Sunday, December 31, 2017

Ready to Stock-Up for the New Year?

Nothing says a New Year like some bubbly. Here are three I like that are inexpensive and tasty.

Bring out the bubbles…
Côté Mas Jean-Claude Cremant de Limoux Brut is a fruity sparkling from France which you can pick up for around $10. It has a bit of sweetness, mixed with citrus. I would not take too much notice of the “Brut” (dry) on the label.

For something very different, the Côté Mas Crémant de Limoux Rosé (also a sparkling) is delicious. It’s very light and filled with strawberry and raspberry notes.

Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio is a standard in restaurants. When people ask me about an easy to fine, inexpensive white wine in a restaurant, it’s a go-to. That’s why I was happy to try their sparkling, I quickly agreed.

The Santa MargheritaProsecco Superiore is also one you can count on, whether it’s at home. It has a bit of apple sweetness, and floral notes, that make it easy drinking.


Straight up or in cocktails…
With the Santa Margherita Prosecco, I received some Sparkling Ice, a zero calorie, naturally-flavored sparkling water. It comes in many flavors. I’ve tried a few before, but not the Peach Nectarine Crisp Apple or Lemon Lime.

I’ve included some recipes below for sparkling cocktails. While I think the flavor profile of the Sparkling Ice is fantastic and delicious in drinks or by itself for a non-alcoholic beverage, I didn’t really like it used with the prosecco. I think it’s a bit too much of a bubble overload.


Green Tea Toddy
1 ½ oz whisky or apple brandy
1 teaspoon honey

Coat the bottom of a glass coffee cup with honey.
Add whisky or brandy to cup.
Heat Sparkling Ice Crisp Apple in a small pot.
Pour hot Crisp Apple Sparkling Ice into the glass.
Stir to combine ingredients.
Garnish with cinnamon stick, allspice cloves, and apple slices.


Autumn Peach Mocktail
4 oz apple cider
Large sage leaves
Apple slices for garnish
2 pinches of freshly grated nutmeg

In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, combine 2 of the sage leaves and the shrub and muddle to release the flavor of the sage.
Fill the shaker halfway with ice and add the apple cider and nutmeg.
Pour into a cocktail glass and garnish with the last sage leaf.


Seattle Scorcher
1 Jalapeno
Homemade Sour Mix
 (Optional) A Shot of Tequila

Mix ingredients in shaker with ice.
Pour into a glass.

Garnish with lime wedges.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Holiday Finds to Give, Keep or Serve



It’s time for holiday shopping and entertaining. Here’s a few things which have come across my door that I think you’ll enjoy.


The perfect food basket…
Last year, Murray’s Cheese NYC sent me their Most Valuable Player basket to check out. This year, I got La Dolce Vita and it was fantastic. 

What a great selection of meats, cheeses, and accompaniments it is. There’s enough to serve at least eight, making it well worth the $120. I also love that the cheeses are each different, from spreadable to aged.


• Fontina Fontal Cheese (a favorite of everyone)
• La Tur Creamy Cheese
• Pecorino Calabrese Sheep Cheese
• Gorgonzola
• Murray's Sopressata Salami
• Murray's Speck (similar to prosciutto)
• Castelvetrano Olives
• Sandimiri Crostini Bread

On a personal note, it was the first time I’ve had a true (and delicious) Italian salami since leaving New York!


Check these chips for a cause…
Honchos Chips by Deep River Snacks are a must try for two reasons: they taste good and they do good.

Founder Jim Goldberg, whose son is afflicted with Primary Sclerosing Cholangtis and Crohn’s Disease, supports the Chris Klug Foundation, to raise awareness of organ donation and education.

Goldberg’s Honchos Chips are USDA certified organic, gluten-free, and made with non-GMO ingredients in the U.S. 

They come in three flavors, Nacho Cheese, Ranch, and Peach Habaneros. They are all very good, but the Peach are outstanding.


Deliciously Inexpensive Wine…
Stock up for the holidays on Aimé Ruca Malen, a Argentinian Malbec that’s under $10 a bottle. It’s filled with tasty notes of black raspberry, cassis, and even a hint of chocolate.


For the Gluten-Free…
If you are looking for something to serve a gluten-free friend or relative, or someone on a strict diet, you might want to pick up some Skinny Pasta

They don’t have the same substance as pasta, but there’s no cooking involved, just heat and serve with your favorite sauce. I don’t recommend their rice (too mushy), but the rest will work for someone who can’t eat regular noodles.


A little chutney on the side…
Chut-Up is a unique brand of healthy condiments. They started with three kinds - ketchup, chutney, and hot sauce.

The Beet Ketchup is sweet and delicious, The Chutney, with apple and carmelized onion, was the crowd favorite with its sweet and sour mixture. As for the Hot Sauce, it’s really hot, and only for real spice enthusiasts.


Coffee or cocktails, you need this…
Most of the time when I bring out a bunch of wine and spirits for sampling, we only get through some of the bottle. This was not the case with Sugarlands Appalachian Sippin’ Cream in Pumpkin Spice Latte. I barely got a small glassful when I turned around and the bottle was empty!


This sipping cream has the smoothness of Bailey’s with distinct pumpkin flavor, especially cinnamon and ginger. It’s delicious straight, in coffee, hot chocolate, or anything else you can think of. You can’t go wrong with this one from Sugarlands