Champagne vs. Prosecco | Sparkling Wine

Published on February 21, 2012, in Champagne, Wine.

If you are a lover of the bubbly, you have probably been told the difference between Champagne and Prosecco. You also probably already know that anything made outside of the French Region of Champagne is called sparkling wine.  Prosecco obviously cannot be champagne since it is made in Italy.  After years of tasting, I have come to the conclusion that Prosecco is my drink of choice.

Like champagne, real versions of Prosecco are produced in a specific region of Italy called the Veneto region. Prosecco is slightly lighter and generally sweeter than champagne. Prosecco is fermented twice in the modern Charmat method in large stainless steel vats. Champagne is fermented in the Champenoise method where the second fermentation takes place in the bottle.

Because Prosecco is processed using the Charmat method, the wine tends to keep its light freshness because it does not need to age like Champagne. Prosecco is for every day drinking. It compliments a wide range of food from appetizers to fish and even some meat dishes. Prosecco is moderate in alcohol usually around 11%, which is lighter than many white wines. For more on the wonderfully refreshing wine that will please any pallet, visit


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Mango Chutney | Chutney Recipe

Chutney is similar in consistency to jelly, salsa or relish, and is used as a sweet and sour condiment. Chutney contains fruit and sugar to give it a sweet taste, and almost all chutney contains vinegar and perhaps onions to give its sour flavor. The ingredients are mixed together and then simmered slowly. While chutney is primarily sweet and sour, there can also be many variations of spices, often giving it a hot and spicy flavor.

Originating in India, chutney was imported from India to Western Europe in the 17th century. Like jams and jellies, chutney can be chunky or smooth. In India, spicy chutney is usually served with curry and often with cold meats and vegetables. Sweet chutney is a pleasant addition to bread or crackers and cheese, and can serve as a snack or small meal.  Chutney also makes a fabulous spread for crackers and breakfast toast or bagels.

For a great recipe for Mango Chutney, go to


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Espresso Coffee | How to Make Espresso

Espresso coffee is a small concentrated 1 to 2 oz. shot of pressure-brewed coffee. A perfect espresso is deliciously smooth, with full body, intense aroma with a surface layer of rich dark golden cream called crema. The crema is an indicator of a good espresso.

The more finely the coffee is ground, the slower the espresso comes out. Generally, for the best shot of espresso, it should take about 25 seconds for the water to pass through the coffee.

The Italian tradition is to drink the espresso “solo” in a single gulp to enjoy the fullest espresso flavor while the beverage is at its peak of freshness.

To learn how to brew the perfect cup of espresso, visit Making Espresso.


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Avacado Diet | Avacado and Weight Loss

Sometimes avocados get a bad reputation because people think they are “fattening.” However, avocados are packed with the good fat your body needs, not to mention the disease fighting power it contains.  Avocados have the same monounsaturated fats as olive oil, plus plenty of fiber and healthy B vitamins.

Avocado health benefits are well known, but very few people know that avocado can help you with dieting and losing weight. Thanks to the monounsaturated fats which avocado contains, it helps you feel “full” more quickly, and reducing the temptation of eating chocolate and sweets.  Avocados also prevent deficiency disease caused by lack of vitamins or minerals often seen when dieting.

For an article on how to do the avocado diet, visit


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History of Chocolate | Chocolate for Valtentine’s Day

Every Valentine’s Day more than 1 billion dollars is spent on chocolate products. Why chocolate on the most romantic day of the year? Gourmet Live’s website gives the following brief history of chocolate and Valentine’s Day.

Our infatuation with chocolate first began 2,000 years ago when it was discovered in Latin America. The Maya and Aztec infused cocoa beans with water to form frothy chocolate drinks for special occasions and as sacrifices to the gods. The Aztec ruler Montezuma believed that chocolate was an aphrodisiac and routinely drank it before entering his harem, increasing chocolate’s popularity and its association with love and romance.

As it turns out, Montezuma was ahead of his time. Modern-day scientists have linked the chemical phenylethylamine in chocolate to feelings of excitement, attraction and even pleasure.

In the 16th Century, Christopher Columbus saw how the Aztecs revered cocoa and immediately took the luxury product back to Queen Isabella of Spain. Chocoholics sprouted up all over Europe, sharing the legend of their new obsession’s alleged mythical powers. At one point in time, chocolate was believed to be so potent that nuns were forbidden from eating it and French doctors used it to treat “broken hearts.”

So, if you are a chocoholic looking for a great recipe to make that special treat for that special loved one, visit Gourmet Live for their Triple chocolate Tart with Boozy Whipped Cream.

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Porgy Fish Recipe | Scup Italian Style

Published on February 2, 2012, in Fish, Food and Drink.

Every Wednesday evening my niece takes pity on her old aunt and brings food and wine to prepare a gourmet meal.  Last night’s meal consisted of oven baked delicata squash with a chutney glaze,  kale sautéed in olive oil, porgy fish, all topped off with a cucumber yogurt dip.

Growing up in the Northwest, I’m a lover of salmon and trout, but porgy (sometimes known as scup) is a fish I have never tried.  Porgies are most abundant from Long Island to Massachusetts.   They a low-sodium, low-fat source of protein. It is high in niacin, phosphorus, vitamins B6 and B12, and selenium.  Porgy have lean and flaky flesh, but also contain many bones, which makes them difficult to fillet. They are most often cooked whole, after scaled and dressed. Porgy is often referred to as a “pan fish”, as its small size makes it excellent for pan frying or sautéing.

For the Food Network’s recipe to serve Roman Style Porgy, visit

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