Category Archives: wine

River And Rail’s Spanish Wine Dinner Featuring Pares Balta Winery And CAVA!

River and rail sign

Spanish Dinner…Deliciousa!

http://riverandrailrestaurant.com

shirt river and rail

A very nice gentleman let me take a photo of his Veuve Clicquot Champagne Shirt!

champagne river and rail

We began our lovely Spanish dinner experience with a glass of Parés Baltà Cava Blanca Cusiné.

https://paresbalta.com/

Parés Baltà is a family owned traditional winery that goes back to 1790.  We produce high quality wines and cavas with grapes from our 5 estates, situated around the winery and in the mountains of Penedès. The altitude varies from 170 to 750m and offers a diverse mixture of soils and microclimates. That gives a special personality to our wines by bringing the essence of the Mediterranean ecosystem to our grapes.  At Parés Baltà, the winemaking is in the hands of Mª Elena Jiménez and Marta Casas, oenologists and wives of Joan and Josep. Two skilled young women whose efforts are reflected in the quality of the wines, showing fine character and concentration yet with elegance and balance.

Cava Blanca Cusiné ~ Xarel·lo, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir grapes.  Light golden color with fine consistent bubbles.  Delicate notes of almonds, hazelnuts, and honey.  Long and complex finish.

Served with artfully created passed hors d’ oeuvresountry Ham & VA Ramp C

Country Ham and VA Ramp Croquettes appetizer river and rail
try Ham & VA Ramp Croquettes
BBQ Octopus Skewers & Espelette Glazeoctopus
 Manchango Cheese Crispscrackers

 

Sneads Ferry Clam Linguine, Fingerling Potatoes, Lamb Prosciutto, English Peas, Paddlefish Roe & Breadcrumb

Paired with 2016 Calcari White Blend

river and rail linguine

So happy to see Black Garlic incorporated into this dish…

Duck Morcilla Sausage/Red Beets, Yellow Corn Grits, Cherry Marmalade

Paired with Balta Rose de Pacs 2016

Beef River and Rail

Aged Rib Eye/Ferro Verde, Charred Onion, Morel Mushrooms, Black Garlic

Paired with Gratavinum Priorat 2piR 2011

River and Rail Beefriver and rail wine

And for dessert…NC Goat Cheese Cake/Virginia Raspberries, Port Wine, Black Sesame Seed

dessert

Spanish wine chocolate

Txakoli Mokoroa Cosecha 2015

 

At home later, we continued the Spanish theme through the weekend…  Hondarrabi Zuri  is by far the dominant white grape variety of Spain’s Basque Country, making the region’s slightly spritzy Txacoli wines. These are crisp, light citrus-tinged wines, meant to be enjoyed while young and fresh, with a tiny bit of carbonation.  I’ve heard that in order to really appreciate this wine, it needs to be poured from a certain height into a flat bottom glass It needs air to express itself.  A delicious accompaniment to seafood, fish and poultry.  $15 range.

 

cava

LLOPART LEOPARDI GRVA BRUT NATURE

A very special Cava in a decorative box, perfect for a gift for a friend…or yourself! Delicate bubbles dancing in the glass. Dry with elegant spicy notes and a creamy mousse.  $25 range.

cava

Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad

My favorite 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.  http://www.seguraviudas.es/en/producte_en/reserva-heredad

tomato

My first tomato this year….thank you Gwen and Mike!

Friday

living in a bubble

signd

s Ferry Clam Linquini, virginiabloggersover-the-moon-link-party-600x600fiesta-friday-2016

 

Black Garlic And Champagne

cat

Under the watchful eye of Maxine AndrewsTHE CAT

These days we are enjoying dining al fresco on our backyard deck…in 80 degree Fahrenheit weather with a slight breeze…

“Champagne makes you feel like it’s Sunday and better days are just around the corner.” ~ Marlene Dietrich

champagne bottlechampagne top

 Pascal Lallement Champagne À Chamery Premier Cru Brut 

  This artisanal small batch farmer produced cuvee is 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier, and 20% Chardonnay.  This vineyard sits on the mountain of Rheims where the grapes receive plenty of sunshine as they grow on the vines.
  I love the top of this bottle…Champange! Champagne! Champagne!  Notes of apple, honey and toast.  Fresh and creamy with a long mineral driven finish.   $35-$40 range.

My  brother is always discovering fun ingredients for me to try.  He and his lovely bubbly wife live near Blacksburg, Virginia where they found this black garlic.

http://www.obisone.com/

black garlic

black garlic on plate

ObisOne is a family owned business associated with the Virginia Tech Research Center.  Here’s a link to their story:  http://www.obisone.com/about-us

Some fun facts about black garlic from the ObisOne website and some of my notes:

  1.  Nothing is added when we make artisanal batches of organic black garlic. Heat, humidity and vacuum create an environment that lets the natural sugars and enzymes within the garlic do its own thing. 
  2. Black garlic adds a smokiness with just a tiny bit of sweetness and underlying notes of molasses to recipes, all the while maintaining the rich garlic flavor.
  3. The shelf life of our black garlic bulbs and cloves is a minimum of 6 months at room temperature.
  4. Twice the Antioxidants of Raw Garlic.  All natural, no additives.
  5. No Garlic Breath!

Their website includes some fabulous recipes using black garlic.  Black Garlic Recipes link:  http://www.obisone.com/Recipes

Deviled Eggs Black Garlic

Black Garlic Deviled Eggs

Makes 18 deviled eggs

9 fresh eggs (I enjoy getting my eggs from a friend who has chickens…these eggs taste so rich and delicious compared to run-of-the-mill grocery store eggs), hard-boiled, cooled and peeled.

5 cloves black garlic, minced

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Duke’s (brand) mayonnaise

1 tablespoon chunky sweet pickle relish + 1 tablespoon pickle relish juice

1 tablespoon stone ground mustard

Garnish: crumbled crispy bacon and chopped fresh chives

Here’s a link with a recipe for perfectly cooked hard-boiled eggs….it works every time and the eggs are easy to peel!  http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_perfect_hard_boiled_eggs/

  1. Cut eggs in half lengthwise; place egg yolks in a bowl. Mash yolks with a fork; stir in  mayonnaise, mustard, black garlic,  pickle relish and juice.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place in a food processor or blender and blend until black garlic is incorporated into the mixture.  Add more pickle relish juice if needed to blend, being careful not to add too much juice.
  2. Arrange egg white halves on a serving platter; spoon yolk mixture into egg whites. Cover and refrigerate. When ready to serve, garnish with crumbled crispy bacon and chopped chives.

 Italian Rose

Lady Lola Rosé. I admit, I bought this Italian rosé for it’s pretty bottle.   $12 range.   The Lady Lola Rose NV is a wine that’s begging to be brought to a garden party.  Inexpensive, perfectly drinkable (not remarkable) wine.  Peach, raspberry and strawberry notes. Crisp and fresh.  It’s peachy pink color told me it would be light and the grape blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Indigenous Veneto varietals promised a not too sweet wine.

cava with cheese wafers

Whisps!  Cheddar Cheese Crisps (like the parmesan crisps, but these are made with cheddar cheese). Delicious and yummy with champagne! Available at Walmart in the deli section or on-line.

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virginiabloggers11over-the-moon-link-party-600x600

fiesta-friday-2016

 

 

 

Shishito Peppers Stuffed With Fontina And Prosciutto

Shishito Peppers ~ local Farmer’s Market, fresh from the garden or Fresh Market

15 Shishito Peppers

6 ounces Fontina cheese, cut into 5 slices and then cut each slice into 3 strips

3 ounces prosciutto, cut horizontally into 15 pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Rinse and dry Shishito Peppers. Cut a slit in the side of each pepper (lengthwise – keeping the stem end in-tact) and remove the ribs and seeds.  Wrap the cheese with prosciutto and stuff into peppers (wrapping the proscuitto around the end of the cheese will help the cheese to stay in the pepper as the cheese melts).  Arrange the stuffed peppers on a baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and lightly with sea salt. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the peppers start to brown and the cheese is bubbly. Serve warm.

To stuff peppers: Rinse and dry peppers. Slice peppers lengthwise to split open (leaving stem end intact).

pepper

snack sign

Alfred champagne

Alfred Basely – Champagne Brut

  Alfred Basely is a smaller producer based near Epernay.  Ripe lemony citrus with notes of white flower, mineral and freshly baked bread. Fine bubbles with a long, clean finish.  $30 range.

corn on grillfeta mayo

Grilled corn is one of my favorite summer treats.  Here are links to two of the most yummy spreads to top grilled corn on the cob…Spicy Taco Butter and Feta Lime Mayonnaise:

https://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/grilled-corn-on-the-cob-with-spicy-butter/45ecbca2-a940-441a-bcd1-9ace22a2090c

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/patrick-and-gina-neely/grilled-corn-with-feta-cheese-recipe-1918855

squash

Scenes along the Greenway…Squash Blossom

senda verde alberino wine in glass

You are invited to visit my Facebook Page: Bubblybee

over-the-moon-link-party-600x600virginiabloggers

 

Lemony Herbed Fresh Ricotta Recipe + Dhondt-Grellet Brut Grand Cru Champagne

Tōgarashi is the Japanese name for chili peppers. The Nanami Tōgarashi that I purchased at a local Asian food market is a combination of chili peppers, white and black sesame seeds, ginger, orange peel and seaweed. It has a nice little kick of spiciness to it.

To serve my fresh ricotta I generously sprinkled the serving plate with freshly ground gourmet peppercorns (pink, black, white and green) and Nanami Tōgarashi so that the cheese would pick up the little bits of pepper and spice as each guest spread the cheese on toasted baguette slices.

Fresh Ricotta is super easy to make. I tried several recipes made with lemon juice (that did not have enough acidity to make the milk curdle) that failed before I found Ina Garten’s recipe (uses vinegar, not lemon juice) which works perfectly.

Here’s the link to Ina Garten’s Fresh Ricotta recipe:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/homemade-ricotta-recipe-1923290

I like to mix into to the ricotta:

8 large fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

4 green onions, white part only, thinly sliced into tiny rounds

10 chives, chopped fine

Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon + 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Serve on toasted baguette rounds that have been brushed with melted butter. Garnish with tiny basil leaves and (if in season) chive blossoms.

 

Dhondt-Grellet Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Prestige du Moulin — N.V.

A perfect pairing for my lemony herbed fresh ricotta.  100 % of Chardonnay from two Grand Crus villages (Cramant & Chouilly).  $55 range.   Golden color with delicate consistent bubbles in the flute. Elegant with notes of white flowers, quince paste and freshly baked pastry.  A grower champagne, only a handful of cases are brought into the United States each year.

You are invited to visit my Facebook Page: Bubblybee

Celebrating Spring In Roanoke, Virginia

11 Week Old Baby Goats

Our friends have a farm and are introducing goats into their farm animal family.  We enjoyed visiting them and watching the baby goats eat everything in sight while they butted  heads.

We love to sip rosé wine at one of our favorite local restaurants River and Rail.  http://riverandrailrestaurant.com

Recently we were delighted to find a Virginia rosé on their wine list:   Blenheim Vineyards Rosé. $17 range.  Aromatic nose of pink grapefruit, green strawberry, and apricot.

Established in 2000 by owner Dave Matthews, Blenheim Vineyards is located 20 minutes southeast of Charlottesville. With three vineyard sites growing seven varieties, the goal at Blenheim Vineyards is to make high quality wines that reflect the climate, soil, and beauty of the surrounding piedmont landscape.  http://blenheimvineyards.com

Love the “boards” at River and Rail Restaurant in Roanoke, Virginia…housemade pimento cheese garnished with R&R’s pickled vegetables served with grilled bâtard; housemade charcuterie served with whole grain mustard.

One of my favorite local farms is Thornfield Farm. They offer fresh fruits and vegetables including adorable baby turnips (pictured on left above) that are crunchy like radishes but just a little sweeter than red radishes:

April-Thanksgiving THURSDAYS 3pm-6pm: Sweet Donkey Coffee, 2108 Broadway Ave SW, Roanoke, Virginia 24014

April 22-Oct 28th SATURDAYS 8am-12pm: Grandin Village Community Market, 2080 Westover Ave SW, Roanoke VA 24015

http://www.thornfieldfarm.com

I chopped the baby turnips and put them underneath fresh spinach along with fresh mushrooms and hard boiled quail eggs to make this lovely spinach salad garnished with a chive blossom fresh out of my garden (and a couple of pieces of Smoked Gouda Cheese that complimented the crispy bacon on the salad), drizzeled with poppy seed dressing.

One of my favorite Virginia wines is this delightful bubbly…(accompanied above by fresh edible flowers from our local farmer’s market)

Thibaut – Janisson Virginia sparkling wine. 100% chardonnay with crisp apple and pear notes.  The wine’s creator has the experience to make a fabulous wine…so glad he chose Virginia as his home (from The Washington Post):

The wine’s creator, Claude Thibaut, is a blunt-speaking, 57-year-old Frenchman of modest build and a wide-eyed expression that suggests surprise or anticipation, as though he just heard a champagne cork pop. A native of the Champagne region and graduate of the University of Reims, he has made sparkling wine in Australia and in California, where he worked for J, Iron Horse and Kendall-Jackson. Thibaut   came to Virginia in 2003 to create the sparkling wine program for Kluge Estate (now Trump winery) near Charlottesville. He started his own label two years later, partnering with his friend Manuel Janisson, proprietor of Champagne Janisson & Fils.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/a-sparkling-wine-that-has-shed-locavore-light-on-some-of-virginias-finest-vineyards/2014/12/11/fa8c7fe8-802c-11e4-9f38-95a187e4c1f7_story.html

Lavender Latte with housemade lavender syrup!

Summer Specialty Coffee, Sweet Donkey Coffee, Roanoke, Virginia

http://www.sweetdonkeycoffee.com

Working on the final touches of our kitchen remodel including unpacking all of the boxes of kitchenwares!  Love cooking on my new Kitchen Aid induction stove.

 

 

Summertime Is Sangriatime … Try These Fun Sangria Recipes!

Fresh Strawberry Blackberry Sangria

This fresh berry sangria is very sweet and refreshing…perfect to sip on a summer evening.

Prepare sangria the day before serving. Place sangria glasses in freezer the day of service to chill glasses.

1 pound fresh strawberries, stemmed and cut in fourths

6 ounces fresh blackberries

10 ounces Bacardi frozen Strawberry Daiquiri mix

Fill empty Daiquiri mix can 1/2 full with Blackberry Flavored Brandy

1 bottle Broadbent Rosé Vinho Verde

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons simple syrup

1 33.8 ounce bottle Lime Perrier Sparkling Water

Make a day ahead to allow the fruit to macerate. Place the strawberries, blackberries, strawberry daiquiri mix, blackberry flavored brandy, Rosé Vinho Verde and simple syrup together in a large glass pitcher.  Mix lightly to combine all ingredients.  Place in refrigerator for 24 hours.  When ready to serve, stir lightly before pouring into chilled glasses.

Pour Lime Perrier Sparkling Water into chilled glass until 1/3 full and then fill the rest of the glass with Strawberry Blackberry Sangria. (More or less water can be used to taste.) Stir very lightly. Dip a few of the berries out of the pitcher and into each glass of sangria.

Note: Traditional sangria pitchers have a pinched lip so that the fruit and other solids do not plop into the glass and splash.

Peachy Rosé Sangria

This recipe was originally published in the South Roanoke Living Magazine, July 2016 issue.

This Peachy Rosé Sangria is a lighter, fruity version of classic Sangria. The Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach is a blend of the natural flavors of succulent European raspberries and rare red peaches from Ardèche in the south of France, combined with the world-renowned Grand Marnier…makes any get together a FIESTA!

1 bottle Rosé

5 ounces Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach

6 ounces fresh raspberries

12 fresh strawberries, capped and sliced

2 tablespoons sugar

3 small fresh peaches, pitted and chopped

1 cup seltzer water

Ice for service

Place strawberries in a small bowl, sprinkle with sugar, stir to combine. Set aside.

Place Rosé in sangria pitcher.  Add Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach, raspberries, sugared strawberries and peaches. Stir to combine. Place in refrigerator overnight.  When ready to serve, add seltzer water and stir lightly to combine with other ingredients.  Serve in glasses over ice.

Authentic Sangria Recipe from my Bubbly Friend who is a native of Spain.  Traditional Sangria tends to have more “perfume” from the fruit and red wine and can be an aquired taste.  It is enjoyable on a very hot summer day. I especially enjoy it with Tortas De Aceite – pictured below ( a light, crisp,  flaky and slightly sweet biscuit in the shape of a torta – available on-line or locally at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op), Spanish cheeses and Chorizo Salame.

Sangria

1 orange

1 lemon

1 Lime

1 medium apple (I used an Ambrosia apple), pared, cored and sliced

18 pitted fresh cherries cut in half or frozen sweet red cherries

3/4 cup brandy. (I used blackberry brandy.  Do not use an expensive brandy for this recipe.)

1 (750 milliliter) bottle dry red wine.  Use Rioja to get the authentic Spanish flavor, but definitely choose a wine you like.

1 (12 ounce) can lemon-lime soda to taste. Some people use orange  soda, it depends on how you like it.

1 cup orange juice to taste

Directions

  1. Slice the orange, lemon, and lime into thin rounds. Place the citrus in a pitcher with the apples and cherries. Pour in the brandy and refrigerate for 2 hours of more. Chill the bottle of red wine, lemon-lime soda, and orange juice at the same time.
  2. Gently crush the fruits with a spoon, and then stir in the red wine, lemon-lime soda, and orange juice. Add additional brandy or orange juice to taste.

You can leave it in the refrigerator until you need it  or you can add ice. The problem with the ice is that it waters down the mixture.

Sandy’s Peach Mango Sangria

In the south of Spain Sangria is often called Zurracapote or abbreviated as Zurra. This version of sangria is created with peach or nectarine.

In a large pitcher mix together:

10 oz. Bacardi frozen peach daiquiri mix

2 cups sparkling water (I like S.Pellegrino sparkling mineral water for this recipe)

1/2 cup triple sec

1 ripe mango, pitted and chopped into small pieces

1 large ripe peach, pitted and chopped into small pieces

After all ingredients are mixed together, add:

1 bottle chilled (750 ml) rosé Korbel sparkling wine or cava

Garnish with fresh raspberries.

 Serve well chilled.

I enjoy Korbel Sweet Rosé “California Champagne” for this recipe.

Refreshing Sangria From Paso Robles, California
Glunz Family Winery And Cellars

Delicious served over ice with a garnish of fresh white or red fruits…

de la costa SANGRIA ~ White

Made with Sauvignon Blanc grapes.  Bursting with ripe citrus flavors and a bit of sweetness to balance it out. Available on-line or locally at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar.  $12 range.

de la costa SANGRIA ~ Red

Made with a blend of Zinfandel and Merlot grapes.  Intensely flavored with cherry and berry flavors finishing with a dash of citrus and sweetness.  Available on-line or locally at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar.  $12 range.

“A smile starts on the lips, A grin spreads to the eyes, A chuckle comes from the belly; But a good laugh bursts forth from the soul, Overflows, and bubbles all around.”

~ Carolyn Birmingham

You are invited to visit my Facebook page: Bubblybee

 

 

Sunshine In A Flute! Enjoy This Mimosa Bar Guide From Shari’s Berries!

Happy Mimosa Season!

Champagne is always a great idea. But, sometimes you need it for an extra special day, whether it be a bridal shower, birthday, Easter gathering or even just a get-together with the girls. Cue the mimosa bar!

If you want to know how to get one started, check out this guide from Shari’s Berries. It has everything you need to know about a mimosa bar — essential ingredients needed,  unique recipes, set-up tips and a super easy backdrop idea, perfect for any occasion.

This classic cocktail dates back to the early 1920’s when a drink called “Buck’s Fizz”  (two parts champagne to one part orange juice) was invented at the Buck’s Club in London.   Later in 1925, a bartender at the Ritz Hotel in Paris named Frank Meier invented the classic half champagne half orange juice Mimosa that we’ve grown to love.
Looking forward to lots of occasions to serve Shari’s Berries sparkly sugar-shimmered champagne berries this Spring!  Perfect with strawberry mimosas!
In-season fresh strawberries from the local farmer’s market make the perfect Strawberry Mimosa!  Simply puree fresh strawberries (about 5 fresh berries per mimosa), add 1/2 teaspoon simple syrup (make your own syrup or several bottled versions are readily available at the supermarket), stir well.  Pour the strawberry puree mixture into a champagne flute, slowly add champagne or sparkling wine (Cava and Prosecco are delicious too!) to fill the flute. Garnish with a fresh strawberry and a small sprig of fresh rosemary.
Fresh rosemary complements many the flavor of many fresh fruits.  I consider rosemary to be a very special garnish because my mother, an avid herb gardener always said “Rosemary for remembrance” . The rosemary in my garden makes me smile thinking about my mom.
Champagne is an excellent choice when making mimosas, but if you are having an informal gathering or serving a large crowd you may want to find a less expensive alternative. I’ve listed some bubbly alternatives here:
Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut is a Spanish Cava.  Crisp and dry with fine consistent bubbles which make a very happy mimosa!  $9 range.
 Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut. This is my “go to” sparkling wine that is always in my refrigerator. Nice and bubbly, fresh with a bit of fruitiness that complements the fruit juice in the mimosas. $26 range.
If you prefer a sparkling wine that is a little more fruit forward  MASfi Cava is delightful…100% Trepat grapes.  Bright and clean. Cherry and strawberry are the predominant flavors in this Cava.  Lively pink color. $12 range.
Cheers!
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