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Culinary Central

Cooking with Wine

August 17, 2009 Le Cordon Bleu San Francisco 0 Comments

There are few better places in the world to learn how to cook with wine than the San Francisco Bay area. The Sonoma and Napa Valleys are world-renowned for their rich and fertile soils that produce some of the best wine making grapes on earth. California is the world’s fourth largest wine producer, accounting for nearly 90 percent of American wine production. The history of wine making in California dates back to 17th century Spanish monks who planted vineyards to produce wine for mass.

With all that fine wine and its rich heritage, it’s no wonder California chefs make it a staple in their cooking. Whether as a perfect companion to a meal or a featured ingredient in an entree, wine plays a central part in many international cuisines. The most famous of all is French, but wine is also predominant in Spanish, Italian, and Greek cuisines. Thanks to our globalized society, even Asian cuisines are starting to add wine to their own rich culinary traditions.

California Wine, Food, and Culture

Cooking with wine is a tradition that may owe its origins to French cuisine, but San Francisco chefs know a thing or two about cooking with wine as well. Chefs in this cosmopolitan city use classical French cooking techniques combined with the latest modern techniques to express their creativity in the kitchen.

And while we are all familiar with the question of what wine we should serve with dinner; we often overlook what wine we should serve in dinner. Wine is a complex beverage and its use in cooking has many implications. As the alcohol evaporates with cooking, the wine flavor will concentrate and create either subtle or bold flavor profiles. A good rule is to cook with a wine that is also good to drink.

Up and coming San Francisco personal chefs can learn about wine by purchasing an extra bottle of wine to be served with dinner and using it to put in some of the dishes being served for dinner. After some experimentation like this you will learn when to use a burgundy for boldness, a zinfandel for subtle sweetness, or a chardonnay for a buttery smoothness.

From light white wine sautés to rich and textured burgundy sauces to red wine reductions to poaching in port wine, there are many opportunities to sample dishes flavored with wines in the Bay area. Although you obviously can’t drink our famous California wines until you are 21 years of age, that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn to prepare and enjoy the many fine dishes prepared with Northern California’s most famous libation.

As you can see, if you are looking to expand your culinary repertoire to include wine, there is no better place to learn than in California. In addition to being home to some of the best vineyards, Northern California boasts some of the best cooking schools in the country to help teach you how to begin your adventures with wine in the Kitchen.

This article is presented by The California Culinary Academy. The California Culinary Academy offers Le Cordon Bleu culinary education classes and culinary training programs in San Francisco, California. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/San-Francisco for more information.

The jobs mentioned are examples of certain potential jobs, not a representation that these outcomes are more probable than others. The California Culinary Academy does not guarantee employment or salary.


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