Christmas and I are just not homies (how to gain social acceptability to drink red wine for breakfast)

Generally, I’m a bit of a Scroog when it comes to the holiday season. Being that I’m pagan and surrounded by Christian celebrations was what spurred my distaste for this time of year, though as I got older, I came to accept it as a cultural holiday rather than a religious one. My main issue really was the commerciality of the season and the over saturation of poorly written holiday songs that are played on repeat with horrendous “jazzy” remakes. I don’t want to fall into the pressure of society to spend the very little money I have on gifts for everyone. Thankfully, over the years, I have trained people to know that I probably won’t participate in gift giving, but will gladly spend time with them. I think that it is of importance to show the folks you care about that you care about them all year ’round, not just during the “giving season”. What’s more–charity and good will t’ward men needs to happen year ’round as well. If you want to show you’re a good person, make it who you are, don’t participate in the annual December competition.

But I digress.

This year I wanted to do something small, let the people who do put a stock in Christmas know that I appreciate them. So I decided to make truffles for everyone. I’ve done it in the past. They were easy and delicious. 

Being the hippie I am, I wanted quality chocolate and other ingredients, and I wanted alcohol in them because I’m a grown up and I can. I spent some $45 on ingredients (though this did included spiced rum and red wine). I began this process on Thursday, planning on making a double batch of red wine truffles, and a double batch of rum truffles.  I started with te former, since it requires sitting in the fridge overnight. 

  
When the morning came, the truffle bowl was not firm. In fact, it wanted nothing to do but glop. The truffles were only vaguely formable, at best. 

It took me a while to figure out how to deal with this. I only had enough chocolate for the rum batch. Of course it dawned on me that the rum batch and ye wine batch should merge to make rum wine truffle babies. 

I combined the recipes, making sure to put in less liquid (though still added a full 10 oz of rum). I had to create a make shift double boiler to get the chocolate to melt the second time. After a lot of mess, I got it to melt and mix with the new chocolate, cream and rum. Again, I put it in the fridge over night. 

  
This morning, knowing I was going to have to get all my truffles ready for the farmers market (which I’m not participating in today due to the lies of the weather forecast (when it said it was supposed to sleet, I’m waking up to blue sky)), since the majority of my recipients are there, I woke early to get these damn chocolates ready! 

Don’t be fooled by the above picture. I assure you, the chocolate under the surface is just as gloppy as yesterday.  I attempted to make my truffles, to form them into something recognizable, though again failed.

 
Now what! I had a bowl of 36 ounces of melted chocolate, a carton of double cream, and a ton of booze that wouldn’t form into chocolate balls!  
I was getting the kettle to boil for my tea while I stared at the bastarding mixture when it dawned on me. I threw my truffle balls into the mug and added the hot water.

   

 
And that is how you solve a problem! If it’s a weekend and it’s in hot chocolate, no one is going to get on your case for drinking wine in the morning. 

Fermented Friday – Gin and Juice and Spring

After a rough day that I’ll get into later, a gin is the way to top it off.

20140425-195021.jpg

Gin and limeade with frozen strawberries and cucumbers. The only thing missing is a sprig of mint.

Fermented Friday – Washington Wine

I learned something the other day while in Spokane.

Our friend that drove us had some other friends that invited our crew to breakfast. We had an amazing breakfast with home-made cinnamon swirl bread that was turned into french toast, infused maple syrup with vanilla and star anise and cinnamon sticks, rum-soaked apple slices, organic eggs with goats cheese, shallots and herbs. It was beautiful!

After, our hostess took us downstairs to show us the wine cellar. I had never been in a proper wine cellar and I was just tickled pink! They were all labeled with tags off the neck and arranged by year and location. Most were from local wineries.

Our hostess began telling us about how California had a bad year and France was having troubles too, so Washington Wine is where it’s at for the next couple of years.

I of course had to make the crack – “Washington – Good Wine, Good Pot!”

However, the truth is, for 2013, Washington set the record as far as their harvest goes, with 210,000 TONS of grapes for wine.

I also learned that Cab Sav is our top wine as well, which is perfect, since that’s my preference.

Wine from Walla Walla was even featured at the White house in February, enjoyed by the president himself! It was a 2009 Chester-Kidder red blend, which is half cabernet sauvignon blended with syrah as well as petit verdot, all of which grown in the Columbia Valley.

Washington has over 43,000 acres for wine grapes, and produces over 350 different wine varieties with at least 750 wineries. It brings in half a million dollars annually to the state, and is the third most valuable crop in Washington, and ranks as the second premium wine producer. Find out more Washington Wine Statistics Here.

Seems I’ll have to be sampling these wines, seeing what flavorful journeys I’m taken one with our local delicacies.