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To Every Season There Is Champagne

pumpkin

Welcome Fall!  Cooler temperatures, colorful leaves…let’s toast this beautiful season with champagne!  Pumpkin can be a bit overdone this time of year (just ask any coffee shop barista about pumpkin lattes!) but champagne is perfect for any occasion, any season.

pumpkin

Fleutau champagnechampagne

Fluteau 2006 Cuvée Symbiose Champagne  

Champagne Fluteau, founded in 1935, is a family owned winery located in the southern part of the Champagne growing region of France. The grapes are all hand harvested and sorted to ensure that the grapes arrive at the press in pristine condition.  Artisan crafted grower champagne.  Crisp with apple and lemon notes. Lovely pairing with seafood.   Lots of lovely little bubbles dancing in the flute.   $50 range.

champagne and pumpkinchampagne toast

White pumpkins are my favorite…I love creating tablescapes with white pumpkins.

Voirin-Jumel Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru Champagne

100 % chardonnay.  Small producer located in Cramant, France.  Lovely pairing with oysters. $40 range. Light lemon notes.

Truly a very special treat…one of my favorite champagnes… 1998 Cuveé R. Lalou Champagne Cuveé Prestige.  Lemon, crushed granite, honey,  toast – and nice finish.  Beautiful radiant gold with effervescent bubbles.

René Lalou was the Chairman of the prestigious Champagne house of G.H. Mumm during the 20th century.    In tribute to him, a special cuvée bearing his name was produced  from 1966 to 1985.  Luckily for us,  in 2007, G.H.MUMM decided to revive this legendary cuvée.  The Cellar Master devised a champagne de terroir bred from the best of the House vineyards and named it R. Lalou.  $200 range.

Champagne…if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector.  It encourages a man to be expansive, even reckless, while lie detectors are only a challenge to tell lies successfully.  ~ Graham Greene

cocktail mixercrackers

Sometimes I enjoy mixing a cocktail without all the fuss of sourcing and measuring the ingredients, so I was happy to find Cocktail Crate Craft Mixers at Fresh Market…”Born in Queens, NYC”.  Bubblybee chose “Ginger Bee”, mixed it with vodka, served it in a frozen “Copper Mule Mug” with lots and lots of fresh lime.  Rich honey sweetness, fresh ginger and subtle clove.  Just add one part spirit to one part mixer in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake!

I served Dewey’s Sharp Aged Cheddar Crackers with my cocktail. Delicious crisp little crackers that disappeared quickly! A southern favorite, Dewey’s Crackers are also available in these flavors Low Country Boil,  Chipotle Cheddar Cornbread, and Carolina Style Barbeque.

If you’d like to sign up for the Fresh Market newsletter (to find out about new products and promotions),  here’s the link:  https://www.thefreshmarket.com

toast-1

CHEERS!

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The 25 best-selling cocktails in the world

The Penicillin sounds like it might “cure what ails you” ~ fabulous Fall libation. Thank you for sharing this list KOPITIAM BOT.

Kopitiam Bot

(Source: www.businessinsider.com)

Do you find yourself ordering the same drink at the bar time and time again?

While we all have our favorites, it seems not everyone has the same problem. In fact, every year there are cocktails that enter the drinks scene — and ones that disappear. 

Back in February, Drinks International released a list of the best-selling cocktails around the world.

The website asked 108 of the best bars in the world — using the results of the World’s 50 Best Bars list — to rank their best-selling cocktails in order to produce the list.

From saying goodbye to the Piña Colada to embracing the Caipirinha, scroll down to see the 25 best-selling cocktails in the world in 2017.

 

25. Caipirinha. 2016 was marked by the Rio Olympics, which gave the world an excuse to enjoy this Brazilian drink — and moved it up from…

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The Valencia Champagne Cocktail

I love to find Cocktail Cookbooks with cocktail recipes from the “golden age of libation”.  I found this fabulous Valencia Champagne Cocktail recipe in Cocktail Hour by Susan Waggoner and Robert Markel:

naan cocktail

Valencia

This delightful champagne cocktail was an international favorite.  It cast its golden glow on Europe between the wars, and was a popular specialty of the house at the Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles. One sip and you’ll understand why.

2 ounces Apricot Brandy

1 ounce chilled Orange Juice

4 dashes Orange Bitters

3 ounces ice cold Champagne

Pour brandy, orange juice, and orange bitters into a cocktail shaker with cracked ice.  Shake and strain into a chilled champagne flute or wineglass. Immediately top with cold champagne.

bitters

Orange bitters are a cocktail flavoring made from the peels of Seville oranges,  cardamom,  caraway seed, coriander and burnt sugar in an alcohol base. These bitters have a definite orange flavor with a bit of an evergreen taste to me. Pungent but pleasant, adds the perfect “pop” of orange to orange based cocktails.

And here’s a yummy, easy to prepare appetizer to pair with your Valencia Champagne Cocktail…I’ve fallen in love with these Naan Dippers. I call them “Baby Naan” because they are so cute.

naan bacon

Bacon, Avocado and Tomato Baby Naans

Toast the baby naans lightly and allow to cool to room temperature.  Spread mayonnaise on each baby naan. Spread each baby naan with fresh ripe avocado.  Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.  Top with crumbled crisp bacon and one thin slice of Roma tomato.  Cheers!

naan strawberry

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naan kitty

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Tempting Tailgating Recipes

My husband and I recently attended a Tailgating Extravaganza Cooking Class at the Shenandoah Club in Roanoke, Virginia.  Chef Roger Light shared with us his favorite tailgating recipes.  And this was no “mess o’ chicken wings”…this was fancy tailgating with surprisingly simple recipes! Thank you Chef Light!

sangria

We were greeted with our choice of Sangria:  Traditional Red Wine and Fresh Fruit Sangria or Falling Pear Punch.

Here’s Chef Light’s recipe for his fabulous Falling Pear Punch ~

Falling Pear Punch

20 ounces GREY GOOSE®  La Poire (Pear)

15 ounces Sparkling Wine

5 ounces Grand Marnier ®

5 ounces Pear Puree

5 ounces Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice

7.5 ounces Lemon Juice

Combine all ingredients in a punch vessel and chill using a large block of ice. Stir gently. Serve in cocktail cups with pear slice garnish/ground cinnamon on top.

This would produce a punch that has a volume of 57.5 ounces.

sangria cup

I consider Sangria to be the 5th food group since it has so many ingredients that are good for us! So I was very happy to get Chef Light’s recipe:

Sangria

1 bottle Red Wine

1/3 bottle Orange Juice

1/3 bottle Vodka

1/3 bottle B&B Brandy

1 Green Apple, diced

1 Orange, zested

1 Cinnamon Stick, cracked

1 cup Simple Syrup

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Cover and chill for several hours in the refrigerator. Pour sangria into a pitcher and serve ice-cold in chilled cocktail cups.

shrimp

The first tailgating tidbit we were served was pickled shrimp. Perfect for stand-up snacking at the game. Followed by delicious deviled eggs, warm bar nuts, ham and gruyere baguettes with mustard butter and avocado and bleu cheese dip with apples.

tailgate eggs

 

Then came the GRILL! We feasted on grilled beef tenderloin and salmon. One of the most delightful treats of the evening was the Texas Barbecue Dry Rub Ribs ~ grilled over charcoal.

tailgate ribs

…here’s Chef Light’s recipe ~ serve with Harvest (Vinegar Based) Slaw

Texas Barbecue Dry Rub

2 tablespoons Chili Powder

2 tablespoons Brown Sugar

2 teaspoons Black Pepper, freshly ground

1 teaspoon Dry Mustard

1 teaspoon Cumin, ground

1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper, ground

tailgate sea salt carmel peanut browniesCoffee with hearts

And for dessert ~ moist chocolately caramel sea salt peanut brownies.

tailgate chilitailgate chili jar

Chef Light sent us home with “Chili-Cornbread Jars” to  enjoy at our leisure.  What a fabulous idea – spicy chili layered with homemade cornbread topped with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and chopped green onion. Perfect for a hearty snack before the big game!

HAPPY TAILGATING!

wine not sign

Kittens

Kitten Update:  Ziggy Elman (grey kitten) and Artie Shaw (tabby kitten) are lovin’ life in their new forever home (day 3).  They are devouring their food, ignoring kitten toys because the other kitten’s tail and my fingers and toes are much better to chew on! Ziggy likes to put both feet in his water bowl (go figure)!

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12 Things You Should Know About Dom Perignon

Bubbly happy thoughts for the weekend from the Grape Geeks!

The Grape Geeks

Ah, Dom Perignon, a classic and revered bottle of Champagne. It is always delicious and a perfect companion to celebrate a special occasion! But how much do we really know about it? Here are twelve interesting facts about Dom Perignon that you may not have read about before.

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Welcome Fall With Austrian Wines!

Austrian Wine Class

Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar

Roanoke, VA…September 13, 2017

Mr bills wine rep

Wine Representative Klaus Wittauer presents Wine from Austria.

https://kwselection.wordpress.com

http://kwselection.com

Klaus obviously loves Austrian wines…as he explained during our Austrian Wine Class:  Coca Cola wines you can buy anywhere. Real wines made by real people ~ with a story behind the wine is so much better!

mr bills bubbly

We began the evening with Leo Hillinger Secco Sparkling Pinot Noir.  Italy (much like Champagne, France protects the name “Champagne”) protects the name “Prosecco”, so Hillinger named this wine “Secco” to highlight the bubbles in the wine.

Class notes:  “Pink Ribbon”  100% Pinot Noir crafted into a sparkling rosé wine made in the ProSecco style. It has delicate aromas of fresh strawberries and red berries, which follow through on the palate. the flavors are beautifully balanced with a vibrant and refreshing dry finish.  Wonderful as an aperitif to begin a great dinner and  evening, pairs well with Sushi, or serve after dinner with fresh strawberries. Secco also makes a perfect toast!!  Hillinger donates to Breast Cancer Awareness and puts a little pink ribbon on the wine label. $23 range. 

Riesling mr bills

The first day of Fall is Friday, September 22, 2017 and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. The  Josef Bauer Riesling Hengstberg 2015 is the perfect pairing for your Thanksgiving turkey and trimmings.  This was my favorite wine of the evening ~ well balanced with fruit and fresh acidity, light peach and apple notes…perfect for Fall sippin’.

Class wine notes: This is a wonderful dry Riesling from a family-owned estate’s terraced vineyards over Feuersbrunn, Austria.  Very ripe with lots of stone fruit aromas, full-bodied with a great balance of fruit and acidity. Great with white meat and fish dishes, light pastas, appetizers, especially smoked trout.  Austrian Rieslings are generally loved by sommeliers because they are high quality, pair wonderfully with food and are light enough to not ruin your palate before a meal.  $18 range.

 http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/buying-guide-the-wines-sommeliers-love  

Mr. Bill noted that Every day is holiday and Riesling fits with any holiday.  

mr bills riesling

Steininger Loisium Weingarten Grüner Veltliner is a very popular Austrian wine. On my notes I wrote “Crisp Apples!”…which matches the crispness in the Fall air outside.

Class wine notes:  Steven Holl – Kamptal Reserve. Named after the architect who built the Loisium museum. The label shows the original blue print of the entrance building, cellar world and Spa Hotel.  A single vineyard Veltliner with inviting fruit in the nose, exotic notes and fine ripe aroma of apples. The finish is complex and balanced with a long beautiful echo and the traditional white pepper.  $25 range.

These Grüner Veltliner grapes are grown in the vineyard that surrounds the Loisium museum and there is a hotel on the grounds.  How fabulous! Here’s a link to Loisium Wine & Spa Resort Langenlois:   http://www.loisium.com/en/langenlois/news-resort

mr bills red wine

Leo Hillinger HILLside 2014.  I found this wine to be low tannin and very sippable.

Class notes:  60% Syrah, 30% Merlot, 10% Zweigelt. This wine has explosive nose of plum, raspberry, sweet tobacco and vanilla. Big and full up-front with good spice, black pepper and a long pleasant lingering finish.  The Wine Enthusiast gave this wine 92 points.  There is just a hint of dark fruit. The palate lightens with expressive and finely drawn fruit.  There is pepper-tinged red cherry, fine notes of cranberry and red currant. The fruit here is beautiful and taut; there is freshness, tension and real elegance.  Tannins are supple and fine, and the body is unforced and fresh. $35 range.

Steindorfer Beerenauslese 2015.   Rich and honey laden with a touch of sweet petrol on the nose.  To my palate the petrol makes the wine a bit earthy which pleasantly offsets the sweetness of the wine, but does not detract from the sweetness of the wine…nicely balanced.  $30 range (half bottle). (This wine was not included in the tasting, but is one of our favorite ways to end a meal.)

mr bills wine representative

Just for fun…take a bunch of green seedless grapes, wash them and remove them from the stems. Place in a bowl and freeze the grapes. Use them in your white wine to keep your wine cold.  Red seedless grapes can be frozen and used to keep rosé wine cold.

Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance. ~ Benjamin Franklin

Napkin Riesling

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Behind The Label

From one of my favorite wine bloggers…a Cava that is beautiful inside and out!

Talk-A-Vino

We eat with our eyes first – everybody knows that. We drink in exactly same way. While looking for the wine to buy, we always start from the label. Of course, sometimes we might be looking just for the specific producer’s name – but way more often than not, wine consumer is lured by the appearance of the bottle before anything else. We let the bottle speak to us.

Wine producers always knew the effect of the bottle appearance, and always tried to design attractive and appealing labels – think about Château Mouton Rothschild, for example, which started their “Artist” wine label series back in 1945. 20-25 years ago, the design, and most importantly, production capabilities were limited both in style and the cost. But not today- there are literally no limits to how creative the wine bottle design can get in today’s world. It is hard to tell what…

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