Friday, March 26, 2010

urban fun in a rural world

Okay, I don't exactly live in Urban America.  I don't have a Whole Foods, where I can go sip trendy wines and sample the latest organic foods.  I live in a small, college town in the middle of the country.  It is sometimes difficult to find things to do in town that don't involve binge drinking Old Mill Light and eating hamburger/cheese product dip.  However, last night the local grocery store, Hy-Vee, had a wine tasting event, where they sampled 6 different wines and paired each with a different appetizer.  Since we NEVER get to do fun things like this, we decided to go.
I am so glad we did! It was a lot of fun, and I was actually able to try out a few wines that I hadn't had before, which is always fun.  Here are a few that I especially loved.  However, I must first give a disclaimer that I am, by no means, a wine expert.  I will not be describing these wines by their nose, flower, or whatever else goes into an educated wine description.  No, this is a completely ignorant lady discussing some wines she drank at the local grocery store last night.  Reader beware....

This particular wine is a Chilean wine called Carmenere.  I had never had a Carmenere before. It is a red, and is very smooth and yummy.  I got a very strong cherry taste, with just a little bit of a spicy bite.  It was fab!  The best's under ten bucks!  I do like my wine, but I am also a bit of a cheapskate. I usually limit myself to buying wines under ten dollars.  I am sure I miss out on a lot of yummy wines, and I am sure that at a later point in my life I will change this, but since I have lots of kids and not lots of money, I stick to the sub ten prices. I could absolutely see pairing this with a nice flank steak or other red meat.  Yummy.

Another red that I really liked was the Red Diamond Merlot.  I do not generally like Merlot all that much, as I think it tastes kind of bitter, so didn't have high hopes for this one. Our wine host last night introduced merlots as a great go-to wine if you are taking a bottle for a party with lots of different palettes.  I don't really agree with this, and think that a Pinot Noir is a better choice for a go to red...but again, see the above disclosure!  At any rate, this particular merlot would be a good one for a party.  The thing that separated this from other merlots for me was that it had a very fruity taste.  I got a lot of plum in the wine, and I really liked it.  To me, the presence of fruit kind of takes the bitter taste away.  Again...see above disclosure. Another great feature...also under ten bucks!

Since we are going into warmer weather (yay), I would be remiss if I didn't also mention a white wine here somewhere. Bogle Chardonnay was my favorite white of the evening.  Although I have had this particular wine before, it has been some time. I used to be a Reisling drinker, but it has started getting too sweet for me.  I don't usually like Chardonnay (so I thought), because it usually has such an oakey taste that is not pleasing to me.  The Bogle, however, is fairly unoakey, and almost has a buttery taste, which I loved.  I will most definitely be drinking some of this this summer. This one runs slightly higher, around $11 for the bottle, but since we went to the tasting we got a discount, so I bought a couple of bottles for my sub ten price.  Yay!

The food we had to eat was yummy, as well, but only one dish truly deserves mention.  The Savory Pecan-Crusted Bleu Cheese Bites were, hands down, the absolute show stopper.  OMG can you say delicious?  I wish I had a picture for you, but I don't.  I plan to make this dish for Easter, and will definitely be getting some pics up.  Let me just say that at the tasting there were about 40 women.  When this dish was served, it was completely quiet.  Yep.  It was that good.  It's not a low fat dish, but really yummy, and a small piece won't hurt you.  Here is the recipe:

2 cups toasted pecans, finely chopped
1 1/2 oz parmesan cheese
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
4oz bleu cheese, crumbled
1/2 c sour cream
3 eggs
  1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Combine pecans, parmesan, sugar, and butter in mixing bowl, and press mixture onto bottom of medium-sized sheet pan. Bake 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together cream cheese, bleu cheese, sour cream, and eggs until smooth; pour over crust. Bake 20-23 minutes or until center is set; remove to cooling racks until room temperature. Refrigerate at least 3 hours.
  3. To serve, cut into 48 triangles. Top with thinly sliced fruit, if desired.
Again...yum.  And what a fun night!  My only complaint is that, at the end of the night, the store manager started pitching their cheap cafeteria dinners that they serve every night.  I am sure it is a great deal, but these women all just paid $10 to drink wine and eat goat cheese and prosciutto ham.  I sincerely doubt we are the same target market as your cheap meal customer.  How about maybe plugging the gourmet food and cheese section? I know my business brain works overtime a lot...but that seems kind of obvious.  Pardon the rant. Speaking of friend and I absolutely used our aquaBling...and everyone loved them.  They were a hit!  I opted for the red butterfly. It's a favorite of mine!

I strongly suggested they have another one, maybe with a grilling theme.  Maybe this is an indication of how badly I want this to be a regular occurrence....I was actually sitting at the table planning a menu for the next one.  And, I don't even work there.  Wow.  I had so much fun that I bought 4 bottles of wine to take home.  I am not sure when I will get the opportunity to drink all those, since marathon training has pretty much ruined my cocktailing.  After May 15...look out wine!

1 comment:

  1. butterflies are the theme of my wedding... aquaBling might need to be apart of that!