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2014 CT Food Lover Gift Guide. We've got the perfect gift the foodie in your life. 

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Entries in Wine Shop (10)

Wednesday
Dec032014

2014 CT Food Lovers Holiday Gift Guide

Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.-H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Gift giving-choosing a gift for another person that is resonant of their personality and interests-is a true art. How do we know this? We know this by the sheer number of Yankee Swap and White Elephant parties that we have all attended. You thought those salt and pepper shakers in the shape of ugly, primitive holiday carolers would be perfect for me...um, why? And thus, yet another odd gift enters the rotation of passed-along, re-gifted gifts. On the flip-side, we all hopefully have experienced the joy that comes when we do find that perfect gift. The thrill of watching the unwrapping and the smiles that follow! This holiday season, we would like to help you in your pursuit of That Perfect One....

We bring you the CTbites 2014 CT Food Lovers Gift Guide. Start shopping!

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Tuesday
Apr082014

Sun Winefest's Wine Review: What To Buy & Try

The annual Mohegan SunWineFest caters to a variety of interests. Restaurants, artisans, winemakers, and distributors unite in the sprawling Convention Center to deliver an epic weekend.  However, wine lies at its heart; it is a “wine” fest after all!  I enjoyed all of event’s facets, but as CTbites' wine correspondent, I paid careful attention to the hundreds of bottles presented.  I researched the offerings ahead of time, questioned the representatives, and- of course- tasted the bounties to bring you a full report on which wines reign supreme.

Check out my full report on: The Rise of Sauvignon Blancs, Is Oak a Joke?, Hail a Cab, Pleasing Pinots, Behold the Blend as well as a few other wine and spirit highlights. 

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Friday
Mar212014

The Weekly Nibble: Upcoming Food News & Events

Monday March 24, Plan B in Stamford presents “Distill it with Willett.”  Five courses will be paired with bourbon and bourbon cocktails… and they’ll use bourbon in every single course!  6 pm.  $75pp, tax and tip included.

Also on the 24th, Napa & Co in Stamford presents “A look at Sauvignon Blanc the hot white grape!”  They’ll guide you through a global look at the varietal in New Zealand, Sancerre, Russian River, Napa Valley, South Africa and Washington!  $45pp.  6:30pm.  

Brewery Ommegang comes to Harlan Social on Tuesday, March 25th for a 5-course menu paired with their beers. $70 plus tax and tip.  6:30- 9:30pm. Call 203.883.8000 to reserve seats. Event Menu:

Tuesday March 25, Barcelona in West Hartford presents “New England Beers & Tapas.”  In celebration of March Madness, Chef Eric is going to prepare some savory tapas to pair with some of New England’s thirst-quenching beers.  $29 per person, plus tax and gratuity.  Reservations: 860.218.2100

March 25 is “Good Meats!  An Evening with Charcuterie” at Fairfield Cheese Co. 7-9pm.  Call 203.292.8194 for more information.

Wednesday March 26 is the “Iron Bar Gala” at Plan B Burger Bar in Milford. 

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Wednesday
Feb262014

Sun WineFest 2014 @ Mohegan Sun: The Recap

Mohegan Sun’s annual WineFest is my Super Bowl.  Before the big game, football aficionados took to twitter in anticipation of the showdown.  I, too, waged a full out blitz on social media- enthusiastically counting down til I could try some great wines and see my favorite chefs back in action!  For the Super Bowl, avid fans suited up in team apparel and NFL jerseys.  I also donned some fancy getup; my yearly uniform is a pink shirt bedazzled with “Wine Diva” and a sparkly headband.  Some people love calfskin; I love food, wine, and fun.

From the moment I entered the Convention Center, it was apparent that this year’s festival was bigger than ever.  Media members are granted an additional hour to peruse the venue.  Last year there was a handful of us and it was easy to get a preview of what was to come.  This year, however, it seemed that people everywhere were vying to cover the event.  Media members were elbow-to-elbow before the doors even opened to the public.  It was an extravaganza!

The SunWineFest’s signature event is its Grand Tasting, which spans the weekend. 

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Friday
Feb072014

The Weekly Nibble: Upcoming Food News & Events

February 10-11, Caseus Fromageria & Bistro in New Haven will offer an evening of “Sweets & Treats.”  This popular class has become a Caseus tradition every February. 6-7:30pm.   Approximately $40pp. More Info Here. 

Tuesday February 11, learn how to make “Barcelona Classics” at Barcelona in New Haven.  Included in the class are gambas al ajillo, potato tortilla, chorizo and figs, and more.  7pm.  $25 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

Also on Tuesday, Fairfield Cheese Company will offer a class called “Parmigiano Reggiano Academy.”  Parmigiano Reggiano is often referred to as the “King of Cheese” and by tasting you can learn the difference that aging makes in authentic Parmigiano Reggiano cheese at 16-, 24- and 36-month stages. $45pp. Info here. 

Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes a wine tasting event not to be missed!  On Wednesday February 12, try SEXY wines poured by award winning winemaker António Maçanita.  SEXY wines were recently featured at the Mohegan SunWineFest.  The free event will take place from 5-8pm at Turnpike Wines in Fairfield.

Walrus and Carpenter (home of the killer fried chicken) will host a beer dinner on February 13th, featuring a line up from the Victory Brewing Co. roster and some signature Walrus-flavors to match. Email Adam: roytman@walruscarpenterct.com or call 203.333.2733.

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Wednesday
Dec112013

Wine Pick: Michael Keenan of Keenery Winery Talks Shop

Michael Keenan spent about half of our time together describing his wines.  He spent the other half apologizing for his colorful language.

“Once in San Diego I participated in an elegant dinner- 10 wines with 10 courses.  I found out later there was a secret contest to see how many times I would drop the f bomb during it,” he admitted with a look of mischief in his eye.

When our giggles subsided, someone asked, “So how many times were there?”

“I don’t know,” he shrugged. “At least 18.”

If a stereotypical winemaker is arty and even a touch pretentious, Keenan proved anything but.  His spirited attitude and knack for lively storytelling won me over immediately.  The story of his wines begins when his father, Robert Keenan, purchased 180 acres of abandoned land in 1974.  The property on Spring Mountain in Napa used to be a well-established vineyard called the Conradi Winery.  Unfortunately, it fell into disrepair during prohibition.  Robert saw hope in it though and hired a contractor to begin the ambitious task of breathing new life into the land.

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Wednesday
Dec042013

Foodie Gift Guide: CT & Beyond...Part II

The turkeys are gone and the radio stations have started playing seasonal tunes... The holidays are officially here!  If you're looking to gift friends and family with awesome foodie presents and local treats, we've compiled some of our favorites for your perusal. We also enlisted the help of a prominent local chef, Mario LaPosta of Tarry Lodge in Westport, CT who offered his picks. 

Here are a few more gifts for your foodie loved ones. [See our Ultimate CT Gift Guide Part I here].

Happy holidays... And happy shopping! 

Cranberry Walnut Olive Oil, New Canaan Olive Oil

For that one foodie in your life that seems to already have everything – consider shopping at newly opened New Canaan Olive Oil. Their wide assortment of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Vinegar flavors will entice even the most spoiled cooks, specifically their Cranberry Walnut Olive Oil. Great for salads or sautéing veggies, this seasonal flavor will add a toasty and tangy taste to any dish. And for our beloved bacon lovers, try their Bacon Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil – an easy way to add bacon flavor to almost anything! 

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Friday
Nov292013

The Weekly Nibble: Upcoming Food News & Events

Celebrate Black Friday with Val’s of Greenwich! Barhill Gin will be hosting a tasting to get us geared-up for the holiday season.  This complimentary event will take place from 3-7pm on Friday November 29.

On Monday December 2, Buon Appetito Restaurant will partner with Super Cellar Liquors for a 4 course wine dinner.  It begins at 6:30 at the restaurant in Canton, CT.  $75 pp. For the menu and reservation information, see https://origin.ih.constantcontact.com/fs126/1102509927877/img/1248.jpg

Get an introduction to homebrewing beer on Tuesday December 3.  The free event takes place from  6:30-8:30pm at Yale University’s International Center. Learn more and claim a seat at  http://eventful.com/newhaven/events/introduction-homebrewing-beer-/E0-001-063499321-0 

On Tuesday December 3, Luca Wine Bar and Visco Wines will partner with Harry’s Wine & Liquor to present a wine dinner called “The 4 Big B’s of Italy.”  It will feature four of Italy’s coveted wines: Barbera, Barbaresco, Brunello di Montalcino, and Barolo.  They will be paired with 4 courses including homemade crepes, ravioli, veal shank, and poached pear for dessert.  $98 pp, all inclusive.  Please call Luca Wine Bar for reservations: (203) 286-5617.

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Thursday
Feb142013

Champagne: Nicholas Roberts Fine Wines Says "It's Not Just For Valentine's Day"

Flat screen TV: check. Afternoon game on: check. Matching jerseys: check. Champagne. Check?

If football conjures up images of greasy chicken wings, beer, and people shouting at the television, champagne is equated with glitz, elegance, and a touch of pretension.  It seems impossible that the two would ever exist in harmony.  Recently, Peter Troilo of Nicholas Roberts Fine Wine in Darien, CT proved otherwise.  He and wine distributor Peter Slywka held a grower champagne tasting against a backdrop of Sunday afternoon football.

“Most people think they have to drink champagne for a special occasion.  People should drink it all the time!” Troilo proclaimed.  Slywka nodded.  Then both turned their attention to the TV and let out a whoop as their team complete a play.

Don’t let the laid back demeanor fool you; these guys know their stuff.   Just this year, the Wall Street Journal wrote an article on the boutique wine store, praising it for its carefully stocked shelves.  Troilo’s knowledge has earned him widespread respect in the industry.  Recently he joined forces with New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov to select wines for an event celebrating the launch of the commentator’s book at the Darien Library.

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Wednesday
Jan232013

Off the Vine Wine & Spirits Opens in Norwalk

“Come on in. I just finished putting the wine away about an hour ago,” says John Noakes as I enter Off The Vine Wine & Spirits, a wine shop in Norwalk. “I had about 100 cases just sitting in my basement.” 

Off the Vine is a work in progress; a paint brush lies in the corner waiting for use and the shelves have a few empty spaces awaiting bottles.  Still, Noakes is well on his way toward reopening the store in its new location.  The shop, previously situated on the corner of Spring Hill Avenue, is moving across town to Winfield Street.  The space has its own legacy.  It once housed the original location of Fountainhead Wines before it became a part of Fat Cat City on Wall Street.

Off the Vine is a relatively small operation.  Noakes owns and works in the store full-time and has two people who assist him part-time.  The new location is physically petite as well, even more so than the previous shop.   Don’t let the size fool you though.  The shop offers an enviable collection of boutique wines.

“Having a small store poses its challenges, but it makes it so that your taste has to be spot on,” explains Noakes.  He strives to offer only the best products to his customers and tries to find unique, small production wine.

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