If you’ve been to Paris this time of year, chances are you’ve walked through a Christmas market and smelled the cauldrons of vin chaud sold for a few euros a glass. Maybe you’ve warmed up with a hot paper cup of mulled wine while you shopped, or had it in a glass at a cafe, watching the snow flurries in the street through a window. Hot, sweet, and spicy, vin chaud is perfect for the cold nights we’ve been getting lately. There are a lot of different recipes floating around, but generally speaking you should start off with a light, juicy wine like a Gamay, although I also tried using our boxed Cotes du Rhone with excellent results. Make a sachet of whole spices like cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom, and nutmeg, add orange and lemon zest and simmer for at least 20 minutes. Don’t forget to sweeten to taste with either sugar or honey (about 1/4 cup per bottle of wine for me).
|Left: 1.5 L box of 2009 Domaine Clos des Lumieres Cotes du Rhone. $14.99, absolutely delicious. Right: 2010 Marcel Lapierre Raisin Gaulois Gamay. Charming, grapey, and fresh with spicy black cherry notes and overall light, bright taste. $12.99
And more wines!
Little James Basket Press $12.99
Louis Barruol of Saint-Cosme made this Grenache after his son. Like his father, young James has an affinity for grapes bursting with fruit, and his namesake is packed with the lush, opulently ripe red fruit characteristic of top grenache gr own in the Rhône Valley. Neither fined nor filtered, this delicious wine is best decanted to allow its full flavors to emerge.
2010 Domaine de la Becassonne Cotes du Rhone Blanc $14.99
This estate is owned by Andre Brunel, of Les Cailloux, one of Chateauneuf du Pape’s most forward-looking proprietors. Undoubtedly one of Brunel’s finest inexpensive offerings, this tank-fermented and aged blend of 50% Roussanne and the rest Grenache Blanc and Clairette would embarrass many white Chateauneuf du Papes. The malolactic has been blocked to preserve the wine’s vibrancy and acidity. It offers terrific floral, rose petal, honeysuckle, and apricot aromas, gorgeous fruit, medium to full body, wonderful purity, and a lively, zesty finish. This is about as good a white Cotes du Rhone as readers will ever find.
2009 Notre Dame des Pallieres Gigondas $16.99
Vivid ruby. Highly perfumed aromas of red and dark berry preserves and potpourri, with an exotic apricot nuance in the background. A smoky quality builds with air and carries onto the palate, which offers sweet raspberry and blackberry flavors. A deep, chewy wine that possesses unlikely finesse, finishing with very good clarity and spicy persistence. 90-92 points Wine Advocate
Route des liqueurs $24.49
A perfect party gift or other special treat, we love this box of chocolates. Designed as a tour through the liqueurs of France, it contains 27 Armagnac, Marc de Champagne, Kirsch, Mirabelle, Calvados, Cognac, and Pastis filled dark chocolates in adorable foils.
Swiss chocolate sampler $7.99
For something a little more intimate, try this darling collection of Swiss chocolates including one each Grand Marnier, pistachio, espresso, hazelnut, mandarin orange, passion fruit, white truffle, and truffe Marc de Champagne.
Croquant de Cordes $10.99
Maison Bruyère has been perfecting its savoir-faire for over three generations and offers delicious cookies without any artificial coloring or preservatives. Made with only four ingredients: sugar, almonds, flour, and egg whites, these really emphasize craftsmanship with simple ingredients perfectly arranged in a light and crunchy cookie.
Queijo de Ovelha Curado Amanteigado is made in AlentejoPortugal and, like its cousin Queijo Serpa, it is made with the milk of merino sheep. The milk is coagulated with thistle rennet which gives the cheese its characteristic tangy citrus notes. These small wheels areaged six months and rubbed with olive oil throughout their curing. Amanteigado is consumed in two styles-when it isyoung the top is cut off and the oozy interior is scoopedout. As the wheel matures, it becomes a bit more cohesive with a sharper flavor, developing sweet, soft caramel notes. The savory herbaceous flavors of Amanteigado reflect the sheep’s diet in this arid interior region. Normally $22.99, we’re offering them right now for $19.99.
Raw Milk Gouda Aged 5 Years
This raw milk 5-years-aged gouda stays good nearly forever–it just keeps getting better! It’s a favorite with the local chefs at the Latona Tavern and Portage Bay Café. The cheese is a deep orangey-gold color with long lasting caramel, toffee, and brown sugar notes. The texture is similar to a five-years-aged Parmigiano-Reggiano: smooth and firm with crunchy protein deposits. It makes a unique and contrasting variation on a cheese platter, and tastes amazing paired with almost anything. One of our favorite and most diverse cheeses, we’re thrilled to offer it at this astounding price! $15.99/lb, $3.99/quarter lb.
|It takes some serious effort to cut…
|… but the results are gorgeous, and delicious!
Last but certainly not least, I’m excited to say that we’ve started offering individual macarons for a treat while you shop at $1.99 each.