salad greens and goat cheeseA week ago we were in Paris, reveling in her shimmering light, sipping wine and happily tucking into bistro fare.  As always, I ate my share of classic dishes such as fresh salad greens with warm goat cheese toasts, moules frites, and dessert soufflé.  I came home inspired by new flavors, some made with duck or rabbit.  (See recipe below).
Paris Madrid Grocery stocks Élisé Moulard Duck Breasts in our freezer case, and it made a fabulous ragu.  Moulard duck, sometimes called Magret, is a hybrid offspring of Pekin and Muscovy ducks and the breed most prized in France with a thick fat cover and larger cuts compared to Pekin.

Pistachio nougat de montelimarNEW!  Nougat de Montélimar with Pistachios -Truly artisanal and irresistible, this Provençal confection is made in small batches in copper cauldrons and rolled out onto marble slabs in a confiserie first founded as G. Savin in 1900. The small company—only 15 employees—is still family-run by brother-sister team Jaques and Ghislane Savin.  Made with almonds and a dash of pistachios it is coated in soft, creamy nougat made with egg whites and lavender honey (without this rare lavender honey, it can’t be called Nougat de Montélimar).    It’s a great mid-afternoon pick-me-up and it’s also delicious with sweet Oloroso sherry or port.

Follow us on Instagram!    Our Instagram page was launched this week so stay tuned for more posts.  We’ll be adding photos as new items arrive, as we don’t always have the space to include everything in our newsletter.

Upcoming wine tastings:   Cooler weather cries out for hearty wines and we’ve got some fantastic tastings coming up, so put these on your calendar:
Saturday, October 12  from 2-4 PM:   French reds for cool nights
Saturday, October 26 from 2-4 PM:  Madeira wines

Fall grapesFall Wines:    As we move into fall, we often find ourselves cooking dishes with savory and earthy flavors. For a truly enjoyable meal, try pairing these foods with a wine that has similar tastes. A Pinot Noir from Burgundy like Domaine Catherine & Claude Maréchal’s Bourgogne “Gravel,” or a Rioja like Bodegas Lopez de Heredia’s Viña Bosconia are the perfect compliments. You might think that these wines are completely different, but, in fact, Rioja wines have been referred to by some as a Burgundy-style wine with a Bordeaux history. Today, both wines show bright acidity with cherry flavors and earthy undertones influenced by extensive oak aging. However, that was not always the case. When phylloxera decimated the vineyards of France many winemakers from Bordeaux moved to Spain to continue making wine. Before the French arrived, Spanish wines were often fermented in open concrete vats or animal skins called “botas.” The Bordelaise introduced oak barrel aging as an alternative that now influences the style we see today. Other French influences can be seen in the use of Burgundy bottles for fuller bodied wines, such as Viña Bosconia, and the latest Rioja classification system that now allows regional microclimates and single vineyard sites to be identified. Stop by and grab a variety of reds  along with the ingredients for a delicious stew.

Marechal Bourgogne GravelDomaine Catherine & Claude Maréchal “Gravel” Bourgogne rouge 2015 ($33.00)   This 12-hectare estate covers 11 appellations, all located in Côte de Beaune. Organic vinegrowing and very low yields create natural wines that are deep and bursting with flavor. In this exceptional vintage, it is difficult to resist the charm of a wine that has a delicate nose of cherries and is supple, round, fruity and silky in the mouth.   Elegant and layered, this is a gorgeous red.   100% Pinot Noir, aged 6 months in barrels.

Vina Bosconia RiojaBodegas Lopez de Heredia Viña Bosconia Reserva 2005 ($36.00) This wine is considered the most rustic and powerful of Bodegas Lopez de Heredia’s lineup though it is still quite refined. “It feels young with the elegant rusticity lurking from the bottom of the glass, clean and precise. The tannins are velvety and there is great acidity. The wine is terribly elegant.” 94 Points Wine Advocate

Chateau La Bouree

2016 Château La Bourrée Cotes de Castillon Bordeaux ($16.99)   Château La Bourrée owns 12 hectares of vineyards in the village of Saint Magne-de-Castillon.  Yields are kept low by green harvesting to insure proper ripening and grapes are sorted at the winery so that only the best fruit is vinified.  A blend of 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc & Malbec the wine is aged in used barrels for a year and another six months in tank before bottling.  La Bourrée offers up aromas of red fruits and great balance.   Nicely ripened fruit shows a medium weight on the palate with a touch of earth.  Very bright, this solid wine delivers a lot of complexity for the price.  Great with roasted pork and sauteed mushrooms, or duck ragu.

Duck RaguDuck Ragu  Serves 4

1 tablespoon unsalted French butter*
1 teaspoon olive oil*
1 (1-pound) boneless Moulard duck breast with skin*
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1/2 cup dry red wine*
2 cups Aneto chicken stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth*
1 (14- to 15-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving juice, and chopped
1/2 pound dried Alsatian egg pasta*
*available at Paris Madrid Grocery

Heat butter and oil in a deep 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until foam subsides.
Meanwhile, pat duck dry and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
Sear duck, skin side down, until golden brown and some of fat has rendered, about 6 minutes. Turn over and cook until browned, about 2 minutes more. Transfer duck to a plate, then add onion to fat in skillet with garlic, rosemary, and 1/8 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add wine and boil 3 minutes.
Return duck, skin side up, to skillet, then add any juices from plate, stock, and tomatoes with their juice. Bring to a boil, then gently simmer, covered, 1 hour.
Transfer duck to a cutting board, then skim off about three fourths of fat from sauce and discard.
Purée sauce in batches in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return sauce to skillet and boil, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 2 1/2 cups, about 8 minutes.
While sauce reduces, finely chop duck with skin.
Return chopped duck to sauce and season with salt and pepper.
Cook pasta in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (3 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) until al dente, then drain pasta and toss with duck ragú.

Duck ragú; can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered (once cool).