Boost food with booze

Hello Ladies:

I am a George Brown Culinary student and am part of a group project (with 3 other students) that is looking at cooking with alcohol.

The only thing I know is cooking with wine can enhance flavour and that the acidity of wine has an effect on food. As you can see, we know virtually nothing! Help! Some of the questions we are asking include: why should you cook with wine? What does wine add to a recipe? Can you use both red and white wines?

I’ve heard your show on the radio several times and have seen you as guests on TV and am so impressed with your knowledge and your humour. Thank you for any help you can give us and have a great Thanksgiving weekend.

Blessings & good drinking,
Keith Bundock

Dear Keith,

Thanks so much for your wonderful comments and your great questions. We are only too happy to help. Although food and wine are both delicious on their own, enjoying them together either in food and wine pairing, or in a recipe can definitely add another dimension to the gastronomic experience. Cooking with wine adds extra flavour, it acts like a turbo booster, just as garlic, salt, and pepper and even lemon does. It can also add extra body, complexity and texture. Wines with high acidity can serve to tenderize and impart flavour. Are all wines suitable for cooking? Here’s what Executive Chef Darryl Fletcher of Aqua Star had to say about that “Just as we Chef’s blend flavors, so do the winemakers, which we can then use in our recipes. I like using a big buttery chardonnay in my onion and cheddar soup, poaching pears in a cabernet takes them over the top and a Port will add fullness to a reduced demi-glaze”. It seems this celebrity chef’s answer to that question would be a resounding yes”. We’ve also created some wonderful desserts with a touch of icewine, and have a killer recipe for Vineyard Leg of Lamb with Icewine Fig Compote. Recipe can be found in the book “Icewine” by Donald Ziraldo and Karl Kaiser.

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