Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holiday Wines with Vilma Mazaite of laV

As a renowned sommelier and managing partner at upcoming restaurant laV, we asked Vilma Mazaite to share some fabulous recommendations for wines this holiday season.  From dinner pairings to family gifts, Vilma filled us in on the best wines for celebrating with family and friends.
Many people get so caught up in preparing the holiday dinner that wine pairing becomes an afterthought. For Vilma, holiday dinner is defined by hearty dishes and warming up with a glass of great red wine, such as burgundy or northern Rhône syrah based wines. These wines are lighter and acid driven, pairing wonderfully with an array of dishes. To find the best deal, Vilma recommends trying bourgogne level burgundy from the best producer, which means amazing quality for an even greater price. Domaine Roulot Monthélie, Coche-Dury, and Hubert Lignier all offer entry level wines with quality that will easily exceed your expectations. For a good Rhône try Jamet Côte-Rôtie or Thierry Allemand Cornas to impress your guests.

Choosing the proper wine for holiday gifts can be tricky as well. Because everyone has different tastes, it is better to stay as neutral as possible unless you know specifically what your family/friend prefers. Vilma suggests gifting wine that you love to drink or one that has a story. For a friend's Thanksgiving dinner last year, Vilma gifted a bottle of Hoffstater Shiava from the Alto Adige region of Italy where she had recently traveled. Not only did this wine taste delicious, but it had a unique and interesting story to share.
Vilma also notes that bubbles are a great go-to gift for anyone. Even if they aren't a big fan of drinking champagne, nothing says "let's celebrate" more than the sound of popping open a bottle of bubbly! Champagne can also be great for ringing in the new year, and although it can get a little pricey, it's totally worth spending on. A few favorites that Vilma would love to open this New Year's Eve include:
  • Krug Brut 1988
  • Pol Roger Brut Reserve 1996
  • Egly-Ouriet Brut Prestige Millesime 1999
  • Selosse Substance NV
  • Paul Bara Brut Rose Special Club 2005

In addition to Vilma's great wine advice and suggestions, laV Executive Chef Allison Jenkins shares a holiday dish made with 10/15 onions, which can be purchased at this time of year. laV is an up-and-coming Austin restaurant specializing in French cuisine.

Texas 10/15 Onion and Leek Gratin
6 cups julienned sweet onions
2 cups thinly sliced leeks (wash and dry well)
4 oz unsalted butter
1 ½ cups heacy cream
2 T. chopped fresh thyme
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 ½ cups grated parmesan cheese, divided
2 T. olive oil

This gratin can be assembled the day before baking. To bake before serving, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Melt 6 T of the butter in a large heavy pot with a lid. Add the leeks and onions and sprinkle with a little salt. Turn the heat to medium and cover with the lid to let the onions steam, about 5 minutes. Once the onions and leeks have begun to soften, remove the lid and continue to cook until they are translucent. Keep the heat fairly low so they do not color. Add the thyme and season with a little more salt and pepper. Then add the cream and cook 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in half of the parmesan cheese. Transfer to an ovenproof baking dish (or individual dishes) and set aside. 

For the breadcrumb topping, melt the remaining 2 T of butter with the 2 T of olive oil. Combine with the remaining parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.   

Before baking sprinkle the breadcrumb topping over the onion mixture. Bake at 375 until hot all the way through, brown on the top, and bubbling around the edges, about 30 minutes.

Friday, October 26, 2012

How our 15th Anniversary = 27 years of Philanthropy

So, how exactly do you cram 27 years of giving in to 15 years? With an explanation  of course!  The Wine and Food Foundation of Texas officially turns 15 years old tomorrow, October 27th, 2012.  You see, according to the IRS, we were formed as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit public foundation on October 27th, 1997 thus making tomorrow our 15 year anniversary.  Pretty cool.

However, we have actually been operating as a philanthropic community donor for over 27 years starting with our first ever Rare and Fine Wine Auction in April of 1985 benefiting KLRU public television.  Over the past 27 years, we have given over $1.50 million back to our community through scholarships, grants and donations including over $800,000 to our original beneficiary, KLRU.  We have also given out over $190,000 in culinary scholarships, $175,000 in grants to underwrite TexSom and $15,000 to Share our Strength and Texas No Kid Hungry to help end childhood hunger.

Coincidentally, tomorrow will also be my 2 year anniversary with the Foundation so clearly I have not personally witnessed all the good deeds we have done.  However, I am a pretty good forensic investigator and have had a lot of fun learning all the good works we have done from helping eradicate Xylella fastidiosa (Pierce's disease) in our Texas vineyards in partnership with Texas Tech University to sponsoring a TV show about childhood nutrition once called Flapjax and Papi's Kitchen (unfortunately, we were a little too far ahead of our time for the show to succeed).

Of course, we are not about to stop here!  We have selected Dell Children's Medical Center as our 2013 Rare and Fine Wine Auction beneficiary, we are committed to hosting the annual TexSom conference and we are partnering with a group in West Texas to raise money for the South Plains Food Bank and much, much, more.

I have no idea if we will continue for another 27 years or 100 years, but I can tell you that I am very proud of what we have accomplished so far and look forward to the next 15 years with the Foundation.

Marshall Jones
Executive Director

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Texas Wine Month

The Texas Department of Agriculture has named October Texas Wine Month, so what better time to support the many wineries of the Lone Star State? Texas is the fifth largest wine producing state and brings nearly 1 million tourists here each year. The 2012 Texas harvest has been one of the largest grape harvests in state history and has got Texas winemakers and wine enthusiasts alike very excited.

The Wine and Food Foundation is celebrating with a Wine Dinner this coming Monday hosted by Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar and Duchman Family Winery, which has recently been named "best Texas wine" by the Dallas Morning News. This five-course meal and wine pairing will be accompanied by Duchman Winemaker Dave Reilly and Gusto Chef Julio Cesar Florez.

There are also lots of other ways to get involved in Texas Wine Month and support our local and regional winemakers. Texas Hill Country Wineries offers tastings from 17 Texas Wineries with A Month of Sundays: Barrel and Tank TastingWhile enjoying your pairings, discuss the winemaking process, winery lifestyle and the future of the wine industry in the Texas Hill Country with winemakers and owners. You can also catch the Fredericksburg Food & Wine Fest on Saturday, October 27 to celebrate and indulge in delicious Texas food and 100 different Texas wines.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Open House & Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

After settling into our new space, we're ready to show it off and celebrate with you all! Please join us this Thursday, October 4 for the Austin Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of our new Sixth Street office.

The ribbon cutting will be from 1-2 p.m. and will be followed by an Open House until 7 p.m. Snacks and drinks will be served throughout the day, so come hungry! We welcome you all to come celebrate and check out our new office.

The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas
2121 East 6th Street, Suite 102
Austin, TX 78702

Thursday, October 4 | 1-7 p.m.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

We've Moved!

We've Moved! 

Come visit The Wine & Food Foundation in our new location on East 6th Street. Right on the southwest corner of East 6th Street and Robert Martinez Boulevard. Please stop in and say "Hi!" and have a glass of wine in our new space in The Sixth Street Villas.