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Friday, August 2, 2019

The World’s Best Mussels

                                  Green-lipped mussels with onion & garlic in a wine sauce 

New Zealand’s green-lipped mussels are worth the trip across the Pacific to the southern hemisphere.  The good news, however, is that an international flight is not necessary.   Green-lipped mussels have become so popular in the US that they are now being widely imported.  Upscale Cali restaurants are featuring them cooked with everything from the classical wine and garlic sauce, to an Asian-inspired dish made with coconut milk and lemon-grass.  Google green-lipped mussel recipes and you’ll find nearly a half million suggestions.

So why are these mussels the latest craze?   This varietal (only found in New Zealand) is the largest mussel on planet earth---it can grow to over nine inches in length.  Biggest isn’t always best, but in the case of these mussels it surely is!   These mussels are flavor-bombs.  Their distinctive taste is both sweet and delicate… somewhere between a clam and an oyster.  Their plump meat is also tender and juicy.   In addition, the mussels also work well with a variety of cuisines (in Spain a few months ago I saw them prepared in a saffron-tomato sauce).  Last, let’s also acknowledge that these mussels are absolutely a feast for the eye---their electric green shell color is stunning, and the contrasting bright orange colored meat is a radiant against the backdrop of the green-black shells).

                                        Wine-Knows will visit a mussel "farm" 

The green lipped mussel industry in New Zealand is now valued at more than 350 million US dollars.  If you have a seat on the sold out Wine-Knows' trip in February 2020 to New Zealand you will not only be able to eat these delectable morsels, but will actually visit a mussel farm in the ocean.   Here you'll learn about how the mollusks are grown and harvested.  Then a chef will prepare for your lunch.  Of course, they’ll be washed down with some of New Zealand’s finest Sauvignon Blanc.

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