Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Don’t Forget These for your Holiday Season

It’s that time a year when entertaining includes indulging in not only food, but wine. Check out these finds for your holiday table.

Apple Pie in a Glass…
Who says apple pie is just for dessert? Not Oliver Winery. They’ve released an Apple Pie wine this year which doesn’t take like fruit wine or cider, it takes like apple pie! They fresh press tart apples and mix it with all your pie seasoning favorites, such as cinnamon and nutmeg, so it’s not a super sweet wine and is refreshing before, during, and after holiday dinners.
My kind of Pinot…
Some mean Noir, but with me it’s usually Grigio. I found two to love this month and they’re both within everyone’s budget.

Mommy’s Time Out Pinto Grigio is a delicious treat. It’s fruity and light, and under $15. Have a few bottles around for the holiday as your go-to white.

In the same price range is Astoria Alisia Pinot Grigio. This one is also good, but with more lemon notes if you prefer a more citrusy pinot.

Have some Popcorn with that…
I happen to love popcorn, even when it’s plain, but I found a few that have outdone themselves this month.

If you live in Chicago – or have ever travelled through it – you certainly know about Garrett’s Popcorn. They make some superb flavors, the most popular of which is their original CaramelCrisp®.  I had the chance to try their new Buffalo. Like the chicken wings, it has quite a kick. It’s a nice change from the sweet and the tin went pretty quickly during the tasting.

I confess that I personally usually go for the sweet over savory. Popcorn Indiana sure had me pegged when they sent samples of their latest, Dark Chocolate Peppermint and the Dark Chocolate Fudge Drizzled. I’m not much of a binger, I usually have a bit of a treat each day, but neither bag lasted the night! Pick up some for the holidays and you’ll forget about the candy canes.

Don’t forget the Snacks…

When I start cooking feasts I often forget to eat myself. That’s why it’s good to have some quick snacks around. GoMacro sent me a sampler of their new Thrive Bars and they are a healthy treat with organic ingredients, such as hemp, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, and natural sugars. My favorites are the Caramel Coconut, Blueberry Lavender, and Chocolate Peanut Butter. 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Drinks for our Fall Nights

Fall Finds at Captain Morgan…
Captain Morgan has two specialty rums for the fall you can’t miss and they both come in collector bottles. The Cannon Blast is sweeter than the Captain Morgan Rum you are used to, with hints of maple and vanilla. It doesn’t need a lot of mixing. Just add in some soda – even plain seltzer – or juice to Cannon Blast. The company recommends cranberry juice for a Crannon Blast and I agree.

Jack-O-Blast is the perfect pumpkin accompaniment to your fall bar. I’m ready to continue it through the winter, leaving egg nog behind and sprinkling a little cinnamon and nutmeg on the chilled cordial. (It’s also going to keep me warm at night in coffee or hot chocolate.)

A New Perspective from Locations Wine…
Winemaker Dave Phinney decided to prove that one winemaker could bring out three different wine regions by working a little different than most wineries. He decided to represent the actual location of the wine, rather than a specific grape or winery. The end result is three wines: AR, E, and F.

The AR represents Argentina and it is a blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon it comes from the Uco Valley in Mendoza, just outside the Andes Mountains.

The E is from Spain (EspaƱa). It mixes Grenache, Tempranillo, Carignan, and Monastrell and is from five different regions, but all taken from low-yielding old vines.

The F blends is Syrah, Grenache, and an assortment of Bordeaux varietals. These grapes came from three of Frances top regions, Bourdeaux, Rhone, and Roussillon.

I enjoyed the complexity of all these wines. It was not surprising that the A is my favorite, as I do tend to lean toward the fruitier, less dry Argentinian blends. The Spanish wine is a good accompaniment for nearly any dish as it’s subtle flavors will enhance a meal. The French will satisfy those looking for the pepper and spice of a dry wine, whether or not there’s a steak involved.

The Dave Phinney Location wines are all under $20 and a great find to stock up on in the fall.