The Perfect Gift

Find Gift Baskets filled with high quality wines, thoughtfully selected foods such as Vermont aged cheddar, Rowena’s baby bundt cakes, The Peanut Shop peanuts, fresh-baked biscotti at Wine Gourmet.

See Kimberly present all the baskets on Channel 10’s Our Blue Ridge, December 2010.

The Perfect Gift

The entire basket is assembled right here in the shop.

Perfect gifts for many people in your life.

Neighbors
Newlyweds
Fathers
BFFs
Referrals
Clients

Watch Mechelle put together the most popular gift basket of the season – the 2-bottle basket.

To order please call us at 540.400.8466 or email info@winegourmet.biz

Click Here for all Baskets

 

 

One Foodie Couple’s Journey Through Spain – Part II

Adam Z. Markham

In our last chapter we discussed conspicuous consumption and the eating of “all-things-pig”.  Well, why change when you’re on a roll?

After leaving the Mercado de San Miguel, we set out searching for what is literally the single oldest restaurant on planet Earth (at least according to the Guinness Book of World Records).  Casa Botin opened in 1725 and has been operated continuously since.  Think about that.  The place is 51 years older than the United States.

Casa Botin

Casa Botin

Our motivations were pure and well-founded, as Casa Botin´s specialty is suckling pig roasted whole in a wood-fired oven.  As luck would have it we were only about a block from the place.  When we arrived it appeared they were closed for the afternoon but two young guys coming out told me they still had some reservations left… for 11:30pm!  When we went in, the guy in front of me apparently got the very last reservation of the evening.  I begged the man at the desk.  I begged some more.  He absolutely and adamantly refused to give us a coveted slot.  I am not ashamed to admit that when we left the building I wept a little.

My adoring wife, sensing my pain, tried to go back in but they had locked the door.  She then found the door to the kitchen and barged in but was summarily dismissed by the head chef and manager… the nerve!  She then came back out and knocked on the front door until the Maitre De came and unlocked it again.  As he let her inside I stayed put and, honestly, I prayed in Spanish.  She emerged with a smile on her face and fists clenched over her head.  At this juncture I feel the need to point out the following:  it is a sign of true love when your wife literally gets down on her knees and begs, BEGS a man for a dinner reservation all so she and her husband can eat a baby pig.  We had dinner reservations for 11:50pm… WHOO-HOO!

Reservation secured, we headed back to our hotel, the Petit Palace Puerta del Sol to sleep off our experiences at the Mercado and to gird our loins for that which lay ahead.

Roast Suckling Pig!

That evening we arrived at Casa Botin early (at about 11:40 pm, mind you) in eager anticipation of our meal.  Let me tell you unequivocally people, it did not disappoint.  Our new little porcine friend arrived on our plates in steaming, succulent glory.  The meat was pale, juicy, mouth-wateringly tender and shockingly flavorful.  The skin… THE SKIN!  The skin was the color of honey and was perfectly crunchy.  It was divine.  Accompanied by nothing more than simply roasted baby potatoes and a bottle of 2005 Acon Crianza that was 100% Tempranillo, this was absolutely the dinner of a lifetime.

On our way home we made two pit stops.  First, we stopped into a bar for a nightcap.  The only reason I bring up this particular place is because of a rather unusual wall-hanging.  They had the mounted, coal-black, mummified head of an enormous boar behind the bar wearing a giant pair of sunglasses that concealed its eye sockets.  The eyes themselves had evidently been replaced by glowing light bulbs.  This is a country that spends a potentially inordinate amount of time contemplating pig.  These people are alright by me.

Our second stop was for churros and chocolate.  Churros are a sort of extruded doughnut batter that when deep-fried comes our looking like a five-inch long noodle about the diameter of your thumb.  It is served with hot chocolate.  Every single late night reveler in Madrid apparently ends the evening with a stop off for this treat.  Kendall and I had heard about it, but frankly we had a bit of trouble understanding the fervor for a simple cup of hot chocolate with a doughnut.  Make no bones about it, one of my favorite things on earth is chocolate but come on, how good could it really be?

Churros & Chocolate!

We doubt no more.  When you walk in there are no choices.  The only options are “uno, dos, tres”, etcetera.  What was it like?  Forget I ever used the words “hot chocolate”.  This stuff came out in a steaming mug and you could practically stand a spoon up in it.  It was thick, dark brown and viscous and was freakishly delicious.  The churros had a perfect crunch and tooth on the outside and were soft and pillowy on the inside.  Dipped into the chocolate, they were the stuff of legend.

It was then off to bed for yet another round of digestion.

In our next installment intrepid reader, we awake in preparation for our 200 mile drive north through Bilbao (complete with a visit to the Spanish Guggenheim!) on our way to the coastal town of Deba.

…Adam

We Drank a Raspberry Beret

Adam Z. Markham

…but decidedly NOT the kind found in a second-hand store.

My wife and I recently had my sister April and brother-in-law Sean to dinner.  The dinner part was easy:  planked Moroccan spice-rubbed salmon (see photo of delighted cook as exhibit #1…) served with wild rice and garlic-sauteed greens.  Dinner always seems to be the easy part.  The difficult part for me seems to be dessert.

Exhibit #1

Planked Salmon!

We tossed around several ideas.  Homemade sorbet?  No, it was not seasonally appropriate. Chocolate mousse? Too much labor. Fruit and cheese platter? It seems sort of underwhelming after such an assertive dinner. Well, how about we just go buy some sort of dessert at Fresh Market? No, it kinda feels like a copout.

“WAITAMINUTEI’VEGOTIT… WINE!”

Villa Appalaccia

Wine.  What more could you ask for in a dessert? We tossed around the idea of port or possibly a sherry but it just didn’t feel unique enough for the occasion.  What we finally decided on was Raspberry Beret from Villa Appalaccia.  If you have never tried this delightful offering from one of Virginia’s premier wineries you are truly missing out. And, if you are convinced that sweet wines or non-grape based offerings are only for unsophisticated plebians then you are denying yourself a truly sublime experience.

Raspberry Beret is obviously a raspberry based wine. With 5% residual sugar it is definitely sweet but it has plenty of fruit and more importantly acidity to create a perfectly balanced dessert wine. With 12% ABV (alcohol by volume) it is also no slouch in the complexity department.

Raspberry Beret

Lest it be wrongly assumed that we had skimped on the dessert portion of the menu we decided to buy a single beautiful bar of dark chocolate – something with a cocoa content of around 75-80% should do nicely, thank you very much. We just broke the chocolate bar open at the table and passed it around like a cheap jug-o-hooch at a fraternity party.  Let me tell you, Raspberry Beret is dark chocolate’s best friend.

You can usually find Raspberry Beret at Wine Gourmet along with lots of other dessert wine offerings.  It sells for $19.99 for a half bottle (375ml) and is guaranteed to provide plenty of wow factor at your next dinner gathering!

…Adam