Some days I feel like a detective. Sort of like Sherlock Holmes. Or like I'm playing the game "Where's Waldo", but instead of that weird Waldo guy, I'm searching for hidden food allergens. Those insidious things can hide just about anywhere: Shampoo, soap, hair gel and today I confirmed (although I long suspected it) that they also hide in wine and champagne. I've read to beware of eggs in wine in several places, but I never checked it out. The Little Man is 3 years old, so it's not like he's going to be drinking wine anytime soon, but I have several recipes that call for wine or champagne for ingredients. For now, I've been leaving it out, but I'd like to make Chicken Au Champagne for company this weekend and I figured that I can't really leave out the champagne for this one. The original recipe calls for Veuve-Clicquot, and according to their web page, it's vegan so it's free of animal products, but it's also $50.00 a bottle and that's a little too pricey in my book to be cooking with (drinking is a different matter). I use the less expensive stuff to cook with. So I contacted the company I usually buy my "cooking champagne" from and they got back to me right away. This is what they said:
Eggs, and less often milk protein, are sometimes used in winemaking in all counties. Egg whites are sometimes used to soften harsh red wines. Milk protein is sometimes used similarly in white wines to improve color and reduce harshness.
We do not generally need to use either at Korbel. However, I can not guarantee that they would never be used. There is a great deal of controversy in the industry regarding the question of these additives possibly causing allergic reactions from wine consumption. The alcohol in wine substantially changes the proteins which cause the allergic reactions.
Best to be careful until all the evidence is in…
I mean, I kind of knew, but I didn't KNOW. Nice that I may have had glasses of "egg" sitting around my house during a dinner party. I always chose wine over beer because I assumed it was safer for his allergies. Well, I guess I'll be buying my wine at our local organic store or the Wild Oat and I'll be hunting down Vegan wine. Things with food allergies get stranger and stranger all the time.