Ambra Dolce 1932

Wine and Food Fair Finds

Forum Vini Logo Kulinart Logo Best wines of Stuttgart

In this past 10 days, we have visited 3 very different wine and food related fairs. I liked them all, although they differ vastly. Each of these fairs had its strengths and we found some gems and learned new things in all.

RinklinThe week of wines started in Munich with the 22nd edition of Forum Vini. In this international fair which is getting bigger every year (almost 10.000 visitors who had to haggle themselves through 323 exhibitors this year) we always visit some “constants” like our beloved organic wine producer Rinklin, who years ago seriously led us to German wines for the first time. His Muskateller, Riesling and Pinot Blanc may be expected from a winery in the Baden region, but he surprises with his Pinot Noir and Regent, reds which are full of body, with very well balanced tannins and aromas of spices.

If you do not limit yourself to a certain theme or region, you will easily be overwhelmed with the abundance in this fair. My advice, actually for any wine fair which is bigger than just 10 vineyards or so, is to seek out maybe a region (e.g. south Italy), a theme (autochtonous varieties) or a seminar well in advance, register where necessary, and stick to it. Afterwards, if you feel up to it, you can still visit the one or the other promising-looking wine-stand.

Chocolate and wine tastingOne seminar I visited this time was very interesting: Chocolate and Wine! Combined were different wines from the Graf Metternich Vineyards and chocolates from chocolatier Bernd Danner. As with any food, when combining wine with chocolate there are lesser and better results but the one important lesson to learn was: Do not be afraid to try different pairings. Sweet whites are of course the first that come to mind, but there were interesting tastes to be created even with dry whites or not so dry reds. Just make sure to choose pure chocolates with high cacao percentages, experiment with different beans and regions. Stay away from chocolates with flavors, like orange, chili etc. when combining with wines. Taste the wine first, then take a piece of chocolate, let it melt a little bit in your mouth and take a sip of the wine. Now mix everything in your mouth with a “washing machine movement”, as Mr. Danner put it. Especially chocolates with light acidic notes (a criollo from Venezuela or Madagascar) in combination with sweet white or red wines were my favorites, both benefiting from each other and creating new, fruity aromas.

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RömerkastellBeekeeper Peter Pfeifle The second exhibition which we visited was the contrast program. The Kulinart which just took place for the second year in Stuttgart had around 60 exhibitors (mainly delicatessen from Italy and France, wine from all over Europe, chocolate and kitchen utensils) and 5000 visitors in the beautiful and over a century old Römerkastell building on an historical site near Stuttgart. White trufflesTruffle Don, Jr.This exhibition was very nice, almost intimate and had a lot to offer although it was rather small. We ordered some great Burgund wines (Morey St. Denis, Gevrey Chambertin and Corton Grand Cru) from an irresistible Frenchman named “Du Pape”(!), bought some honey made by real Stuttgart bees in Stuttgart vineyards and: Truffles from Alba from some very charming Italian men. The one to the right might be Truffle Don, Jr., don’t you think?

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Last but not least, we visited a wine tasting of 11 winemakers strictly from within the city limits of Stuttgart. From our terrace we can see almost all of these vineyards (and no, Stuttgart is not a village, although a lot of Bavarians thinks so) and it was very exciting to try whites and reds from these winemakers. Some are co-ops, some are privately owned and along with the usual suspects (Riesling!) we had a few surprises: Some Lemberger (Blaufränkisch elsewhere) with just the right amount of time in the right wooden barrels were real charmers (Weingut der Stadt Stuttgart, for example), Rotenberg, which we had already tasted in Wielandshöhe proved that the whole assortment is worthy. But the real discovery was a very light dry red wine, almost rose, from the rare “Muskat-Trollinger” vine. The winemaker told us that this vine is autochtonous, but some online research reveals that it is also found in France, USA and Greece, under the name of Black Hamburg, Muscat de Hambourg or Black Muscat. If you drink this wine from a black glass you would surely think it is a white wine, it is so full of typical Muscat aromas, reminding of elder flowers. Although other Muscat varietals are often used for sweet or fortified wines, this was dry. The combination on the palate was unbelievable. I will definitely hunt this wine down and buy some bottles.

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All in all, a week full of very different wine-related events. And it is not even over: Tonight we are going to a southwest France wine tasting by one of Germany’s best sommeliers, Bernd Kreis. First new information I will put to a test will be combining wine and chocolate for the coming up Sugar High Friday with the irresistible theme chocolate truffles!

Upcoming Wine Events

Vertical tasting

a private wine event

Here are some wine and culinary events that might interest you. We will be attending all of these. Reports will follow!

Forum Vini, the 21st 22nd edition of the fair for wine lovers and gourmets is taking place this weekend, 10-12 November, in Munich. We have been visiting this fair for 6 years now and it has always been very interesting. This year there is a new mini sister-fair: XOCOLADE! Guess what that one is about.

Kulinart, the fair for indulgence and style about all things culinary, is on 18-19 November in Stuttgart. This will be a first for us.

Best wines of Stuttgart, a wine tasting with the best Stuttgart has to offer, is on November 19 in Stuttgart.

Telling the plain truth- the wine world in flux, an exhibition about wine in the Baden-Württemberg region of Germany, is going on till July 2007.