Eat, Drink and be Merry with this picture perfect starter course!

It’s easier than it looks…


1 bottle dry, red wine
2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
20 peppercorns
1/4 cup honey
1 vanilla bean split ( or 3 tbsp real vanilla extract)
1 lemon, halved
6-8 rip, Bosc pears

Combine wine, water, sugar, cinnamon, peppercorns, honey and vanilla in a large pot. Squeeze in lemon juice, using a strainer to catch the seeds, and toss in one of hte lemon halves. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 10 mins.

Meanwhile, peel the pears carefully and rinse. Place in the hot poaching liquid and cover with a lid slightly smaller than the pot to keep the pears submerged. Turn the hear down to simmer and poach the pears for 20-30 mins (unripe pears may take up to an hour). Turn the pears about 1/2 way through the cooking time. Pears are done when a fork comes out clean (just like a baked potato). Let cool slightly, then transfer to a bowl. Reduce the pear juice by 1/2, then pour over the pears and store.

Delicious served with a strong cheese (blue, stilton, sharp, white cheddar) as a first, or fruit course, for dessert with bitter chocolate sauce and coconut macaroons, or sliced and fanned out on herbed greens tossed with a Champagne vinegarette (add a few blackberries for added punch).