Thursday, October 31, 2013

Baked Wine & Spice Grapes with Ginger Snaps for Food 'N Flix October: A Good Year

Time again for Food 'N Flix, where the passions for food and movies intersect each month.  This month we traveled to Provence with A Good Year, hosted by Tina at Squirrel Head Manor. A Good Year stars Russell Crowe and was directed by Ridley Scott and is (apparently very loosely) based on the book of the same name by Peter Mayle. I remember seeing A Good Year when it came out in 2006 but it didn't really stick out to me as a film I loved--except for the Provence scenery. Who doesn't love a gorgeous old chateau, and country roads lined with sun dappled trees?! Lucky for me, the film was free on demand through cable--gotta love the timing of that--and I settled in this past weekend for another viewing.

Russell Crowe plays Max Skinner, a busy investment trader with questionable ethics. Max spent his childhood summers at the chateau/vineyard of his Uncle Henry but hasn't spoken to him in years. When he learns that it was left to him in his uncle's will he leaves London for Provence to sell the estate and get back to Londonn. Over the course of his stay, Max mellows and starts to develop feelings for the area, its quirky inhabitants and for a sassy cafe manager, ultimately realizing there may be more to life than money and the next big trade. It's a cute little film, if a bit draggy at times, and Max takes time to warm up to. My favorite parts were the flashbacks to Max's summers with his Uncle Henry as I loved the interchanges between Freddie Highmore (who played young Max) and the great Albert Finney as Uncle Henry.  

Uncle Henry: "Max, have I told you why I enjoy making wine so much?"

Young Max: "You don't make the wine, Uncle Henry - that guy Duflot does."

Uncle Henry: [Reproachfully] "In France it's always the landowner who makes the wine, even though he does nothing more than supervise with binoculars from the comfort of his study. No, I enjoy making wine, because this sublime nectar is quite simply incapable of lying. Picked too early, picked too late, it matters not - the wine will always whisper into your mouth with complete, unabashed honesty every time you take a sip."

There is plenty of wine and French food to be had in the movie but nothing really stood out to me to make. Finally, I was going to go with a classic Eggplant Provencal but while standing in a very long line at the grocery store, I happened to thumb through the current copy of Everyday with Rachel Ray magazine and came across a recipe for Wintry Spiced Grapes. It had wine (ruby port wine) and grapes and I decided it was the wine-inspired dish I wanted to make. I put my eggplant back, grabbed grapes and gingersnaps (not really related to the movie but they looked good in the magazine picture) and I was ready to go.
Baked Wine & Spice Grapes 
Slightly Adapted from EveryDay with Rachel Ray, November 2013 
(Serves 4

1 lb red seedless grapes
1/2 cup sweet red wine*
3 cinnamon sticks
3 whole cloves
2 strips orange peel
Gingersnaps to serve

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

In a baking dish, toss grapes, wine, cinnamon, cloves and orange peel. Bake, stirring occasionally, until grapes are tender--about 12 minutes. Discard cloves. 

Serve warm with gingersnaps.

*Recipe called for ruby port. I substituted a sweet red dessert wine. 

Notes/Results: Baking the grapes softens them and brings out more of their sweetness--which along with the wine, goes well with the cinnamon-clove-orange mixture and pairs exceptionally with the crisp spiced ginger cookies. The wine I used--an Argentinian sweet and fruity red that I had already on hand, worked well. This is a quick and easy dessert--although if you end up with the really large red seedless grapes, it takes closer to 20 minutes to get them sufficiently tender. It does seem like a perfect cozy fall/winter dessert. I would make it again. 

Thanks to Tina for hosting this round! If you missed this month's Food 'N Flix and you love food, films and foodie films, join us in November for Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?, hosted by Cheap Ethnic Eats.



  1. Mmm so juicy!! I fell in love with roasted grapes earlier this year. They are such a fun alternative to fresh!

  2. Deb, this is a wonderful idea for wintery dessert - I love the depth of flavour that comes from roasting fruit, and it's perfect for that time of year when fresh fruit for dessert seems just a tad "cold".

  3. Deb, this is a wonderful idea for wintery dessert - I love the depth of flavour that comes from roasting fruit, and it's perfect for that time of year when fresh fruit for dessert seems just a tad "cold".

  4. I have never had them baked either Alicia, but they are really good that way. ;-)

  5. Thanks Joanne! The soaking in sweet wine certainly adds to the fun. ;-)

  6. I adore roasted grapes. Too bad I just gave away a bottle of port that I had for 12 years. Could have made this recipe. Sounds fabulous

  7. What a delicious dish. I can see this as a simple dessert.

  8. Little Joy FactoryNovember 3, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    Deb, you've just gaiven me a great idea to enjoy grapes! Here in Singapore, everything is imported, ripe juicy grapes are rare and expensive. Most of them are a bit hard, guess they are chosen to survive the long distance transportation. However, they are perfect for baking, which will make them soften and bring out the sweetness!

  9. This is really different and original, love it. I don,t care that is it not true French food ;-)


Mahalo for visiting and for leaving a comment. I love reading them and they mean a lot!

All advertising, spam, inappropriate (or just plain rude) comments will be promptly deleted. I do appreciate your right to free speech and to your opinion but I'm not into mean, rude, or mean snarky (non-mean snarky is just fine!) ;-)