Soup, Wine, and Coffee – Pairings and Memories

Date:

Soup

Even as I sit here not too long after Christmas, I’m basking in a tummy full of soup.

Let me explain.

The Wineaux Guy® and I had a lovely lunch at Melody’s Thai Cuisine, a cute little hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Menifee, California. Melody’s has drool-worthy food, reasonable prices, and a warm atmosphere.

We had the requisite shared appetizer (egg rolls, tempura-style calamari, shrimp, gyoza, and crab rangoon followed by a shared plate of green papaya salad. We both wanted soup. I ordered my favorite, seafood Tom Yum and TWG® ordered Tom Kha, which has added coconut milk and spices. Tom Yum is a clear broth. Both were delicious, and we could add hot seasonings as we preferred.

Ratatouille, a traditional French vegetable dish. Thomas Keller style!

Now that the restaurant review is over, I really want to share my love of soup. For some reason, the last few months have seen me eating more soup dishes than I have in years. Soups range from light, clear broths to heavy-duty stews. I tend to like “brothy” soups more than stews. Light soups are great all year round while heavier soups are more suited for winter fare.

Homemade soups are the best by the way, with the singular exception of a grilled cheese sandwich and Campbell’s Tomato Soup.

dreamstime_m_227405902
Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese. Comfort Food!

But I digress.

Soups are pretty simple. The rough definition is a liquid dish made by boiling fish, meat, vegetables, bones, or other ingredients in water. The time spent making soup can range from a few minutes (ramen, anyone?) to years. Yes, years. Essentially a pot of soup is put on the back burner and left there, being topped off with ingredients from time to time. The rich broth is used to make JTI (just in time) dishes, including other soups.

Wine

While wine may not necessarily be something you immediately think of when you’re having a warming bowl of soup, there are actually few things better. And there’s precedence.

For instance, one of my favorite soup/wine pairings is Vietnamese Phở and Burgundian-style Pinot Noir. Think actual Burgundy, New Zealand, or Oregon. Not overly fruity with as much earth as fruit, long finish, with black cherry and cranberry notes.

There’s a reason for that. France ruled Vietnam for about 26 years in the late 1880s. Naturally, they left their mark which has survived to this day. But history lesson aside, the seasonings, spices, and method used to create Phở make the soup/wine pairing ideal. Nearly perfect, in fact, especially with beef Phở.

The same reasoning is seen in the pairing of Ratatouille and the wines of Provence. Whether it’s a good Bandol red (generally Mourvèdre) or Côtes de Provence Rosé, they are perfect with the rich vegetable stew.

Coffee

Photo 92120395 / Vintage Coffee Percolator © Cjchiker | Dreamstime.com
A Real Coffee Perculator!

One of my fondest childhood memories is waking up on an early weekend morning to the aroma of frying bacon, the sound of the toaster popping up crunchy slices, and the intoxicating scent of percolating coffee. I can still see the percolator on the stove, the small glass bulb showing the coffee as it brewed. While I was almost a teenager before I actually tasted coffee, early Sunday morning breakfasts of grits, bacon, eggs, orange juice and coffee are my fondest memories. Kind of like “that song” you hear that takes you back. So does the fragrance of coffee.

Ready to Write!

While there have been many iterations of coffee and coffee-like beverages – chicory or just about anything Starbucks – “real” coffee always wins.

Well, there’s a new player in town, and it could easily become one of my favorites. It’s a coffee/cocoa blend that’s delicious and still packs the caffeine punch that we coffee addicts require in our morning brew.

Trader Joe’s Coffee á Cocoa

Trader Joe’s Coffee á Cocoa Medium Dark Roast made of Arabica Coffee and unsweetened cocoa powder is, in a word, delicious. For some reason, the cocoa seems to blunt the bitterness of the coffee, and its own bitterness is curiously muted as well. I found that just a little milk is enough to enjoy the flavor. Locally, it’s $9.99 per 14oz (397g) bag.

It appears to be a little lighter than straight coffee when brewed, and the fragrance is definitely not just coffee but softened a bit with the aroma of cocoa. In other words, how come I didn’t know about this before?

So why am I writing about these things?

It’s between holidays, the temperatures have gone nuts, there’s enough snow for the next decade of White Christmases, and it’s okay to do nothing.

While we’ve had 20-something overnight degrees here in Vegas, we haven’t had anything close to what’s going on in the Midwest and East Coast. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to sit by my fireplace and enjoy a grilled cheese sandwich with soup and wine or start my morning with a cup of coffee and a bowl of grits. This weather screams for comfort food.

Enjoy your New Year. Stay safe and happy and see you in 2023!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegas Wineaux
Vegas Wineauxhttp://vegaswineaux.com
Life now, especially after leaving the day job, is even crazier! I hope that you continue to follow and enjoy the wine and Vegas news!

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