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!

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

What better way to celebrate Feast Day than to do just that – FEAST! Guinness Stew was one of my favorite foods in Ireland along with a burger that tasted like a Big Mac at a place called Currans in Ennistymon. I’ve tried a lot of Guinness Stew recipes and found that my favorite is the simple recipe from the Guinness Storehouse itself. Drink with Guinness or if you prefer wine, try a Syrah or Malbec. Sláinte!

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle Guinness Foreign Extra Stout
  • 1 pound stewing diced beef
  • 1 medium onion – diced
  • 1 C carrot – diced
  • 1 C celery – diced
  • 1 C parsnip – diced
  • 1 liter of beef stock
  • Sprigs of thyme and rosemary
  • Champ potatoes (creamed mashed potato and spring onion)

Cooking Directions

Add some olive oil to a large pot and heat on med-high. Stir fry the beef with a pinch of salt and pepper for about 3 minutes. Add the vegetables and cook to sweat, about 3 minutes, and season with a little more s&p. Lower heat. Pour in the Guinness and simmer to reduce by half. Add the beef stock and herbs and simmer very slowly, for about an hour to an hour and a half. Serve with champ potatoes.

Tip: stew is always better when made one day in advance and reheated.

Recipe courtesy Guinness Storehouse.

Find this recipe and more at the Guinness Storehouse website.

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.

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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”.

Wrapped Bottles!

I’m prepping my Etsy page for Halloween but wrapped bottles can be for any occasion!

I wrapped and stenciled this bottle for Halloween but also have Day of the Dead stencils, letter stencils and decorative ivy stencils.

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Here are some bottles I did  for my brothers wedding in bright colors and added some pinwheels!

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Chicken and Thin Mints

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We tried this with Piri-Piri Chicken which is a dish with a wilted greens, onion and tomato paste, a blackened type chicken and mashed plantains. For dessert – Thin Mints. A great dimensional sip for dinner, dessert and everything in between. What a fun wine for under $15!

For the coinniseurs, Wine Enthusiast ranked this as a 90 pointer saying
“The personality of Pinot Noir really comes through in this charming, medium-bodied, lighter-colored, aromatic offering from Coppola. It has the blend of nuances that remind us of cherry, herb and walking through a pine forest, and offers a tangy texture and fresh finish that lingers.”

Cruz De Piedra

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2007 blend Argentina ($35).  Malbec, Cab Sauv, Petit Verdot. Spices and dark berry flavors in this medium-full bodied wine. Complimented a beautiful filet, baked potato and asparagus spears.
Hugs and kisses to my amazing husband, Ryan, for putting together an incredible meal!