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A fantastic tasting experience

A fantastic tasting experience

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This week, friends, Matt and I had a wonderful dinner at an equally wonderful wine bar. Mulberry, owned by Michael Polumbo who also owns Haddington's was a fantastic experience. Frankly I strongly recommend you make one of these tastings if you can because if this past Monday was any indication, its going to be a good month.

When we looked at the menu we were informed our tasting would be three courses, mussels in a tomato fondue with gruyere glacage , pork belly with fava beans and rainbow chard and for dessert, beignet with coffee ice cream. This all sounded like a great tasting menu, what we weren't aware of was that the chef had a little surprise in store for us by way of an amuse bouche. This little mouth teaser was a crostini with garlic parmesan butter, diced tomato and crispy prosciutto, an Italian cured ham. Wonderful flavor, it tasted like the best mini pizza ever. This was a nice way to wake up our palates for the meal to come.

The first course served was broiled mussels in a tomato fondue with gruyere glacage. I'll admit, not speaking French or chef very well, I had no idea what to expect here; boy was I pleasantly surprised. The dish consisted of a nice, flavorful blend of acidic tomatoes mixed with the salty mussels, salty in a good way, and the mild and wonderful gruyere. This dish sang me an absolute aria of wonderful flavor and texture; I was truly in love from the first bite.

Next we were served a pork belly with rainbow chard over a fava bean puree. The pork was cooked to spot on perfection and seasoned incredibly well. I almost did not need the knife I was given to cut into the pork it was so tender. If you're like me I apologize. Joking, what I mean is if you're like me, you have never tried chard before, I wasn't sure exactly what it was. As it happens, it’s a leafy bitter green, akin to kale or collards. This was a fantastic pairing to the salty and slightly sweet pork belly and the very mild fava beans. This was yet another dish that gave me an operatic range of flavor and texture. I felt that if it kept up, Puccini might fall out of my mouth at some point.

Some of y'all are probably thinking that the last course was my favorite, right? I mean how can a chef please me more than to serve a perfect cutlet of pork? Is it even possible to have greater culinary enjoyment? I'm here to tell you it is friends. How so? Doughnuts, perfect little fancy French doughnuts. I positively adore beignet, and everything about the wonderful little doughy balls of goodness, coated in confectioner's sugar and cinnamon that they are. How can you dislike them though? Any food that's last syllable is pronounced YAY! has to be great, right? These were fantastic, crispy exterior with a soft, doughy center that was not overly sweet and perfectly balanced by the cinnamon, sugar coating and dark chocolate sauce underneath. As an accompaniment, we were also served coffee ice cream topped with chocolate espresso beans, a nice touch. This was definitely a great end to a fantastic meal.

I highly recommend you go check these guys out on a Monday this month, you will not be disappointed. If you can't make it this month for a chef's tasting I understand, but make sure to put Mulberry on your list of places to eat at soon. This was an absolutely stellar experience and I want to extend my gratitude to chef Weaver and the entire staff at Mulberry, so thanks guys!

10 Great Tasting Menus of The UK

Why settle for one amazing dish when you can sample ALL of them? And why have the stress of indecision when faced with an astonishing menu when all you need to do is let the chef send out course after course of his own excellent choice? Behold the delicious extravagance of The Tasting Menu – here is a curation of ten of our favourites.

1. Alyn Williams at The Westbury

1 Michelin star, 4 AA Rosettes

The recipient of a Michelin star, Alyn Williams at The Westbury is an understated establishment with spotless presentations and superb service. Only the best seasonal ingredients are prepared with straightforward techniques and contemporary touches.

Sample Vegetarian Tasting Menu

  • Homemade feta- apple, kohl rabi, cucumber, grape
  • Wye valley asparagus – hazelnuts, crips potato
  • Tofu taco – chipotle mayo, dirty guacamole, green gazpacho
  • (As seen on Masterchef – £10 supplement)
  • Leek & onion tortellini – horseradish, toasted nigella seeds
  • Cauliflower cheese – sourdough croutons, Périgord truffle
  • Shitake & kale omelette – kombu, Japanese vegetable & pear salad
  • Cheese selection (Optional £15 supplement)
  • Passion fruit – espresso, white chocolate, saffron
  • English strawberries – pavlova, sweet cicely

£80 per person
With matching wines £140
With prestige selection £205
With matching beers £125

The Restaurant: The Westbury Hotel, Bond Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 2YF | | 0207 183 6426

2. Tudor Room at Great Fosters, Egham

One Michelin star and 3 AA Rosettes

Awarded a Michelin star and three AA Rosettes in October 2016, The Tudor Room at Great Fosters demonstrates a passion for simple cookery with intense flavours. The Kitchen garden at Great Fosters also plays a major part in providing fresh, organic ingredients for the menu.

Sample Tasting Menu

  • Canapes
  • Jerusalem Artichoke – tendon, onion, truffle
  • Scallop – broccoli, truffle, hazelnut
  • Langoustine tea
  • Himalayan salt aged Venison – turnip, chanterelles, blackberry
  • Cucumber, pineapple, lime
  • Valrhona Chocolate – caramel, tonka beans, feuilletine
  • Cheese – five British cheeses, truffled honey, fig chutney, apple, pecan

With additional wine flight £130 per person

The Restaurant: Great Fosters, Stroude Road, Virginia Water, Egham, Surrey | | 01784 433822

3. Pied a Terre, London

Since opening is doors in 1991, the restaurant has won some of the highest accolades possible and continues to impress diners with beautifully crafted culinary treats and Michelin star service. Pied a Terre offers no less than 5 tasting menus, including a vegan menu. We are showcasing the chefs menu which is a list of sheer culinary magic!

Chef’s Tasting Menu

  • Pembrokeshire Crab, Avocado, Tokyo Turnip, Ponzu
  • Seared and Poached Foie Gras in a Sauternes Consommé with Haricot Beans and Charred Onions
  • John Dory, Grapefruit, Miso, Black Quinoa, Brassicas
  • Richard Vaughan’s Suckling Pig, Carrot, Buckthorn, Walnut
  • Lavinton Lamb, “Ratatouille”
  • Cheese Board
  • Gariguette Strawberries, Buttermilk, Lemon, Vanilla
  • Chocolate, Mandarin, Honeycomb, Stem Ginger
  • Coffee and Petits Fours

With Sommeliers Wine Flight £244

The Restaurant: 34 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 2NH | | 0207 636 1178

4. Lympstone Manor, Exmouth, Devon

Lympstone Manor is a newly opened contemporary country house hotel overlooking the Exe Estuary with acclaimed fine dining by two Michelin star Michael Caines. Able to fully express his vision of modern British cuisine that is fresh and seasonal, he freely utilises the bounty of the Exe Estuary, East Devon and the Southwest. Two tasting menus are offered, The Signature menu and the Estuary menu.

Tasting Menu – Taste of the Estuary

  • Warm salad of lobster mango and cardamom vinaigrette, curried mayonnaise
  • Brixham scallop tomato concassé with tapenade, tomato and aubergine caviar vinaigrette
  • Poached Lyme Bay lemon sole onion and lemon thyme confit, Wye Valley asparagus, white wine sauce and tarragon oil
  • Braised turbot River Exe mussels and cockles with tomato and basil sauce
  • Cornish sea bass roasted with anise spice, pan roasted langoustine and bouillabaisse
  • Apple mousse vanilla foam, green apple sorbet
  • Coconut panna cotta exotic fruit salad, coconut foam, passion fruit sorbet

The Restaurant: Lympstone Manor, Courtlands Lane, Exmouth, Devon, EX8 3NZ | | 01395 200920

5. Sketch – The Lecture Room & Library, Mayfair

2 Michelin stars, 5 AA Rosettes

The Lecture Room & Library are where the culmination of Pierre Gagnaire’s Paris experience is showcased in a sophisticated, exclusive and luxurious dining room. There is attention to detail in every aspect of the experience, from the intricate food through to the impressive wine list and professional service.

  • Garden Pea Cream with Verbena, ham and parmesan, sweet wine jelly, spring onions
  • Grilled green asparagus, Dorset crab with grapefruit
  • Rye bread toast with bone marrow and Oscietra caviar, smoked asparagus
  • Fera from ‘Lac Leman’ poached in Savagnin, Pascaline
  • Menuiere butter with fresh herbs, sorrel with raspberries
  • Pan-fried foie gras, red mullet, whelks, fennel,
  • Spring cabbage, cauliflower
  • Bouillbaisse
  • Spiky artichoke with mint, sea almonds and verni clams
  • New potato gnocchi, parmesan cream

Corn-fed Chicken

  • Fillet of free range chicken perfumed with sage and confit lemon, aubergine veloute with white miso
  • Broad beans, rocket, chorizo, green pepper

Pierre Gagnaire’s Grand Dessert

The Restaurant: Sketch, 9 Conduit Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 2XG | | 0207 659 4500

Member Club Benefit available (complimentary dining) Click here for details

6. The Pass at South Lodge, Horsham, West Sussex

Taking the ‘Chef’s Table’ concept and exquisitely developing it, diners at the 26 cover 3AA Rosette restaurant are closely involved in the kitchen drama. Make your choice of tasting menus bursting with dishes of unique flavour combinations and ingredients before watching the creations of Head Chef, Ian Swainson unfold right in front of you.

Ten course tasting menu

  • Japanese painting – smoked eel, oyster pearl, dashi
  • Geometics – celeriac, tarragon mayonnaise, sherry, hazelnut
  • Black – black rice paella with aioli
  • Deer in the wood – venison tartare, shitake ketchup and woodland consomme
  • New Italian classic – gorgonzola spaghetti, truffle pasta water
  • Untitled no 2 – red mullet with harrissa, bisque and grapefruit
  • Seeing Red – boasted mallard breast, beetroot, red cabbage, duck liver
  • Cheeseboard (£12 supplement)
  • The sky is falling!… blueberry, passion fruit and rose
  • Aromas of the c-word – pine custard, cranberries, basil and pine granite
  • A little heaven in hell – walnut, muscovado, coffee, chocolate

Discover wine pairing additional £80

Prestige wine pairing additional £120

Juices for drivers and minders additional £37.50

The Restaurant: The Pass at South Lodge Hotel, Brighton Road, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 6PS | | 01403 891711

7. The Greenhouse, London

One of only four restaurants in the world to win the Wine Spectator Grand Award, The Greenhouse in the heart of Mayfair is set in an oasis of calm. Arnaud Bignon’s exquisite French cuisine has won The Greenhouse a position as one of London’s most highly acclaimed restaurants. Along with the tasting menu, The Greenhouse also offers ‘Arnaud Bignon’s Discovery’ menu.

Tasting Menu Example

  • Dorset Crab, mint, cauliflower, Granny Smith apple, curry
  • Smoked eel, beetroot, dill pumpernickel
  • Foie gras ‘domaine de Rouilly’, seared, mara des bois strawberry, aloe vera, mizuna
  • Monkfish, onion, banana, Kaffir lime, dukkah
  • Welsh organic lamb ‘Rhug estate, aubergine, gomasio, harissa, soya
  • or
  • Veal, ossetra imperial caviar, Hispi cabbage, dulce seaweed (£20 supplement)
  • Wild strawberry, rhubarb, elderflower

The Restaurant: The Greenhouse, 27a Hays’s Mews, London W1J 5NY | | 0207 499 3331

8. Paris House, Woburn, Milton Keynes

Set in 22 acres of stunning parkland, Michelin recommended Paris House in Bedfordshire is located on the Duke of Bedford’s Estate in Woburn. The restaurant blends modern culinary techniques with the finest in seasonal produce. Offering three tasting menus VI, VIII and X showcasing the number of courses in the title, they are constructed with natural flavour combination.

Tasting Menu X

  • Leche de Tigre – Hamachi, Chilli & Sweet Potato
  • Asparagus – confit hens eggs, seasonal mushrooms and wild garlic
  • Mackerel – apple, horseradish and yuzu
  • Lamb and Pea – crispy lamb’s tongue, petits pois and oregano
  • Tom Khlong – braised octopus, kimchi, prawn har gow, and monks beard
  • Anjou pigeon – almond, tenderstem and black quinoa
  • Artisan cheese (£12 supplement)
  • Passion Fruit, sherbet and vanilla vodka
  • Lychee, rose and pistachio
  • Carrot, white chocolate, dill and mascarpone and ginger
  • Mandarin trifle, black bean, coriander and sake

8 glass wine flight £65 per person

10 glass wine flight £77 per person

The Restaurant: Paris House, Woburn Park, London Road, Woburn, Milton Keynes, MK17 9QP | | 01525 290692

Member Club Benefit available – click here for details

9. Vineet Bhatia London

Housed inside a splendid Georgian townhouse off the Kings Road, guests enjoy a tasting menu experience like no other: a freewheeling expedition into the culinary imagination of Vineet Bhatia, one of the world’s foremost chef restaurateurs. Inspired by his Mumbai heritage, global travels and British residence, Vineet Bhatia’s cuisine is as daring as it is thoughtful precise as it is generous.

Sample Tasting Menu

  • Lime soup – smoked prawn chaat
  • Amritsari haddock – raan uttapam
  • Beef foie gras
  • Chilli cod
  • Duck korma
  • Patiala chicken
  • Glazed pork chop
  • Chocolate cure
  • Clementine kulfi
  • Ginger-rose jubub, coconut crisp, chai fudge
  • Chocomosa, almond shard, rose petal milk chocolate

£175 per person with wine flight

The Restaurant: Vineet Bhatia London, 10 Lincoln Street, London, SW3 2YS | | 0207 225 1881

10. Hambleton Hall Restaurant, Rutland

The restaurant is proud to say that it has the longest-retained single Michelin star in the UK, celebrating 35 years in 2017, and offers exceptional dining experiences worthy of a journey to Hambleton. Michelin star Head Chef, Aaron Patterson and his highly skilled team use the best local produce for seasonal dishes, and is renowned for producing award-winning game dishes such as grouse, partridge and woodcock.

Sample Tasting Menu

  • A taste of mushroom, hen of the woods
  • Terrine of Heritage carrots, tarragon, spiced carrot ice cream
  • Ballotine of foie gras, kumquat and Seville orange marmalade, toasted sourdough
  • Fillet of turbot, clams, sea vegetables, wasabi and cucumber sauce
  • Fillet of Lavinton farm lamb, piperade, rosemary sauce
  • Coffee and walnut souffle, clotted cream ice cream
  • Coffee and chocolates

Five glass wine flight available for additional £50

The Restaurant: Hambleton, Oakham, Rutland, Leicestershire, LE15 8TH | | 01572 756991

Find out more about the Luxury Restaurant Club – the UK’s largest fine dining club, where you can subscribe to enjoy instant rewards, invitations and insights from over 500 of the finest restaurants in the UK. Find out more here.

35 Fantastic Wine Pairing Experiences in South Africa

What is better than sipping top South African wines in a beautiful setting? Pairing their flavours with delicious bites and unique experiences, of course.

What started out as a venture to complement the perfect wine with the best food combination, has turned into an exciting bucket list experience in the South African winelands.

And don’t just think cheese and biscuits. These days you can pair a long list of wines and Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) varietals with anything from cupcakes, nougat and macaroons, to biltong, fynbos and even music and photographs.

Whether you want to finely balance or contrast complex components, or just have a ball of a time to share on social media, you’ll find your perfect match at one of these South African wine farms.

Stellenbosch Wine Route

1. Chocolate and Wine, Waterford

Whenever you mention Waterford Estate to anyone, chances are that they will reply with that majestic word — ‘chocolate’.

Chocolate and Waterford are synonymous and it’s for good reason. Their flawless combination wasn’t an overnight throw-together. Their renowned winemaker, Kevin Arnold, worked closely with Belgian Chocolatier, Richard von Geusau, to create three chocolates that would perfectly fit a selection of their wines.

A spicy Shiraz is matched with Masala Chai Dark Chocolate, and their Cabernet Sauvignon meets the mysterious flavours of Rock Salt Dark Chocolate. End on a sweet note with Rose Geranium Milk Chocolate mingling flavours with their natural sweet desert wine.

2. Nougat and MCC, Villiera

Blissful bubbles meet delicious delicacies. This family-owned winery specialises in the beautiful art of making some of the best Méthode Cap Classique in the country.

To harmonise perfectly with a selection of Villiera’s sparkling wines, they are pairing it with a variety of deliciously chewy nougat.

The tangy hints from Grier Brut is balanced with honey, almond and cranberry nougat, whilst the fruity Villiera Tradition Brut is matched with a macadamia nougat to add a creamy characteristic.

The earthy almond nougat is best suited for the Monro Brut, oh and you’ll love the goji berry, almond and rooibos tea nougat as a blush companion for the Tradition Brut Rose.

3. Ice-cream, Wine and MCC, Clos Malverne

It might sound pretty odd pairing a freezing desert with wine, but there is a reason that this has become the estate’s signature tasting experience.

Four heavenly homemade scoops of gourmet ice cream are presented in ramekins facing its partner wine, betrothed to complement each others’ best qualities.

The ice cream flavour combinations change with the season, but you can count on finding a variety of fresh fruity flavours (to match the Sauvignon Blanc Brut), creamy buttery ones in the mix (to go with their red varieties) and a spicy addition (to pair with the Muscat).

And don’t think “chocolate and vanilla," we’re talking churned epicurean delights, like their “Parsnip, saffron, salted caramel and pumpkin seeds” option, currently on the line-up.

4. Cape Fynbos and Wine, Bartinney

Did you know that fynbos, the vegetation type found only in the Cape region, is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site? That’s right, the Cape Floral Region, is officially one of the most special places on earth and lucky us, many of South Africa's wine farms are nestled in between.

So it’s only fair that there is a multi-sensory wine experiences as a tribute to fynbos, right?

For a one-of-a-kind occasion, book a spot at this interactive tasting as you incorporate touch, smell, sight and taste to blend the flavours of the farm’s fynbos with three Bartinney wines.

Another great pairing is the setting of the tasting room and its environment in the Helshoogte Pass, boasting one of the most beautiful views in the valley.

5. Boerebraai Tapas and Wine, Middelvlei

Now this is a pairing that happens informally in thousands of South African households over weekends: braai and wine.

For a taste of authentically traditional food prepared on an open fire and accompanied by a great selection of Middelvlei wines, this is the place to be.

In a relaxed farm-setting you can enjoy local favourites like mini potbrood (bread) and snoek pâté, boerewors-sosaties (sausage skewers) or a variety of gourmet cheesy braaibroodjies (fire-grilled sandwiches). Their wine tasting list ranges from Chardonnay to Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.

If you want to skip the meat, you can opt to pair a variety of braaibroodjies with wine.

To eat and sip like a local, make sure to pay Middelvlei a visit.

6. Flash Food and Slow Wine, Neethlingshof

There’s nothing typical-takeaway about this fast-finger-food offering with a twist.

The uncomplicated bites are packed with flavour, and juxtaposed with wines that have been carefully crafted over a prolonged period of time.

Think vegetable samosas with mango atchar, beef kebabs with roasted tomato, prego rolls with chocolate shavings and a traditional mini malva pudding with a liquorice reduction.

In summer they also dish up salmon and trout roulade (with the Sauvignon Blanc) which is replaced in winter with a hearty tomato soup (with their Chenin Blanc).

The kids get their own pairing too, with pancakes, burgers and sponge fingers served with juices and milkshake.

7. Fynbos Cupcakes and Wine, Delheim

The cupcake and wine pairing at Delheim has been a hit for years. Now, they’ve added a fragrant new local twist to the experience: fynbos-inspired flavours.

The new honeybush cupcake is set to bring out the fruity flavours of their Chardonnay, whilst the buchu cupcake is a surprising pair to the scarce varietal of the farm, Gewürztraminer.

Delheim’s Merlot matches well with the fynbos honey cupcake and to end it off on a high note, the Pinotage is paired with a rooibos cupcake to highlight the dark and warm spicy flavours.

8. Artisanal Salt and Wine, Fleur du Cap

The chef who initiated this fascinating tasting is worth his salt.

Chef Craig Cormack is so intrigued by the seasoning crystals that he’s already collected 68 of the 161 different types of salt found around the world.

To give you a glimpse of the different salty flavours out there, you can match five different types of savoury bites to complement five of Fleur du Cap’s unfiltered wines.

You’ll start off with dolmades with sulphuric salt to go with their Sauvignon Blanc, and taste some olive tapenade and black lava salt to pair with their Chardonnay.

Their liver paté with Murray River salt is savoured with the Merlot, while the sun-dried tomatoes, cheese and Khoisan salt is best enjoyed with the Cab.

Finally, and obviously, one will have to try the Maldon salted fudge, heavenly paired with their Noble Late Harvest.

9. Pizza and Wine, Brenaissance

What better combination than pizza and wine to set the scene for a fun and relaxing evening with good friends. And you’ll experience nothing different at Café Blanc de Noir at Brenaissance Wine Estate .

Their Full House Pizza is actually four different pizza flavours in one serving, each slice paired with one of Brenaissance’s premium wines.

It’s an informal affair with tasting sheets explaining the wines and tasting notes, giving you the opportunity to self-guide your way through the pairing.

Franschhoek Wine Route

10. Pierneef à La Motte and Five Wines, La Motte

For a top class experience, you’ll have to reserve two days in advance to ensure you get a booking at the exclusive Pierneef à La Motte fine food and wine pairing.

The tasting takes place in a private room in the tasting area with the cuisine prepared in the Pierneef à La Motte kitchen — a restaurant that has been listed under the top ten in the country.

You can expect a contemporary take on heritage-based culinary delights, paired with world-renowned wines, all tied together by your professional wine ambassador host, guiding you through the journey.

Adding to the art of it all, the clay serving plates were designed by local ceramicists as their interpretation of each dish.

It’s a delicate experience that will impress even the most difficult of in-laws.

11. Culinaria Food and Wine, Leopard’s Leap

Long forgotten is the stiff-upper-lip perceptions that wine farms used to have in the past.

The Culinaria Food and Wine pairing held on Friday mornings at Leopard’s Leap is a warm and interactive experience. It’s hosted around a long table set right in the middle of the bustling kitchen.

As the sommelier enthusiastically explains the six featured wines one after the other, the chef cooks up a storm to prepare the dish that each one will be paired with. Your nose will do the pairing, before it even lands on your plate.

An immersive experience of note, and everyone is invited, with even the kids feeling at home.

12. Charcuterie, Wine and MCC, Môreson

Charcuterie is arguably just a good a match with wine as cheese. The smokiness and saltiness of the meat have the ability to bring out strong attributes in wine, making it a great partner.

You don’t have to go far to experience this perfect pairing. For more than two decades Neill Jewell has been the head chef at Môreson wine farm and is often referred to as the “Charcuterie King”.

Sample a selection of Môreson and Miss Molly wines (or MCC) matched with handmade artisanal charcuterie like sausages and slices of cured meat.

13. Music and Wine, Black Elephant Vintners & Co

Black Elephant Vintners & Co is known as the ‘rebels of the vine’, establishing their own rules on how to produce and market their wines…and how they pair it.

Combining wine with music is refreshingly different. And don’t think it’s a quick in-and-out, got-the-picture kind of thing. The menu of wines paired with epic songs can contain up to 14 items, so get ready for a two to three hour interactive journey like no other.

This unique experience is only available on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and you’ll have to book before you pitch (pun intended).

14. Oysters Three-way and MCC, Grande Provence

If you’re looking for a refined and luxurious pairing experience, it can’t get much better than sampling oysters and bubbly at Grande Provence’s elegant sculpture garden.

And they’re not just any oysters. The locally sourced West Coast oysters are freshly shuck on the estate and topped with gourmet dressings that are conceptualised by the Head Chef.

Grande Provence Brut is sipped along with an oyster topped with pickled daikon, Asian style radish and a soy and sesame dressing. The Brut Rosé is a decadent partner for an oyster with homemade wasabi mayonnaise and spring onion, and the flagship finale is the Vintage Brut with a yuzu pearl-oyster to add a kick of citrus.

Paarl Wine Route

15. Marshmallows and Wine, Perdeberg Winery

Apparently artisanal marshmallows are becoming an interesting new food trend. Be part of the movement and try some fluffy treats with a couple of wine varieties from Wellington.

At Perdeberg Winery , a line-up of five wines are served along with handmade, gourmet marshmallows by local company, Roses Artisanal Confectionery .

The rosewater mallow goes well with their bubbly and the raspberry mallow works best with the Sparkling Rosé. Their scarcer cultivars, the Grenache Blanc and Cinsault, are paired with a lime and cherry flavours, whilst the sweet Chenin is dessert-worthy in combination with the delicious marmalade and honeycomb mallow.

16. Cheesecake and MCC, Laborie

Okay, wait. Two of the best things that have ever been created, formally placed next to one another to be enjoyed together? Somebody pinch me.

Laborie’s new bubbles and cheesecake pairing is held at the KWV Wine Emporium and is presented in three phases to suit each variety of their popular MCC.

The first round is to accentuate the lemony-lime of the Brut with its orange blossom tinge. Second up is the salmon-coloured sparkling Rosé matched with strawberry cheesecake to bring out its berry deliciousness.

As the cherry on the cake, the rich 100% Chardonnay Blanc de Blanc is delightfully paired with a hazelnut-topped cheesecake, a dream combination.

17. Goats milk cheese and wine, Fairview

Who can resist the addictive taste of creamy cheese?

Fairview is one of the most visited wine farms in the country and their famous drawcard is exactly this: their ever-popular combination of wine and cheese.

During your pairing, you get to taste six estate wines with a selection of recommended goat and cow milk cheeses to match their flavours. From smooth cheeses like Camembert and Brie, to crumbly feta and blue cheese and their famous White Rock fruity cheeses. You will soon discover your favourite.

(Fairview also has a very smooth system to manage large groups, with a variety of tasting areas and pods as well as a tasting-ticketing system, which is convenient.)

18. Artisanal Pies and Wine, KWV

Amongst the 15 million litres of KWV wines that gets produced each year, there is one particularly premium and pioneering series called The Mentors.

It is a sought-after range of unique wines that you get to swirl and sip at the KWV Emporium. To make it even more special, you’re invited to pair it with a selection of artisanal pies fresh from the oven of local bakery, Pasticcio .

The flaky pastries all have delicious filings like chicken curry and local favourite, bobotie.

19. Cake, Liqueur and Sweet Wine, KWV

Life’s too short – have dessert first! KWV has become masters at pairing delicious drinks and matching bites, and their “A Taste of Sweetness” offering is no different

Enjoy four mouth-watering petit cakes along with their award-winning KWV Cape Tawny and Red Muscadel as well as two of their liqueurs – the Van der Hum and the Wild Africa Cream liqueur.

The cake won’t disappoint – expect baked goods like their apple and pecan nut cake with a spicy marzipan and sweet caramel flavour.

Klein Karoo Wine Route

20. Food and Brandy, Barrydale Cellar

If you’re road-tripping down the characteristic Route 62, Barrydale Cellar should be one of the pins added to your map.

Their tasting room and restaurant is a lovely oasis offering three different types of tastings: Southern Cape vineyards wine, their own craft beer, and a selection of brandy.

Their most famous offering is their brandy though, with guests comparing their pot still bottles with some of the best in the world. To compliment the velvety rich aroma and taste of their brandies, expect a taste trifecta starting with pear, nusturtium and prosciutto followed by fig and Gorgonzola paired with an 8 year old Ladismith brandy and finally, an Oude Molen VSOP brandy paired with a smokey chocolate and syrup dessert.

21. Biscotti and Wine, De Krans

Italians are particular about their food and wine, so if they give the nod to their famous biscuit to be paired with wine, there must be something bellisimo to it.

Traditionally though, the hard almond biscotti is dipped in a sweet late-harvest to enjoy as a dessert, but De Krans has refined the combination even further. The chefs and owners have co-created a selection of biscotti to go hand-in-hand with the taste of their wines.

The classic biscotti has the honour of marrying the Moscato, whilst the mixed herb biscotti pairs well with the Pinotage Rosé. The proudly South African biltong biscotti is an interesting salty match for the Touriga Nacional, whose aromas remind of cherry cigar and chocolate.

As a fitting finalé, the De Krans Espresso wine is combined with a coffee biscotti, followed by the rich Cape Vintage paired with an allspice choc-chip biscotti.

22. Candy Floss and Wine, Jakkalsvlei

What a pleasant surprise Jakkalsvlei is – an unanticipated little wine farm nestled between the Garden Route and the Klein Karoo. Another unexpected spoil is their wine pairing with something sweet and sticky. We’re talking about candy floss or ‘spookasem’ in Afrikaans.

Pair five of Jakkalvlei’s wines with uniquely flavoured candy floss, like their Sauvignon Blanc with passion fruit candy floss, Pinotage with coffee candy floss or their Muscadel with turkish delight flavoured candy floss.

You’ll be delighted to hear that they’ve also just released a new gourmet pizza and wine experience that looks delicious.

Namaqua West-Coast Wine Route

23. Biltong and Wine, Die Keldery

Die Keldery has mastered the perfect balance of hosting a warm and authentic environment, whilst offering modern facilities with delicious food and wine.

Their pairing journeys are fun and interesting, but there’s one problem: how on earth will you be able to choose between chocolate or biltong?

I guess you don’t have to, but the traditional savoury pairing won this time round. Included in the biltong tasting is five different cured meaty bites to pair with Namaqua and Spencer Bay wines. Finger-licking chlli bites, beef biltong, droëwors, cabanossi and BBQ bites go down well with their sweet and dryer wine counterparts.

Oh yes, don’t forget the kids! Let the young ones be entertained by the Master Taster adventure with grape juices and jelly tots.

For more kid-friendly wine estates, click here.

24. Rooibos and Wine, Klawer Cellars

Did you know that South Africa’s famous rooibos plant can only be found in the Cederberg area of the Western Cape? To make the most of this special regional produce, Klawer Cellars is combining it with what they do best: wine.

Start the rooibos product pairing with their whites: Chardonnay with skuinskoek (a local doughnut-type speciality) and rooibos jam followed by Chenin Blanc and rooibos fudge, whilst their Rosé is a matched with the rooibos drizzle and local olive oil.

Over to the reds, their Pinotage is paired with a rooibos biscotti, and the Cabernet Sauvignon with rooibos soya sauce and cheddar. The pinnacle of the experience is a delicious solo performance by their African Ruby Rooibos infused wine.

25. Grenache Experience, Piekenierskloof

Although Grenache is commonly identified with Spain, the cultivar is one of the most widely planted varieties all over the world.

Celebrate its unique flavours with four of Piekenierskloof’s finest bottles and four gourmet bites.

The Grenache Blanc is served with baked camembert on a crostini with cranberry jus before getting salty with the bokkom-stuffed green olives and smoked tomato and Grenache Rose. The thyme and parmesan cheese straw is dipped in a mushroom truffle and paired with the earthy Grenache Noir. Finish on a sweet note with their flagship Heirloom Red and a beetroot Turkish delight flavoured with dark chocolate and white pepper.

Durbanville Wine Route

26. Macaroon and MCC, Canto

“Paire parfaite” is French for “the perfect pair” and the term was probably invented to describe two of their finest delicacies: macaroons and champagne.

The South African version of champagne is of course Méthode Cap Classique, and although the winery is brand new, Canto has created four delicious varieties.

In a modern tasting room you get to match their MCC with four distinct flavours of sweet macaroons to enhance your delight.

The Chardonnay MCC Brut is paired with a hazelnut macaroon and highlights the wonderful earthy undertone. The Shiraz Rosé MCC is one of only three of its type in the country and is a very interesting match with the red velvet macaroon. A favourite is the moreish Turkish Delight macaroon with the Pinot Noir MCC and to end it off the classic Chardonnay/Pinot Noir MCC is enjoyed with the salted caramel macaroon.

Hemel-en-Aarde Wine Valley

27. The Story of Creation, Creation Wines

Ladies and gentlemen, the creme de la creme of food and wine pairing in South Africa.

Creation is the trend-setters for pairing experiences, and their “The Story of Creation” is a five-course, eight wine dining affair that will take you through a medley of taste sensations.

Their story has five chapters, starting out on a peachy note, getting heavier and more complex as the plot thickens, before it ends with an elegant touch.

They have more than ten other pairing options available, from vegan to brunch, charcuterie and even alcohol-free.

(Pssst, they’re also winners of the Klink Award for Best Food and Wine Pairing for five years in a row as well as the Best of Wine Tourism Winner for Regional Winner Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences.)

Robertson Wine Route

28. ClemenGold and Wine, Zandvliet

These are all tasting terms that could be used to describe either wine, or ClemenGold, a special type of soft citrus fruit.

That’s why the flavours blend so well. The distinctive taste of the juicy, sun-ripened citrus have been infused into four sweet delicacies that Zandvliet wines are effortlessly pairing with their wines.

The spicy panforte with candied peel matches the golden Chardonnay, The Kalkveld Shiraz works its magic with the biscotti, their special Vintage Liqueur partners with the dark chocolate, and the Muscat is paired with the ClemenGold marmalade.

They say you can’t mix apples and oranges, but grapes and citrus could certainly work.

29. Taste the Difference, Esona

Before going into the details of the multi-faceted pairing, the setting of the tasting is something you should know about. It is one of a kind experience, set in a 95 year old, rustic, dark underground cellar with their 'kuipe' (vintage cement fermentation tanks) still in place.

By candlelight, you get to taste their three soft wines, twice.

Why a second time? Well, they want you to compare the taste of the wine in an ordinary wine glass, with a grape-specific crystal glass, called a ‘riedel’. Apparently the difference is remarkable.

Each of the wines are then also paired with a different confectionary, including Lindt chocolates and local fruit preserves.

But that’s not all. Esona also incorporates your senses of hearing and sight, by playing music to suit each varietal and showcasing an art piece with each tasting. Simon and Garfunkel will match the relaxed Sauvignon Blank, with the Chardonnay leaning towards country music and classical music ending off the Shiraz.

30. Christina Master Tasting, Van Loveren

At Van Loveren the focus is on having a great time.

You can go the relaxed route and enjoy your platter-pairing on your own, or select the tutored option, throwing a wine pairing guide into the equation. Whatever you chose, you’ll be learning a lot about different food and wine combinations in a fun way.

Van Loveren has eight different wine pairings to choose from including tasting platters with nuts, nougat, cheese and charcuterie.

Their Christina van Loveren Master Tasting is the star of the show though, offering their premium wines with a combination of very interesting flavours from olive oil and balsamic vinegar to homemade dukkah and local cheese.

Non-alcoholic versions of all the tastings are available too, for kids or designated drivers.


Begin by examining the color of the wine against a white background, tilting the glass away from you. Look for bright and, in the case of red wines, saturated color. A young red that is going brown at the rim is probably aging too quickly, while a white that is unusually dark may be showing signs of incipient oxidation.


To release the aromas of a wine, swirl it in the glass and then give it a deep sniff. Repeat as necessary, taking notes.

Take a good-size sip. Hold the wine in your mouth swish it around, allowing it to coat your entire palate. What does the wine feel like? Is it thin and acidic? Is it rich and velvety? .


Draw in some air be-tween your front teeth or across your tongue and "gargle" the wine in your mouth. Keep in mind that your tongue can identify only four basic tastes: saltiness, bitterness, sweetness and acidity. All other flavors actually reach your brain as aromas through the retronasal passage at the back of your throat. By "chewing" the wine, or combining it with air, you cause its volatile elements to vaporize.


A very small number of outdoor reservations for all guests and club members are available in Leavenworth, Seattle and at our Warehouse District Winery & Tasting Room only. You can book a table by clicking “VISIT” at the top of our website and select your location. We welcome all guests and club members on a walk in basis at our Hollywood Hill tasting room.

NEW: There are a few wine tasting reservations available for club members at our Hollywood Hill location each day during wine club pick up time!

Passports, Pull Tabs & Groupons are welcome at our tasting rooms on a walk-in basis only.

Reservations are for 75 minutes - tables will be held for maximum of 10 minutes unless other arrangements have been made. $15 tasting fee refunded as a credit towards a bottle purchase of $25 or more.

Based on Washington state reopening guidelines, we can accommodate a maximum of 10 guests to a table.

Variations and Extra Ingredients

Chicken wings are a staple in our home because we just love them. The basics are in preparing the chicken as I have explained above. Now that I have explained the basics I would like to suggest a few other alternatives you can adapt to my method.

1. Different Herbs

I have already suggested a variety of herbs. One of our favorite combos is to use rosemary and garlic, salt and pepper. I sometimes add a pan full of quartered potatoes below the sheet of wings. For this, I just use two separate cookie sheets and season the potatoes exactly the same as the chicken wings. I coat them with olive oil as well. The potatoes can also be seasoned any way you like as long as you add that light coat of olive oil to the spuds. Lay them out on the second cookie sheet in a single layer and cook it all at the same time. Add a salad to the table and your meal is complete.

2. Grilled Chicken Wings

When the weather is too hot to crank up the oven, I turn to the grill to bake up my bird. This requires using an indirect heat grilling method. John D. Lee has outlined a great How To article where he describes the pros of grilling indirectly. The idea is flavor and you will be amazed at the results of adapting indirect grilling to firing up some of the best chicken wings on the planet.

The chicken wings can be prepared the same as for the above chicken wing recipe. Instead of using a cookie sheet, place the wings directly on the grill. Do not place them over the fire. Use the indirect cooking method. Grill the chicken wings with the lid covering the grill at all times. This chicken wing recipe will take about 45 mins. to one hour. Look for a golden skin color and crispy skin.

3. Flavor Them to Your Liking

You can make them plain, meaning just salt and pepper or go for the gold and baste them with your favorite barbecue sauce during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Again, the key is to make sure the skin is golden brown before adding your sauce.

I have somewhat of a reputation for my awesome chicken wings with family and friends. Please give this chicken wing recipe a try to leave me your thoughts and suggestions below. I look forward to hearing from everyone.

Happy chicken wings to all! C.S. Alexis

Perfect Cup Of Coffee

The Pacific Northwest is noted for its great coffee. In fact, Oregonians love and crave their coffee. An entire coffee culture has sprung up to answer this craving. Espresso stands and carts have sprung up in every major northwest city. You can find espresso or coffee places on street corners, in grocery stores, gas stations, hardware stores, department stores, stadiums, and even in the fast food outlets. There are even drive-through espresso stands for coffee drinkers who don’t have time to get out of their cars. It is more than just a trend it is a new institution of the busy lifestyle.

As to why coffee is so popular in the Northwest, some people laughingly argue it is because people can not function in the cold, gray, and drizzly climate without it. Whatever the reason, this craving has spread through out the United States and the world. Coffee is the second largest commodity in the world.

Coffee House History: The boom of coffee houses is not new, as the roots of coffee houses go back to the 15th century Arabia, 16th century Europe, and 17th century North America. Coffee drinking began in the American colonies as early as 1689 in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. In fact, the Green Dragon Coffee House of Boston was where the idea for the famous Boston Tea Party was conceived in 1773. Americans revolted against England’s tea tax, and the Continental Congress declared coffee the “Official National Beverage.” What better way to protest the unfair tea taxes imposed than to enjoy an alternate coffee beverage?

Facts and Trivia about Coffee: The coffee bean is a fruit. It is actually the seeds of a cherry-like fruit. Coffee trees produce berries, called coffee cherries. These fruits are first green before turning red, and each fruit usually contains two beans. The coffee cherries turn bright red when they are ripe and ready to pick.

These seeds or beans of the fruit are then fermented, much as grapes are fermented when making wine, but the end result is different. After the coffee bean has been separated from the fruit, it remains covered in a mucilaginous layer. Fermentation breaks down the mucilage that surrounds the coffee bean. This mucilage, if not removed, will retard the taste of your coffee and create an undesirable taste.

Like the grapes of fine wines, coffee acquires unique taste characteristics from its local geography and climate. This depends on such factors as altitude, rainfall, type of soil, and how it is processed.

How to Make the Perfect Cup of Coffee

A great dining experience deserves great coffee – A few simple rules to follow for that perfect cup of coffee

Clean Coffee Pot – A clean coffee pot is essential and can make a substantial difference in the taste of your coffee. The type of coffee pot that you use is also very important (buy the best one that you can afford).

My Favorite Coffee Maker – I am always being asked what type of drip coffee pot is the best to use to make perfect coffee. After many years of purchasing and trying different pots myself, I complained to my favorite local coffee roaster that my coffee was never as good as theirs. They told me to purchase and use the Bunn ThermoFresh 10-Cup Thermal-Carafe Home Coffee Brewer. I now use this coffee maker and my husband and I are now in “coffee heaven.”

Coffee Beans – Purchase coffee beans as soon after they have been roasted as possible. Fresh roasted coffee beans are essential to a superb cup of coffee. Also purchase your coffee beans in small amounts, only as much as you can use in a given period of time. Remember that coffee is a perishable produce that is less than spectacular when it has staled.

Ideally you should purchase your coffee fresh every 1 to 2 weeks. I suggest you contact your local coffee roaster and select from their fresh-roasted coffee beans. It does not cost more money to purchase good coffee beans. Your local specialty coffee roasters are solely in the business to sell coffee beans. You can be confident that their beans are fresher, and thus the coffee that you serve in your restaurant will taste better.

Water – The quality of your coffee is heavily dependent upon the quality of the water that you use. Use only fresh cold filtered water . If you are using tap water let it run a few seconds before filling your coffee pot. Depending on your tap water, your coffee can turn out tasting sulfurous, metallic, tinny, flat, or worse. An alternative is to buy Artesian water (do not use distilled water). For optimal extraction, maintain a water temperature between 195 degrees F. and 205 degrees F

French Press – Use very hot water, but not boiling, in your French Press Coffee Maker. Learn How To Use a French Press.

Moka Pots – Use very hot water, but not boiling, in your Moka Pot Coffee Maker. Learn How To Use A Moka Pot.

Coffee Grinders – There are basically two different kinds of grinders: Blade Coffee Grinders or Burr Coffee Grinders (preferred):

Burr Coffee Grinders: The best coffee grinders are the Burr Coffee Grinders. The Burr grinders crush the beans between a moving grinding wheel and a non-moving surface. The positioning on the burr is what regulates the ground size, which allows for a more consistent grind. This style of grinder provides a much more consistent particle size than the blade grinders that most people are familiar with. Consistent grounds yield a sweeter, more enjoyable cup of coffee. I, personally, use the Burr Coffee Grinder shown in the upper left photo.

Blade Coffee Grinders: Very inexpensive coffee grinders that uses a metal blade to chop up the beans. The blade cuts up the beans, and you control the fineness by how long you let the grinder run. Unfortunately, the resulting coffee grounds can be uneven in size, leading to inconsistent brew quality.

Grinding Coffee Beans
– Always grind your beans as close to the brew time as possible. Coffee deteriorates quickly after grinding and you should grind only the amount you are going to use at one time. If your coffee is too strong, try adjusting the grind of the coffee coarser rather than using less coffee.

Coarse Grind: 5 to 10 seconds – used for percolators and the cold water brewing method. This is the least popular grind used today.

Medium Grind: 10 seconds – used for electric drip/manual drip and French press methods. Should be about the size of medium coarse sea salt. The drip method is the most popular in the United States.

Fine Grind: 15 seconds – used for vacuum and Neapolitan flip methods. Vacuum method equipment is not easy to locate in the United States.

Extra Fine Grind: 25 to 30 seconds – used for espresso machines.

Coffee Filters
– Always use a coffee filter if your coffee pot requires one to keep the grounds from blocking the drip and making the coffee overflow the basket. Use an unbleached (brown) paper filter or a gold filter. The bleached (white) ones affect the flavor of the coffee, so avoid them.

Amount of Coffee
– Using the right ratio of ground coffee to water is one of the most important things you can do to ensure a good cup of coffee. Use enough coffee, and don’t use too much or too little! If the below measurements sound like a lot, then you have probably been making less than full strength coffee. Make sure to spread the grounds evenly in the coffee filter so full brewing is achieved.

Professional coffee tasters use: exactly two (2) tablespoons (7 to 9 grams or 2 scoop of a standard coffee measure) of ground coffee beans for each six (6) ounces of water

How To Store Coffee Beans –
Coffee bean’s two greatest enemies are air and moisture. Ideally, coffee should be ground, brewed, and consumed quickly to obtain the best flavor.

Drinking Coffee – Brewed coffee should be enjoyed immediately! Pour the fresh-brewed coffee into a warmed mug or coffee cup so that it will maintain its temperature as long as possible. It begins to lose its optimal taste moments after brewing, so only brew as much coffee as will be consumed immediately. If the coffee is not to be served immediately after brewing (and your coffee pot doesn’t have an insulated coffee carafe), it should be poured into a warmed, insulated coffee carafe thermos and used within the next 45 minutes.

If you are displeased with the taste of your coffee, there are a number of things you can do like change the water to coffee ratio and/or use different coffee beans. It ends up being a matter of your own personal taste!

Taste Assessment

"The Science of Picky Eaters," NOVA scienceNOW, July 21, 2009.

Richard L. Doty, Ph.D., director, Smell and Taste Center, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.

Gilad, Y. Scientific American, May 2, 2008.

Schaeffer, J. Today's Dietician, October 2008.

The University of Utah: "PTC: Genes and Bitter Taste."

BBC: "Science of Supertasters."

Kuga, M. Acta Oto-laryngologica, January 2002.

Faas, M. Chemosensory Perception, March 2010.

Kölble, N, European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, December 2001.

Hunter, A. The Queen Charlotte's Hospital Guide to Pregnancy & Birth, Random House, 2012.

Stuckey, B. Taste What You're Missing: The Passionate Eater's Guide to Why Good Food Tastes Good, Simon and Schuster, 2012. "How To Train Your Palate Like A Pro," Feb. 5, 2009.

Medscape: "Disorders of Taste and Smell: Etiology of Smell and Taste Disorders," "Disorders of Taste and Smell: Treatment of Olfactory and Gustatory Dysfunction."

"Mindful Eating May Help With Weight Loss," HEALTHbeat, Harvard Health Publications, July 6, 2011.

Washington and Lee University: "Mindful Eating."

TLC: "Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Palate."

"Sharpen Your Sense of Smell and Taste," Stealth Health, Reader's Digest, 2005.

Food & Wine: "15 Rules for Great Wine and Food Pairings," October 2009

Beer Advocate: "Beer & Food Pairings for buttery Brie, Gouda, Havarti, Swiss - Cheese."

CNN: "A five-step plan for overcoming picky eating," July 2, 2012 "Why our salt addiction is hard to kick," May 15, 2010.

News release, University of Bristol, June 9, 2011.

Yang, Q. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, June 2010.

CDC: "Most Americans Should Consume Less Sodium," "Where's the Sodium?"

American Heart Association: "Sugars and Carbohydrates."

News release, American Heart Association, Nov. 6, 2012.

"Public health takes aim at sugar and salt," Harvard Public Health Review, Fall 2009.

American Rhinologic Society: "Disorders of Smell & Taste."

The American Academy of Oral Medicine: "Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)," "Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)--Treatment."

Solemdal, K. PLOS ONE, May 2012.

Powers, M. Handbook of Diabetes Medical Nutrition Therapy, 2nd Edition, Jones and Bartlett Learning, 1996.

NIH Senior Health: "Problems with Taste: Causes and Prevention," "Problems with Taste: Treatment."

Mojet, J. Chemical Senses, September 2001.

American Dental Association: "How Medications Can Affect Your Oral Health."

Pavlos, P. BMC Ear, Nose & Throat Disorders, August 2009.

American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery: "Smell & Taste."

News release, American Lung Association, Sept. 30, 2009.

American Cancer Society: "Guide to Quitting Smoking."

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

Sparkling Cranberry Punch from Taste and Tell – This is one of my very favorites. It comes together so fast, and that pink color is so gorgeous!

Cranberry Cutie from This Week For Dinner – this one not only looks festive, but it’s gorgeous as well!

Spiced Cider Punch from Taste and Tell – I love that this one is served cold. And that it really packs a punch of flavor!

Iced Chocolate from Taste and Tell – chocolate lovers will go crazy for this indulgent drink complete with a scoop of gelato.

Cranberry Spritzer from Taste and Tell – all you need are 2 ingredients for this super easy mocktail recipe!

Cranberry Apple Spritzer from Belle Vie – I obviously have a thing for cranberry mocktails, and this sounds like another fantastic one!

Virgin Frozen Margaritas from Taste and Tell – Margaritas aren’t just for Taco Tuesday!

Blackberry Vanilla Mocktail from La Fuji Mama – you can’t tell me this doesn’t look fantastic! Blackberries and vanilla seem like a match made in heaven.

Shirley Temple from Damn Delicious – The most simple, yet maybe one of my favorites – the classic Shirley Temple!

Sparkling Cucumber Limeade from Taste and Tell – cucumber, mint and limeade – such refreshing flavors – this one doesn’t have to be just for summer!

Raspberry Fizz from Jo Cooks – only 4 ingredients make up this refreshing mocktail that’s great all year round!

Homemade Slurpee Recipe from Taste and Tell – this isn’t as much of a mocktail as it is just a fun drink, but I love how adaptable this is. You could make so many flavors!

Moscow Mule from Our Best Bites – I want to make this one just for the mug!

Virgin Pomegranate and Cranberry Bellinis from Taste and Tell – Both sweet and tart, these Virgin Pomegranate Cranberry Bellinis are a delicious mocktail for any celebration!

Non-Alcoholic Sangria from Real Mom Kitchen – I love all of the fruitiness of this one, and I bet that mint simple syrup is so refreshing!

Hot Apple Cider from Taste and Tell – Apple cider, citrus juice and spices make up this drink that will warm you up from the inside out.

Strawberry Pineapple Shaker Upper from Something Swanky – this looks like the perfect way to have a taste of summer any time of year!

Roy Rogers from Recipe Boy – the opposite of a Shirley Temple – this Roy Rogers is sure to please!

Ginger Lime Spritzer from Taste and Tell – Ginger and lime come together in this satisfying and refreshing Ginger Lime Spritzer.

Princess Nojito from Taste and Tell – Not your normal mojito!! This non-alcoholic Nojito mocktail is based off of the nojito served on Princess cruises.

Non-Alcoholic Juicy Julep from Completely Delicious – I’ll take this drink anytime – derby or not!

Honey Lemon Balm Spritzer from She Wears Many Hats – I LOVE lemon, so this one is definitely calling out to me!

Blackberry Lime Soda from Taste and Tell – You can make your own fancy soda at home!! This Blackberry Lime Soda is sweet and sour and tart and refreshing – a delicious mocktail!

Ginger-Cinnamon Apple Cider Mocktail from Rachel Cooks – I’m a sucker when it comes to ginger, so I have a feeling this one could be a favorite!

Blackberry Lemon Mocktail from Running to the Kitchen – lemons and berries – you can’t beat that flavor combination!

Sparkling Peach Punch from Carlsbad Cravings – I am a peach lover, so I know this peach mocktail will be a family favorite!

Christmas Mocktails from Lauren’s Latest – Sweet and fruity, this one would be great for any celebration!

Basil and Mint Lemonade from Taste and Tell – the basil in this simple drink really makes it!

Cranberry Apple Crush from The Recipe Critic – This is a spicy drink that is served warm. Sounds perfect for a cold night!

Frost Bite Mocktail from The Little Kitchen – fruity with a little bit of sour lime added in – this is just the perfect mocktail for a New Year’s celebration!

Persian Pomegranate Mocktail from Tori Avey – I love the combination of sweet and tart in this unique mocktail!

Limeade Punch from The Girl Who Ate Everything – This sounds super easy and delicious, but the color is what is calling me!

Italian Soda from Oh Sweet Basil – Italian sodas are favorites for adults and kids, so you know this one will be a hit!

Warm Berry Cider from Chocolate and Carrots – I love that this one is warm – sounds amazing!

Fruit Freeze from Taste and Tell – The perfect beverage for when you want to cool down, this one is super easy to make ahead of time, and can feed a crowd.

Banana Pina Colada from Tasty Yummies – I love the addition of the banana to make this a real tropical treat.

Cran-Raspberry Sorbet Bellini from Country Cleaver – Sorbet in your mocktail? Count me in!

Sparkling Ginger Lemon Mocktail from Snixy Kitchen – There is a fun love story attached to this delicious mocktail, so make sure to head over and read that one!

Juicy Mango Margarita from Healthy Happy Life – This is a drink I could be happy sitting back with!

Ginger Mojito Mocktail from Taste as You Go – I have a secret obsession with ginger, so sign me up for one of these!

The Best Party Punch from No Biggie – this is the perfect beverage for a crowd!

Ginger Ale Mint Limeade from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe – Ginger, mint and lime – what’s not to love?

Caramel Apple Pie Mocktail from Merry About Town – this would be so perfect for fall, but I know I’d enjoy it year round!

Strawberry Margarita Mocktail from Life Straight Up – fruity and fabulous- this is a must!

Mai Tai Mocktail from Liz on Call – a super easy mocktail recipe that everyone will love.

Holiday Punch from Taste and Tell – sweet and fizzy, this one is always a kid favorite.

Jingle Juice Holiday Mocktail from No Biggie – if you are looking to serve a crowd, this holiday mocktail is for you!

Grapefruit and Rosemary Mocktail from Purely Katie – I am mesmerized by the pretty pink color in this mocktail! The rosemary simple syrup addition makes this a sophisticated drink – perfect for an adults only party.

Very Berry Spritzer from Deliciously Sprinkled – yes to all the berries!!

Disneyland Mint Julep Copycat from Six Sisters Stuff – I love the Disneyland version, so I know I’d love this copycat at home!

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Meet Deborah

Welcome to Taste and Tell. Here you will find easy, fast and family friendly recipes. I am a believer that anyone can cook and that dinner doesn’t have to be complicated. Come join me in my kitchen! Read More

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Perfect Gravy

Your Thanksgiving only deserves the best, which is why perfecting gravy is worth it&mdashand so easy!

What is gravy?

At its most basic, gravy is a thickened sauce made of meat drippings + stock + seasonings.

What does the flour do?

Gravy starts off with a classic roux: equal parts fat (in this case butter) and flour are cooked in a skillet until it becomes golden and bubbly. This creates a base for your sauce&rsquos texture. Without the flour, it will lack thickness and body.

How do I save turkey drippings?

The essential ingredient to perfect gravy? Fat! As your turkey bakes, it renders a ton of fat that'll be left over in the roasting pan. Don&rsquot&mdashwe repeat, don&rsquot&mdashpour that fat into the garbage! Those drippings are packed with flavor, all of which you want in your Thanksgiving gravy. After you take the turkey out of the roasting pan, set a colander or sieve over a large bowl or another pan. Pour the contents of the roasting pan through the colander&mdashthe drippings you want to keep will end up in the large bowl. You can discard the bits left in the colander.

Do I need to use fresh herbs?

Not necessarily. We love the flavor of fresh thyme and sage, but dried herbs totally work. You can swap out the thyme and sage for the same amount of poultry seasoning, rosemary, even Italian seasoning.

How long does gravy take to make?

Only 15 minutes. And since you absolutely need your leftover turkey drippings for traditional gravy, you can't start on it until your turkey is done roasting. Let the bird cool in the roasting pan for 20 minutes, then remove it to a cutting board to cool completely. That way, you can get to work on gravy ASAP.

How long does gravy last?

Gravy is perishable, so it will only last 2 days in the refrigerator. However, you can freeze leftover gravy up to 3 months in an airtight container or plastic bag. Thaw the mixture in the fridge the day before you plan to use it.

Can I halve this recipe?

Absolutely. If you're serving a smaller crowd, feel free to scale down the measurements. But know that leftover gravy tastes amazing on sandwiches the next day. It also freezes well when stored in an airtight container.

Have you made this recipe? Let us know you liked it in the comments below.


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