Tuesday, December 27, 2011

White Hall Vineyard

With living in Staunton, VA, I was within 45 minutes of at least 25 wineries.  However, it really wasn’t till this year that I started taking advantage of that opportunity.  The reason I did was because of my friend Ellie who enjoyed planning wine tasting adventures for our group of friends.  She’d pack a lunch basket, we’d load into her car, and go to  three (or four) wineries.  It was fitting that the last adventure for Ellie and I before I move to Nebraska was do one last winery/brewery tour.   So, we visited Whitehall and Wild Wolf Brewery, a recently opened brewery in Nelson, Va.    

The adventure to White Hall almost didn’t happen.  Ellie and I had planned on visiting King’s Family Vineyard and Whitehall; but, we were thwarted by a Christmas parade that blocked our route and took us on a roundabout journey through the labyrinth of Crozet.  Luckily for us, the visit was worth all the pursuit. 

On the day there, White Hall offered a tasting of eight wines for $5.   

For whites, there was a Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Gewurztraminer.   When my friends and I go wine tasting in groups, I always ask the “car favorite.”  Since it was just Ellie and I, there was a strong risk of a split jury.  Although potentially debate filled, we were both in agreement that the favorite was the Gewurztraminer.  The other two were valid contenders.  The Chardonnay had brightness and a bit of burliness, a spicy nose, but maybe a little too much citrus.  The Pinot Gris, which is less than 10% ice wine, had a really bold and fantastically fragrant nose .  Though they were both good, the Gewurztraminer stole the show.  There was cinnamon, cloves, lychee, and honey, making a very rich offering of flavors that were surprisingly balanced.

For the reds, there was a Cabernet Sauvignon, Touriga, Petit Verdot, Cuvee des Champs, and the Edichi (the wine of the month).  All were fantastic wines.  The Cabernet Sauvignon was rich with plums, spice, and tempered with some acidity.  The Cuvee des Champs also had richness from dark chocolate and rich plum hints.  Then, on the sweeter side, was the Edichi that is portly with quite a rum raisin finish.  

Again, all fantastic, but still nothing compared to the two best, the Touriga and the Petit Verdot.  When I sipped the Touriga, I figured that was the favorite of the day.  With jam, raspberries, spice, licorice, and tobacco, how could there be one bolder and more intriguing?  Then, I tried the Petit Verdot.  Rich. . .  Bright cherries and currants . . Vanilla, cedar, dark chocolate, and tobacco . . . Quite a mouthful.  Voted by Ellie and I as the "car favorite."  

I had very high hopes for White Hall. Then, after all the comedy of errors of the trip, I worried that no winery could compete with so much build-up and thwarting.  It did, though, and I was glad it was the last Shenandoah Valley winery I got to visit before moving.      
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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I hope your Christmas brought you lots of the very nice and the very naughty.  Eat well and enjoy food, friends, and family.  Happy Holidays from Down Home Foodie!  

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Recipes: Tortellini Soup

This was the soup my mom always fixed for Christmas Eve dinner.  Since my dad is a minister, Christmas Eve was working evening and involved him coming in and out fom different services.  So, a warm, full soup was something she could do ahead and then we could enjoy it with a salad and crusty bread.  The colors are perfect for Christmas and the flavors are deep and inviting.  
2 tablespoon olive oil
½ onion (about ½ cup) diced red onions
4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarians)
1 tsp. garlic salt (with parsley)
1 tbls. Italian seasoning
¼ tsp pepper
1 cup red wine
1 tbls balsamic vinegar
1 16oz. can of navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.5oz. can of petite diced tomatoes with liquid
1 10 oz. can of Rotel (or diced, spicy tomatoes available in mild, original, and hot), drained
1 10oz. box of chopped spinach
1 14oz. bag of frozen cheese tortellini
  1. Set the burner to a medium heat.  Pour olive oil into a pot. .  When oil is hot, add onions.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. When onions are brown, add wine, garlic salt, pepper, Italian seasonings, and balsamic vinegar.  Cook for 5 minutes to allow wine to reduce. 
  3. Add broth, both types of tomatoes, beans, and spinach.  Bring to a boil.  Once boiling, add the tortellini.  Reduce heat and simmer for around an hour.   After an hour, the soup is ready to eat. 

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Recipes: One Scone, Two Variations

I got the idea for this from my friend, Ellie.  She just bought a recipe book from World Market that is part of a series of recipe books that give one base recipe and 100 variations.  Since I knew for Christmas I wanted to post a scone recipe, I decided to take the idea and apply it to the scone recipe.  

This recipe is designed so that you can use the one base, then have two options of where to go next.  When I made a batch for the post, I made up the base then halved the two variation recipes so that one batch produced two flavors.  

The scones produce very different textures.  The "Orange Spice" ones are denser, spicier, and a little heavier.  The "Berry and Hibiscus" are lighter, fresher, and airier.  
Base Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup oats
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp salt
4 tbls. salted butter, cubed  

1. Place flour, oats, baking powder, brown sugar, and salt in a large bowl.  Stir to combine ingredients. 
2. Add the cubes of butter and mix into dry ingredients with hands until you get a course meal.  
Orange Spice Tea Scone Ingredients
1 Batch Scone Base
2/3 cup non-fat Honey Greek yogurt
1/4 cups orange spice tea
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon orange juice
¼ cups buttermilk
½ cup toasted walnuts 
2 tsp. orange zest
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
2 tsp ground ginger
Extra 1 tbls butter and 1 tbls honey for brushing on top

1.  Preheat oven to 400ºF and, if you have parchment paper on hand, line a large cookie sheet.
2.  In a measuring cup, make the orange-spice tea and add the honey and orange juice.  Set aside to seep and cool.  Should take about 30 minutes.    
3.  Make Scone Base according to directions given above.  Add walnuts, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.  Stir to incorporate.
4.  Create a well in the flour/butter mixture.  Add the Greek yogurt, buttermilk, and tea.  Stir to incorporate.  
5.  When the liquids are incorporated and you have a loose mixture, knead the dough about 10 times.  You can either do this in the bowl, or on a lightly floured surface.    
6.  With a spoon or ice-cream scoop, scoop out dough onto the cookie sheet.  Dough should produce about 18-20 scones. 

7.  In the microwave, melt 1 tbls. butter and 1 tbls. honey.  Brush the tops with melted honey butter.  Then, place in oven.  Cook for about 15 minutes.

Berry and Hibiscus Scone Ingredients
1 Batch of the Scone Base
2/3 cup Black Cherry or Raspberry Greek yogurt
½ cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons dried hibiscus flowers  
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 ½ cup frozen fruit medley (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries) thawed and drained
Extra 1 tbls. butter and 1 tbls honey for brushing on top 

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF and, if you have parchment paper on hand, line a large cookie sheet.
2.  In a measuring cup, pour in the buttermilk and add the dried hibiscus and ginger.  Let set for about 15 minutes.
3.  Make Scone Base according to directions given above.  Take the Scone Base and create a well in the flour/butter mixture.  Add the Greek yogurt and buttermilk.  When it is almost fully incorporated, add the berries and stir in, trying not to crush the berries.  

4.  With a spoon or ice-cream scoop, scoop out dough onto the cookie sheet.  Dough should produce about 18-20 scones. 
5.  In the microwave, melt 1 tbls. butter and 1 tbls. honey.  Brush the tops with melted honey butter.  Then, place in oven.  Cook for about 15 minutes.  Scones will be soft, so use a toothpick to make sure they are done in the center.    

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Recipes: Beet Risotto

This is a recipe from my archives that I've brought back for the holidays.  It is a perfect Christmas dish because it is such a beautiful and festive color.  Plus, the earthiness of the dish would go great with either turkey, rib roast, or a crown roast.  It also has so much depth and substance, that it works as a center dish for a vegetarian Christmas.   
4 cups broth
Juice and zest of one orange
1 tablespoon dried dill
One bunch of beets (1-2 cups, depending how much beet you like it), chopped into small cubes
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ onion, diced fine
½ cup carrots
½ cup celery
1 cup beet greens (about the greens from one bundle of beets), chopped fine
1 cup risotto
½ cup white wine
Feta and parsley for garnish

  1. Put the broth, orange juice and zest, dill, and beets in a saucepan.  Bring to boil and then reduce to a simmer.    
  2. In a large shallow pan over medium heat, add one tablespoon each of oil and butter to pan.  When butter has melted and the oil is hot, add the onions, carrots, celery, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Sweat the onions, celery, and carrots for 5 minutes.   Add the beet greens and cook for about 2 minutes.  Scoop out the vegetables and set aside on a plate.        
  3. Add the other tablespoon each of butter and olive oil.  When hot, add the Arborio and stir until the grain is translucent, except for a white dot in the center (about 5 minutes).  Add the wine and stir until completely absorbed.
  4. Add a ladleful of stock, stirring continually.  Wait until the stock is completely absorbed before adding another ladleful.  Continue to keep adding broth a ladleful at a time, only adding more once the broth is absorbed.  It should take about 20 minutes to get the risotto tender. 
  5. When the risotto is soft and you have added all but the last ½ cup of broth, add the beets from the stock.  Then add the last ½ cup of stock and the vegetables (carrots, onions, celery, and beet greens). 
  6. Cover with a lid and let finish over a low heat for about 5 minutes.  When you are ready to serve, add a small pad of butter and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice.   

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Recipes: Mulled Wine

With grading papers and moving out of the efficiency I was living in, I'm a little late posting my Christmas recipes.  Now, since I am staying with my parents for the holidays, I have access to a full kitchen and so was able to get all the Christmas posts photographed.  

For this mulled wine post, a special thanks goes out to my mom for helping me with the pictures--the Christmas ornaments, gingerbread cookie, and china were all her doing and I enjoyed having another creative eye.  
Mulled Wine
Ever since I studied abroad in England, I've been in love with mulled wine.  Nothing makes me think of Christmas and winter like a mug of mulled wine and gingersnaps.  I do a couple of variations, one more citrusy and with rosemary, and this one that features spicier notes and balanced with citrus.  I don't like mine very sweet, so you may want to add more sugar.  I also like mine pretty strong, so you may want to add a little water to yours.  
½ cup brown sugar (more to taste)
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup water
2 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. peppercorns
1 inch cube of ginger, cut into slices
1 bottle of red wine
1 pear, cut into thin slices
½ orange cut into slices
50 ml of orange contreau
50 ml of brandy
½ tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
1.  Put brown sugar, honey, water, cardamom, cinnamon, peppercorns, and ginger in a large pot.  Bring the water to a boil and continue to boil until the water reduces by half.  
2.  Add the bottle of wine, orange slices, and pear slices.  Heat to a simmer, cover and let simmer for 45 minutes.  Avoid boiling. 
3.  Add the Cointreau and brandy and vanilla (optional).  Cook without cover for 15 minutes.  Again, avoid boiling.
4.  Strain out fruit and spices.  Serve hot.  

Glühwein (Mulled wine) 
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Friday, December 16, 2011

Heifer Campaign Update

Instead of Food Photo Friday, I'm going to use the Fridays in Decemember for updating you on the "Team Down Home Foodie" Heifer Project Campaign.  

To start, I want to thank Blue Mountain Brewery for both making a donation and spreading the word about the campaign to all of their Facebook followers

Heifer Project is such a great charity.  With your current donations, the “Down Home Foodie” campaign has earned enough to purchase a Hive of Bees, which is a good start.  Think of not just the honey that a Hive of Bees could provide for a family, but that it also becomes a source of income to do things like buy other food, pay for medicine, or  send a child to school.  

And that is just with $30 in donations.  Think what will happen if we get to the $5000 goal.  
Reprinted with permission from Heifer International 1(800) 422-0474
I’m not asking for huge donations, just a  couple of dollars.  Whatever you want to give to Heifer Project, they will gladly take. 

To donate, either click on “Team Down Home Foodie” or just click on the My Team Heifer widget below.  Money goes straight to Heifer Project and is all handled by them so that your donation gets to start making an impact right away.    

This holiday, give the gift of sustainability!!!

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Honest Eating

Because of not having a kitchen for the last month, I find myself having somewhat less orchestrated and thought through meals.  On top of my lack of burners which causes me to think a little more about "cooking," I am in the throes of packing up an apartment and in the height of grading finals and posting grades.  All of this results in late errand running and strange dinners resulting from going to the grocery store hungry.    

For these reasons, last Friday’s meal consisted of grocery store boneless wings, green pepper slices, pickles, soft cheese, and a glass of bourbon.  

As I enjoyed a meal that would make my mom a little disappointed and watched old Julia Child episodes I got from Netflix, I thought about food, satisfaction, and being a foodie.  Julia spent 12 hours cooking tripe.   I walked through the store and allowed hunger pain to cloud my judgement.  Julia walked me through the art of making my own sausages.  I pealed the foil of my cheese wedges and contemplated the tang of Vlasic pickle brine. 

Although I wish I could solely blame my meal on the lack of a kitchen, the truth is, this was the meal I wanted.  Some days, I want my meal to reflect that joy I took in preparing it.  Others, I want to satisfy a craving. 

In reading other food blogs, I get embarrassed at times at my own claim to foodism and begin to question my hubris.  One blog I follow posts three times a day about the food she eats.  Although she is also a busy person, I am amazed at the thought she has behind each dish.  In looking through photos of many other food blogs, I am always reminded of the beauty of food as proven by the plethora of lush, crisp, tantalizing food pictures.  Then, I think back on my meal with its shades of green and the dried out look of mass made wings.

I regularly post to the food site, Honest Cooking.  The nature of the name implies a truth, sincerity, and lack of charade to cooking and food.   I wonder how we, food blog writers, really fit into our own testament to “honest cooking.”  Can we still be thought "honest" when the pictures are made with sculpted lighting and scaping, the recipes attempted multiple times, and the posts are shaped by what we choose to write about and not write about?  It makes me wonder if the amount of food blogging and food writing is slowly creating a myth surrounding cooking and eating.  Or, to ask more specifically, are we creating a "politically correct" food world in which we are loosing honest eating? 

I don’t know.  What I do know is that I really enjoyed my Friday night meal.  It may not be pretty and it was definitely not haute cuisine, but I enjoyed it anyway.  Honest eating.  
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cooking Efficiency: Coffee Maker Peanut Noodles

My go to quick food is a dish my friend Caroline refers to as “Peanut Noodles.”  Usually when I make it, it involves sautéing vegetables in ginger, marinating chicken, and making a big bowl of noodles smothered in peanut butter and soy sauce. It looks fancy enough that I have made it for small dinner parties, but is so easy I can leave off the chicken and make a single serving in under 15 minutes.  The most memorable prep was a batch I made for my friends as a late night drunk food to help balance a night of too much whiskey. 

I often bragged that I could make it entirely using nothing but a coffee maker.  That way, if I was staying in a hotel and wanted a home cooked meal, if there was at least a four-cup coffee maker I could make a gourmet meal. 

My boyfriend, who was a traveling actor and to whom I pitched this idea, didn’t believe me.  Till now, I’ve never had to try and so have never proven my claim.  Because I live in an efficiency without a kitchen, I figured now was a good time to test my hypothesis.  
When I make this as a meal, there are ingredient add-ons like grated ginger, garlic salt, red pepper flakes, rice wine vinegar, etc.  However, for this demonstration, I went with things that are easily procured and so could be made in a hotel room with a coffee pot:
  • Vegetables = Grocery Store salad bar
  • Soy Sauce Packets = from a dining hall, leftover Chinese food order, or snagged while walking through a food court
  • Package of Ramen
  • Lime juice = you could just buy one lime or a squeeze bottle, but you may be able to just pick up lemon juice packets that are in fast-food restaurants
  • Peanut Butter which you could get from those single-serving containers used for putting in kids lunches

This would work much easier with a larger coffee maker, but still works in a small one.  Plus, while the water is running through the coffee maker, you can do prep work for other steps. 

Making Peanut Noodles in the Coffee Maker
Place vegetables in the coffee maker basket.  I put the vegetables that need more cook time (like broccoli and cauliflower) in the bottom and the ones that need less time (red peppers) on the top.  Put basket in coffee maker and then run four cups water through the coffee maker.  Once the water goes through, the vegetables will be steamed. Set aside.  
While the vegetables are “cooking,” mix 2 parts peanut butter to one part soy sauce in a bowl.  Add lime juice in a 1/2 portion.  In other words, the ratio is 2:1:½ of peanut butter, soy sauce, and acid.  Mix everything together with a fork, but sauce will be lumpy.  This will be smoothed out by adding the hot noodle water that comes out of the coffee pot after cooking the noodles.   
Put a new coffee filter in the basket and then empty the water that gathered in the coffee pot.  Rinse pot and fill with clean water.  In the coffee maker basket, add the ramen.  Again, if the basket is big, you will probably be able to place the ramen in whole.  If not, then break it up into smaller chunks.  Place basket in coffee maker.  You need to ultimately pass 6 cups of water over the noodles.  Since I have a 4 cup, I ran one batch of water through, got 2 cups clean water, and then ran that.  If you have to do two passes of water, then stir the ramen noodles in the coffee basket so the ones on the bottom that are more cooked can be at the top and the less cooked ones can be moved to the bottom.  
When the water is passed through the noodles, take a small splash of the hot noodle liquid and add a little to the peanut butter sauce.  The heat of the water will melt the peanut butter and help turn the mixture into a smoother sauce.  Add the vegetables and noodles, toss and enjoy. 
Your gourmet coffee maker isn’t just for gourmet coffee anymore.  Who knew.
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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Heifer Project Campaign

One of my mom and my dad’s favorite charity is the Heifer Project.  In Christmases past, instead of giving gifts my parents make charity donations in each other’s name.  Heifer Project is one they often choose. 

As contributing to charities goes, Heifer Project is probably one of the most satisfying.

For one, it is not a short-term fix, but is a long-term contribution to feeding a family by providing a sustainable food source.  As the website says, Heifer Project helps “families feed themselves.” When you donate money to the Heifer Project, your money helps donate an animal to a family.  This provides ongoing food, eggs, honey, milk, etc.

Two, you are not just helping one family, you help the community.  The first offspring of the animal donated will go to a neighboring family.  Then, the offspring of that animal will go to the next family.  From then on, each first offspring gets donated so that it keeps helping families around the community.  In that way, you aren’t just helping one family, you are helping several.

You don't have to just take my word for it.  To put it another way, here's Alton Brown . . .
What I love most about Heifer Project, as silly as it sounds, is I like getting to choose what animal I want to donate.   Heifer Project has a “Gift Catalogue” so that you can select the animal you want to give.  For $20, you can give a flock of chicks, ducks, or geese.  For $30, you can give a hive of bees.  $150 gets you a llama and $300 gets you fish fingerlings.  How fun to tell someone you bought a cute little flock of chicks in their name.

Of the Heifer Project donations options, my dad always loved the idea of the “Gift Arc,” which is for “changing the world, two by two.”  It is a larger gift and is around $5,000.  However, one “Gift Arc” provides fifteen pairs of animals.  Think of all the wool, transportation, farming assistance, and food that could provide.  And remember, those offspring will also be donated to help out even more families.

Because of leaving a somewhat meager, paycheck to paycheck existence, I don’t always get to contribute to charities like I wish I could.  Plus, at times it feels like what kind of difference is the little contribution I could give going to make.  So, for December I wanted to do something and have decided to use my blog to start a campaign.  But, I need your help.
 I am a small blog that only gets about around 4,500 views a month. What that means, though, is that if every person who views my blog gave a $1 for each post they looked at, then we could combine our donations together to donate a “Gift Arc.”   Hopefully, you will pitch in a little more and guarantee, but a $1 is a great start.

I’m promising to donate the last three months ad revenue which I earned from the ads on my blog.  Although not a lot (just about $10), I’m hoping that my little bits and all of your little bits will add up to one really big and important contribution.

This is the perfect charity for foodies who want to share the gift of food this December.  You get to help provide not just one family with a sustainable food source, but help an entire community!

If you’d like to help Team “Down Home Foodie” raise enough money to donate a “Gift Arc,” then click on the widget below, or visit my team page, "Team Down Home Foodie."

Want more information, check of the "Heifer Project Fact Sheet" or check-out this video from the Heifer Project CEO . . .

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Down Home Foodie Archives: Waffle House

Sorry to say, but for once I've fallen a little behind on blogging.  The main reason is that I teach freshman composition at a university, and we are in the last two weeks of the semester.  So, with 640 pages of student work to read and grade, I wasn't able to get a new post together.  

I'll have something new for you on Thursday.  Promise.  

Until then, I went back in the vault and pulled out the first piece I ever wrote for the blog.  For those of you who have read it, I cleaned it up a bit to make it a little fresher.   For the rest of you, well it is already new to you.

The Hash Brown Rorschach Test
I read an article once called, “For the Love of Joe,” and it was about how Starbucks uses the idea of "love" to market themselves.  The article talks about how Starbucks sells love through not just philanthropic love or love for others, but self-love.  This self-love comes from being able to treat yourself by getting a cup of coffee made to order and customized just for you.    

This self-love gets mentioned in the movie, You've Got Mail.  In the film, the Tom Hanks character, Joe Fox, says, "The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don't know what the hell they're doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino."  In this quote, ordering becomes more than just ordering coffee, it is an assertion of self and desire and individuality.  

However, Starbucks was merely copying this idea of self-love and individualization from Waffle House. Not only can you get eggs to order, pancakes in any number and of various topping (although once you go pecan you never go back), there is the Hash Brown Ritual. 

The hash brown ordering that takes place in Waffle House is a far better Rorschach Test than what kind of coffee you are.  You can be “smothered,” “covered,” “chunked,” “diced,” “peppered,” “capped,” “topped,” “country,” or “all the way.”  There is a much more open sense of eroticism and passion than to get a “tall skinny vanilla latte with no whip.”  The hash brown menu is a catalogue of the so wrong and so right.  One night over a dinner party, play the getting to know you game of what kind of Waffle House hash brown combination are you.  I like to be “peppered” and "covered."  What about you? 
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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Wine Tasting in NoVa: Lost Creek Winery

Within the last year, my friend Kathy has started exploring wine and trying to find wines she likes.  Luckily, she recently saw a great Google Deal offer to visit Lost Creek Winery.  New found wine interest plus  “Google Deals” incentive make for a fun, “bondiful” (Kathy’s created word from college) adventure. 

The deal Kathy found was even better than we thought.  At first, it seemed like for $10 you could get two tastings, souvenir wine glasses, and a $15 voucher to the gift shop, which came to a $34 value.  It ends up, that we had to spend $34.  When it was all said and done, we got two tastings, two souvenir wine glasses, a $15 bottle of wine, and some Boursin, all for $15.  Quite amazing. 

That was the Google Deals rave, now for the winery.  Lost Creek Winery is just outside of Leesburg, VA.  It shares a road with another winery and I believe there was also another along the way, meaning that if you are inclined you can make a day of it.  According to the young woman who greeted us, Lost Creek is a family run winery; the girl herself was the granddaughter of the founder.  She was too young to do the tasting, so it was led by another young woman.   Although maybe not as thoroughly trained and informed about the wines, she was absolutely lovely and the teacher part of me was happy to help someone practice. 

The tasting includes three whites, one apple and grape wine, a Rose, three reds, and two specialty wines.  According to Kathy who scoped the internet buzz out, the reviews online say that whites are better than the reds. I’d agree.  The three whites are a “Spring Time,” Chardonnay, and Vidal Blanc, plus the “Sweet Summer,” which is 75% grape and 25% apple.  The “Spring Time” and “Chardonnay” were both tasty; the “Spring Time” in particular was a little tangy, tart, and orangey.  My favorite of the whites was the Vidal Blanc, which had a very fresh finish.        

The reds were a Merlot, “Chambourcin Gold,” and a Reserve.  Both the Merlot and the Reserve (a Cab and Merlot blend), had a nose that reminded me a bit of butter and cheese, which kind of turned me off.  I overheard another one of the employees tell the people he was doing a tasting for that the Chambourcin has been described as a “Church Wine,” and I think that is a good description. 
Of all the wines, my favorite was the Rose.  Normally, I’m not a Rose girl; but, I really enjoyed Lost Creek’s mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot.   It wasn’t sweet, and had a great sipping quality. 

Lastly, the two Specialty Wines are “Courtney’s Christmas” and “Late Harvest Alyce.”   “Courtney’s Christmas” is a mix of Merlot, Cab Sauv, Chardonnay, and 
Chamrbourcin and is infused with cinnamon and cloves.  Lost Creek's suggestion for “Courtney’s Christmas” was to serve it poured over pound cake, and I think cooking with it would work. To drink it was a little too much like liquid potpourri.  I liked the “Late Harvest Alyce” more.  Normally, I don’t enjoy ice wines because they are just too sweet.  Lost Creek lets you taste it with chocolate and that creates a very unique tasting experience.  In pairing it with the chocolate, it doesn’t seem as sweet and notes of peer and spices come through. 

I’d recommend an outing to Lost Creek.  The Rose and whites are fantastic, and I like the intrigue of the Specialty Wines even if they didn’t win me over.  Plus, it has a lovely atmosphere.  All the people who worked there were happy and enthusiastic.  The tasting room itself has a beautiful fire place and options of interesting cheese, meat, and bread nibbles to go with the wine.  The outside has great trellises and wondering vines.   Overall, a good place to go, with or without an incentive from Google Deals.  
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