Saturday, December 31, 2016

Beer Chocolate Truffles, Davidson, North Carolina

Davidson, NC—South Main Sweet Shop has some surprising beer chocolates. The shop, located in the heart of Davidson, a town just an hour’s drive north of Charlotte, has a variety of chocolates. But the most surprising ones are made with actual beer and not just beer flavoring.

Moonstruck Chocolate Company Oregon Craft Brewers Collection truffles,
starting clockwise from upper lefthand side and going right: Deschutes
Brewery Black Butte Porter, Widmer Brothers Brewing Hefeweizen,
Full Sail Brewing Co. IPA, and Rogue Ales Hazelnut Brown Nectar
Copyright 2016 by Helen A Lockey

When I went to the shop, back in June, they were selling Moonstruck Chocolate Company’s Oregon Craft Brewers Collection beer infused truffles ($2.50 each). There were four types and I bought them all. They were Deschutes Brewery (Asheville & Oregon)-Black Butte Porter truffle; Widmer Brothers Brewing (Portland, OR)-Hefeweizen truffle; Full Sail Brewing Co (Hood River, OR)-IPA truffle; and Rogue Ales (Portland, OR)-Hazelnut Brown Nectar truffle.

The most outstanding truffle for beer taste for me was— Full Sail Brewing Company’s IPA truffle with a milk chocolate cap/top. The IPA’s floral flavor notes brought out the creamy deliciousness to the white chocolate that only could be satisfied with eating more truffles.

My next favorite truffle was made with bittersweet chocolate and Rogue Ales Hazelnut Brown Nectar. It had waves of delicious flavor from caramel to ripe bananas to hazelnut and to a sweet, almost boozy bourbon taste.

Next on my yum list was also made with bittersweet chocolate and was combined with Widmer Brothers Brewing Hefeweizen. The lightness of the beer brought out a spicy, earthiness in the chocolate.

The truffle that did not work for me, surprisingly, was the one made with Deschutes Brewery Black Butte Porter and bittersweet chocolate.  The chocolate flavor eclipsed the porter leaving only hints of brown bread, sweet butter and caramel.

All in all the experience was delicious and the next time I am in Davidson I plan to go back for more.

You can order these beer truffles directly from Moonstruck Chocolate Company or go to South Main Sweet Shop located at 107 N. Main Street, Davidson, NC 28036

Phone (704) 997-5767

These beer truffles would make a great Valentine’s Day gift.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Vermouth Barrel Finished Gin, St. Augustine Distillery, Fla.

St. Augustine, Fla.—It looks like bourbon but it smells like gin with a secret. It’s vermouth barrel-finished gin made by St. Augustine Distillery. It’s made with Florida grown sugar cane juice, Florida citrus peel and 25 other botanicals. It is like a martini in a bottle. It has a fabulous, I-think-I-just-walked-into-the-most-expensive –spice-shop-in-the-world-in-a-glass, kind of gin taste.

Red Vermouth Barrel Finished New World Gin by
St. Augustine Distillery, St. Augustine, Fla.
Copyright 2016 by Helen A Lockey
St. Augustine Distillery released this rare, experimental craft spirit, earlier this year, at their St. Augustine, Florida location. Using their award winning small batch New World Gin as a base they produced just 1200 white and 1200 red vermouth barrel finished spirit bottles.

Kara Pound, PR spokesperson for St. Augustine distillery said, “Typically, gin is not barrel aged at all. It can be aged in bourbon barrels and yes, we wanted to make a natural martini (white vermouth) and negroni (red vermouth).”

Before I bought my the red vermouth barrel finished gin I asked one of the distillers if I could buy it anywhere else and he said, “Oh no, it is an experimental gin and can only be purchased in our distillery.” So I bought two bottles of the red vermouth barrel finished gin, at $45 each, even though I am not a gin drinker. 

Getting home I poured a small measure of gin into a glass, neat, without ice. Then I began swirling the liquid both to aerate and release any excess alcohol from the amber deliciousness lurking in the bottom of my glass.

I also blew into the glass every few minutes to push the remaining alcohol particles free.

Sticking my nose deep into the glass I inhaled. It was like I was standing at the threshold of a spice shop in Thailand or old Bombay.

Gingerly, I took a long, smooth sip and swirled the liquid across my tongue inhaling as it slid across my mouth and down my throat. Subtle aromas of sweet dried apricots and vanilla mixed with bold hints of juniper, anise, ginger, cinnamon, brown sugar and caramelized citrus. Wow.

This is a gin to be sipped for flavor and not gulped for buzz. If you want a buzz choose a cheaper, mass produced brand. If you want to be transported away from the hassles of everyday life, even for a moment, then buy this gin and sip yourself into another state of mind.

So if you get a chance to get up to the St. Augustine Distillery before the end of the year or before they run out of this marvelous gin, then snag yourself a bottle or two and don’t complain about the price because you’ll be sipping a one of a kind gin made with Florida grown sugar cane juice and other Florida grown ingredients.

They are located at: 112 Riberia Street, St. Augustine, Florida 32084
Phone: (904) 825-4962

Thursday, October 13, 2016

20th Americas Food & Beverage Show, Embraces Farming

Miami Beach, Fla.—There was an indoor farm at the 20th Americas Food & Beverage Show. Located at the front of the Miami Beach Convention Center’s main hall, the double rowed, raised bed farm of many produce items took two days to erect. The staff of Nickey Gregory Company, LLC wanted to stand out from the other produce vendors at the show.

Nickey Gregory Company, LLC's indoor raised bed farm display at 20th
Americas Food & Beverage Show, Miami Beach Convention Center,
Miami Beach, Fla. Copyright 2016 by Helen A Lockey
Exotic tropical fruit displays, colorful gourds, decorative harvest corn, banana fronds, mushrooms and enormous pumpkins surrounded their vegetable rows.

Tropical fruit display at Nickey Gregory Company, LLC
indoor farm, 20th Americas Food & Beverage Show,
Miami Beach, Fla. Copyright 2016 by Helen A Lockey

At then end of the show, they offered up the produce to show attendees because they did not want to haul it back home. It took seconds for the display to be dismantled according to a neighboring company stall.

“You should have seen the frenzy of activity when the stall was dismantled, everything was gone in seconds.”

What was left over went to a local food bank in Miami-Dade County.