Champagne and Sparkling Wine and Erotic Foods (January 27, 2005)
by Dean Tudor
Champagne and Sparkling Wine (iUniverse, 2004, 98 pages, ISBN
0-595-32702-8, US$11.95 paper covers) and Erotic Foods (iUniverse,
2004, 74 pages, ISBN 0-595-32698-6, US$10.95 paper covers) are both "grape
goddess guides to good living," being advice, tips, and anecdotes
from Catherine Fallis, a Master Sommelier since 1997. She has worked for
all sides of the hospitality industry.
The Champagne book is basic: terroirs, grape varieties, history,
production methods for both MC and other sparkling wines. Stems (and shoes)
are talked about, as well as bottle sizes. There are notes on how to taste
and evaluate, with data on food pairing. Recommendations are given, mainly
for US nationally distributed labels at full retail. She has quotes from
other writers and famous people, as well as stories on how Champagne affected
and interrelated with her life. There is even a quiz, and a second quiz
which follows chapters on seductive entertaining and parties. A short
bibliography concludes the work. Because this book grew out of two sets
of weekly email notes, there is an episodic feel about it.
This feel continues with the Erotic Foods book, where she emphasizes
anticipation and aphrodisiacs. Fallis has separate chapters for chocolate,
almonds-figs-mango-dates-coconut, grapes-apple-kiwi, artichokes-eggplant-mushroom-garlic,
truffles (the mushroom kind), hot spices, coffee and tea, oysters, caviar,
cheese and honey. She tells you what to do with each to maximize your
pleasure, and to set the mood. Typical potables include Champagne, sweet
wines, and fortifieds. Again, she has scattered many quotations about
the book. Fallis lists menus (all priced as to cost) with wines, followed
by a quiz. There are a number of recipes with wine recommendations. Unfortunately
for us, all the mail order sources are US. She concludes with details
of various creams and scents, as well as a music list and a bibliography.
Also, unfortunately, there are no indexes to the books, which limits their
use to a reader's recall or skimming the contents pages. For more details
about these and other similar books (there is one on Wine), Fallis can
be contacted through www.planetgrape.com.
Audience and level of use: Beginners
Some interesting or unusual recipes: Mango bread, zabaglione,
truffled risotto, shrimp and pernod
What I don't like about these books: Whenever there is a "technical"
term to be discussed in the Champagne book, she issues a "wine geek
alert." Also, somewhere between a fourth and a fifth of each book
is devoted to her (repetitious) biography and how she personally feels
about champagne and/or erotic food. Both could have been condensed a bit,
giving more space for expansion of material. As it is, there is already
a lot of white space.
What I do like about this book: Her saucy attitude