Category: Gifts

Artisan Cocktails – Made Easy

We love the artisan cocktail movement - and if you've followed our social media feeds, you know that we've been trying quite a few places in our travels.  But what about upping your game at home. As we are finding with other pantry items like pickles, spice rubs, and gourmet sauces, there is an increasing number of artisan producers of excellent (and fun) cocktail mixers, bitters, and other additives (like vinegar - see our report on artisan vinegars.  Click HERE). We were particularly inspired to write this blog when we came across an outstanding product at a local food gathering - the cocktail mixers from Bungalow 23 (www.B23Mixers.com).   Each of their offerings - Pear Ginger Martini, Prickly Pear Margarita, and Blueberry Lemon Drop - start with fresh ingredients, and are prepared in a way that would make the best mixologist jealous.  We mixed the Pear Ginger with our favorite premium bourbon (Bulleit), and fell in love. At the same gathering, we also tasted an outstanding artisan pickle from Nutpop Pickle Company (www.NutpopPickles.com).  We made ourselves a dry martini (using our favorite hand-crafted potato vodka, Boyd and Blair), and substituted spicy pickled curry chips instead of the usual olive - really [...]

25 Red Wines Under $25 to Try Now!

Every year we publish our compilation our report of quality red wines we've found that are under $25.  These wines are a result of various tasting events, restaurant experiences, and sommelier suggestions we've had this year.  Some usual suspects pop up, as well as interesting bargains from under-appreciated regions such as Lirac in Southern Rhone. The Top 5 Value Wines We have identified five special wines from this group of 25 that are exceptional values and really noteworthy: Palazzo della Torre The Allegrini Family makes some seriously great wines at many price points.  This wine has always impressed us with its consistent quality and value, and it is easy to find.  Allegrini uses an innovative "ripasso" method that gives this wine a style similar to higher end Amarone wines.  Bursting with dark, dried cherries, blackberries, and hints of dates, this wine has a lasting finish bolstered with just enough tannin to make it interesting, and worthy of a few years in the cellar.  Pair with pasta, chicken, or mild sausage. Corvina, Rondinella and Sangiovese. (typically $17 to $20). Tua Rita Rosso The Tua Rita winery is located on the western side of Tuscany, near the sea.  They are world-renowned for [...]

Foodie Holiday Gift Suggestions: Homemade

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text] Looking for that special gift for a foodie friend?  Someone on your list is hard to please?  Maybe something to give someone with everything? Try these suggestions on making your own unique gifts.  There are many great websites you’ll find under each section, but there are an infinite number of possibilities. The queen of the holiday homemade is definitely Martha Stewart – click HERE to see her array of hand-crafted holiday gifts. Another great website we found was AllRecipes (click HERE to see their DIY gifts).  With each of these homemade gifts, packaging can really make the difference.  Tins, bottles, and festive boxes can be found on-line or at cookware stores. Here are our suggestions for easy to make, Serious Foodie quality hand crafted gifts – especially for those on your list who have everything.  [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1449160325073{background-color: #cccccc !important;}”] Simple Syrups [/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”3612″ border_color=”black” img_link_target=”_self” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_border” img_link_large=””][vc_column_text]Simple syrups are just that – simple.  Once made, they last a long time, and can be used to flavor cocktails, desserts, or just used as a condiment over ice cream.  We found a very nice, festive holiday syrup on MidWestLiving.com using cranberries (click HERE). While we like the fruit […]

A Serious Foodie Guide to Unique Holiday Gifts

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text] Looking for that special gift for a foodie friend?  Someone on your list is hard to please?  Maybe something to give someone with everything? We’re here to help with gift suggestions for the Serious Foodie in your life.  Here are some unique gift ideas – and some are literally out of the box . At the Movies (click HERE):  We list (arguably) the best foodie movies of all time.  Down load, stream, or go old school (by the DVD).  Sit with you favorite squeeze, and watch a few of these classics. Home-Crafted Holiday Gifts (click HERE):  For the DIYer – some quick, easy projects.  We list a number of our all-time, sure to please favorites. Artisan Chocolates (click HERE):  Why wait for Valentine’s Day? Fancy chocolate is one of our go-to gifts.  A list of our favorite artisan vendors, all available on-line. Sparkling Wines (click HERE):  Always a fun gift, especially with those willing to share.  Some special bottles are listed, but most are for folks on a budget. Red Wines under $25 (click HERE):  From our yearly survey of the best red wines under $25 – a good (and sometimes great) wine to fit any budget. And, of […]

Introducing the Romesco Finishing Sauce!

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text] We’re excited to introduce our Spanish-inspired Romesco Sauce from the Serious Foodie.  Romesco sauce originated in Northeast Spain, and is typically made from nuts (almonds, pinenuts, hazelnuts), garlic, peppers, and sometimes tomatoes.  Our version uses red roasted peppers, roasted tomatoes, garlic, and the unusual Lemon Drop pepper to add  a bit of a kick. The Romesco sauce is often served with fish and shellfish, and also matches well with chicken, lamb, and vegetables. Our version of Romesco sauce also matches very well with eggs – here we show the sauce matched with an asparagus, brie, and Serrano ham omelet.  The salad accompaniment was dressed with a simple lemon vinaigrette. You can find our Serious Foodie sauces at one of our local partner gourmet stores, or order on-line at www.serious-foodie.com. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

A Serious Foodie Holiday Gift Guide: Sparkling Wines

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1418574121202{background-color: rgba(0,0,0,0.12) !important;*background-color: rgb(0,0,0) !important;}”] French [/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”3666″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_border” border_color=”black” img_link_target=”_self” img_link_large=””][vc_column_text]Real champagne is a rare delight, produced only in the Champagne region of France – limited supply and availability usually means high prices, and that’s mostly the case for good champagne. But champagne is universally hailed as the greatest sparkling wine in the world. There is a wide range of styles tastes, running from dry (brut) to mildly sweet (demi-sec) to very sweet (doux). Forget the bargain champagnes – go to the other parts of the world for cheaper sparkles.  There are  reasonably priced versions:  look for Bollinger Special Cuvee ($45) and NV Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Réserve Particulière ($36).  If you want to splurge, go for Salon Blanc de Blanc ($230 to $400, depending on the vintage), Louis Roderer Cristal (the hip-hop generation wine, but still excellent; $220 to $260, depending on vintage), and Moët & Chandon Dom Perignon ($160 to $250, depending on vintage).  Gayot.com has a nice article on high-end wines, listing their top ten.  [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1418680973860{background-color: rgba(0,0,0,0.14) !important;*background-color: rgb(0,0,0) !important;}”] USA [/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”3911″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_border” border_color=”black” img_link_target=”_self” img_link_large=””][vc_column_text]The United States has some very nice Champagne alternatives in which the sparkling wines are made […]

A Serious Foodie Guide to Unique Holiday Gifts: Chocolates

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1449153480399{background-color: rgba(0,0,0,0.13) !important;*background-color: rgb(0,0,0) !important;}”] Belgian Chocolates [/vc_column_text][vc_single_image border_color=”black” img_link_target=”_self” image=”3790″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_border” img_link_large=””][vc_column_text] Some might argue over which country makes the best chocolate, but there is no argument over the quality and the service from Belgian chocolatier Neuhaus.  Go to their website, take a look at their video, then order for you and your significant other.  Other Belgian chocolates you might want to try are Leonidas and Planete Chocolat. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1449154921840{background-color: #cecece !important;}”] Italian Chocolates [/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”4678″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_border” border_color=”black” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self”][vc_column_text] It’s not surprising that the best Italian chocolates come from the areas that border the French and the Swiss, primarily in the Piedmont region.  There are a number of popular brands, including Perugina (their Baci can be found everywhere now), Pernigotti, and Ferraro, and all can be found at Amazon.com.  Check out the amazing Venchi chocolates at Worldwide Chocolates. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1418397537479{background-color: rgba(0,0,0,0.13) !important;*background-color: rgb(0,0,0) !important;}”] French Chocolates [/vc_column_text][vc_single_image border_color=”black” img_link_target=”_self” image=”3757″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_border” img_link_large=””][vc_column_text] French chocolates are decadent in both flavor and price, but well worth the splurge.  We were first introduced to La Maison du Chocolat in their small NYC store, and they remain our favorite French chocolate.  You can go to […]

Foodie Holiday Gift Suggestions: At the Movies

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text] Happiness is often just sharing some time with someone you love – so here are three simple steps to getting a gift you can share. Select a good foodie movie. Stream it, rent it, or buy it Get a nice bottle of wine, and share a themed dinner around the movie’s menu. Here’s our top 9 favorite foodie movies of all time: [/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1418229279702{background-color: rgba(129,215,66,0.78) !important;*background-color: rgb(129,215,66) !important;}”] [/vc_column_text][vc_separator color=”green”][vc_separator color=”green”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1449159029395{background-color: #cccccc !important;}”] Babette’s Feast [/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”3540″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_border” border_color=”black” img_link_target=”_self” img_link_large=””][vc_column_text]Babette’s Feast is very close to the heart of the Serious Foodie in many ways.  It’s a beautiful movie with great acting – and great food.  The title meal of the movie was a grand gesture of gratitude, but difficult (and outrageously expensive) to re-create. Molly O’Neill from the New York Times has a simplified recipe of the movie’s main dish, quail in puff pastry, which you can certainly do at home (click HERE).  You can cheat a bit, using Cornish hen or poisson if you can’t get hold of quail.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1449159095899{background-color: #cccccc !important;}”] Julie & Julia [/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”3749″ style=”vc_box_border” border_color=”black” img_link_target=”_self” img_link_large=””][vc_column_text]Amy Adams may not be anything like the real Julie Powell, but Meryl Streep […]