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Cooking wine

cooking wine (GB)

Wine has been used for thousands of years for cooking as a seasoning. The famous Roman cook Marcus Gavius Apicius (42 B.C. to 47 A.D.), who was described by Pliny the Elder (23-79) as the "greatest of all wasters and gluttons", always used wine in his sauces. Even among experts, there are two diametrically opposed opinions about the quality of a wine intended for cooking. One says that even the simplest wine is sufficient, the other claims top quality. In any case, it is clear that a faulty wine must not be used for cooking. In France, wines that are expressly not intended for enjoyment but for cooking are marketed in plastic bottles(PET). As a rule, these are simple wines or surpluses from wine production.

Kochwein - Hummer und Schweinebraten

Of course, a higher quality wine is more suitable for cooking than a simple wine, as it contains more flavours that can be added to the food. It does not have to be a Château Petrus. One does not use spices of bad quality. However, the complex variety of volatile aromatic substances in the wine will hardly be preserved at high temperatures. First and foremost, fruity notes are retained. The alcohol type ethanol evaporates at 78 °C and is thus lost when a dish is heated for a long time. This, however, makes the other components such as acids or residual sugar all the more apparent. This is why thickened sauces can be quite sour or have a caramelised taste.

However, there are also types of preparation in which the alcohol is not evaporated by heating. The possible applications range from marinating a meat to adding it to a sweet dessert. There is hardly a dish that could not be improved with a shot of wine. As a rule, cooks prefer dry or semi-dry wines. For a dish that is strongly boiled down, such as a sauce, it may also be a sweet to sweet wine. In case of doubt, the wine that is later enjoyed with the dishes is used especially for soups or sauces. But this does not apply to sherry, Madeira, port and similar dessert wines. Wine-spiced dishes often taste best with a wine from the same region, for example "Coq au vin" with a French wine.

If the seasoning of a wine is not sufficient, it can be strengthened with a shot of brandy or port. Sparkling wine goes well with sauerkraut, wild fowl, matje filets, herring salad. For light, thickened soups, fricasses, poultry and fish dishes, white wine is better than spice. Red wine refines dark, bound soups, goulash, goulash soup and all kinds of sauces. Dessert wines like sherry or port go well with turtle soup, as well as veal and poultry ragout, Madeira for fine soups and sauces, and Marsala for desserts. For wine ice cream, wine jellies, wine sauces, wine soups and wine puddings, wine is the determining ingredient. See also drinking culture, wine enjoyment and wine with food.

Picture left: from Mogens Petersen on Pixabay
Picture right: from RitaE on Pixabay

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