As you already know, my passion is baking. And, if you haven’t already guessed, one of my other most favorite things to do is to hang out with friends, chatting, and drinking wine. And if this hanging out can be done outside during warm weather, even better. And last week, a combo of all of these things came together at the suggestion of my pal, Jameson, the voice behind the delightful blog Wine Without Worry .
One day a couple of months ago, Jameson called and asked if I would like get together for a wine and baking afternoon. His thought was that we hang out, make the cheese crackers/straws recipe from my book, and then eat the fruits of our labors and drink champagne. Of course, I was delighted to say yes! I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon than baking and drinking champagne.
Now, I knew that this wasn’t going to be any old champagne he would bring. He is a wine expert (he was just nominated for the coveted Saveur Best Wine or Beer Blog award). He works as a consultant for wine shops, farms, and organizations around Seattle. And he’s the Wine Editor for Foodista. In addition to all of his other endeavors, Jameson hosts a monthly wine podcast. Therefore, I knew that when he said he would bring champagne, it would be special–and would be paired perfectly with the cheese straws. I couldn’t wait! I have to admit: as much as I like to drink wine, I’m not that good at pairing wine with the food I’m eating. I usually pick a wine I like and call it good. Luckily, I have friends like Jameson who can bump up the wine-food experience from just “good” to “wow, this is amazing!”
One of the many things I like about Jameson is that he is curious and always willing to experience and learn new things. He always seems to be traveling to wine growing regions (hello, France!), wineries, wine shops, and to learn from and chat with other wine experts. I think this is a sign of someone who is truly passionate about what they do. I love being around people who are working in the field they are meant to be in–it’s a joy to behold. And, I love it when folks like Jameson pair their passion with teaching other people about their field. This is Jameson.
He is such a busy bee (he is always traveling to gather more knowledge about wine and wine growing), and I had to deal with a long-term virus that felled my family for weeks (not nearly as glamorous as touring the wine country, I’m afraid) that we weren’t able to get together until last week. As it turns out, the day we got together was start of a run of spectacular spring days–a treat for us in rainy Seattle.
As we started, I asked if Jameson wanted an apron and he said, “sure!” So, I gave him one of the dAhub’s aprons (everyone in our house as at least one apron. As you can guess, I have many). As we started making the cheese crackers and straws, I asked Jameson if he ever baked. He said, “a little bit.” I was trying to gauge how much I would need to explain to him about the baking process. He then mentioned, almost off-handedly, that in graduate school he had worked in a bakery and that he had then apprenticed to a pastry chef. LOL! Typical Jameson–he is so humble and low key. So, we got to work in mixing and then rolling the dough.
After we baked the straws and crackers, we went out into the garden to drink sparkling rosé and nibble on our creations. I got out a couple of champagne coupes that I had inherited from my grandparents. Even though flutes seem currently to be the preferred glass for drinking sparkling wine, I love coupes. They are so elegant and pretty and using them makes me feel like I’m hanging out at an elegant 1930s party.
I will admit, I don’t really know much about wine or champagne. I know what I like, but I don’t really pay that much attention to years or appellations or varietals or whatever. Luckily, I have friends like Jameson who know what they’re doing and can bring the appropriate wine to match the food. The champagne he brought–or I should say, sparkling wine (a sparkling wine isn’t officially a “champagne” unless it comes from the Champagne region of France)–was a sparkling rosé from the Tenuta Col Sandago winery in the Veneto region of Italy. And it was perfect with the cheese crackers. And a bonus: it was so pretty in the coupes!
We spent a convivial couple of hours in the garden, drinking sparkling wine, eating cheese straws and crackers, and chatting about our lives and our work and our hopes and dreams. And, when it was time for him to go, he left the remainder of the champagne with me and I sent him home with the rest of the cheese sticks. He gave me the best compliment ever:”you’d never know these were gluten-free!” Thank you for the lovely afternoon, Jameson!
Jameson’s blog post about our day.