Sunday, September 29, 2013

Useful tools


Cutting a cigar is needed before you can smoke it... but how to cut? Using a guillotine, single or double blade... puncher... scissors... it seems to be some kinda philosophy.. let's shed some light on it.


V-cut
The first type of cuts I wanna introduce to you is the V-cut. Those cutters cut a wedge into the cigar cap rather than completely removing it, creating a clean-looking gash. They're not very common nowadays and in most cases you can see those kinda cuts at cheap machine-made cigars which already have a cut when you buy them.

V-cutter

Punch cut
This cut is preferred by some, as it exposes less of the filler and binder and reduces the chance of tobacco ending up in the mouth. Critics of this cut maintain that the smaller hole does not allow as much smoke to come out and the hole is often clogged with a saliva and tobacco buildup.

Puncher (can be attached to the keyring)

Straight cut
The straight cut is the most common, usually used on cigars with a smaller ring gauge. This cut uses a quick straight cut causing both ends of the cigar to be exposed. The double blade guillotine is preferred by many aficionados over the single blade, because it usually makes a cleaner cut. Cigar scissors are also used to make straight cuts, and may be the best choice for cutting the cigar with exactness. However, the guillotines are usually the most practical, the least expensive, and can be easily and safely carried in shirt or trouser pockets. Most prefer this cut because the entire cap end is exposed allowing for maximum smoke to exit with only minimum buildup occurring around the edge.

Swiss Army knife with cigar scissors

Small scissors

Double blade cutter

I asked the people what kinda cut the prefer, here are some of the answers:
  • “Double bladed guillotine, just on the tip, turning the cigar, cutting only the cap off, no extra tobacco.“
  • “Guillotine about 90% of the time, punch when I have one around.”
  • “Used a punch for years, guillotine for torps. Am currently liking a "V" cut - Xikar's VX cutter is pretty neat.”
  • “Using a guillotine to cut of the cap.”
  • “Sometimes so, sometimes so ;-)“
  • “I normally go 4 a straight cut using my faithful Palio cutter... Sometimes punch sublimes. I also tilt cut pyramids sometimes.”

Even though this tool is no cutter, I wanna show it to you anyhow... it's very useful if you wanna open a box which is hard to open... sometimes the nail is rusty etc.

Habanos hammer / box opener

And, of course, the last tool... no smoking pleasure without a lighter...

St. Dupont lighter

Monday, September 23, 2013

Durboyse Triple - a gift from a friend


I got this bottle from Thierry (http://thierryetsescigares.skynetblogs.be/) when we met in Lommel at the end of November 2011. This beer is from the region where he comes from... I never had it before, so I was curious to try it.

The smell is exactly my liking: some fruityness mixed with the bitterness of hops. This first impression continues in the taste... at first some fruity aromas and some decent sweetness which'll be replaced by a very pleasant bitterness of hops... A very nice Triple which's bottled with 8.0 % of alcohol... I think I need more of that!!

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Monday, September 16, 2013

A visit to Cailler in Broc


Cailler - the only one of the big chocolate factories worldwide which is using fresh milk for their chocolate... maybe that's one of the things which makes their chocolate a bit better then others... maybe better is the wrong word if you generalize it, but it's definitely different... and for me: better.

The factory offers a little tour where you get some information about the products they use and also about the process... additionally you can see some of the old machines and at the end of the tour there's the chance to try all of the chocolate they're producing... needless to say that it is: all you can eat! *hahaha*

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Monday, September 09, 2013

Ribelicious


As you know I love good food and the cooking of it...

I'd to find out that it's not so easy to make the "perfect ribs" due to this I did a lot of trials to make the ribs perfect in terms of my personal taste. I like them with a wet glazing in the end (Tanja prefers dry ribs). The glazing shouldn't be to sweet. The meat should have some bite to it, not the overcooked stuff you get at many places... making experiments with different kind of rubs... just one rub... two different rubs to create different layers of flavor... there are many variables which influence the result... so it needs time and several meals to find the optimum...

I prepare now 3 different kind of ribs:
  • Babyback Ribs
  • St. Louis Cut Spareribs
  • Beef Short Ribs

Babyback Ribs are sold as Spareribs over here in Europe, nobody's familiar to the term "Babybacks"...  I learnt this lesson too and after a while and some searching in the internet I found the correct term for the St. Louis Style Cut Sapreribs here in Switzerland which made me able to get that stuff from the butcher. You need to tell your butcher exactly what you want (and you have to know how it's named here), then you'll get it...

Beef Shortribs are also available on request, it seems that there's no general demand for it...

As I mentioned before it's a long journey to find the best way to prepare all of those different kinds because they all need different cooking times etc.

Now I'm able to get a consistent result of cooking when I prepare those ribs (so it's no longer a risk to prepare them for guests)... here are a few shots of some slabs....
  • Babyback Ribs
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A nice slab of Babyback ribs





Clean bones and the meat firm to the bite

Apple Kiss Babyback Ribs

Apple Kiss Babyback Ribs

Apple Kiss Babyback Ribs

A whole lot of Babyback Ribs

  • St. Louis Cut Spareribs
 A slab of St. Louis Cut ribs - cut into 2 parts, one´ll be wet the other one´ll be dry




  • Beef Shortribs
Beef short ribs

Glazed beef short ribs





Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Partagas Serie P No. 2 2005


General impression:
Colorado-colored wrapper, fine and silky with a little oily touch.... firm rolled, but that shouldn't be a problem....

A distinct odor of leather and earthiness comes to the nose.... it promises to be a strong smoke after an opulent dinner.

First Third:
After firing up and cutting the first puffs come along with very impressive notes of leather, underlaid by some bitter sweetness like coming from a very dark chocolate (90 % and more). There is also some kinda strange taste, something like conifer wood and resin. It came up from a sudden and disappeared in the same way.... but it was surprising for me, never had it before.

Second third:
The cigar is getting more creamy, but leather, bitter chocolate and some earthiness are still there... some woody components come up and it becomes an interesting interaction between the different flavors. The cigar itself is getting a bit stronger now.

Last third:
All the sweetness fainted away... strong woody notes, again a decent bitterness (but not unpleasant), a bitterness which brings along flavors of walnut.... It gets stronger at the end but nevertheless I could smoke it down to nearly a half inch.

Conclusion:
The cigar had a nice development over the smoking time of two hours, gets stronger inch by inch.... The ash was very firm, color was a dark grey. Lemme say: thumbs up for a good smoke.