Braised meats, hearty stews, and poached fruits are just a few of the many dishes that can benefit from a splash of red wine. But what to use if you or a loved one can't have alcohol? One clever solution might be this purple powder from The Dry Gourmet. Reasons why someone might not want to cook with alcohol range from being in recovery to religion and allergies. (Contrary to popular belief, alcohol does not completely evaporate during cooking. Non-alcoholic wines also contain trace amounts.) This can be a challenge for those who enjoy the flavor that wine can bring to food. Ohio-based entrepreneur Benjamin Atkinson learned this first hand while trying to help out a friend:
My inspiration came from a friend. He's a physician in recovery. He loves to cook continental cuisine, but can't have alcohol in his home. He asked me to find a non-alcoholic cooking wine. I couldn't find one. So, I accepted the challenge and found somebody to make one.
Atkinson located a company that would mix wine with a little starch and put it through a low-temperature dehydration process. The result is a dry powder that retains the color, aroma, flavor, and tannins of wine. Reconstituted with water, it can be used like regular wine in cooking. Apparently it can also be used dry in baked goods.
Although Atkinson has no prior commercial food experience ("I'm just a guy who learned to cook when Mom went back to school," he says), he believes in the product and has launched a Kickstarter to raise funds. If the campaign is successful, the Dry Gourmet's first product will be a Dry Red Wine made from Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon. Atkinson says it has notes of citrus and is light-bodied compared to a Burgundy.
We're looking forward to trying it for ourselves. What do you think? Is this product something you would support and use?
• Learn more:
The Dry Gourmet at Kickstarter
The Dry Gourmet website
Related: Technique: Cooking With Wine
(Images: The Dry Gourmet)