Archive for the ‘ Tasting Tuesday ’ Category

Gin- The Name of a New Game

[tweetmeme source=”PIWC2” only_single=false]
Poetry to my ears, or is it my taste buds? Alcohol with a twist is great discovery along the culinary/foodie road. New drinks are popping up all over the place like BB King making his guitar sing the blues. Endless chord combination’s in the world of Mixology- Maestro’s of libation, and so many other clichés move through my head as my taste buds gently tap, wanting more…

I had to opportunity to try so many unique things along my culinary travels; its been three years, maybe even four since my tongue felt the silky texture of a Gin like this- Saffron infused. An intriguing idea at its best, and did not disappoint. Subtle flavors, and in most cases its coloring hits more home runs in food dishes than its flavor.

I admit the world of alcohol for which I am passionate has been lacking in the past six months of my new healthy workout- lose weight routine, but baby when I found your photo in my files… desire errupt….

Smooth Talking Daddy'O

Adrienne and I have been talking Gin as of late, and she has yet to turn me on to some new drinks her son is turning her onto- Hey Partner- Put up, or I am storming your bar very soon…

This lovely bottle was a discovery in Vancouver BC, and if you see it on the market, try it all on it’s on before you mix it with any other ingredients as I said ‘Subtle Saffron’ flavor, but it’s there for sensitive palates. Zoot Suit Rockets went off on my first sip (Okay, so I am over using some verbiage today, lol). If I had not had so many other stops along the way, would have slipped a bottle into my suit case and savored some with friends. Now I guess we will have to only hope a distributor will bring it our way, or maybe I need to hit the road again…hook me up friends!


Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

Elements of Brown Butter Bourbon

[tweetmeme source=”PIWC2” only_single=false]

Brown Butter Bourbon

In a past article I speak about how one begins the journey into the world of scotch, whiskey, and bourbon. You must extend your taste buds from their libation comfort zone. Often Master Scotch Tasters, and even Sommeliers are forced to begin exploring taste. Sure they do it because they enjoy wine and want to take it a step further. Tasting the grapes themselves, wide arrays of wine- exploring how once their flavor is transferred into the final juice product, and how it remains a dominate flavor of the bottle, and even in blends your develop a skill to pick up on each varietal.

Beer enthusiast experience the same thing. They begin to know the elements of what is in the brew from hop to bottom!

Once skilled in the art of taste, as in the cooking field, you begin to recognize elemental flavors, you understand how building on flavor profiles will turn something simple into the perfect bite. As how I feel about drinks that are out of the ordinary. I love scotch, whiskey, whisky, and bourbons. What about it do I love? The barrel. The wood flavor that is transferred during the aging process. The same reason I love ‘Oaked’ Chardonnay.

I realize drinking a libation such as a ‘Brown Butter Bourbon’ is an acquired taste, but so is drinking Pepsi or Coke. You either like it or you don’t. We all have our favorite, but if you give yourself a chance and do the tasting in such a manner that introduces you to it slowly- I bet you will find it pleasing. For the taste alone of course. Too much of a good think can hurt you, if you drink to much. Yeah, drink responsibly.

My whole point- Elements Restaurant in Princeton, New Jersey…well, they have this Brown Butter Infused Bourbon, and I am finding myself thinking about the bottle at the bar. Hard to describe, but if you enjoy Werthers Candies (or butterscotch), then just imagine it spiked. Yes, SWEET! A great way to introduce yourself to scotch, whiskey, whisky, or bourbon.

I think my ‘Partner In Wine’ and this Chef are going to have to stop by and have one for the road. If you decide to stop by, make sure you tell them we sent’cha!


Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!


PS- Have some food, because it is pretty good too!

RECIPE: Food & Wine for Fat Infusing Alcohol- “an ingenious way to flavor spirits that he borrowed from one of Mason’s desserts. By mixing a melted fat with alcohol, chilling the mix­ture until the fat re-solidifies, then skimming it off, Freeman can infuse a spirit without leaving any greasiness behind.

Destination Ironbound translates Little Portugal

[tweetmeme source=”PIWC2” only_single=false]

Ironbound District/Ferry Street

Many neighborhoods have their history, but few have their history re-written in such a strong way as the Ironbound District of Newark. Typically in Central Jersey (depending on where you really live), the area is full of Asian culture cuisine. You want your pick of Indian food and markets? You will find eateries all along Route 1, Princeton to Edison. Of course New York City has wall to wall ethnic food choices that over flow into the bordering state of New Jersey.

As it does today, the Ironbound had inhabitants of many ethnic groups in the 19th century, with Germans, Lithuanians, Italians, and Poles being prominent. As well as during the mid-twentieth century it was also home to a large African-American population, so I am sure the restaurant scene was a cultural variance before now. With its streets dotted with Portuguese eateries and the greater influx dominating the area in the 1950’s; its well worth the drive from any section of New Jersey for an early dinner on Saturday and Sunday.

The Ironbound is a large working-class neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey. This close-knit, multi-ethnic community covers approximately four square miles. Historically, the area was called “Dutch Neck,” “Down Neck,” or simply “the Neck,” because of the way the Passaic River curved to form what looked like a neck. Today, the neighborhood is sometimes referred to as “Little Portugal” or “New Jersey’s Portugal” owing to its large Portuguese community. The Ironbound is part of Newark’s East Ward and is directly east of Penn Station and Downtown Newark, and south and west of the river.

The name “Ironbound” was once said to have originated from the many forges and foundries that were found in this area during the latter half of the 19th century, however, the name probably came from the rail tracks that surrounded the area when the railroads were constructed during the 1830s.

Want to get a taste of the foods and culture of Portugal? Visit the Ironbound District now. Since 1910, the area has deep roots and is home to many Portuguese Social Clubs. This past weekend a Portuguese music festival was taking up the block of Independence Park off . Taste of Portugal was the site for our Women For Winesense Tasting, and did they do a great job serving up healthy portions of various well know dishes. The largest selection of restaurants are found off Ferry and Market Street, north Ironbound area.

Check back Wednesday when I share the ‘Best Of’ wines and food we all enjoyed!


Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

Taste Of Portugal Paella- Yummy!

How To Walk Away From A Madeira Tasting

[tweetmeme source=”PIWC2” only_single=false]

Good Friends Share Their Madeira

Madeira is one of the most ignored fortified wines of our era, especially by the younger generation. Why? I am not sure, but they should pay attention to this one! My partner in wine and I will be attending a Madeira tasting in NYC today, and the key is to swish and spit, at least three times before making a decision about each wine. You will be hearing our thoughts on 40 different bottles of this goodness- if we can walk away…we may be crawling home!


Various quality vineyards at Campanário and
Calheta at altitudes between 100 and 300m.

Cossart Gordon 5 year old Bual underwent
fermentation off the skins with natural yeast at
between 18°C – 21°C in temperature controlled
stainless steel tanks. After approximately 3
days, fortification with grape brandy takes
place, arresting fermentation at the desired
degree of sweetness.

Cossart Gordon 5 year old Bual was aged in
American oak casks in the traditional
‘Canteiro’ system. This comprises of the gentle
heating of the wine in the lofts of the lodges in
Funchal. Over the years the wine is transferred
from the top floors to the middle floors and
eventually to the ground floor where it is
cooler. After this gradual ‘estufagem’ the wine
underwent racking and fining before the blend
was assembled and bottled.

Alcohol: 19% ABV pH: 3.45 Residual Sugar:
85.0 g/l Total Acidity: 6.5 g/l tartaric acid

Cossart Gordon 5 year old Bual is fined and
does not require decanting. It is excellent as an
after dinner drink and also very good with fruit,
milk chocolate, cakes and hard cheeses. It has
been bottled when ready for drinking and will
keep for several months after opening.

Clear, amber colour with tinges of gold; a
bouquet of dried fruit, vanilla, wood and toffee
with a smooth, medium-sweet finish and an
excellent balance between the fruit and acidity.

“Medium amber with a restrained aroma of
nuts, coffee and chocolate and even a hint of
olives as the wine opens up. The flavours
amplify these aromas, with the addition of
subtle, tangy lime quality to offset the
sweetness of the wine”. Lyn Farmer – The
Wine News, March 2001

Silver medal – IWC 1999
Bronze Medal – IWC 2003

Madeira Fact: The colonies in North America were at the time the largest and most discerning market, so much so in fact that the best production was widely known as ‘American Madeira’. Madeira played such an important part in American life that it was used to toast the Declaration of Independence on July 4th 1776.


Chef Elizabeth Stelling

Tasting Tuesday- Chef Fresco Talks Baron Herzog

[tweetmeme source=”PIWC2” only_single=false]

Cheers to Baron Herzog!

We Found this bottle at Trader Joe’s (shocker, I know) and it was a really nice selection. I enjoy a good Cabernet because it always seems to be a bit smoother than a Merlot while still having a good red wine flavor.

The only down side for me is that one; it seems to stain my teeth really bad, and two; it makes me extremely sleepy. I don’t know much about the teeth staining but I think certain people must be more susceptible than others. Reason being that I get it really bad, however Jessi does not. My father also gets exceptional red teeth when drinking red wines—so much that my mother has since forbid him to drink them in public settings, since he looks so ridiculous.

I must admit that this does pose a problem when cheesing it up for photos—you look like a vampire. Well besides the red teeth and sleepy side effects the cab was great. It did not seem to be as fruity as I like but had some hints of vanilla. I would consider the wine to have a high level of tannins. Don’t know what that is? It’s basically the acidity level in a wine, learn some more here from this friendly lady- comes from the stems and seeds when fermenting. Being this wine was not very fruity or sweet I would consider the wine to be very dry, witch I prefer in a Cab. I recommend pairing this wine with a red sauce pasta dish or red meat.

Overall I give it a good recommendation and we might even serve it at our wedding.

Team Chef Fresco– Jessi and Michael are two 20-somethings who are about to be hitched. They both are native North Carolinians and currently live in Charlotte. They stay very busy with work – Jessi does a fair amount of traveling and Michael spends a lot of time on his own freelance work. They are also new homeowners and love to spend time fixing up the new house. Writing about food, wine, and beer on their blog is one of the favorite pass times!

Partners In Wine Team rate this bottle a thumbs up for those of you who love a chewy big Cabernet!

Thumbs Up!

Tasting Tuesday -New Jersey Shipping Laws

[tweetmeme source=”PIWC2” only_single=false]
Shipping Laws in the Soprano State are Ripe for Change

-Guest Writer, Roland Hulme-Newjerseyinabottle

When you hear the words ‘New Jersey,’ wine is probably not the first image that pops into your head – unless it’s to conjure up the image of a jug of Carlo Rossi, sitting in the middle of Tony Soprano’s dinner table.

However, the Garden State actually has a long and prestigious history of wine making. Early settlers found the shores of the Garden State teeming with native grapes, and even christened a region in the southern part of the state ‘Vineland.’

In pre-revolutionary times, New Jersey’s winemakers were already producing world-class wine; and today Jersey stands as the sixth biggest wine-producing state in America, with viticulture the fastest growing form of agriculture.

Yet, New Jersey’s wine industry is hampered from reaching its full potential by the state’s needlessly restrictive licensing laws; most notably a ban on direct shipment of wine to eager consumers.

Unlike the majority of the United States, wine drinkers in New Jersey can’t order bottles of wine to be shipped directly to their homes; meaning they’re forced to drink whatever their local liquor store deigns to make available.

These restrictions have a serious impact on New Jersey’s 24 domestic wineries; ensuring their customer base remains incredibly limited. Most wineries in the Garden State are reduced to selling their wine direct from the vineyard itself, or through a few local distributors and restaurants; as they’re unable to legally ship their product elsewhere.

That’s right; if a wine lover in California, Connecticut or even just a county on the other side of the state wants to enjoy a bottle of Jersey’s finest, they’re required by law to travel to the vineyard and pick it up in person.

Ostensibly, the ban on direct shipment of wine stands in place to prevent underage drinking; even though shipping companies are required to have each delivery signed for by an of-age adult (and most kids are into beer and wine coolers, not $20 bottles of wine that take a week to arrive.)

In reality, the ban is maintained for the benefit of the state’s liquor store owners; who don’t want to lose out on potential revenue by allowing customers to order their wine directly, instead of buying it through them.

Certainly, if direct shipping to New Jersey consumers becomes legal, it’s fair to assume that some wine lovers will take advantage and order wine directly from vineyards throughout the United States.

However, with shipping costs on a crate of wine approaching nearly $50, it’s doubtful that anybody but the most dedicated connoisseur would take that route. For most of us, the local liquor store will remain the cheapest and most convenient place to pick up a bottle; and the impact on their profit margins would be negligible.

Fortunately, New Jersey state senators Stephen M. Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and Brian Stack (D-Hudson) have proposed a bill to overturn this unfair ruling; which will hopefully pass a vote later this year.

For New Jersey’s wine producers, the benefit of legalizing direct shipping could be immeasurable. Direct shipping would open up a plethora of potential new customers from all across the United States; and the more New Jersey wine is sampled and appreciated, the better known it will become.

While the Garden State will never rival California or Oregon in terms of volume, the state produces some truly outstanding wines and innovative wine making techniques, which deserve to be recognized. Hopefully, the rest of the country will soon be able to appreciate them; since while direct shipping remains illegal, New Jersey is needlessly limiting the growth of one of its most promising industries.

If you would like to learn more about New Jersey and NJ shipping laws, please visit Roland at:


-Adrienne, PIWC

Taste Of The Nation- Tuesday

[tweetmeme source=”PIWC2” only_single=false]

If you want to attend an event where fine dining and wine tasting is more than just a chance for Chef’s in the Princeton, New Jersey at The Westin, Forrestal Village area to shine- then you missed it last night. Share Our Strength, and Taste Of The Nation have been going strong for twenty years plus raising money for local charities that give 100 % back to make sure kids do not go hungry.They are synonymous for bringing together area restaurants to feed the local food enthusiasts something special, or not. This event shows the strength and dedication of both the charity organizations, and the culinary back up!

Share Our Strength has raised over $73 Million dollars to help keep feed local kids in neighborhood programs, and organizations around the country.

Lots of food was flowing around the large banquet room on the hotel’s downstairs side entrance. Along with a fun bottle toss. Yes, you got the chance to throw a white ring over a bottle of wine and walk out the door. Wine was donated by local wine retailers as well as New Jersey Wineries.

A few wines tasted:

Bonterra Merlot, CA
Ferrari-Carono, CA Chardonnay
Geyser Peak Cabernet, and a few good Rioja Spanish wines

We would buy them for our own cellar-

New Jersey wines were served as well, but I am partial to Amalthea Winery in south Jersey, but Louis was not there.

Just to name a few restaurants:

Elements, Princeton
The Blue Rooster, Cranbury
Eno Terra, Kingston
Rocky Hill Inn Eatery & Tavern, Rocky Hill
McCaffery’s Market, Princeton
Tre Piani
The Brother Moon
Alchemist & Barrister
Bon Appetit
Princeton School Garden Cooperative
Triumph Brewing Company
Nassau Inn Yankee Doodle Tap Room

If you want to know more come over to Food ~ Wine ~ Fun! and see a few more dishes, but otherwise next year- Buy A Ticket!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling, Chef/Owner- CookAppeal LLC