Friday, January 02, 2009

Best for 2009

Not your typical New Years Eve.. we hadn't really planned anything but we were prepared. After a couple of friends dropped in (while we were shucking a box of PEI oysters) we enjoyed a pitcher of that distinctly Canadian concoction: Caesars.

Caesars are Clammato juice based (just like it sounds, a mixture of tomato and clam juices, only it tastes better), used to top up a healthy shot of (unflavoured) vodka over ice, seasoned to taste with worchestershire and tobasco sauces in a celery salt rimmed and celery stick adorned glass. It's a uniquely tangy, savoury and slightly spicy mixture in a world of predominately sweetish cocktails and an unlikely, albeit unappetising to some, taste combo to which I'll admit to having developed a slight addiction.

Variations of the Caesar, mainly in the form of garnishes, abound across the Great White North and, regardless of what you fancy (a spritz of lemon/lime or a teaspoon of horseradish!) added to yours, it's rumoured to be the best hangover prevention/cure this side of the border. Still, if the stats are correct, a nation of 30 or so million people are drinking 250 million Caesars a year, I'd dare say that they might have the cure confused with the cause.

The Caesar was a natural lead in to the oysters that we were preparing. Now while I generally think that Wild Malpeque and Raspberry Point oysters might be better off with bubbly, I paired them with Dog Point Sauvinon blanc and Marston's Oyster Stout. A perfect example of how delectable food matches can be made from both grain and grape.

The Dog Point is not your typical NZ Sauvignon blanc (cat's pee and green grass), rather it's remarkably citrusy (mostly lime) with a slight passionfruit edge, a richness conveyed through palate weight coupled with tropical fruit that I find quite enjoyable with the Malpeques. A bit more brine in the Raspberry Point oysters prompted me to the beer fridge and Marston's for that hit of hops to counter the added umami factor.

Nonetheless, Sauvignon happily reminds me of many a Southern hemisphere New Years Eve, the sub zero temperatures of the Canadian winter make for perfect stout weather.

With appetites waking up thanks to the oysters' brininess, the zip of the Sauvvy and dry finishing stout, I got to work preparing the chicken in Yucatecan spices. I'd marinated chicken breasts with an unmistakebly Mexican mixture of vinegar, herbs, spices and roasted garlic that were now ready for the grill. With the chicken, tortillas and condiments set out, we helped ourselves buffet-style and washed the soft, spicy tortillas down with a variety of different beers.

Between visits and phone calls, we rang Italy earlier in the afternoon to wish family Happy New Year, then close friends in Mexico and finally on to New Zealand who'd already had 18 hours of 2009, we are reminded of the people that touch our lives and that distance is nothing when those people are in your heart.

And to you, dear reader, wherever you may be, I hope your 2009 is filled with many a joyous occasion and lots of love.

Buon Anno!

2 comments:

So Simple said...

Hi Mary
Just been in Sydney and have been sampling oysters there. Whilst I still think bluff oyster are the nest, the little Sydney rock oysters dressed with a beautiful dressing designed by Tetsuya were outstanding. Of course accompanied by a NZ Sauv Blanc,
By the way it is stinking hot in Oz and NZ

Mary said...

Hi So Simple,
Wonderful to hear you've been enjoying some travel in Oz. And some Tetsuya dressed oysters too.. he's the umami Master! I bet they were amazing.
My recent find, speaking of oysters, is a Muscadet (Sévre et Maine, Loire). It has mild lemony, biscuity, sort of champagne-esque characters that I adore with shellfish.
But, still, I'm partial to Bluff and to NZ Sauv as well..
Stinking hot eh?? All I can say, as I plan to shovel myself out of yet another 15cm of snow in the -8C weather, is enjoy :-)