Swirl Wine Bar & Market

Monday, July 30, 2012

Perfect Summer Tastings This Week

We are keeping busy this week with four public events plus a private tasting on our books, so if you are looking for a nice, air conditioned smoke-free spot to escape the heat, relax and taste some really great wines, we've got something for you!

flites & bites lets you choose your cheese, meats, accoutrements & wines!

First up will be Flites & Bites, an expansion of our Wednesday Nite Flite event where you can pair a tasting plate to your flite experience.  Our menu is simple; you assemble your own "bites" from a handpicked selection of 6 artisan cheeses, 6 meats and 6 accoutrements. You'll select from some of our favorite products like La Tur cheese from Italy, Mahon from Spain or a French tomme cheese; meats like smoked prosciutto, chorizo and pate; accoutrements like chocolate from Bittersweet confections, Mediterranean olives, or Spanish almonds.  Or if you don't feel like thinking, you can leave the decision making up to us and we'll put one together for you. Then you can choose three wines from our extensive and ever-changing list of wines to put into your flite OR leave everything to us and we'll choose for you based on your "bite" selections!  We'll be featuring a few new wines on our list tonight too including new rosés, reds and whites, so come in for  Flites & Bites! Wednesday August 1, 6-8pm.

Thursday brings The Wines of Markus Molitor, 5 cold, delicious Rieslings from Germany presented by Ariff  Jamal.  Beside being Molitor's CEO and right hand man, Jamal is an independent wine writer for various international wine magazines, a Chemist by profession and oenologist by trade, a professional taster and a member of various wine associations in France.  Needless to say, he brings a lot of expertise, knowledge and an amazing lineup of Rieslings to the table. 

Markus Molitor has been producing wine in the Mosel for over 20 years, since he took over the reigns from his father at age 20.  The largest estate on the Mosel with 94 acres of vineyard land, Markus is one of the middle Mosels most important growers. During the difficult years when the value of German vineyards fell dramatically, Markus had the conviction, knowledge and foresight to take advantage of the low prices and bought up a significant number of small parcels in the finest parts of the best vineyards. With extremely steep slopes, slatey soils and particularly long, slow ripening periods, a gifted producer can weave together that incredibly tense and vibrant mix of minerality, acidity, fruit and ripeness. Markus Molitor excels at this and is without doubt amongst the very best.  This tasting is free and a great opportunity to taste high quality Riesling from an important producer.  Thursday August 2, 6-8pm.

Friday night crowd @ swirl

And then there is our Friday Free For All featuring four free wines and delicious tapas by chef Richard Papier.  Josh Prados will be in the house tonight with four great West Coast wines and of course wine by the glass is always flowing at the bar.  Fun crowd, laid back atmosphere, great wine and food; what more could you want on a Friday night?  Friday, August 3, 6-8pm.

fall selections from the Hollygrove box

Saturday afternoon happy hour at Swirl from 4-6pm has become a popular event where you can drink anything on our extensive by the glass menu for 1/2 price and check out the Hollygrove Market produce pick up.  Swirl has become THE Midcity location to get your fresh box of local produce and if you want more details on how you can be one of the lucky recipients, click here, Hollygrove Box Pick up at Swirl.

So you have lots of excuses to drop by and this week!  We hope to see you soon!

Beth & Kerry

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Italia & Vini del Sud at Vega Tapas Cafe

Join chef Glen Hogh, Swirl Wines and Antonio Molesini for a wonderful evening of 
Italian food and wines of southern Italy. 

August 16, 6:30pm 
Vega Tapas Cafe 
2051 Metairie Road 
Reservations 504.836.2007 
$80 per person, tax and tip included 

Tour of the Mediterranean 

Sparkling Apertivi 

bruschetta di pomodori
creole tomatoes, fresh basil, & olive oil over garlic grilled bread 
2010 Feudi Maccari Grillo 

pettine di tuffatore con caponata
seared diver scallop over stewed eggplant 
2011 Feudi San Gregorio Ros’aura 

 pasta milanese con funghi
orrecchiette tossed with basil pesto, green beans, potatoes, & wild mushrooms 
2008 Zisola Nero D’avola 

 involtini di vitello
grilled veal medallion stuffed with prosciutto, onion, & reggiano 
2009 Agricola Punica Isola dei Nuraghi Montessu 

torta e frutti di bosco
trifle cake with fresh cream panna cotta & berries 
Sogno di Sorrento Limoncello

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Roasted Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Pasta Salad

With tomato season in full swing right now, I just can't get enough.  I eat them daily; sliced raw, chunked in salads, chopped on bruschetta, cooked into sauces and one of my favorite ways, roasted.  It is such a simple but flavorful way to prepare tomatoes and once roasted you can refrigerate them for about a week and use them as toppings on pizza, crostini, sandwiches, pasta, really to anything you would normally use the fresh ones for.  And the great thing about this pasta salad that I served cold yesterday, we can warm up the leftovers for dinner tonight with a little parmigiano cheese thrown on top.

Roasting tomatoes is really simple and the key to them not drying and shriveling up is using a good amount of olive oil. Once prepped you slide them in the oven and wait for the wonderful aromas of roasting herbs and garlic to fill up your house for the next two hours!  The end result in amazing and I suggest you make extra to keep in the frig to top off your favorite savory foods.

50-60 ripe cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 C. olive oil
4 cloves of garlic minced
2 T. fresh rosemary chopped fine
2 T. fresh oregano
2 T. fresh thyme
Salt & pepper
1 t. pepperoncini (optional)
1 lb. dried pasta - rigatoni, bow-tie or penne work great
8 oz. fresh mozzarella
10-12 fresh basil leaves

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat.  Cut your tomatoes in half and line them up on the baking sheet.  Drizzle entire pan with olive oil, be sure that each tomato gets doused. Sprinkle the garlic, herbs, salt, pepper and pepperoncini over the tomatoes, put in the oven and roast, turning the tomatoes over once after about an hour.

After two hours remove your pan and put a big pot of water on to boil.  Cook your pasta according to instructions and drain when finished.  Let the pasta cool, mixing in a little olive oil to keep it from sticking. 

In the meantime, shred your mozzarella by simply pulling it apart by hand and finely chop the basil.  Once the pasta and tomatoes have cooled, add it all together with your remaining ingredients, add salt and pepper to taste.  Simple and really good!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Olio, Limoni e Ospitalità del Sud (Olive Oil, Lemons and Southern Hospitality)

View of Bay of Naples from Frantoio Ferraro

The day was warm and dry, one of the first of such since we arrived on the coast. May, we discovered, is very different from July, the weather can be cool and a bit unpredictable.  Taking full advantage of the beautiful day, Vincenzo's brother-in-law Nicola drove us to Pompeii where a few of the girls went in to see the magnificent ruins while those of us who have already been went shopping.  After a few hours we all had our fill and took a drive down the coast to visit a frantoio, an olive mill owned by friends of Vincenzo, perched atop the high cliffs of the Sorrentine Peninsula. Stomachs rumbling from the swervy coastal switchbacks and the small breakfast consumed hours ago, we were anxious for our lunch on the "dal patriarca", the local term for a coastal garden by the olive mill where they entertain guests lucky enough to know about this place.

A lovely garden table was set for us with the beautiful Bay of Naples in full view. The warmth and generosity of the people in this area is like no other and owners Nicola and Pia bring their own regional meaning to the term southern hospitality. You instantly feel as if you are part of the family, and so you eat like family with course after course of delicious home style cooking made from recipes passed down for generations lovingly served and prepared by Pia herself.  Nicola shares a bottle of wine that he made himself from the Aglianico grapes of Taurasi and of course their olive oils add incredible flavor to all of the foods served.

Owners Pia and Nicola

Another afternoon spent relaxing with friends, indulging ourselves with delicious food and drink.  Piano, piano...slowly, slowly we take our time and finish the meal with Pia's handmade limoncello, truly the best we've ever had.  Stomachs now full and heads spinning a bit from wine and limoncello, we take a quick tour of the mill and buy as much olive oil as we can fit in our suitcases.  I wish I could have bought more!

While all of their oils were delicious our favorite is the one infused "al limone di Sorrento".  It is simply amazing drizzled on salad or a sandwich and I discovered the other day that it is wonderful with corn.  So I'm listing a quick recipe below, an easy, fresh dish made with local corn, fresh mint, vidalia onion and of course the Frantoio Ferraro Olio Extra Vergine di Oliva al Limone di Sorrento.  And if you are visiting the Amalfi coast and would like a true, family style experience of regional food and hospitality, call Vincenzo Fusco to arrange a visit and drive you to Frantoio Ferraro, and please tell him Beth & Kerry sent you!

Salute Pia & Nicola!  Thank you for a lovely afternoon!

Fresh Corn with Frantoio Ferraro Olio Extra Vergine di Oliva al Limone di Sorrento

4 ears of fresh corn, cooked and cut off the cob
10 mint leaves finely chopped
1/4 of a large vidalia onion chopped
2 T Frantoio Ferraro Olio Extra Vergine di Oliva al Limone di Sorrento
Salt & Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and allow to sit for 30-60 minutes for the flavors to mingle.  Serves 4


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