The Perfect Pairing
Food and wine have always shared an integral bond, each coaxing the best out of the other. It was only natural that Haskell’s would share a long history with the Minneapolis culinary scene, including some of the most respected names in French cooking.
In the ‘40s and ‘50s, wine was still considered to be quite exotic, and Minnesotans were timid about cooking with it. A pioneer in the local wine community, Fritzi Haskell took it upon herself to teach people how to unlock new flavor profiles using wine. As patrons shopped at Haskell’s, Fritzi would pass along tips on how to tenderize and marinade meats—like soaking a cheese cloth in wine and wrapping it around a steak—or how to create restaurant-quality sauces at home. But it was her turkey basting sauce that really got Minnesotans talking.
When Fritzi passed Haskell’s to me, Jack Farrell, she also passed along her passion for food. The synergistic relationship of food and wine has been a source of endless pleasure for us at Haskell’s: planning wines for prestigious events, opening The Big Cheese (our deli), and helping our customers make the right selections for cooking or pairing.
One of the great pleasures of my life was being asked to introduce the irreplaceable Julia Child. In 1972, Julia came to Minneapolis to promote her newest book. As I stood at the podium of a packed Dayton’s Auditorium, I noticed a familiar face in the crowd. I said “Before I introduce our noted celebrity, I’d like to point out that the godmother of French cuisine in the Twin Cities happens to be in the audience—Verna Meyer.”
…if a wine isn’t good enough to drink, it isn’t good enough to cook with.
Verna Meyer was a local culinary pioneer whose cookbooks brought French cooking to the Midwest in the early ‘50s. Julia was so impressed that someone had introduced French technique almost twenty years before her, and she was delighted that I brought Verna to everyone’s attention. That cemented a relationship I had with Julia Child that lasted throughout her life.
Julia Child’s husband, Paul, and I hit it off right away, as we both loved to talk about wine, and I became one of his go-to references when selecting wines to pair with or be used in Julia’s fine cooking. She always said if a wine isn’t good enough to drink, it isn’t good enough to cook with. One of her “secret weapons” in the kitchen was a bottle of high-quality Bossiere Dry Vermouth, which she would add to recipes calling for dry white wine.
My wife and I have many cherished memories of Julia and Paul, but the nights that stand out are when we would pair the incredible dishes from Julia’s kitchen with just the right wines from Haskell’s.
Whether you’re cooking for someone special, planning an event or celebrating the holidays, we’d love to help you select the perfect wine.