Monthly Archives: January 2019

Cava For My Valentine

Just because it is Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on bubbly. Spainish cava can be white or rosé and it is made with the same method as champagne “Méthode Traditionnelle “. This method requires a
second fermantation of the wine that takes place in the individual bottles which will later be sold. Cava is a refreshing aperitif or a lovely pairing with Valentine’s dinner.

Codorniu Anna Cava Brut
Rosé

I recently tasted several cavas that are available on-line and locally in Roanoke, Virginia. My favorite of the five was Codorniu Anna Cava Brut
Rosé. It was offered on our hotel breakfast buffet in Sevilla, Spain along with freshly squeezed orange juice to make mimosas. They had little orange trees on the tables in the outdoor courtyard.

Anna Cava was my favorite of the bunch. This pretty rose color bubbly would be a very nice aperitif or dessert wine for Valentine’s Day. Pair it with a white or milk chocolate dessert with strawberries since its flavor is predominantly strawberry. $14 range. Available locally at Earth Fare.


Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Heredad Cava

One of my all time favorite cavas is Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Heredad Cava. With the pewter base and family crest on the bottle…so pretty in a gift basket.  And now I’ve made the connection…the producer, Segura Viudas, is part of the Freixenet family of wines that includes Gloria Ferrer in Sonoma which is one of my favorite California sparkling wines.  The non-vintage Reserva Heredad is the label’s top offering, made only from 67% Macabeo and 33% Parellada grapes.  Aromas of smoke and honey and flavors of apples, dried fruit, and nuts. Creamy and crisp, it finishes clean and bright. Perfect pairing with almonds and walnuts to begin the meal. $30 range. Available locally at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar.

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One of the cavas I tasted was Dibon. It is commonly found in grocery stores. This cava has grassy undertones with stone fruit flavors and mild minerality. It is crisp and light-bodied on the palate but in my opinion it is not the best sipping cava. I would serve this cava in mimosas or other sparkling wine cocktails. $10 – $12 range.


My favorite white cava of the cavas I tasted was the
Avinyó Reserva 2015. Fresh and vibrant with lemony brioche notes. A fun sipping bubbly. Available locally at Rock Fish Restaurant. $20 range

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Super Dips For The Super Bowl

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I just posted lots of yummy dip recipes to serve at your Super Bowl party ~ February 3 ~ on the Roanoker Magazine (Behind the Page) Blog: theroanoker.com https://theroanoker.com/blogging

Monte Cristo Dip ~ Jarlsberg cheese with raspberry habanero, Hot Buffalo Chicken Dip, Italian Artichoke Dip with crispy bacon on top. Plus one of my favorite “man cave” dips ~ Sausage Queso Dip that has only 4 ingredients…so easy and delicious!

Today I found a recipe on The Novice Chef Blog for Hot Crab, Corn and Bacon Dip. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to make and the flavors are fabulous! This will be another super dip for the Super Bowl!

Here’s the link to the Novice Chef Blog: https://thenovicechefblog.com/

COOK TIME: 20 MINUTES

HOT CRAB, CORN AND BACON DIP

TOTAL TIME: 30 MINUTES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large jalapeño, minced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large shallots, diced
  • 1 lb lump crab meat
  • 3/4 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 5 strips bacon, cooked & crumbled
  • 4 oz shredded parmesan
  • 4 oz shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • crackers, for serving

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 1 (or 1.5) quart casserole dish with non stick spray, set aside.
  2. Add olive oil to a small sauté pan over medium high heat. Add jalapeño, garlic and shallots, cooking until tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together remaining ingredients (including the crab) — saving a little cheese to add on top of dip. Add in jalapeño mixture and stir until well combined.
  4. Transfer dip to prepared casserole dish. Top with the cheese you set aside.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until bubbling at the edges. Serve hot with crackers (it’s great with Ritz!).

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Tale of Two Reds – Are All Wine Lovers Eternal Optimists?

A fascinating story…here’s to optimism!

Talk-A-Vino

Let’s talk about red wines. And optimism. The connection between the two? You will see – give me a few minutes.

Let’s start from a simple question – how many chances do you give to a bottle of wine? Fine, let’s rephrase it. You open a bottle of wine. It is not corked, or if you think it is, you are not 100% sure. You taste the wine. The wine is not spoiled, but you don’t like it – doesn’t matter why, we are not interested in the reason – the bottom line is that it doesn’t give you pleasure. What do you do next?

Of course, breathing is the thing. You let the wine breathe – you pour it into a decanter, and let is stand – few hours, at least. You taste it again – and it still doesn’t make you happy. Your next action?

Let’s take a…

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The Japanese Cocktail

Sunday evening we attended “Behind the Stick” cocktail class at River and Rail Restaurant in Roanoke, Virginia.  Our talented “Cocktail Professor” was
was Shane Lumpp, Bar Manager extraordinaire (pictured below) of River and Rail. He provided us with lots of spirited information and here’s some of the highlights…

Shane Lumpp, Bar Manager, River and Rail

Our class was about rum and brandy.

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River and Rail snacks…house-made Chorizo Sausage with rum soaked pineapple and cheese including “Dancing Fern” a Reblochon-style cheese.

The first cocktail Shane served us was a classic daiquiri. This is one of his favorite cocktails and he said that he can tell the skill of a bartender by the daiquiri he/she makes. It all starts with the rum. Then the cocktail will have small bubbles on the top from shaking it properly before pouring it into the glass. It should be more tart than sweet and the lime flavor should pop on your tongue. Shane used Flor de Caña rum for our daiquiris. This rum is made in Nicaragua.

Shane shakin’ our cocktails!
Classic Daiquiri

Shane gave us a taste of Smith and Cross Traditional Jamaica Rum neat. Powerful stuff! He asked us to sniff the rum before drinking it, just like you would taste a fine scotch. He explained that when ice is added to a cocktail that the larger the ice cube the better. Large ice cubes do not dissolve as quickly as smaller cubes so they do not dilute the cocktail as fast.

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To make Shane’s daiquiri: 2 parts spirit (rum), 1 part citrus (lime juice) and 1 part sweetner (simple syrup).

He noted that lime gives a cocktail tart flavor and lemon gives it a sour flavor.

“Brandy” means burning wine. It can be made from many fruits including apple, peach, pear and apricot. Cognac is a variety of brandy named after the town Cognac, France. It is made from white wine.

Japanese Cocktail

The Japanese cocktail is a cognac and orgeat syrup drink with a bit of citrus. Orgeat syrup is a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar, and rose water or orange flower water.
The story behind the name:
This vanguard cocktail perhaps had something to do with a visit (or four) paid to Thomas’s New York City bar on Broadway by a member of Japan’s first diplomatic mission to America, Tateishi Onojirou Noriyuki, or “Tommy,” as he was known among the ladies. The delegation resided quite near Thomas’s saloon, and Tommy quickly drummed up a reputation for spending plenty of nights out on the town. It can be assumed that a raucous evening or two spent at the bar would be enough cause for Thomas to christen a cocktail in honor of his Japanese regular. Imbibe! David Wondrich

Japanese Cocktail: 2 ounces cognac, 1/2 ounce orgeat syrup, 1/4 ounce lemon juice. Shake and strain into a Nick and Nora cocktail glass. Nick and Nora cocktail glasses hold just 5.5 ounces. Agent Nick and Nora glass, named after the cinematic husband-and-wife detective team, brings back the suave sophistication of 1930s high life.

Rémy Martin…how to taste cognac:

During the aperitif, the cognac is usually consumed neat, but adding a drop of water reveals more fruity, floral and spicy aromas and makes the tasting experience smoother. Similarly, adding two ice cubes will dilute the cognac and reduce the alcohol percentage, which reveals these aromas while making the taste more refreshing. The goal is that the ice cubes melt slowly, revealing new aromas at each step.

Cognac can even be consumed frozen, which makes the liquid very viscous (it does not freeze due to the high alcohol level), and gives an experience that is almost velvety in the mouth. This pairs particularly well with sea food: oysters, lobster, or sushi.

For a simple long drink as an aperitif, the cognac can be consumed with tonic or ginger ale. This brings out notes of fresh fruit, even liquorice, in a Rémy Martin VSOP. This is how cognac is normally enjoyed by the locals in the Cognac area as an apéritif.

Caipirinha ~ The national cocktail of Brazil made with cachaça, sugar, and lime. Cachaca is a distilled spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice.

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Bubbles for the New Year 2019

Fun bubbles for the new year from one of my favorite wine bloggers. Love Philippe Fourrier! Cheers!

Talk-A-Vino

I pride myself with not discriminating against any type of wine – white, red, sparkling, Rosé, dessert, fortified, $2, $10, $100 – doesn’t matter.

In theory.

In reality, most of the days, I drink red. And wish that I would drink more white and bubbles. Especially bubbles.

But luckily, we have at least a few holidays in the year, where the only appropriate choice of wine [for me] is bubbles. New Year’s Eve is absolutely The One – bubbles all the way.

As with all the holidays, a little prep is involved – the word “little” is a clear exaggeration, as deciding about the wine is mission impossible around here. However, this year it was easier than usual. Shortly before the New Year day, I received a special etched bottle of Ferrari Trento, the oldest Italian traditional method sparkling wine and one of my absolute favorites (I wrote about Ferrari

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A Safe Way, an Expert Way and a FUN Way to open a Bottle of Sparkling Wine

This last video of an embarrassing saber fail at the French Laundry will make you want to cry $2,000 bottle of champagne ruined!

foodwineclick

Open That Sparkling Wine With Confidence
Opening a bottle of sparkling wine makes lots of people a bit nervous. Even wine enthusiasts are nervous when they hear about sabering, wondering if they should try. It’s not so hard, really!  Let’s go through a few basics on all the ways to open a bottle of sparkling wine.

Safe Way to Open: Cover with a Towel
One of the risks of sparkling wine is when the cork goes flying before you’re ready. You could put someone’s eye out! Master the safe way and you’ll be comfortable anytime you’re called upon to open that expensive bottle of Champagne.

Here are a few steps to remember:

  • Chill the bottle well
  • Remove the foil
  • Drape a towel over the top to prevent an errant cork flying away
  • The plaque du muselet (wire cage holding the cork in place) requires 6 half-turns to open fully.
  • Leave…

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Three Amazing Cocktail Recipes To Celebrate The New Year

Happy New Year! On New Year’s Eve we greet our guests with a glass of sparkling wine.

Aimery Cremant De Limoux Brut ~ perfect for a New Year’s Eve Toast!
Crisp and creamy with lemony flavors, $20 range.

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I like to have a delicately scented candle burning near my front entrance to welcome my guests. My friends at Goose Creek Candles sent me a Warm and Welcome candle. I love its warm glowing amber, vanilla sandalwood, white mocha scent. Very welcoming and relaxing. Goose Creek offers a wide variety of scented candles on their website: www.goosecreekcandle.com

Warm and Welcome Candle
I love the sweet kitty cat on the label!

Our friend Madeena makes the most delightful cocktails on New Year’s Eve this year she graciously shared her recipes with me to share with my readers:

Pomegranate Martini

Makes one cocktail.

1/2 ounce PAMA Pomegranate liqueur

1 1/2 ounce vodka

splash sweet and sour mix

splash Sprite

Mix ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry.

S

Snowflake Cocktail

Makes one cocktail.

1/2 ounce Frangelico or hazelnut liqueur

1/2 ounce white creme de cacao

1 ounce vodka

1/4 ounce half and half

Mix ingredients in cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

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Lemon Drop Cocktail

Makes one cocktail.

2 ounces Absolut Citron

1/2 ounce simple syrup

3/4 of a lemon cut into wedges (1 ounce lemon juice)

splash sour mix

splash Sprite

Mix juice of lemon wedges with other ingredients in cocktail shaker. Shake over ice and strain into martini glass rimmed with superfine sugar. Garnish with lemon twist.

Please visit Behind The Page on theroanoker.com for more recipes and wine pairings.

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Cheers to 2019!

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