CassouletHere at Paris-Madrid Grocery, we’ve seen the handwriting on the wall – goodbye summer, hello autumn!  Embracing the urge to eat more substantial fare on these cooler nights, we’ve stocked up on fall ingredients, heartier wines, and ciders.   Our dried bean selection has been replenished, for making nourishing soups, warming stews and cassoulet.  Our cheese selection has been augmented with new queso and fromage that are especially tasty on a cool evening.   Stop in for supplies and ask us for recommendations!

villa-oeiras-carcavelos-15-yearCarcavelos is the smallest wine appellation in Portugal and is among the rarest of wines. Carcavelos was officially demarcated in 1908 and recognized along with Port, Madeira and Moscatel de Setúbal, as one of four traditional Portuguese fortified wines. We are incredibly proud to now have the Villa Oeiras Carcavelos 15 year NV in stock ($25.99) and you can taste it at the shop on Saturday, October 26 from 2-4 p.m.    Come in for this free tasting which includes Carcavelos and several styles of port, on Saturday, October 26 from 2-4 p.m.   

Blandys & Cossart Gordon madeirasMadeira fans, save the date:  Saturday, November 9 we’ll have a free tasting of Madeira wines from 2-4 p.m.

We’ve added these gems to our cheese case:
EpoissesEpoisses – This Burgundian cheese is not for the faint of heart.   A smear-ripened fromage washed in marc de Bourgogne, it is a famously stinky and pungent soft cow’s cheese with earthy notes and mouth-filling flavor.  We have steady requests for this cheese so we bring it in whenever it’s available.  Get it while you can!
Emmental de Savoie – Produced in the Savoie region since the Middle Ages, it is easily recognized by its holes, called “eyes”.  Buttery, sweet and fruity, this pasteurized cow milk cheese is aged 6 months.  It’s a phenomenal melting cheese.
smoked raclette cheeseRaclette – The essential cow’s milk cheese for this decadent and warming Alpine dish.  It’s an easy and relaxing meal, even if you don’t have a tabletop raclette grill. Simply boil potatoes until done and serve one to each guest.  Melt the cheese (use about 7 oz per person) in the oven and then scrape a desired amount over the potato.  Accompany with cornichons, charcuterie, or grilled vegetables.
Schlossberger Gruyère – A raw cow’s milk cheese, aged 18 months in caves near Schlossberger castle in Switzerland.   With a firm and slightly brittle paste containing salt crystals, it offers up buttery flavors of hazelnuts, herbs, and minerals.   Excellent served with sliced apples, in bacon and leek quiche, or melted into fondue.

Truffle salamiTruffle Salami – Made from 100% Berkshire Pork, with 5% Black Truffles sourced from Perigord France.  Dry-cured, fermented and aged for three months, it also contains red wine, Armagnac and spices for a balanced and amazing flavor.

cheese and meat platterWe make Charcuterie platters.  You can order one in advance from our website by clicking on the “Order & Pick Up” button on our home page, or order in person at the store.  (You can pick out wines, crackers, or dried fruit while you wait for the platter to be prepared if you order in-store).   We have many other products on our menu that can be ordered in advance for quick pickup, or use the menu as a guide to make up a shopping list.

    Cider is the perfect fall thirst-quencher and it is also very food-friendly. The flavors are more delicate than wine, making it an easy partner to almost any meal. Both Spain and France grow apples, and are well-known for their delicious ciders. While the people of Bordeaux and Burgundy were making wine, farmers in Normandy and Brittany were growing apples and pears for cider since at least the seventh century.  In Spain, cidermaking dates to the 11th century.
Spanish ciders are generally dry and tart, and many have a touch of musk or brettanomyces.   Made in both Asturias and in the Basque country, they are typically a sidra natural, fermented with native yeast, without any additives including carbonation.  Our French ciders are from Normandy, Brittany or the French Basque country and are generally low in alcohol with the sugar content ranging from sweet to dry.   Check out a few our selections with these tasty fall meal pairings:

Basque CiderWe recommend serving Eric Bordelet Sidre Brut Tendre Apple Cider ($13.99, Normandy, France) with seared pork chops, sauteed apples and onions.
Pierre Huet Poiré Demi-Sec Pear Cider ($16.99, Normandy, France) is amazing when served with vanilla ice cream topped with candied chestnuts.
Trabanco Spanish cider ($9.99) from Asturias is aged in chestnut barrels. The Trabanco family has a restaurant as well as a cider-making facility.  The restaurant pairs cider with Fabada Asturiana (bean and sausage stew), and Bacalao (salt cod) cooked in cider, as well as Hake cooked in cider.
Isastegi Basque cider ($9.99) is produced and bottled on the Spanish estate, without addition of carbonation or sugar.   During the spring Txotx celebration, people gather to taste the new vintage of cider, paired with traditional foods such as cod omelet, fried omelet or grilled steak.
Make sure to pour Spanish ciders from up high into a wide mouth cider glass, to break up CO2 and give a lively, fresh taste to the drink.   We carry authentic cider glasses!

Hake cooked in ciderMerluza a la sidra with mushrooms (Hake with cider and mushrooms)   Serves 4  
This recipe is a very traditional fall dish, served with cider.

2 medium shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste
1 cup fresh chanterelle or morel mushrooms
1 sprig of fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stem
1.5 cups of hard Spanish cider (dry style cider)
Salt to taste
4 6-ounce pieces of hake, halibut, or other white fish
Extra virgin olive oil
Parsley, chopped, to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream if desired

Stem and brush debris off the mushrooms, then coarsely chop, should yield 1/2 – 3/4 cup.

Add about two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a cazuela or skillet. Heat to medium and add the chopped shallot and garlic. Fry until translucent and just starting to color (about 5 minutes).
Add the mushrooms and thyme leaves and sauté until the mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the cider and bring to a bubbling simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

Season the hake with salt and dredge in flour. Fry in a pan of hot olive oil (it should be as hot as possible without smoking to allow for a good sear). You don’t need to fully cook the filets if they’re thick– just make sure to sear well on both sides.
Add the fish to the cider sauce, cover and cook at a slow simmer for another five minutes.
Increase the heat to medium-high, if needed; cook uncovered for 2-3 minutes to reduce sauce slightly. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
(At this point, if you want to make a richer sauce, remove the skillet from the heat. Add the cream and stir to incorporate.).
Spoon the sauce over fish and sprinkle chopped parsley on top.
Serve immediately with hearty bread or homemade potatoes, and enjoy with a bottle of Spanish cider from Asturias.