Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Campari and Wine - The First Genius of Fergus Henderson...

...is to tell me about the Bicyclette

picture photograph image campari and white wine as suggested by Fergus Henderson in his book Beyond Nose to Tail 2007 copyright of sam breach http://becksposhnosh.blogspot.com/
I just bought myself a copy of Beyond Nose to Tail. I am not quite sure what led me to make the purchase - I must have read something about it somewhere that piqued my curiosity. It has what might possibly be the most inspiring start to a book I have ever seen. To begin with there is a photograph of an almost-naked Barbie doll sporting a pair of angel's wings made from pigs ears and the promise of "something to get the juices going". You flip the page to find a recipe for Campari and Wine which apparently, in Italy, might be dismissed as something akin to a Snakebite.

It might make me sound a bit like a lush, but to deny it would be a lie. I have been drinking Campari for twenty years. It's a longtime favourite drink, especially in the UK where pubs don't often sell my other favourite beverage (Champagne).

When I was in my early 20s I had a boss who accused me of drinking campari only because of its hue. "You only drink that because it matches the colour of your dress" he insisted. It was a ridiculous implication that reminds me of my father who has more than once suggested I always choose the most expensive thing on the menu simply because it is the most costly item. This isn't an accurate summisation either, but either way shouldn't he be proud that his daughter has good taste?

Back to that Campari cocktail. It just works. Simple as that. A wine glass, some ice, a shot of campari topped up with dry white wine to the level that suits you. I used a Sauvignon Blanc from Paso Robles that someone had brought and left at one of my parties. The wine enhances the herbal overtones in the Campari so perfectly, I am kicking myself for not discovering this pairing sooner. Negronis aside, to think I have wasted the rest of the past twenty years watering down Campari with soda is somewhat, well, depressing actually. You live and learn. Don't ever say I didn't warn you!



PS [Adendum Nov 8th] *Thanks to the reader [Diane] who alerted me to the fact that the New York Times wrote an article on exactly the same subject a few days earlier. I don't read the NYT unless someone points me to a specific article and so their piece had no bearing on my own post. “I’ve converted many folks to this drink,” said Henderson in the article. “And life should be about conversions, shouldn’t it? Pleasure should be infectious.” It's all about spreading the good stuff in life. Go be contagious!

Yesterday at work we had a non-profit fair so I sought out the food charities and met the charming ladies from STREET SMART 4 KIDS which is happening right now until November 18th at participating restaurants in San Francisco. Proceeds help the city's at-risk and homeless youth. The restaurants will collect voluntary $3 contributions when you pay your bill. 100% of your donation will go directly to Huckleberry Youth Programs, La Casa de las Madres and Larkin Street Youth Services. If you are not planning on eating out, why not send them some money anyway. It's a small amount that makes a huge difference. Thank you to everyone who donates.



Archives
2006 | Pink Ice Wine and Chocolate
2005 | Food Bloggers in London and Paris
2004 | Baklava for Charity

© 2007 Sam Breach
Campari and Wine - The First Genius of Fergus Henderson...

29 Comments:

  • At 7/11/07 22:20, Anonymous Alanna said…

    Ha! That's been my 'summer' drink of choice for, er, um, well, longer than it's been yours --

     
  • At 7/11/07 22:46, Blogger Alice Q. said…

    Hi Sam - It's kind of like a kir, in a way - only a little more bitter, I would guess? We put out a bottle of Campari and a tap jar of lemonade at a party this summer and people went nuts for that combination too!

     
  • At 8/11/07 00:11, Blogger Anna Haight said…

    Oh my! I've loved Campari for years as well and never ventured beyond the soda combo! I'll have to try this!

     
  • At 8/11/07 01:08, Blogger ChrisB said…

    I can see I have another treat in store when I visit!

    That sounds a good charity to support.

     
  • At 8/11/07 01:59, Anonymous EmBee said…

    If You meant me, I am proud that you have good taste and proud of you anyway. Ever thought where you got your good taste for Champagne from Like Chrisb and EmBee? love

     
  • At 8/11/07 02:02, Anonymous EmBee said…

    You can tell Chrisb that I cannot affored to buy crates of Campari and Crates of Champagne, even though she deserves it. More Love.

     
  • At 8/11/07 04:45, Anonymous Diane said…

    I read about this in the NY Times this week and was thrilled. I too love Campari. However I rarely have fizzy water in the house, so I don't drink it all that much at home. I am keen to try this as it sounds odd, but with strong possibilities. The reviewer essentailly said, "it shouldn't work, but it does." Mmmmmmmmmmm.

     
  • At 8/11/07 07:01, Blogger Sam said…

    alanna - great minds think alike!

    alice q - I also love it with grapefruit fizzy lizzy soda. I would say it has more depth than a kir. I can't explain it - the two ingredients just hit it off perfectly and bring equal emphasis to the relationship.

    anna- as soon as possible. No more soda!

    mum - you don't think I'll actually have any campari left by the time you get here do you?!

    embee - of course I meant you! How many other fathers do I have? I actually wouldn't have thought mum would like campari. DOes she?

    Mum - do you like campari even? I wouldn't have thought it was up your alley.

    Diane - thank you. I know it would be difficult to convince someone I hadn't read that piece, but really I had no clue the NYT had written it up. If I had, I can assure you I would have chosen another topic. If two people independently come to the same conclusion, then there has to be some truth in the matter, eh?

     
  • At 8/11/07 08:42, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was listening to the KCRW "Good Food" podcast this morning, and Fergus Henderson talks about the Bicyclette, among other things.

    http://www.kcrw.com/etc/programs/gf/gf071103pig_ears_and_trotter

     
  • At 8/11/07 11:47, Anonymous Jane Sales said…

    I always buy the most expensive thing on the menu too - even if I have the one without prices, somewhere very posh. Must try this one.

    I hope we were the people who recommended Fergus - we have two of his books and they're great.

     
  • At 8/11/07 16:06, Blogger Ed said…

    I'm still recovering from the previous book - Fernet Branca and Creme de Menthe. ouch!

     
  • At 8/11/07 17:21, Blogger Kevin Kossowan said…

    I have a soft spot for this one. It was served to me for the first time by a friend who lives in Tuscany. We thought it was odd at the time. Not anymore.

     
  • At 8/11/07 19:29, Blogger Meg said…

    I adore Campari. This sounds lovely; as Alice Q. remarked: the Campari version of kir. Which makes you wonder how it would be with champagne. Although Campari seems to be a love it or hate it apertif.

     
  • At 9/11/07 01:17, Anonymous brett said…

    I'm a Negroni fan, so I'm sure I'll love this. Thanks. By the way, have you seen the short videos on Fergus' website? "Listening to mayonnaise." Priceless. I love that man.

     
  • At 9/11/07 07:29, Anonymous kudzu said…

    My daddy always complained about my expensive tastes as a child (I distinctly remember ordering veal chops, not even knowing what they would taste like but adventurous enough to try them). As for the bucyclette, I'm sure I would prefer it to Fergus's offal. It looks like a perfect holiday drink, too, all rosy. Thanks for the suggestion.

     
  • At 9/11/07 11:14, Blogger s.j.simon said…

    lol. did you know that chocolate was banned in switzerland for many years. read this

     
  • At 9/11/07 21:08, Blogger Catherine said…

    did tom jones do a song about this?

     
  • At 10/11/07 15:31, Blogger Cooking Fool said…

    Hey you guys
    I have a camera and I love to cook. You guys ROCK! I've been popping in and out of your blog for the best part of a year and you do not disappoint. Thank you for being there!

    One small question- do you do the cool frames around your food photos?

    Keep up the good work. How do you ever do this?????!!! It's like a fecking TV series - put out by two people. How???

    You're amazing. *bow*

     
  • At 11/11/07 06:32, Blogger Trig said…

    Hi Sam,

    I think the best way to enjoy Campari is in the form of sorbet, it gives you an incredibly refreshing yet also slightly bitter/tart sensation. I'd recommend it to anyone.

     
  • At 11/11/07 20:56, Anonymous Best food said…

    Campari rocks!! I just love that shit!

     
  • At 11/11/07 21:12, Anonymous Robyn said…

    I love Campari, and negroni is my drink of choice when I find myself in a proper bar (not often enough, I'm afraid). The combo with white wine is intriguing ... I do believe tonite's cocktail hour will see me drinking something other than gin and tonic. I'd never have thought of it. Thanks for this post.

     
  • At 12/11/07 01:51, Blogger Beccy said…

    I wish I was coming over as well, I'm sure I'd enjoy a glass or three!

     
  • At 12/11/07 03:52, Anonymous sha said…

    spritz bitter my campari love affair started on our constant trip to italy but in venice this is their apperitif.. wine campari...

    anyway am too far from europe now... i have been pummeled here in Florida and I already been missing UK as well

     
  • At 13/11/07 11:48, Anonymous swirlingnotions said…

    Have you ever tried a Spritz in Venice? It's basically the same thing . . . my favorite variation is with Select (a Campari-esque bitter made in the Veneto that's a bit less bitter) and prosecco. There's this little standing wine bar off a side street near the Rialto where we'd gather for one every night with the after-work crew.

    By the way . . . if you haven't already, please stop by www.generouspour.com to help me raise money for Share Our Strength towards ending hunger in America. You don't have to buy anything, pay anything or even do anything -- other than download a cool song by Corinne Bailey Rae and pick up some new holiday recipes. Thanks for your support!

     
  • At 13/11/07 15:33, Blogger Barbara said…

    I wish I could drink Campari - it always seemed such a sophisticated drink - but I just don't like the taste. I've had a bottle in the cupboard for about 20 years with only a half a glass drunk. It's yours when you come visit.

     
  • At 16/11/07 18:23, Anonymous Sean said…

    I love me some Campari, you betcha. I had this at a restaurant in Palm Springs. Specifically made with Pinot Grigio, they called it Da Bicicletta. Delizioso!

     
  • At 25/11/07 13:55, Blogger Pieds Des Anges (Kyla) said…

    Really? I tried the campari as a welcome cocktail at Thanksgiving and nobody liked it. So I switched it up -- I'll post the drink on my blog. But I love campari too.

     
  • At 30/11/07 01:15, Blogger Victoria said…

    Are you kidding me? How do I not about this drink? I love Campari and soda and have never heard of this nor thought of this, but I know what I'm drinking as an aperitif on Saturday. Whew. Thanks for the tip.

     
  • At 23/2/08 23:06, Blogger Addictive Picasso said…

    Fergus introduced me to this drink and it is totally, incredibly, amazingly fantastic! but beware, barman won't know the combination and will look at u in the first instance as tho you're slightly uncouth. give them a sip and their attitude will melt.

     

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