The Queen of Hearts

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today, you may find yourself a box of chocolates. For a seamless and sumptuous chocolate box pairing, look no further than the regal Queen herself, Rosa Regale. She’s  flirty, she’s sexy, she’s luscious. This made me want to eat the $3 bargain box, the Whitman’s classic, the Lindt, the Ghirardelli, the patisserie opera. And I did for this post.

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One chocolate in particular was a memorable one. Ghirardelli Strawberry Bark was made for this wine.

If you can only get one bottle for your romantic dessert, Rosa Regale should be it.

Chocolates tested:

Lindor Red Velvet Chocolate White Chocolate Truffles

Ghirardelli Chocolate Squares in Strawberry Bark and Creme Brulee

$3 Heart box from Wal-Mart

Whitman’s Sampler

Ferarro Rocher Hazelnut Truffles

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The Whitman’s Sampler Breakdown

Tomorrow I will introduce the wine that goes with everything. But if you are hosting a Sampler sample party, this can be a guide for a variety of varietals.

sampler

Coconut – tricky, but a velvety Malbec would be sufficient

Chocolate whip – Gewertztraminer, Sparkling Moscato, Banyuls

Pecan & English Walnut Chew – Pinot Noir, Reisling

Molasses Chew  – Gewertztraminer

Fruit Nut Caramel – Pinot Noir

Maple Fudge – Reisling

Toffee – Malbec

Cherry Cordial – Sparkling Moscato

Nuts – Merlot, Noir and tomorrow’s pick

 

Check back tomorrow for the wine that pairs with all of the above!!

‘Tis the Season!

I was out to lunch at a new favorite, Abbey Road Tavern in Cary, and wanted to go to a wine shop afterwards to see if I could find some good things to pair with sweets. I mapped out the closest shop and there was a small tasting room up the street.

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And what a ka-winky-dink, they were having a Girl Scout Cookie and wine pairing!! It’s definitely cookie time!

This time they were pairing up Shortbread, Caramel deLites and Thin Mints. I’m always excited when there are Thin Mints since it’s a tricky pairing.

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This one was good. A little Chardonnay-y for me but maybe a little colder and I would like it. Chardonnay is becoming tricky for me lately and my husband is liking it more and more. Odd how much our tastes change year to year!

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I like Tempranillo and I enjoyed this pairing. There was a bit of vanilla in the wine so it paired deLite-fully! Ha!

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Tricky tricky… I could have tasted a few more to test it out but interesting to say the least. I liked the wine and they were having a special so I bought a bottle. I also have some Thin Mints on hand so I will be testing this out again! And maybe again after that. I will have to have my father test it out when he visits in a few days!

Chatham Street Market is a great shop and tasting room. If you’re in the area, definitely check them out. They have a lovely selection, beautiful seating areas both inside and out, and an amazing staff!

 

Find Girl Scout Cookies Here!

 

 

Little Debbie Heart Cakes

 

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Along with your Cosmic Brownies, you may have a few of these left over. These beauties were a welcome blast from the past. The layered spongey cakes, the creamy layers, the salty but smooth-then-sweet chocolate coating, the irresistible instagrammy pink… I need to stop myself from buying another box of these. I paired these with the ever popular Barefoot Pink Moscato and I was in heaven.

Cosmic Brownies

The Valentine’s Day version. You probably found yourself needing to buy these for your kid’s class swaps and now you have a few left in the pantry. I remember the best part of a cosmic brownie being the little candy bits on top of them. Other than that, nothing really comes to mind. If you end up eating one, pair it with Asti to make the experience a little more worthwhile. You may be eating a broken brownie in the pantry, but with a nice bubbly beverage, your pantry becomes a quiet spa moment.

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Savory and Sweet

My cheeseboards are never complete without the blue cheese and almond thin pairing. In Vermont, we were spoiled with cheese and in North Carolina, I’ve had a little trouble locating some VT cheeses. I love Jasper Hill Farm Bayley Hazen Blue but got a Harris Teeter blue from their case which was a bit firm and salty but still paired well with everything below.

Okay so this cheese

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With these thins

Jules Destrooper Almond Thins Cookies, 3.5 oz (Pack of 12)

and this wine

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Delicious.

 

Try it out with some other savory and sweet pairings and let me know what’s good!

Wine & Peanut Butter Cups!

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Okay, I enjoyed this pairing more than I should. Correction: enjoying…

Anyway, I was struggling with this one. I had a line of wines, a bag of peanut butter cups and couldn’t place the pairing. I gave up, had an empty bag of pb cups (with the help of a husband), and headed to Total Wine. I went to the right place because the associate there had recently tried an odd combination that actually worked really, really well! I was skeptical at first thinking of the oaky, tarty taste of “Chardonnay”, but I am so glad I took his recommendation. Atrevida Chardonnay and peanut butter cups are a match!

Chatham Hill Tasting

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While exploring my new location, I’m finding delicious wineries throughout North Carolina. Chatham Hill Winery has a vibrant selection of dry and sweet wines. I opted for the dry tasting and tried eight. Second to last, they paired their Cabernet Sauvignon with Dove Dark Chocolate. Their wines have a cherry-chocolate hint which paired delightfully with the chocolate.

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I ended up falling for their Cab Franc and ended with a glass of that! Check out chathamhillwine.com or visit them in person if you’re in the area!

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14 Days of Wine & Sweets Day One

Welcome to February! To celebrate, I’ve put together 14 delicious wine and sweet pairings for all of your Valentine’s Day treat needs.

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What better way to kick off 14 days of wine and sweets pairing than to kick it off with the most iconic Valentine’s candy? I can’t remember the last time I actually ate these though. I was surprised that each color is a different taste! I admit, I’m not that big of a fan of the taste, aftertaste and residue but I did find that pairing these with a bubbly Moscato like Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato was very refreshing. The sugar makes the bubbles explode into an almost foam to cleanse your palate and teeth!

Cheesy Cider

Boyden

We were driving by Boyden Valley Farm and decided to stop in for a tour. They had a lot of new wines since our last sampling at a wine event. We tasted some old favorites (like the Cranberry!) but also had to try some of their new ciders on the menu. One of the ciders had an incredible smoked flavor that made me think immediately “cheese!”. wpid-dsc00866.jpg

Introducing the Double Bourbon Cider. Not online yet but here is the tasting menu description: “Dry with a well-rounded warmth, this hard cider is aged in French Oak and American Oak bourbon barrels giving it a complex and caramelized bourbon flavor with a hint of smoke.” (Also a good description for cheese.)

I live for cheese so this had to come home with me and I had to have it with macaroni and cheese. I used a Shelburne Farms aged cheddar but my mind was whizzing about thinking of different varieties of cheese I wanted to try this with. Imagine this with an aged, smoked, bacon cheddar?! Sugarbush Farms has an incredible one and Cabot has some great smoked choices.

cheddar

Of course I’ll share my Mac’n’Cheese recipe!

Ingredients:

16-20 ounces of elbow macaroni (medium shells are also a fine choice)

1/4 cup butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 tsp ground mustard dissolved in about a tablespoon of water

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cups milk (or 1 cup milk and 1 cup half&half)

2 cups shredded Shelburne Farmhouse Cheddar 2-Year

Directions:

  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions.
  2. In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat; stir in flour, salt and pepper
  3. Remove from heat and slowly add milk whisking constantly. Place back on burner on medium-low heat.
  4. Cook and stir until bubbles start to form at the edge of the pan and the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  5. Stir in cheese until melted; add mustard.
  6. Drain macaroni; add to cheese sauce; stir to coat.

If you get a chance to visit Boyden Valley, I highly recommend it. Take a tour of the cellar (literally the basement) and watch the Boyden family hard at work. They have a beautiful tasting room and shop where you can order a glass or partake in a 7 variety tasting.  After a tasting and/or tour, relax on the outdoor patio to indulge in a cheese plate complimenting your wine while you enjoy your front row seat to “Made in Vermont”.