209 X AllergicFoodLover: The Happy Salad
Food is no longer just a source of fuel, it has become a source of enjoyment, comfort, source of self-expression, and sometimes even fear. We all have such specific and intricate relationships to food that it makes sense when you hear that phrase, you are what you eat because we are. We are that loaded second serving of dessert on a Sunday lunch or the spoon scooping ice cream directly from the pot, yet at the same time, we are the spectators when chefs become painters and create Mona Lisa interpretations of spaghetti. 

Food plating has become of such importance nowadays, especially with social media where neither taste nor smell can be experienced, heightening the visual essence. We draw with food now, which is what I felt like doing this Sunday. It's a salad but I presented as if it was a floral vine climbing its way to the top of the plate, blooming all sorts of delicious things. Naturally, I am not asking you to do the same, but rather I invite you to play around and create your little gastronomic painting. I believe the most beautiful aspect of this plate is that it's all sourced from Lebanon, including the bubbly. I was taught as a child that when you crave salty, food it meant you were in need to connect with your masculine side which was organization, structure, slightly black and white, whilst the sweet cravings were the feminine, sensitive, creative, emotional side. So now, looking at the Frizzante and the salad dish, we have a gastronomic yin and yang.

I could go on about all the different ways we can interpret food but that would take a couple of pages. So let's talk about Frizzante. One cannot call a wine that has bubbles 'champagne' if it is not made in the region of Champagne in France, that's because it's a PDO - Protected Designation of Origin. The EU with Unesco developed three labels to protect food, it's like a form of copyright. Parmigiano also falls into that category because the whole process has to be done in that region for it to be called Parmigiano Reggiano. So now we know that champagne is French, cava, the Spanish version, prosecco is Italian and sparkling, or vin mousseux is just another word for wine with bubbles that do not come from those regions. Champagne and cava are made the same way with a double fermentation. The difference with prosecco other than the grapes is that the second fermentation happens in the bottle, whilst prosecco it's done in tanks. 

Onto the food. 

THE HAPPY SALAD: Rocca salad with quince, brie, walnuts, and herbs

(can be made in a large bowl to serve the crowd)

Ingredients 
  • Handful of rocca 
  • Quince jam or pomegranate or cranberries 
  • Brie ( I got mine from Dry and Raw) You can substitute for another cheese, as long as it has that strong flavor. 
  • 50gr of crushed walnuts 
  • A mix of tried za'atar, chili flakes, salt, and pepper ( I used the spicy mix from Good Thymes). 
  • Olive oil 

Method

If you want to recreate my plate, start with the leaves, then the brie, the walnuts, herbs, and then drizzle with olive oil. If not, throw the leaves in a bowl, the pieces of cheese, crushed walnuts, herbs, and olive oil. 

The sparkling wine from Batroun Mountains sweetens the bold taste of the brie and the bitterness of the rocca. It creates balance in the mouth and brings out the flavors of the herbs with its bubbles. What's brilliant is that we have sparkling wine made in Lebanon, something that not all countries are fortunate to have. 

This country has some incredible products, do not be afraid to try them out, you might like them, you might not, but at least you would have tasted the products made from these lands. 
March 14, 2021 — 209 Lebanese Wine

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