Archive for beverage

Oh the weather outside is frightful…

Posted in Fancy Food Show with tags on February 25, 2010 by massapeel

Soooo….  I have been neglectful of this blog.  I really did write some entries in the intervening weeks, I just never finished them, attached pictures, or posted.  And then there was the issue of my computer – more specifically Internet Explorer – mysteriously dying on me ($187 later:  either a virus or a Microsoft update that upset the balance and alignment of all systems…  if the latter, then I believe a lawsuit is in order!)  In any event, my sincere apologies for the delay, and here is the post that I wrote several weeks ago:

Well.  Given that here in Charlottesville, we are in the midst of Snowmegeddon, Snowpocalypse, Snowverkill, or whatever you want to call it, I have not been able to get to my jam-kitchen to do some cookin’.  Lots else has been accomplished – shoveling, the creation of a pretty incredible luge/skeleton run down the mountain and through the trees of our backyard, cleaning, more shoveling, carting kids to the doctor for ear infections, and, alas, more shoveling. 

So, what does one do when snowbound?  Other than shovel snow?  Drink some good wine!!!  And what if you don’t drink wine (or other alcoholic beverages, for that matter)???  Well, allow me to introduce you to a couple of interesting non-alcoholic options that I tasted during my recent trip to the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco.

  1. Metromint Waters.

    Metromint waters

  2. Vignette Sodas.

Vignette sodas

First, Metromint (http://www.metromint.com/).  In retrospect, this seems to be an obvious beverage, but one which I have never seen, let alone tasted:  mint flavored waters.  Now, the market is inundated (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun!) with flavored waters, but the majority of them are syrupy-sweet-fruit-flavored-water – if one can even call them water.  I am a traditionalist.  Give me plain water, or seltzer with essence of fruit – no sugar necessary.  So, I was intrigued by this minted water! 

refrigerator of minty goodness

According to the Metromint website, they use the pure essence of mint grown in Washington State’s Yakima Valley which, once extracted, is added to purified water, resulting in a truly refreshing beverage.  Not sweet at all, just purely refreshing and quenching…  I cannot imagine anything better on a hot summer’s day (although perhaps not the drink of choice in the Great Blizzard of 2010… unless using to make a minted hot cocoa).  

Metromint can be enjoyed in the following flavors: spearmint, peppermint, lemonmint, orangemint, chocolatemint and cherrymint.  True to my traditionalist form, I stuck to the basics – peppermint.  My mother, ever the chocolate fan, dared to try the chocolate mint.  Both were great.  Both were refreshing, clean and crisp.  Neither left a syrupy coating in our mouths, just minty delicious water.

On to Vignette (http://www.winecountrysoda.com).  This is a carbonated non-alcoholic beverage that is made from the juice of California varietal wine grapes and bottled like a soda.  Available flavors are chardonnay, pinot noir and rose, all of which are all-natural, caffeine free, contain 50% varietal juices, contain no added sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, no added colors or preservatives.  Just 100% delicious.

When I was pregnant with my kids, I didn’t drink alcohol – not only because I didn’t want to affect my yet unborn kids

move over Fre - here's a better non-alcoholic "wine" drink

(although, truth be told, this was only a real concern in my first trimester – a belief supported by many OBs today, that a glass of wine here and there in moderation is fine) – but also because I frankly did not like the taste!  So, my mocktail of choice became fruit juices mixed in equal parts with seltzer…  basically a grown up soda…  think Fizzy Izzy…  Vignette Wine Country Sodas provide just the right mix of flavor to fizz, and is packaged in a classy, mature manner….  Grape Nehi for the adult palate.

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The “L List”

Posted in Fancy Food Show with tags , on January 20, 2010 by massapeel

Might this be the "nectar of the Gods"?

Hey, if Oprah can do it, then surely so can I… let’s just hope that I am not served with a cease and desist letter anytime soon from Harpo Publications! So, without further ado, here is the list of my favorite finds at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco.

Number OneSence Nectar. What is Sence, you ask? It is a rose nectar. Whaaaaa???? Rose nectar? blech, who wants to drink floral perfume? Um. I do. Listen to me when I say, this stuff is amazing. It comes in this gorgeous visually appealing pink glass bottle. But, how does it taste? It’s delish. I had it mixed with my drink of last resort – gin (hey, it’s five o’clock somewhere, right?). The Sence mixologist was using Hendrick’s gin – http://www.hendricksgin.com, which, amazingly enough is “a small-batch gin hand crafted in Scotland, with an ‘unexpected’ infusion of cucumber and rose petals.”

Further digging reveals that not only is it rose, but it is Bulgarian Rose which is extracted by gently pressing essential oils from the petals. Why is this relevant? Well, according to the Sence website (http://www.sencenectar.com), rose nectar is a beverage made from rose petals cultivated in the Kazanlak Valley and harvested during a three-week period from the end of May and early June in central Bulgaria. Rose blossoms are picked between 3 a.m. to 10 a.m. when the dew levels are at their highest, and then must be converted into concentrate within two hours of harvesting. Then the concentrate of pink rose petals, natural preservative sugar and water is pasteurized at the peak of aroma and flavor, virtually the same way it has been produced since 1256 AD.

Whatever the history, trust me when I tell you that this stuff rocks. And is so different. Run, don’t walk, to the nearest store carrying Sence Rose Nectar for a taste treat.

too pretty to drink... almost

[By the way. I apologize in advance for the photo quality — Annie Liebowitz, I am not. But, please bear with me, for hopefully practice will make better (I am quite sure that it will never be perfect!), and the photos will soon reflect the quality of the experiences!]