New to me – a grape variety and a delicious chocolate dessert

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I’ve often wondered which variety these vines were as I pass them on my way to Roujan.  After the torrential rain we’ve had recently, including another storm last night, they are past their best autumn colour now but they are still a much deeper red than the other varieties we see in the vineyards around the village.  Last night I asked a vine-growing, wine-making friend and he told me they are Alicante Bouschet.  This is a teinturier variety whose dark red grapes deepen the colour of red wine when mixed with other, paler varieties.  It was created by Henri Bouschet in 1866 when he crossed Petit Bouschet (a variety created by his father) with Grenache.  It’s grown in many wine-growing areas around the world, especially in France, Portugal, Italy, California and in south-eastern Spain where it is called garnacha tintorera.

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Being so busy while our daughter was visiting, I forgot to post the delicious chocolate tart she made for us:

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I don’t make desserts very often but this one was so good I’ll be making it again.  And, best of all, it doesn’t need cooking, just time to set in the fridge.  She made the base by mixing 150 grams of biscuits (Breton short-cake type biscuits from our village shop, but you can use digestive biscuits) made into crumbs with 60 grams of ground hazelnuts and 80 grams of melted butter, then pressing the mixture into a loose-bottomed cake tin lined with a circle of grease-proof paper.  Then she melted 200 grams of dark chocolate, mixed in 25 cl of crème fraïche (in Wales she uses whipping cream but that’s not available here) and spread this mixture on the biscuit base.  After a few hours in the fridge it was ready to eat.

9 thoughts on “New to me – a grape variety and a delicious chocolate dessert

  1. I love how easy — and beautiful — that chocolate tart is! Is grease-proof paper similar to waxed paper, or more like parchment paper? It’s grand to have adult children cook for you, isn’t it?

    I also enjoyed seeing the close-up of the single red Alicante Bouschet leaf and hope to find some California wine using that grape.

    • The only U.S. wineries offering Alicante Boushet grape wines that I’m aware producing such: Bray Vineyard – Plymouth, CA, Cedar View Winery – Sangor, CA, Chouinard Vineyards – Castro Valley, CA, Francis Coppala (Diamond Magenta Label) – Greyserville, CA, Joseph Filippi – Rancho Cucamonga, CA, Harmony Wynelands – Lodi, CA, Kirkwood Winery – Summerville, WV, Mayo Family Winery – Glen Ellen, CA, Nuyaka Creek Winery – Bristow, OK, Obscurity Cellars Winery – Fair Play, CA, Valhalla Winery – Roanoke, VA

  2. The Alicante grape is one of the few red grapes that give red juice, rather than clear juice being coloured from the grape skin.
    I’m bookmarking the chocolate tart for the end-of-year special meals.

  3. There are several teinturier variety grapes with coloured flesh as Alacante Bouchet, Saperavi and Dunkelfelder. Add to this, North America’s only true variety grape worthy of serious wine production, ~ the Norton grape (248 Norton wineries in 24 states, mainly in the Southeast and Mid-west).

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