Cuisine Noir – Delicious Life: Chewing the cud on blind beef tastings

by wands on July 1, 2010

Full version of this column appeared in Cuisine Noir’s July 2010 issue.

Blind beef tasting picture from restaurantOnce there was red wine, white wine, French wine, and anything pink was plonk. Then came the subtleties and these days, if you don’t know about appellations and terroir, and haven’t been introduced to wine flights and blind tastings, it’s like — where have you been?

Chocolate and olive oil have gone the way of wine. It’s happening with coffee, with the selection of blends and roasts.

And now?

I’m sitting at a table with my eyes shut tightly to facilitate laser focus on my taste buds and — hmmm — I take a peek at my tasting notes and conclude, yes, this is definitely bouncy. And it’s straightforward and complex. And are those notes of roasted nuts I taste?

I jot down my observations then move on to what’s next on my plate and, for heavens sake, who would have known that a steak might be a steak by any name, same as a rose, but can I compare what I sampled a minute ago to what I’m chewing now? Are they the same species of animal?

Beef Tasting Party

Sustainable beef farming, BrentwoodAt this point, the same as others in our tasting party, I’ve chewed on small beef steaks from four different animals; each one a different breed; from a different part of the country; a different climate; and raised by a different farmer. I’ve chewed on what was placed at 12 o’clock on my plate; and the 3 o’clock cut. I’m about to work my way through 6 o’clock; and then I’ll be on to 9 o’clock.

And once we’ve tried them all, cleansing our palates with sliced apples in between, there will be wine. (Blind beef tasters are advised to hold off on the wine until after sampling each steak to maintain palate integrity.)

If you haven’t yet been to a blind beef tasting or held one yourself, it might very well happen soon. These things have a way of catching on and quickly becoming trends.

Meet the Meat Trend

Especially given that meat itself has become trendy recently. Knowing where an animal lived and what it ate before it made its way onto your plate, for example. And experiencing the whole darn animal right through to cutting it up yourself or discussing all the gory details with the butcher . . .

Read the complete column in Cuisine Noir magazine, July 2010.

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