Cooking with Alcohol

Dear Wine Ladies,

I am a culinary student and am part of a group project that is looking at cooking with alcohol. What are the reasons for cooking with wine, what does it do to the food and does the acidity in wine play a role? Help please.

Keith

Dear Keith,

A splash of wine, or even a cup or two depending on the 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, 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 as well.

One of our regular radio guests and great fans of cooking with wine, Executive Chef Darryl Fletcher of Aqua Star has this to say “just as we chefs blend flavours, so do the winemakers, which we can then use in our recipes. Different wines impart different flavours, it’s like another ingredient. I like using a big buttery Chardonnay in my onion and cheddar soup, it accentuates and refreshes after every sip. Absolutely delicious”.

We’ve also created some wonderful desserts with a touch of icewine; you have to give that a try, and have a killer recipe for Vineyard Leg of Lamb with Icewine Fig Compote. This lamb recipe can be found in the book Icewine, by Donald Ziraldo and Karl Kaiser, the founders of Inniskillin Winery.

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