A masterful brandy, a succulent watermelon, and an unforgettable foie gras.
By J.M. Towers
TORRES 20 HORS D'AGE
The legendary Spanish brandy
Bodegas Torres, the most admired Spanish producer of wines and spirits in the world in 2015—according to the British magazine Drinks International—produces a prestigious and unique brandy called Torres 20 Hors d'Age.
This brandy was the recipient of major awards in 2015, including the Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in the United States, and the World Brandy Gold Medal Awards in the UK. This pure distillate is made with Parellada and Ugni Blanc grapes. The Ugni Blanc strain grows mainly in Italy, southern France, and Catalonia, where it is favored for its intense, aromatic and very floral characteristics.
Bodegas Torres uses French oak barrels from the forests of Limousin, mainly because the wood increases its complexity and structure. During the first year, it is kept in new oak barrels, and then, to complete the process, it is transferred to older barrels to avoid the excessive influence of virgin wood.
Torres 20 Hors d'Age is an outstanding brandy not only for its remarkable dark amber hue but also for its deep, penetrating aroma, with traces of nuts and raisins and elegant notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The palate is unctuous, rich and well balanced, with an unforgettable finish.
The most expensive fruit
Hokkaido is Japan’s second largest island and home to the cultivation of the world’s most expensive watermelons. Given the particular nature of the soil, only about 10,000 units are produced annually.
They are a symbol of wealth and exclusivity in the Land of the Rising Sun—a midsize watermelon costs about US $400. In 2008, a fruit weighing nearly eight kilos (17 pounds) sold for US $6,100 which makes it the most expensive watermelon ever sold.
In Japan, it is usually given as a gift, demonstrating the status and purchasing power of the person who gifts it. It is a favorite present for special events such as christenings, weddings or when visiting a sick person worthy of great respect.
The exterior is black, unscratched, and the flesh inside shows a pink hue. Those who have tried it say it is incredibly sweet, compact and very tasty.
PRÉ AUX CANARDS
The rich foie gras
Pré aux Canards is an outstanding foie gras produced by a cooperative located in the south of the Tarn, a mountainous area located in the Regional Natural Park of Upper Languedoc in southwestern France.
The objective of this cooperative is to control the overall quality of the foie gras produced in the area. Therefore, the members are in charge of raising the ducks in their facilities in the departments of Tarn, Aude, and Aveyron.
The packaging is done in a modern building where expert chefs use traditional methods to create the delightful duck foie gras. It is a tasty and outstanding product, which honors the spirit of the ancient artisan foie whose spicy, generous and strong flavor is a tribute to French cuisine. ■
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