I love local VA wines because they often incorporate fruits other than grapes that grow well in our state. Here is a sweet, fruity wine from Burnley Winery located in Barboursville, VA. It is a blend of red and white grapes and peach juice. It should be served very, very cold and goes with summer's best fresh flavors. Delish!
This is a delicious French recipe that uses a whole bottle of red wine; you won't find any beef broth here! You will need to increase the cook time to 2.5 hours so that the beef easily falls apart. I added a small bag of baby red potatoes and it made it more substantial with no need for a side. I made this with a velvety bottle of Pinot Noir from California. Good enough to serve to guests on a cold day.
Source: Food and Wine Magazine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds trimmed beef flatiron steak or chuck, cut into 8 pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
One 750-milliliter bottle dry red wine
2 bay leaves
1 thyme sprig
One 5-ounce piece of pancetta
15 pearl or small cipollini onions, peeled
15 cremini mushrooms
15 baby carrots, peeled
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
SUGGESTED PAIRING: Robust, dark-fruited Cabernet Sauvignon
Friday nights are for indulgence and there is nothing I love more than eating rich cheese and drinking wine snuggled up with my husband. The dates are a new recipe for us that we loved. I first had something similar to this at a Spanish restaurant in Charlottesville called Mas. We've also had them at a few other Spanish tapas restaurants and this recipe really nailed it. We loved these with the other cheeses and wine.
Stilton-Stuffed Dates with Prosciutto
Source: Wine Bites by Barbara Scott-Goodman
12 dates, pitted
2-3 oz of Stilton cheese, crumbled
6 thin slices of prosciutto, cut in half lengthwise
Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Cut a lengthwise slit in each date. Stuff each one with just enough cheese to fill the cavity but not spill out. Pinch the stuffed dates closed.
Wrap each date in a piece of prosciutto and arrange them, seam-side down, on the prepared pan.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and using tongs, carefully turn the dates. Return to the oven and bake until browned and crisp, about 10 minutes longer.
Note: Working with prosciutto can be frustrating because it is so thin. I kept the meat on the paper when handling it. I cut it on the paper and placed the date on the end of each slice and just rolled it along the strip.
We paired these dates with the rest of the Stilton (which also featured cranberries!), Emmental cheese (a hard Swiss), and Le Petite Creme (a soft cheese like a Brie but is almost liquid in the center, even fresh out of the refrigerator making it perfect for spreading).
Stilton is an English Blue cheese, the official type made only in 6 dairies. There is a blue vein that runs throughout the cheese representing the penicillin mold. It is paired best with a port or sherry but by that token, a sweet white wine as well. (Source: Cheese & Wine by Janet Fletcher).
We eat our cheese on bread and crackers and pair it with apples or pears, honey, apple jelly, apricot preserves, and usually chopped dates or figs. We love to play around with the different combinations you can make to see how the taste of the cheese changes. We finished it all off with a petite Shriaz and a "Sweet Red."