Monthly magazine of the Federation of NOT Scientific and Technical Associations

30th edition of the Golden Engineer poll

Wine for the engineer (278): Mousses – the perfect companion to a meal

Sparkling wines are usually written about around New Year’s Eve — because New Year’s toast, etc. Indeed, for toasting these wines are suited like few others, but are they the only ones? Definitely not! Mousetraps (this collective name, popular especially among young people, also includes champagne – and let the champagne houses not be offended) go well with a wide variety of dishes, so they can be drunk regardless of the season or day. In good hotels they are already served with breakfast and, believe me, the day just starts better with them.

Thanks to the bubbles, mousses provide refreshment, and since we are now in August, which is the hottest month of the year, these wines are a “how-to” theme. At the same time, they are accessible to virtually every pocket – from cheap Italian prosecco through Spanish cava, German secteurs, franciacorta from northern Italy, to brand-name champagnes (especially vintage), which at their best can cost crores. However, regardless of which sparkling wine from where and at what price you decide, these liquors have certain characteristics in common, and these are what determine which dishes they are best drunk with.

Let’s start with the nose and mouth of the mousetraps, that is, with their aromas and flavors. These can be fruity (citrus, green apple, pear, strawberry, pineapple and even cucumber), floral (rose, freesia, mint), earthy (mushrooms, chalk) and toasted-nutty (toast, almonds, gingerbread, figs, coffee beans). Sometimes yeast, vanilla, honey and light tobacco can also be sensed between the bubbles.

With such aromas and flavors, bubbly wines are usually the perfect combination of pleasing effervescence with light body (at low alcohol levels) and crisp acidity. This ensures gastronomic versatility; in addition, the varying levels of sugar (asti spumante, for example, has a great deal of it, and cava “brut nature” – zero!) expand the range of possible uses for these drinks.

The essence of all mousses is bubbly, which goes well with deep-fried foods and with some types of dough (such as French, Greek “filo” or those containing large amounts of butter). The bubbles also soften the overly spicy taste of the food to some extent. On the other hand, the acidity of sparkling wines goes well with salty dishes (meats in thick sauces), soft and salty cheeses (feta, blue cheese), as well as dishes cooked with a sizable portion of oil (fried fish, deep-fried dishes).

If we are dealing with a moussaka with a dominant toasted-nut character, it will be best to serve it with dishes containing roasted additives, while with fruit moussaka it is worth reaching for exotic Asian cuisine.

Besides, sparkling wines will go best with dishes where acidity is needed (e.g., shellfish with lime), as well as with Latin cuisine (ceviche, empanadas), “crunchy” in the mouth (tempura, fritto misto), and rustic dishes (pesto, hummus).

And what do mousses not go with? These wines, as a rule, do not go well with very expressive dishes, dishes that are too sweet (well, unless asti spumante!) or eminently aromatic (some fish, vegetables, bitter vegetables), as well as with rich red meat dishes. However, these exceptions are – as you can see – not many, so let’s not be afraid to reach for sparkling wines in our everyday cooking. The likelihood of making a mistake here is not high.

The aura is favorable – so I think I’m about to reach for my favorite Puklavec Sparkling Wine Sauvignon Blanc. Cheers!

wine geek

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