Circumstantial Smugness Pairs Nicely with Pear Sorbet and Spumante Recipe
Okay today I want to go into the inner workings of a blog. I’ll take you behind the proverbial curtain here at Sippity Sup. Because I feel burdened by a moral condundrum and I have a confession to make.
I don’t know if you have noticed but the world of food blogs is accelerating. Not only are there more and more food blogs, but also they are getting better and better. There are bloggers out there offering quality content as good as any traditional media outlet you could name. Some of these women and men (‘cuz let’s face it, with food blogs it’s mostly women) post good stuff 5 or more times a week!
With better content come larger audiences. With larger audiences come opportunities. Publicists and others asking me to “review” their products or services approach me. The attention is flattering. It often comes with “free stuff” too. But there is a responsibility that comes along as well. A responsibility not just to your readers, but also to yourself and to your blog. I have been blogging about 20 months. There is much I don’t understand. Part of me wants to participate in whatever comes my way. It’s fun. But the depth of this responsibility is still a bit hazy to me. So, more and more I find myself passing on the promotions and giveaways I am offered.
But not always. I have been invited to dinners, and ballgames. I have participated in tours. I have been sent excellent bottles of wine and other great products. I have been invited to parties promoting concepts like healthy food choices and sustainable seafood. Well I’d write about these things whether they took me to dinner or not! So they feel just right for my readers and me.
But there are other products and services where things get a bit muddled. A prime example is butter. I was approached about taking part in a promotion for a butter substitute product. I would have been supplied with their product; I could have given away a ton of it to you guys too. There were other tempting goodies to go along with this promotion. But the truth is I would NEVER use a butter substitute. Fat be damned. There is no substitute for real butter and there never will be. But that’s just my opinion. There are probably plenty of my readers who would love this product. There may even be a few of you out there who would NEVER eat real butter because of the fat and calories. So I have to ask– is my responsibility to my standards, and myself or to the readers who come here day after day? In the end I passed on this promotion, but I felt a bit smug doing it. Hmmmm…
What about travel? Would I attend a major food conference and promote a certain industry while I was there? Hmm, free airfare, free hotel and free registration to a conference I REALLY wanted to go to. At first I was giddy. But then I looked at my sponsor. It was a company that made plastic “to go” containers. You know the kind that end up in landfill. Sure they may technically be recyclable, but did you know that many cities do not have the capability to recycle any plastic that was not “bottle shaped”. So despite your best intentions it ends up in landfill anyway! I had to say no to plastic. I did not accept the invitation.
But did I make the right choice? Does saying “no” mean I won’t be asked again? I hope not, because there are plenty of products and services I would love to represent and think I could do a good job, under the right circumstances.
Circumstances, these may be the crux of my conundrum! (Ha, that was a fun sentence…)
Take OXO. I was recently sent a big box of their stuff. My immediate reaction was “Score!!” because I love OXO. I buy OXO. But the truth is you probably are already familiar with OXO, you don’t need my opinion to validate your decision to choose OXO products for your own kitchen. Sure it’s a great product, I was happy to have been sent the samples, but I did not feel I had anything original to offer. So I did not participate in the promotion, nor did I add them to my shop. Should I send the samples back? I did not ask to be sent the samples, and I did not want to spend $10 sending them back. So I kept what interested me and gave the rest to friends. Was this wrong?
In those circumstance, I decided–no it was not wrong. But there’s that smugness creeping up on me again…
All of this is really a preamble for the following:
We do wine pairings here at Sippity Sup quite often. I cook the food and my brother Grant chooses a wine to go with it. We usually pick our own wine and buy it ourselves. Only one time to date have we paired a wine that was supplied to us as a sample, and of course we said so. It was an excellent wine, a bit beyond my budget– so I considered it a special occasion.
Then one day Grant and I were each sent samples of Bosca-Canelli Verdi Spumante. It’s a nearly colorless beverage that cannot properly be called a wine. It’s so uncomplicated that it passed over my tongue barely acknowledged. There was little to say about its taste. It didn’t taste bad, but the bubbles were a bit aggressive for me. In short it was not really my thing.
Still, there was nothing wrong with this Spumante, I’d be fine drinking it at a wedding or similar celebration. But it is not what I’d call a food wine, and I am a food blog. Ultimately I enjoy wine best when served with food. Well-paired, both the wine and the food benefit when enjoyed together. But hey, that’s just how I enjoy wine.
So I decided that I just could not do a food and wine pairing with this Spumante and present it here. So I was prepared to send a polite “thanks but no thanks" to the company. But then that smugness I mentioned earlier started creeping up on me. Sure, I like and appreciate good wine. I spend time and resources choosing wines for my meals and for Sippity Sup. But I also realize I have a very definite point of view when it comes to food and wine. A POV not necessarily shared by all of you.
And though I had decided not to post anything about Verdi Spumante on Sippity Sup. I did not want to waste it either. So I was at a loss as to what to do with the rest of this Spumante.
But then I had an aha moment. Maybe this was not the most complex bubbly ever to pass my palate, but couldn’t I turn that into a good thing? Couldn’t I add my own complexity? Couldn't I make this into something I could enjoy?
In fact, did I have to do a food and wine pairing at all? Couldn’t I use this product as an ingredient? Of course I could. I did not even have to think too hard either. Pretty soon I had whipped up some pear sorbet. I think the luscious pear sorbet with an added depth of brandy and lemon juice really augments the fruit style of this Spumante! So I poured Verdi Spumante over the sorbet and suddenly I was impressed. Even the aggressive bubbles became a benefit. It was like a very adult float. A Spumante float!
I then tried pouring another sparkling wine over the sorbet. A dry California Brut. But you know what? The Verdi Spumante was a far better choice. Some of the very qualities I dismissed became benefits when paired with the sorbet.
So here you go! Here is a product that was sent to me as a sample. One I nearly (smugly) dismissed. Well now I am forced to admit that I’m not always right. Because, in the end I don’t mind featuring this product on my blog. In fact I am proud to do so. Proud because this product, under these circumstances, may be the best possible choice. One that feels right and relevant and even a bit original. And you know what? Right and relevant and original is exactly what I want Sippity Sup to be.
- 3 lb ripe pears such as comice
- 1⁄4 c water
- 1 1⁄2 c sugar
- 1⁄4 c fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 2 T brandy
- spumante or other sparkling wine, as needed
Peel the pears, then quarter them lengthwise and remove the core. Cut into large chunks and add them along with the water to a large sauce pan. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat; cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
Let the pears cool some then transfer them to a food processor and puree until smooth. Add the sugar, lemon juice and brandy and puree until well-combined and the sugar completely dissolved. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until well-chilled.
Freeze the puree in an ice cream maker according to manufacturers directions. The alcohol will keep the mixture from completely freezing hard. Scrape the mixture into a shallow bowl or tray. Cover and freeze at least 30 minutes, preferably overnight.
To serve: Scoop the sorbet into stemmed glasses. Top each portion with spumante or sparkling wine to taste. Serve immediately.
SERIOUS FUN FOOD