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The Convivial Table gets down and dirty
Finds Local Flavor

By Josyane Colwell

Thinking about my roots this time of year transports me to a place very far away. Visions of olive trees, anemones, rosemary, lavender, wild daffodils…and a 300-year-old farmhouse in Provence where I grew up dance playfully in my mind. My passion is to “paint” with these colors and fragrances to create dishes to entice the palate. Every day I bring this heightened sense of beauty and artistry to Le Moulin, and to the events I plan for my clients.

Growing up in the South of France, wine was just as much a part of life as the distinctive landscapes around me. Wines were typically blended from several different sources, yet every vin de pays (which literally means “country wine”) or vin de table (table wine), seemed to pair magically with the simple foods that were prepared daily.

To create memorable dishes that pair with a few of the Hudson Valley’s own blended wines, I tapped my roots for inspiration and added some local color. For chilly evenings spent around an outdoor fire, I fashioned a Hudson Valley Mac & Cheese to complement Hudson-Chatham’s Empire Reserve 2008 Red Table Wine. The wine’s full bouquet and lovely nose is reminiscent of traditional French red wines. It finishes with cedar notes that bring out the nuances of the earthy mushrooms and the richness of the cheddar and smoked gouda cheeses that are combined in this flavorful dish.

In a similar fashion, I created a dish to pair with a white blend, “Irene,” Palaia Vineyard’s New York State White Table Wine. A smooth, light, semi-sweet wine, it has a beautiful flavor and floral aroma. While you may enjoy this wine with an entrée, like orange-ginger roasted chicken, I suggest serving it with a chilled fruit gazpacho, a light salad topped with artisanal Hudson Valley chevre, or a refreshing watermelon salad. For fun, try serving the watermelon salad in an extra-large martini glass – the colorful presentation will enliven the palate, and combined with the crunchy textures of the ingredients, create a memorable dish you can make “tastefully yours.”

For me, these dishes – and these wines – may bring back visions of Provence, but their flavor is distinctly Hudson Valley. Bon appetit!

Hudson Valley Wine magazine Summer 2014 issue

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