Tag Archives: champagne

Mom’s Clericot

26 May

It was with my mother that I’ve learned to appreciate a refreshing “clericot”.  This is a drink the British took to South America as “claret cup”, which later became “clericot”.  According to Darcy O’Neal it was the punch of choice for parties and the drink most enjoyed by the British in the 1800’s.   It’s very similar to the Spanish “sangria” and it basically consists of wine with some sort of fruit and a sweetener (usually white sugar).  Hundreds of different “sangria” and “clericot” recipes can be found on the net.  Actually in Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, as far as I know, the main difference between “sangria” and “clericot” is that the later is prepared with white wine (regular and/or sparkling), while in the former reds are used.

This was my mom’s choice drink for Christmas Eve (remember that Christmas is during the Brazilian summer), and she had her own recipe, which included diced fruits (mainly fresh apples and canned peaches – thus you don’t need to add the sugar), 1 bottle of Champagne, 1 bottle of white wine (usually a Riesling), 1 bottle of sparkling mineral water and lots of ice.

A few weeks ago I was offering a Sunday lunch for some friends and decided to try something different (at least it was completely different for me).  The idea was to transform my mom’s “clericot” recipe into a dessert.

What I did, and you can try it too, was to dissolve 2 powdered neutral gelatin envelopes in 2 cups of cold water and waited it to hydrate for a couple of minutes.  I then added 1 1/2 cups of sugar and heated the mixture until the gelatin and the sugar dissolved completely (you must be careful not to overcook the gelatin, after all it’s a protein).  I then transferred it to a large bowl and added 1 bottle of Champagne (in fact I used a Spanish cava) and 1 bottle of Chardonnay.  I gently mixed everything (gently, as you won’t want to lose all the gas) and took the mixture to the refrigerator.  All this was done one day ahead.

Just before serving I diced several canned peach slices, scraped the gelatin with a fork, and arranged them (almost in layers) in white wine glasses.

Clericot gelatin

I have no reason to be modest, then let me tell you, the result was excellent.  You could even feel the bubbles as the gelatin melted in your mouth and the wines filled your tongue and palate with their distinctive and refreshing flavors.  My mom sure would have loved it.

Just remember, the alcohol is still there, thus there goes a piece of advice:  go easy on it and keep your kids away.

Clericot Gelatin

“El Bulli” and “Linguiceira”

14 Apr

Last week, during a trip to the most wonderful island in this world, the Isl. of Santa Catarina in southern Brazil were the city of Florianópolis is located, I had the privilege of receiving two fantastic gifts from my two brothers-in-law, Rodolfo and Reynaldo (they’re not so bad after all).

1. Rodolfo has a daughter, Julia, who happens to live in France and to be a very close friend of the acclaimed Chef Mauro Colagreco.  Mauro Colagreco is the chef de cuisine of Mirazur, a modern restaurant set in  Menton, on the Côte d’Azur right at the Italian border. He earned his first Michelin star in 2007. In the same year Gault Millau, the French restaurant guide, named Mirazur newcomer of the year (Révélation Gault Millau de l’Année).  Chef Colagreco was born in the La Plata province, Argentina, and after travelling throughout Latin America arrived in Paris to cook with the finest chefs, like Bernard Loiseau at La Côte d’Or, Alain Passard at L’Arpège and Alain Ducasse at Plaza Athénee.

Well, Chef Colagreco and my niece Julia went to Spain for a visit to the 3-Michelin star Chef Ferran Adriá and his world-famous “El Bulli“.  There, they received, from the hands of Chef Adriá himself (and I like to imagine him asking Chef Colagreco to give it to me as a personal sign of his appreciation for this most amazing blog) a copy of “Un dia en El Bulli” (A Day at El Bulli).  Guess I don’t need to add anything else, except maybe for a special thanks to Mauro and Julia.

A Day at El Bulli (The Veuve Clicquot Ponsirdin was a most welcomed extra)

2. Reynaldo was in Itajaí, a city colonized by Portuguese from Madeira and Azores Islands, were he was introduced to a “linguiceira”, or “chouriceira” as it’s called in Portugal.  “Linguiceira” is a clay pot specially designed to prepare “linguiças” (sausages).  He thought of me and immediately brought one home, which now happens to be at my kitchen.

The “linguiceira” is a plain round clay pot with a kind of clay grill at the bottom.  You have to place some alcohol (ethanol)  in it (bellow the grill of course), place your sausage on top (I prefer a smoked sausage similar to the German “Mettwurst“), and last but not least, light the fire. As the alcohol burns it heats up the sausage, which releases some of its fat which then feeds the flames (they are blue at the beginning, turning red as fat starts to burn). After a few minutes you are ready to have a wonderful snack (we had it with some Pita bread and Veuve Clicquot while talking about El Bulli and Chefs Colagreco and Adriá).  The sausage, produced in Pomerode (the most German city in Brazil), was rather similar to the “Holsteiner” variety, typical of northern Germany.  You can have an idea of the whole process observing the pictures bellow:

Starting of the process - burning alcohol placed at the bottom

Stage 2 - Fat released from the sausage starts to burn

Time to turn it around

Enjoy it!

German sausage, prepared in a Portuguese way by Brazilian cooks, and eaten with Middle Eastern bread and French champagne while enjoying a Spanish book . Can anything else be more Borderless?????


%d bloggers like this: