Posts Tagged ‘friends


Happy Birthday….

There are certain moments in life that stand out with crystal clear recollection. Today, I celebrated (in my own way) my 44th birthday and as I lay in bed trying to sleep I am haunted by the memories that are vivid and as clear as day from my 4th or 5th birthday.

I recall there being a large box… a swing set, something every kid in their right mind should be excited about- and I was! However, I recall all four of my grandparents being there for dinner and cake along with several Aunts, uncles and other relative. The crystal clear memory isn’t really of the swing set or most gifts though. The memory that rings true and brings tears flowing is of Granddaddy. He handed me a simple brown paper bag filled with cucumbers he had picked, because he knew I loved them. My next memory of him was his death the following year.

Today was strange for me. I’ve never made a big deal of my birthday, its always been just another day and milestone for myself. Yet, I had customers bring me bottles of wines they wanted me to experience, and friends bring me smiles and well wishes. Cathy shared with me a caramel apple drizzled with chocolate…. and other friends, new and old alike came to share my favorite ports this evening. Personal experiences from the heart forming lifelong memories that bring tears to my eyes for the joy of love I have the greatest honor to have experienced.

I am truly blessed to know the levels of love from the most wonderful people on the face of the earth. Now I lay me down to sleep and wrap my arms around the one person who has been by my side when I’ve had my lowest moments and my highest moments…the one who has made me the most angry and the most happy. I lay down to the end of one of the most happy birthdays anyone could ever dream of… and it is because of each and every person who has touched my life and made me the person I have evolved into. Thank you.


The Gift…

We have been fortunate over the years to have hired some wonderful young people to help us in our business ventures. The last few years have revealed the reality of how fortunate we were to have had access to those individuals and how spoiled we became by them being such great staff, friends, and family even.

Kegan, Evan, Will, and Conner live in Philadelphia and remain good friends even as all this time has passed and stay in touch with us. They contacted us a few weeks back to get an address to ship “something” to us for the holidays. While the thought of them being gone for this many years and still remembering and caring about us was enough to soften the hardest of hearts, they were doing more than just thinking- they were acting.

So, anticipation set in. My other half is much like a 4 year old when it comes to anticipation and patience, asking every afternoon if “the package” arrived today. It did not come; instead Kegan and Conner stopped by yesterday to hand deliver the package!

Gift set

Gift set

While the contents of the package Are not products I carry, nor can I legally sell at this point in NC, they are worthy of your knowing about. The wonderful package contained local Philly Products, John & Kira’s Chocolate figs and Penns Woods Winery Lacrima Dolce and the most important aspect was a note remembering fondly working and playing with us.

Now, The Lacrima Dolce is a dessert Merlot with bright red cherry flavors coated in deep rich luscious dark cocoa robed in silk. The figs are injected with dark chocolate ganache and dipped in a deep dark chocolate. This makes for a perfect pairing that is nothing short of a culinary sexual experience… click on the links above to visit their websites and if tempted enough order a tasty treat!

So, while the boxed gift was a bonus, the real gift happens to be the reality that these young people are part of our family. We were proud to have them in our lives and to have been impacted by them in a positive way. We hope we have impacted them and others as positively as they have us.

As the holiday season draws to a close, we hope everyone has had as wonderful a season as we have here in the little village of Blowing Rock this year.



Recipe: Chocolate Fried shrimp and Grits

I know, it sounds weird, really weird…but, it’s a good dish and good dishes deserve to be shared! We last used this recipe for a cooking demo on valentine’s weekend 2010. I’ve had requests for the recipe ever since then from people who attended the program and many who simply heard about it. So, keep it simple, have fun preparing and have even more fun at the table with it!

Ingredients:The Grits 

  • 1 quart of Chicken Broth (use the store brand, but not the fat-free)

    Chocolate Fried Shrimp and Grits

    Chocolate Fried Shrimp and Grits

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • other spices to suite your taste and palate
  • 3 teaspoons Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound of self rising cornmeal (finely ground for smoother grits)
  • 8 ounces of creamed cheese
  • 1/4 cup whole milk

The Shrimp

  • 1 pound of shrimp: size and presentation are up to you and your skill set!
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons coarse-ground pepper
  • 1 pound broccoli, chopped
  • 1 lime for juice
  • 1 cup new Zealand sauvignon blanc

Infused Oil

  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 6 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 4 teaspoons fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, finely diced

Chocolate Sauce

  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
  • 4 tablespoons cream sherry
  • 1 orange for juice and zest

In a heavy sauce pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil, whick spices and oil together in the broth. Pour the corn meal in whisking constantly; when the mixture stiffins, pour the milk in and the cream cheese.

Start by opening a bottle of an New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  To infuse oil with heat and flavor, sauté ginger, garlic and Jalapeno in the olive oil on low heat for about 3 minutes in a large skillet. Remove from burner and let sit for 10 minutes.

Blend orange juice and sherry, salt, and pepper; heating slowly, stir in chocolate and remove from heat. Reheat spiced oil to medium.  When oil is hot, sauté shrimp cooking to a nice light pick color with tan lines an the edges. Don’t crowd the shrimp. When all shrimp are cooked, toss with the chocolate sauce in a separate pan.
Stir-fry broccoli for 2 minutes in the infused oil. Remove and drain. Plate the shrimp with rice and broccoli, squeeze lime over the shrimp.

Plate the grits in a mound, or in the base of a pasta bowl placing ample shrimp over it and pouring some extra “gravy” over the top to blend all the flavors together for your diners gastronomical pleasure! I recommend a Moldovian Fetesca for a white wine, and a Columbia Valley, Washington Syrah for a red wine.

Bon Appetite!


A Blind Tasting of Cabernet Sauvignon

Friday, January 14, 2011 at 5:30 pm Christopher’s will host a blind Tasting of Cabernet Sauvignon. There will be selections from various points around the world at a variety of price points. The beauty of a blind tasting is that many of our prejudices and biases against, or for t a particular region are (at least initially) removed and we can work through the profile without most of our human biases.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon has risen to acclaim among wine lovers world wide rapidly as it is among the youngest of the Bordeaux Grapes being a hybrid by French Oenologists with the parent grapes being the Cabernet Franc and the Sauvignon Blanc- and Cabernet Sauvignon has made its parents proud!!

Cabs range from medium-bodied to full-bodied and are characterized by their high tannin content which serves to provide structure and intrigue while supporting the rich fruit characteristics. The flavor profile includes plum, cherry, blackberry, blueberry, warm spice, vanilla, tobacco and sometimes leather aromas and or flavors.


And to the future…

We survived Sunset Stroll last night. Anyone that missed it missed a great block party! We had tons of folks come by and visit with us and the artists admiring the works created from their minds as well as the art of the juice. A perfect mid-summer night’s dream for us!

Now we’re bracing ourselves for next weekend. Blowing Rock is hosting the “Symphony of the Mountains” by the lake at Chetola. Our role is very simple, to find some of the best picnic items for you to take with you to the lake for the evening. We have stocked up on cheeses that are hardy enough to stand up to the event, Lamb Chopper from Cypress Grove is a HUGE sheep’s milk cheese that is reminiscent of a perfectly aged gouda,  Chocolate Stout Cheddar is a light and refreshing cheddar perfect for a summertime picnic by the lake, and there is always piave, the perfect cheese for a wine lover!

As for the wines we’re featuring for the event… a French Muscadet (Petite M)  that is crisp, dry, and refreshing poinsed against any of the Pinot Noir we carry to make a perfectly balanced basket! Blouberg is a light refreshing blend of white grapes from South Africa and I personally think a lightly chilled Malbec is wonderful with cheese and salami.

So, start now at this very moment and plan to be up here in Blowing Rock next Friday afternoon (July 23) to enjoy one of the biggest, bestest, most bad ass events our town has to offer. And as always, come by and say hello… we always like meeting wonderful people when they’re in our little village! As we enjoy the day, the Music and the juice in our glasses, we’ll be certain to lift a glass to salute you – our most prized friends.

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