In proposing a description of the wine / food relationship, so important in the history and practice of gastronomy, the “wine” element can be considered in three respects:
- As a food itself.
- As a raw material that contributes to the composition of food.
- As a drink to combine with food.
- Wine as a food
Currently, by the great majority of scholars, wine is considered a “complementary energy element”. Energetic as it contains organic food substances able to supply calories, complementary as in itself it is not able to completely cover the vital needs of our body.
The energy intake can be calculated as 700 calories per liter, to reach a maximum of 1500 calories for liqueur wines.
But thinking about the food function of wine in purely dietary terms is misleading. For centuries the role played by this drink in nutrition, especially of Latin populations, has been much more important than the values of energy: the element of appetite, of stimulating and digestive function, of organoleptic variability it has enhanced consumption.
Considering that the main constituent delvino is water, the components of specific nutritional interest are: alcohols, acids, sugars, polyphenols, mineral substances, and vitamins.
It is clear that it is alcohol that determines the food value of wine for better or for worse. Within an hour of taking it not subject to digestion, the blood alcohol level reaches its maximum. Almost all then undergoes in the liver and tissues the action of the enzymatic systems that degrade it until the formation of water and carbon dioxide. When taken in small doses it exerts physiological effects of considerable importance: it accentuates salivary secretion, gastric secretion and sometimes also pancreatic, stimulates the brain activity, induces a vague sense of well-being and euphoria.
At high doses, gradually increasing, it causes metabolic disturbances on the enzymes of the liver, increases blood pressure, heart rate and peripheral temperature. Up to a progressive loss of sensitivity and psychic perturbations.
- Wine in the kitchen
In wine producing countries the presence of the latter in the composition of foods is a constant and ennobling element. The modern kitchen has even expanded the use of wine to enrich and complete the flavor of certain foods. On this topic, some practical advice:
- Never use very old and precious thousandths for the kitchen. In addition to being expensive, this use often turns out to be harmful.
- Do not even use poor or too light wines. In this last case the taste of the wine at the end of the reduction could be absolutely imperceptible.
- When you add wine during cooking, have the warning to lower the temperature of the food using a few tablespoons of cold water: in fact the first wine poured into the pot can burn and give an unpleasant toasted bottom to the plate.
- The added wine should always be consumed, or “fade”, as they say with a technical term, so that the alcohol evaporates and the aromatic components of the wine harmonize with the rest of the food.
- Drink, with the dish that includes wine as ingredients, the same wine of the preparation and if possible drink one of the same qualitatively better type.
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