Posted April 11th, 2016 by Arnold

Plumpy’nut is pretty much what it sounds like.  It is a very high calorie paste based on peanuts designed to encourage rapid weight gain.  It is used for starving children and is very effective.  A child can move from a state of desperate malnutrition to nearly healthy on a diet of this paste and its use in famine relief is obvious.  It has been credited with saving countless lives already. 

However alarm bells might have sounded when you saw the trade name.  Why does a simple substance, basically peanut butter with additions, have a brand name?  There is indeed controversy surrounding the production of Plumpy’nut.  The substance is patented and there is money being made. 

This was not at all what the inventor, Andre Briend, a paediatric nutritionist, wanted.  The aim was an easy substance to make that would provide very effective treatment of malnutrition.  An aggressively protected patent wasn’t exactly the idea.

However despite the ethical debate there is no doubt that Plumpy’nut is helping in famine relief situations.  The high concentration of fat, protein, sugar and vitamins is effective in small quantities, which is what starving children need.  They cannot eat large amounts of food at a time, however badly their bodies need this.  

Plumpy’nut is easily transported to famine situations and doesn’t spoil.  It also does not need water or other ingredients to prepare, making it ideal for emergency situations.  Its first use in the Sudan, when it was given to 30,000 children, apparently halved malnutrition rates.  Since then it has been given to over a quarter of a million children, mainly in Africa, and its effectiveness in treating malnutrition is indisputable.

The manufacturers, Nutriset, are still determinedly protecting their patent on the substance, battling any attempts to produce similar products.  These actions could be costing lives and you come back to the ethical question of whether any company should have the patent rights on a simple, famine relief product.  The equivalent of Plumpy’nut can be made, as has been demonstrated, with simple ingredients and a blender.  There is a demand from aid agencies for cheaper versions.

Nutriset have defended their position by saying they are protecting local partners in Africa from producers in the United States.  This particular issue is likely to continue for a long time, with Nutriset defending their monopoly against continuous challenges from would be competitors and from aid charities.  In some places the patent is simply being ignored in order to provide famine relief.

It is indisputable that Plumpy’nut is an incredible food.  It has made a huge difference in relieving malnutrition and helped to save thousands of lives.  It is to be hoped that the commercial angle is settled in such a way so the most children possible benefit from an effective treatment for malnutrition.

Japanese chicken and peas

Posted April 10th, 2016 by Lorie

This is a wonderful recipe for cooking up chicken breast, probably one of my favorites and it makes a meal that isn’t very expensive to fix. It is not only delicious but also very appealing to the eyes and it is nutritious, as well.


1 large, boneless chicken breast
4 Tbsp. peanut oil or sesame oil
1/2 cup coarsely chopped yellow onion
1 and 1/2 cups fresh garden peas (I have substituted this with pea pods which are also very good)
1 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp. dry wine
(Sake or sherry is good though I have used whatever wine I happened to have on hand)
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp real lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp accent
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 3 Tbsp cold water


Using a very sharp knife cut the raw chicken breast into cubes, bite size, about 1/2 inch in size. Pour your peanut or sesame oil into a large skillet and heat over medium low until hot. Reduce heat to low and add your chicken pieces and onion. Cook until the onion has become lightly limp and transparent and the chicken firm and white, stirring frequently.

Combine your remaining ingredients and pour over the chicken. Simmer over low heat until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking. (About 12 to 15 minutes)

Serve your Japanese Chicken and Peas over rice and garnished with one or two cherry tomatoes sliced in half. Add a leafy green side salad, a whole grain roll and a beverage and you have a delicious, healthy meal most everyone will enjoy.

Plumpy’nut is a famine food made by Nutriset and available by prescription to starving and malnourished children, particularly in Africa. The food consists of a peanut butter base mixed with powdered milk and powdered sugar. The mixture is then fortified with essential vitamins that may otherwise be lacking in the malnourished children’s diets.

The product was formulated in 1996 by french pediatric nutritionist Andre Briend. There are now at least five franchises manufacturing and distributing Plumpy’nut in Africa, and one in the Caribbean – in the Dominican Republic. Since 1997 the Nutriset company has been aggressively defending its patent of Plumpy’nut in the United States, so far successfully preventing similar products from being manufactured there. These profit-motivated actions have drawn international condemnation because shutting down would-be manufacturers prevents much needed food relief from reaching those who need it around the world. This prioritization clearly shows that Nutriset’s is primarily concerned with profit margins and only secondarily concerned at best with global humanitarian efforts.

When a child does get access to Plumpy’nut, the product is given in a form more similar to a treatment than a diet. The Plumpy’nut product is used to facilitate rapid weight gain in severely malnourished children, often meaning the difference between life and death for that child. The standard treatment protocol for Plump’nut is the thrice daily administration of Plumpy’nut, sometimes given simultaneously with a similar product such as Unimix, for four weeks.

Plumpy’nut is very effective at treating acute malnutrition and starvation because it is so nutrient dense and calorie dense that even children with severely shrunken stomachs can get a lot of energy out of even a small amount of the food very soon after it is consumed. The mixture has been used to help combat hunger in the Darfur region of Sudan, as well as in the poverty stricken Niger Delta. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi and Mozambique have all begun local distribution operations of Plumpy’nut as well.

Generally, Plumpy’nut is packaged in local peanut producing areas. Regular peanut butter is made and it is fortified with powdered milk and powdered sugar and a slurry of vitamins and minerals obtained from the parent company; Nutriset. The product requires no water, preparation or refrigeration, and has a 2 year shelf life from the date of manufacture. It contains vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E and K. Bio-available minerals include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, iron, iodine, selenium and sodium. The Plumpy’nut product is recognized by the World Health Organization as being a Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), and as such plays an important role in fighting famine and malnutrition worldwide.

Drink Recipes Missouri Mule

Posted April 9th, 2016 by Jaime

The Missouri Mule, first mixed by famous cocktail creationist Joe Gilmore, is known best for being created for the only President to have come from Missouri, Harry S. Truman.

The name of the cocktail comes from the state of Harry S. Truman and the symbol of the Democratic party, the Donkey. Another name often substituted for a mule is a donkey or ass, and these words can be used interchangeably when describing both the animal and the drink. To be correct a mule is a hybrid of a donkey and a horse, but the common usage of the word donkey when referring to a mule makes them equally interchangeable when referring to the drink.

You will need ice, cocktail mixer and strainer, and a cocktail glass to complete this drink.


2 parts Bourbon Whiskey

2 parts AppleJack

2 parts Lemon Juice

1 part Campari

1 part Cointreau

Shake ingredients together with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

This drink is best served, or most commonly served, “straight up.” The ice is often removed from the drink during straining. Remember to drink responsibly.

What is Plumpynut

Posted April 8th, 2016 by Guillermo

Plumpy’ Nut, based on the popular spread Nutella, is a paste made out of peanuts, powdered milk, sugar, and vegetable oil, with added vitamins and minerals. It is given primarily to severely malnourished children under the age of five (the age group most likely to die from malnutrition in famine stricken areas) who live in developing countries. High in protein and calories, appealing to children because of its sweetness, it can literally save the lives of children so malnourished that they have lost their appetites or that the ordinary foods available to them are no longer enough.

Plumpy’ Nut, invented in 1996, is a vast improvement over the milk based formulas that were previously used for this purpose. Vacuum packed and shelf stable, it will keep without refrigeration, even in hot climates. It can be eaten as is, with no need to add water. In places without access to clean water, this makes Plumpy’ Nut a life saver. Parents can feed it to their malnourished children at home, without needing to hospitalize them for feeding.

Plumpy’ Nut is also a litmus test for the meaning of patents, food aid, and the self sufficiency of developing countries. Currently, the product is embroiled in a lawsuit over its patent. The patent holder, the French company Nutriset, is being sued by two American companies, Breedlove Foods and Mama Cares Foundation, the nonprofit arm of a for profit food manufacturer and marketer.

Both organizations, which contribute heavily to famine relief efforts in developing countries, claim that the patent on Plumpy’ Nut prevents them from developing comparable products more cheaply. They also claim that the recipe is so simple anyone can make it, so it should not be patentable. They further accuse Nutriset of using the patent to limit distribution of Plumpy’ Nut for the sake of company profits.

Nutriset claims that they need the patent to keep the market from being swamped with cheap surplus foods from the US, which would prevent the receiving countries from developing the product with locally grown ingredients. The company has factories and franchises in several developing countries, where Plumpy’ Nut is made with local supplies. Their patent, they point out, is not universal.

Through Doctors Without Borders, Unicef, and the World Health Organization, Nutriset has provided Plumpy’ Nut to famine stricken areas in Darfur, Sudan, Niger, and other countries. Families in need receive the supplies free of charge. In this respect, Nutriset is living up to its claims.

However, on both sides of the lawsuit, vested interest cannot be dismissed. Nutriset is fighting to protect its patent on its product. Mama Cares and Breedlove Foods both have similar products that they wish to bring to market. Although both sides claim to have the interests of the Third World’s malnourished children at heart, the fact remains that each player in the game is protecting its own profits. Even if the recipients of food aid do not pay for it, the donors profit in two possible ways: food donation creates a long term market for their product, and, in some cases, the distributors pay.

Anti-Plumpy’ Nut sentiment has also come from a would-be beneficiary. In 2009, the Indian government stopped Unicef from distributing the product in two of India’s poorest states, areas hard hit by child malnutrition. Shreeranjan, the Joint Secretary of India’s Ministry of Women and Child Development, said that Unicef had not followed proper protocols for importing a foreign product, and that the government was unconvinced of its safety and effectiveness. He said it would be better if the malnourished children relied on locally grown food.

In Shreeranjan’s statements, perhaps we can read a bitter refusal to be dependant on charity. Despite Plumpy’ Nut having proven its worth in Africa, the Indian government turned it down basically because it was a foreign product. For India, whose history as a nation is based in shaking off foreign colonialism and paternalism, bringing in a foreign company’s product to feed children, on the grounds that their home country cannot feed them, may indeed seem insulting.

While Plumpy’ Nut is a miracle food, the implications it carries have no easy answers. If its manufacturer is to be believed, its development and distribution are being carried out with nothing more than the best interests of starving children at heart. However, fairness and dignity are at stake here, as well as monetary profits. Plumpy’ Nut is not only a lifesaving food. It embodies the difficulties and contradictions inherent in food aid.

Drink Recipes Singapore Sling

Posted April 7th, 2016 by Merlene

The Singapore Sling is a dream to write about as it is one of the few cocktails whose existence and origins aren’t the subject of heated, intense debate.  The Singapore Sling is definitely from Singapore, and definitely the brainchild of Ngiam Tong Boon, bartender for the Long Bar, at the exquisite Raffles Hotel, sometime before 1915.

It is also definitely one of the best cocktails anyone can try.

Unfortunately, although the creation of the Singapore Sling is without doubt, the composition of the drink is a bit vaguer.  One of the biggest debates is in the use of cherry brandy… or was it cherry eau de vie?  To add juice, or not to add juice (Boon’s original recipes almost certainly included pineapple juice).  Even the actual name of the drink has changed over time- Boon probably called his original drink the ‘Straits Sling’ – Singapore at the time was part of what was known as the ‘Straits Settlements’, one of four overseas settlements administered by the British East India Company.  The name probably reverted to Singapore Sling sometime in the 30’s.

♦ Ingredients

There are a few variations on the Singapore Sling, however always pay heed to the basics: choose a great gin and keep it chilled; the best for the sling are Bombay Sapphire.  Some of the recipes dictate lemon, lime & pineapple juice; use fresh juice if possible.  And finally, always use Club Soda.

♦ Variants

Here are three leading Singapore Sling recipes.  ‘Singapore Sling #1’ is the more widely used recipe; it’s sweet and sour, frothy and very refreshing.  The ‘Baker’s Singapore Sling’ is my favourite; it’s a lot rawer, and strips the Sling down to the bare essentials.  It is less fruity but is diluted to a greater extent by soda water so you still end up with a balanced drink.  This has been created by a man called Charles Baker II, taken from his 1946 book ‘The Gentleman’s Companion’.  Finally we have the ‘Straits Sling’.  This is a slightly citrusy and very fruity Swing variant based on the assumption that cherry eau de vie- and not cherry brandy- formed part of the original recipe.

♦ Singapore Sling #1

Glass: Sling / Collins

Garnish: Slice of lemon and Maraschino cherry on stick


◊ 2 shots Dry gin

◊ 0.5 shot Cherry brandy liqueur (i.e. DeKuyper)

◊ 0.25 shot Bénédictine D.O.M.

◊ 0.25 shot Triple Sec (i.e Cointreau)

◊ 1.5 shot Fresh pineapple juice

◊ 0.5 shot Lime juice

◊ 0.25 shot Grenadine

◊ 2 dash Angostura bitters

◊ Top with Club soda


Shake all ingredients over ice, apart from soda.  Fine strain into chilled, ice-filled sling glass, top with soda and stir. Garnish and serve with straws.

♦ Baker’s Singapore Sling

Glass: Sling / Collins

Garnish: Slice of lemon and Maraschino cherry on stick


◊ 2 shots Dry gin

◊ 0.75 shot Bénédictine D.O.M.

◊ 0.75 shot Cherry brandy liqueur (i.e. DeKuyper)

◊ Top with Club soda


Shake all ingredients over ice, apart from soda.  Fine strain into chilled glass filled with ice and top with soda.  Stir, garnish and serve with straws.

♦ Straits Sling

Glass: Sling / Collins

Garnish: Slice of orange and Maraschino cherry on stick


◊ 2 shot Dry gin

◊ 0.5 shot Bénédictine D.O.M.

◊ 0.5 shot Cherry eau de vie

◊ 1 shot Lemon juice

◊ 2 dashes Angostura orange bitters

◊ Top with Club soda


Shake all ingredients over ice apart from soda, fine strain into chilled glass filled with ice and top with soda.  Lightly stir, garnish and serve with straws.

Recipes Chili Con Queso Dip

Posted April 6th, 2016 by Birgit

Holiday Con Queso

Whenever the holidays roll around, I like to make a rich and creamy Con Queso with loads of taste for guests. About 40 years ago when I visited Santa Fe for the first time, I stopped in at the La Fonda Hotel to have a beer. It so happened it was happy hour and they had chips and a Con Queso out for all to enjoy. It was the best Con Queso I had ever had. Having tried many Con Queso’s over the years at many restaurants and parties, none of them ever measured up to the one at La Fonda. There was always something missing. That is, until I came upon this recipe and made a slight change. It’s a fast and easy recipe, and one you’ll get addicted to. The list of ingredients and preparation is short and simple.

1- 8-ounce package of Velveeta
1- can diced green chilies 3 or 4 oz.
1- can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup.
6-7 Tablespoons of Pace Medium Picante Sauce

In a double boiler with about two inches of water in the lower pan, place the Velvetta in the upper pan, broken up to aid the melting. When the cheese is just about melted, stir in the can of soup with a whisk and mix well. When those ingredients are well heated and mixed add the can of Hatch green diced Chile and the Picante sauce and mix. You can vary the amount of sauce to your liking and also go with a hotter or milder sauce if you like. Be sure all the ingredients are well melted, heated and mixed before serving with corn chips.

Some great beers that go well with the Con Queso are Sierra Blanca’s Nut Brown Ale or Alien Ale; Samuel Adams October Fest, Blue Moon Heffe Weizen or any good Heffe Weizen. Happy Holidays!

Crock pot chicken with barbecue sauce

Posted April 6th, 2016 by Berry

Chicken is a typical go-to meal for busy families who want both value for their money and a delicious, easy to prepare entree. There are literally no limits to what can be done with chicken. When paired with the good ol’ crock pot for even more ease of preparation, chicken can be considered the ultimate low-cost leader for busy families on the go.

Crock pot meals can be prepared the night before and stored in the refrigerator until the next morning. Chicken can be cut up into sections or used whole depending on the size of your crock pot. When used whole, the chicken must be first rinsed very well, then patted dry with paper towels. Season the cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper and any other spices which compliment the sauce you will be using.

Since crock pots keep the meat very moist there is no reason to rub butter or oil on the skin as you would when roasting the bird. While the skin of the chicken adds nice flavor to the dish, if less fat is desired, removing the skin from the chicken is a good way to cut down on calories.

When using a chicken that has been cut up, quickly browning the pieces in a bit of hot oil before adding to the crock pot is a nice way to add some color and flavor. This technique works especially well when using barbecue sauce. Bottled barbecue sauce cuts down on preparation time but if it is not available, a simple homemade sauce can be made by using the following ingredients which can be doubled or tripled to meet the quantity needed.

Barbecue sauce ingredients and recipe

1 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)
1 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup diced onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes.

Chicken directions

After lightly browning chicken pieces, place them in the crock pot and pour sauce over to cover. There is no need to cool the sauce before adding to the crock pot. Set the temperature to high, medium or low, cover and forget!

The chicken will literally fall off the bone when done and makes the most delicious barbecue sandwiches.

This technique can be done with any sauce. A simple version of chicken cacciatore can be made by substituting your favorite pasta sauce and serving the chicken over pasta. Bottled chicken gravy can also be used. Just serve over noodles or mashed potatoes when done.

Go wild with chicken and a crock pot! Be creative. Try exotic seasonings and sauces which compliment them.

Enjoy the ease and convenience of crock pot cooking to simplify your life!

Baked chicken chimichangas

Posted April 5th, 2016 by Willy

Chimichangas are one of those “always a hit” Mexican dishes that are well-loved by all who love the cuisine. This recipe adds a baked twist to the classic recipe, making them far more heart-healthy than their fried counterpart. You don’t have to use chicken if you don’t want, ground beef or chopped steak work just as well.


2 1/2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
2 tbs vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 mild green chilies, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped (or one 4 oz. can of chopped mild green chilies)
1 tsp. medium hot chili powder
16 oz. salsa
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Salt to taste
6 10-inch flour tortillas or 12 6-inch tortillas
1 cup canned refried beans
2 to 4 tbs vegetable oil for basting
Sour cream (optional)
Guacamole (optional)
Tomatoes (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Over medium heat, heat oil in a large saucepan. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender.

3. Add green chilies, medium hot chili powder, salsa, cilantro, cumin, and salt.

4. Stir in shredded chicken, remove from heat, and let cool.

5. Grease a 15x10x1 baking pan with 2 tbls. oil.

6. In each tortilla, spoon one heaping tablespoon of beans down the center. Top with a scant 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture (adjust this quantity if you are using the smaller tortillas).

7. To close, fold the bottom, top, and side of the tortilla up, then roll as though making a burrito. Use toothpicks to secure them closed if necessary. Place each chimichanga into the pan with the folded side facing down.

8. Brush each side with oil and bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Be sure to turn them at least once.

9. Serve chimichangas topped with garnishes sour cream, guacamole, and tomatoes if desired.

Gin Slinger Cocktail

Posted April 5th, 2016 by Melvin

Ah, gin. It is hard to find a cocktail that involves gin that is not absolutely delicious. Gin mixes well with all sorts of other flavors due to its strong, unique taste and its ability to blend with just about anything else. Personally, gin is my favorite liquor to use in cocktails since it keeps things from becoming too overly sweet. After all, a good old-fashioned gin and tonic is one of the most refreshing cocktails out there, and it involves next to no effort to create! Gin is simply one of the best choices you can make when looking for a great liquor to create your favorite drinks. 

A Gin Slinger is a particularly delicious choice, tasting rather like a gin-infused lemonade. It involves all the regular components of lemonade – water, lemon juice, and sugar – and just adds a little gin to make it a wonderful choice for sipping on a hot summer’s night. Use only fresh lemon juice for this drink – believe me, it makes all the difference when it comes to making a quality cocktail.



1 teaspoon sugar
1 measure fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon water
2 measures gin
Twist of orange peel, for garnish


1. In a mixing glass, combine the sugar, lemon juice, and water together. Mix until the sugar dissolves. 

2. Add the gin to the mixing glass and stir once more to combine. 

3. In a chilled lowball glass, add ice cubes until it is half-full. Strain the cocktail from the mixing glass over the ice cubes in the lowball glass.

4. Garnish the cocktail with a twist of orange peel, either by placing it on the rim of the glass or by piercing it with a straw. Serve and enjoy!

BBQ 3000 chicken wraps

Posted April 5th, 2016 by Josh

This is my favorite chicken wrap recipe. I make this for my family sometimes when we need a quick and easy meal. It is also a nice thing to make for parties since the recipe yields 12 and doesn’t take too much effort to make. Break out the grill and get cooking!

Use Penzeys BBQ 3000 for this delicious dish!


2 whole, boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 4 breast pieces
2 red bell peppers
1 orange or yellow bell pepper
1 small red onion
2 tsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. BBQ 3000
2 cups shredded lettuce
12 soft tortilla wraps

For the sauce

1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2-1 tsp. BBQ 3000


1. Rinse and pat dry the chicken breasts.

2. Cut the onion into rings and quarter each of the bell peppers.

3. Brush the chicken and cut veggies with the vegetable oil and sprinkle them with the BBQ 3000 spice.

4. Over medium heat, grill the chicken for 4-6 minutes per side. The vegetables should be grilled away from direct heat (to avoid burning) for 4-6 minutes as well.

5. Remove the chicken and vegetables from the grill and allow them to cool.

6. Shred lettuce.

7. Warm the tortilla wraps (if desired) for 5 minutes at 350.

8. In a bowl, use a whisk to combine the sour cream, ketchup, and BBQ 3000 to create the sauce.

9. Slice the grilled chicken and bell pepper and dice up the onion rings.

10. In each tortilla shell, add about a tablespoon of sauce and layer with chicken, peppers, onions, and lettuce.

11. Wrap and serve!

I like to dip my wraps in a little sour cream, and sometimes I add guacamole to the wrap, just depending on personal tastes and mood!

Wine White Wine Riesling German Wine

Posted April 4th, 2016 by Arnold

When discussing wine it’s easy to forget about Germany as a producer of quality wine. There was a time when German wines were considered too sweet. Understandable when a country prizes ripeness over vineyard when the cool climate can’t guarantee a fully ripened grape. This is where Riesling comes in as one of the world’s great grapes, and wines, because Riesling produces a wonderful wine. As an added plus, Germany’s reputation for sweet dessert wines keeps Riesling affordable when it gets to the liquor store.

Riesling is a high yielding white grape that produces white wine of the same name. Originating from Germany’s Rhine region, Riesling is an aromatic grape requiring a cool climate to achieve full potential. Given a warm climate and good soil, Riesling ripens abundantly. But here its natural acidity is diluted, producing shy, timid wines timid. Given a cool climate and rocky, sandy soil Riesling produces grapes with a flowery, perfumed aroma and high acidity. With sufficient sunshine the grapes develop intense, subtle flavors.

When grown in Germany, Riesling earns a reputation as one of the world’s noble grapes. A status it keeps in few places around the world. Outside Germany Riesling shines in France’s Alsace region, Austria, Australia and New Zealand. Once upon a time Riesling was used to produce sweet German wines. However, Riesling grapes can produce dry whites and this is where you find some of the finest Rieslings, earning their noble reputation.

Today, German Rieslings are of a dryer style. And the sugar in the sweet ones are balanced by their acidity, making them refreshing rather than overly sweet. The best Rieslings come from areas like Mosel-Saar-Ruwel, the Pfalz and the Nahe. These regions make excellent dry, off dry, and sweet wines. These Rieslings tend towards lighter alcohol (7.5%-9.5%). Rieslings produced here develop a balance between fresh, ripe fruit and delicate acidity.

A good Riesling can be enjoyed young but will benefit from years of ageing. When consumed young they boast flavors of fresh fruit and aromas of apples. Natural acidity provides a crisp finish. That same acidity in less skilfully produced Rieslings will feel hard in the mouth. However, even lesser wines will soften with ageing acquiring flavors of peach, rose blossom and honey. With ageing Rieslings pick up flavors of petroleum. While appropriate and described approvingly by aficionados, it can be unpleasant to neophytes. Those who find notes of petroleum unpleasant in their wines are often happy to with more youthful Rieslings.

France’s Alsace region has been planting Riesling since the late 15th century, today accounting for over 20% of Alsace’s grapes. Due to a combination of local climate and French methods of production, Alsace’s Rieslings differ from Germany‘s Rieslings. The best come from Haut-Rhin in southern Alsace tend to be bone dry, higher in alcohol (up to 12%) with greater roundness in the mouth. And contrary to German methods, Alsatian Rieslings aren’t aged in oak and are more often meant to be aged. It’s not uncommon for these wines to age up to 20 years, developing softer, fruitier flavors after the first three.

As stated earlier, exceptional Rieslings can be produced elsewhere in the world. The best coming from Australia, New Zealand and Austria with admirable examples coming from Washington state. If you’re new to Riesling and anxious to try a bottle, my advice is to go to the source. The idea being you have something to compare future bottles to, knowing what a Riesling should taste like. When you next visit your wine merchant ask for an off dry German Riesling in the $10-$20 dollar range. After that, try the Alsatian model for comparison. After that you’ll have no problem finding Rieslings to suit your palate as well as your pocket book.