Monday, April 17, 2017

Cape Venture Wines announces new label

On April 13,2017,Cape Venture Wine Co. announced the launch of its new label "Lubanzi". The winery, co-founded by Walker Brown and Charles Brain, is offering the new label wines online at Lubanzi is currently comprised of two wines-a red blend of Shiraz, Cinsault, Grenache and Mourvedre and a white Chenin Blanc. Both wines retail for $14.99 and come out of South Africa. Both men lived in South Africa-one of the world's largest wine producing regions-and recently returned for a three month stay where they collaborated with Trizanne Barnaird and Bruce Jack to help create the forward thinking,socially responsible and innovative Lubanzi brand.

 Co-creator Charles Brain had this to say about about the new label
"South Africa is one of the world’s largest wine producers and probably the most underrated wine region of the world in the US market, and has been for some time. We want to change that and we think our generation [millennials] has the openness and power to do so.”

 Walker Brown followed with this:
"Our goal is to offer well-crafted, everyday wine that punches above its weight and makes a difference in the lives of those who grow it."

The brand is tailored to not only be a well-crafted, responsibly sourced wine, but an everyday ‘sipping’ wine – a wine for small every day adventures; because as they say, “life is everything that happens between coffee and wine.” From a midnight bicycle jaunt down a floodlit street, to dinner in an emerging part of town, or trying a new brand of wine with an exotic sounding name – these are the hallmarks of this spirit – that of adventure. Exploration is at the heart of Lubanzi – a brand that is named for a wandering dog who led the two founders on a 6 day, 100-mile hike across a remote part of South Africa called the Wild Coast.

Fifty percent of their profits will go towards The Pebbles Project, an NGO that works with low-income families who live and work on South Africa's wine farms. The Pebbles Project focuses on growing families by providing resources and improving access to health & high-quality education, allowing families to realize a horizon for success in life that extends far beyond their current view.

“We created this to bring two worlds together, craft great wine, share adventures & make a difference. At the core of our story is a message that, it’s not about what makes us different, it’s about what we have in common,” Brain said.

Walker and Charles both graduated from universities in the US in May, 2016 — Charles, from Vanderbilt (majoring in International Community Development), and Walker, from the University of Richmond (majoring in what was called PPEL - Philosophy, Politics, Economics & Law). During their junior years, they met each other as exchange students studying at the University of Cape Town and traveling around South Africa (Charles studied Social Work & Economics in Cape Town and Walker’s focus there was Political Science). They were both struck by their time in South Africa, fell in love with the country and the people, and became quite enamored with the wine.

Following their graduation here stateside, they decided to start a wine company, called Cape Venture Wine Co. and create their first label "Lubanzi." The name comes from one of their great adventures they had while traveling around South Africa as exchange students. They set off on a 20-hour bus ride along South Africa’s southern coast en route to a remote part of the country called the Wild Coast for a week long backpacking trip across the beautiful coastline. On the second day, a wandering dog, the locals called ‘Lubanzi’, began following them on their journey. He stuck with them throughout their adventure -- for 6 days & 100 miles -- until he disappeared on the night before their final morning.

“We want to provide a great bottle of wine that connects people with South Africa, accompanies great adventures and results in great stories,” Brown said. "As long as those stories are being written, so is our mission.” “Everything about this project is cool. It has heart and soul, adventure and drama, charity and ambition, value and unbridled passion, Jack Bruce added. “Remarkably it also has two extraordinary young American men who seem to have found all of this on a wild African coast and coaxed it all into a bottle of wine.”

TASTING NOTES (by Bruce Jack)

  • RED BLEND – 46% Shiraz \\ 31% Cinsault \\ 20% Mourvédre \\ 3% Grenache 

A dark, brooding purple colour indicates this is a serious wine with impressive structure and extract. The nose is intriguing, offering huge complexity with layer upon layer of aromas – sour cherry cheesecake, freshly bruised peppermint leaf, mulberry and dark chocolate. The palate starts off echoing these aromas on the entry, but builds with more juicy black fruit. The intense black/red fruit is kept in check and balanced by an intriguing savoury note throughout the palate. Soft, but persistent, fleshy tannin and an unexpected mini-explosion of ripe, zippy blackcurrant on the finish round of an extraordinarily rewarding wine for the price.

  • CHENIN BLANC – 100% Chenin Blanc 

A lively green colour, with hues of pale straw is the first indication this is going to be both fresh and complex. The nose offers an intriguing array of fruits - sliced November figs, ripe nectarine and freshly-peeled satsumas (we call them naartjies!). In the background is the hint of herbaceous rosemary. The palate is round and fleshy, pushing forward ripe citrus fruits like orange, nectarine again and a fresh core of green melon. There is the hint of banana bread as well. It is moreish and beautifully balanced. But the excitement doesn’t stop there – the finish is creamy and long and fresh like watermelon sorbet. Very delicious.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Peter & Pat's Pierogies launch in Midwest with sampling event at Costco

Peter & Pat's Pierogies have officially launched their 100% natural pierogie products in the Midwestern United States with a sampling event being held at Costco locations throughout the region. Over the last 20 years,Peter & Pat's have grown their love of Eastern European food into a successful catering business and now one of the top selling pierogie brands in the country.

Peter & Pat's pierogie recipe is a 60 year old family tradition and features real potatoes and cheese with no preservatives. This four cheese recipe features a yummy blend of Cheddar, Parmesan, Swiss and farmer's cheeses. They are low fat and low cholesterol and feature all natural ingredients. These tasty treats are super easy to make, boiling or pan frying are the usual techniques,but they can also be deep fried, baked and microwaved.

If you are interested in sampling them at a Costco near you, stop by between March 3rd and 5th and see what all the chatter is about. Peter and Pat's Pierogies retail for $9.99 for a 4 pound bag. There are approximately 65 pieces per bag (or 12 servings).

Friday, January 20, 2017

Stone Brewing releases Enjoy By 02.14.17

For the love of IPAs, the revolutionary Stone Enjoy By IPA series continues to flourish with the newest addition: Stone Enjoy By 02.14.17 Chocolate & Coffee IPA. Available at bars, restaurants and retailers beginning this week, the newest variant is rich, decadent and a devastatingly fresh Valentine’s Day pleasure.

“The Brewing Team tested several fruit and chocolate variations before finding just the right flavors to complement the hops of our Stone Enjoy By IPA,” said Jeremy Moynier, senior innovation program manager. “The chocolate and coffee combination we finally hit on was inspired by what we had done recently with Stone Mocha IPA, but here it took on new life with the Stone Enjoy By series. This recipe was brewed specifically to add another layer to go with the complexity of the hops and the result is a very special hop-lovers dream alongside a cup of coffee and a bite of chocolate.” 

Stone Enjoy By 02.14.17 Chocolate & Coffee IPA is brewed with San Diego Sunrise, a blonde roast from Ryan Bros. Coffee. Unlike brewing with espresso, the blonde roast provides a less roasty and more chocolaty flavor. It complements the tropical flavors of the hops, and allows the lemon and orange citrus notes to come through loud and strong. The beer is still intensely hoppy with light malty flavors and a decadent chocolate finish.

As with Stone Xocoveza, Stone’s brewers went “Bean to Beer” incorporating chocolate processed straight from the cocoa bean on-site at Stone Brewing. Carefully sourced from Belize, the cocoa beans were roasted and shelled under the watchful eye of Stone’s team to make this a truly artisanal beer with which to celebrate ones devotion to craft. The rich and indulgent Stone Enjoy By 02.14.17 Chocolate & Coffee IPA will be available in 22-ounce bottles, 12-ounce bottles in six-packs and on draft. The 37-day date code ensures this love affair will be fast and memorable.

  • Name: Stone Enjoy By 02.14.17 Chocolate & Coffee IPA 
  • Web: 
  • Stats: 9.4% ABV, 90 IBUs 
  • Availability: 22-ounce bottles, 12-ounce six-packs and draft, beginning January 8 
  • Hop Varieties: Nugget, Super Galena, Simcoe, Amarillo, Delta, Target, Cascade, Citra, Galaxy, Nelson Sauvin, Motueka and Helga National 
  • Distribution: AK ,AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MT, NC, NE, NH, NM, NV, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI 
  • International Distribution: Japan, Korea, Singapore 
  • Appearance: Golden with a creamy white head of foam 
  • Aroma: Coffee and chocolate meld with intense dank hoppiness, resin, peaches, and hints of tropical fruit Taste: Distinctive coffee up front with hints of chocolate lead to an array of hoppiness, dank, tropical and fruit that rounds out with more coffee and chocolate on the finish 
  • Palate: Smooth, hints of warming from the alcohol, and a perfect balance of bitterness and dryness on the back end 
  • Overall: The best of both worlds! A hoppy beer that also has nice coffee and chocolate components. These aroma and flavors blend together nicely to create something unique in the Stone Enjoy By IPA series. Still a hop-lovers dream with the added bonus of a cup of coffee and a bite of chocolate. Perfect to share with someone special leading up to or on Valentine’s Day—or enjoy it for yourself!
Founded by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner in 1996, San Diego-based Stone Brewing is the 10th largest craft brewer in the United States. Stone has been listed on the Inc. 500 | 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies list 12 times, and has been called the “All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by BeerAdvocate magazine twice. The multifaceted company is the first American craft brewer to independently build, own and operate their own brewery in Europe (Berlin, Germany), and also opened a production brewery in Richmond, Virginia in 2016. Known for its bold, flavorful and largely hop-centric beers, Stone has earned a reputation for brewing outstanding, unique beers while maintaining an unwavering commitment to sustainability, business ethics, philanthropy and the art of brewing. For more information on Stone Brewing, please visit or the company’s social media sites: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and The Stone Blog.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Matcha shortbread cookie recipe from Organic Valley

Even though my inbox is currently overflowing with all kinds of emails, I always skip the delete button when it comes to newsletters sent out from food companies. I never know when I am going to be sent a treasure of a recipe, and the latest email from Organic Valley provided one such recipe. Matcha shortbread cookies... Tastes as divine as they sound! This tea-infused cookie recipe makes a delicate, buttery deliciousness inspired by a Japanese pastry that pairs perfectly with a steaming cup of tea.

Paddle 1 cup butter in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until creamy. Add seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean and ½ tsp of salt. Sift in 1 cup of powdered sugar, 2 cups all-purpose flour and 2 ½ tbsp matcha powder and stir until just combined. Form the cookie dough into a log about 2” x 14” and wrap tightly in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. Preheat oven to 325ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. While the oven preheats, roll cookie dough log in ½ cup finely chopped pistachios. Slice dough into ¼ inch rounds. Place rounds at least 1” apart on cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown, rotating the pans halfway through bake time.

Enjoy a southern inspired Bourbagne instead of beer this Super Bowl Sunday

Looking for a unique way to celebrate Super Bowl Sunday? Consider sipping on one of the recipes included in the upcoming novel, Breakfast Tea & Bourbon written by Pete Bissonette. The "Bourbagne" is a simple champagne and bourbon based drink that is a delightful way to kick off your game day festivities instead of the usual beer so many of us drink while watching the big game. It's also the perfect way to dive into the pages of Breakfast Tea & Bourbon once it hits store shelves on Thursday, February 9th. The accompanying treasure hunt kicks off at 5:08PM CST the same day and involves clues that are woven throughout the book and a prize of $50,000.

  • 1 ounce bourbon (brand suggestion: Buffalo Trace)
  • 1/2 ounce vanilla syrup (see below)
  • 4 ounces of sparkling wine 
  • garnish with vanilla bean 
For Vanilla Syrup
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together water, refined sugar, and vanilla bean. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for about five minutes, the sugar should be completely dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.