When I was growing up, a dusty bottle of Greek Retsina held court in our pantry cupboard. My mom purchased it while traveling in Greece back in the 50s, hoping one day to open it with fanfare. To my knowledge, it’s still there, crusty and dusty. Sometime after I’d gone deep into wine, she did ask me if it would still be tasty if she opened it at that point. My response was guttural, mostly because my experience with Retsina resembled grain alcohol laced with turpentine – on a good day. It wasn’t until several years later, when I stumbled into the incredible Mediterranean restaurant Zaytinya in Washington DC, that I realized Greece might have other delicacies to offer than this famed, nose hair-burning liquid.
Read more: Greek wine comes of age
They call it an alcohol recovery shot but I call it a hangover miracle: Forgiven. The good news is that post-bacchanalia head fuzz and pain might be a problem of the past. A blend of vitamins, herbs and amino acids, Forgiven is a two-ounce post-hangover solution. To test its efficacy, I played the dubious lab rat and downed the liquid after a particular night of… ahem… fun. I felt significant relief literally within two hours. Some of the listed ingredients are an alphabet brew of B vitamins, zinc and sodium, all found on the plate of Eggs Benedict and in a glass of V8 — my former cure which took six hours to kick in. Added bonus: Forgiven only has 44 calories and no caffeine.
Read more: Reliable hangover cure (really): Forgiven alcohol recovery shot
Since I already own just about every food and wine gadget, I can imagine what a pain in the ass I am to shop for. Some tools I use regularly, like my J Vineyards branded Champagne opener or Microplane grater. But some ended up either being re-gifted or donated, like the cordless, electric corkscrewoddly resembling a vibrator – the thought of using it puts a smile on my face, although my old-school Screwpull openergets me there quicker. As we all know, the best gifts are the thoughtful ones; even if inexpensive, they’ll show that you took the time to be creative or find the unique. To come off as someone who thinks, here are my gift suggestions for the wine and food lovers on your list, whether they be newbies or connoisseurs. It’s always nice to give the gift of great food and wine.
Read more: Seeking the unique: Eight food and wine gifts for all seasons
Some interesting facts about wine and beer consumption across the planet, which beers and wines sell the most, and who is drinking what. Geek out with these facts and figures.
Read more: Infographic: Beer versus wine surprising facts on how much we drink of both
The request arrived like manna from wine heaven — three days post mortem of my 70+ bottle wine fridge. “I’d like to discuss the possibility of sending one of our products for you to review… the NewAir AWC-330E 33 bottle compressor wine cooler,” the nice lady wrote to inquire. She asked that I share “my actual experience with the product… both pros and cons honestly.” Whoa… I must’ve been sending out some serious mojo to the universe to have my cooler problem solved this quickly. Alas, three days later as promised, I welcomed the shiny, NewAir into my home. And, whether she knew it or not, she certainly came to the right place since — as my best friends know — I don’t hold nuthin’ back.
Read more: Wine cooler review: NewAir AWC-330E fridge
With the bombardment of temptations in our paths every day, it ain’t easy staying healthy. Salt-ladened this, sugar-soaked that, it’s no wonder dieting is an American pasttime — one that isn’t fun or productive. The real way to take pounds off and keep them off is to make permanent life changes. Easier said than done, of course. But here are ten easy, delicious ways for a foodie to start moving in the right direction.
Read more: Seven small, easy things foodies can do to lose weight and stay healthy
America’s wine lovers — both new and experienced — have come a lllooonnnngg way in the past twelve years or so since I’ve been writing about my favorite beverage. Old and young, female and male, we have spoken and have gathered together to become the planet’s thirstiest country for wine. More on these impressive stats in this infographic
Read more: Infographic: Uncorking the numbers behind America’s love of wine
Can I get a whoop-whoop? I think we Americans are finally moving in the right direction. At least, from a wine perspective. Have you noticed that many people are reaching for and craving something out-of-the-ordinary, the unexplored, the less commercial? Let me know if this is all in my head because I’m heels-up in love with this trend… authentic, well-made wines made by people who actually care. Toto… have we escaped from Kansas? This impassioned love affair revealed itself at the Rhône Rangers event in San Francisco. The sole reason Rhône Rangers exists is to introduce unique California-made wines to the American public, one consumer at a time. Hundreds of thirsty people crowded a waterfront warehouse to taste wines made only from grape varieties hailing from this lesser-known region of France. Nary a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or Cabernet in sight. Practically heaven for this wine writer.
Read more: White wines from the Rhone: Looking for love in all the right places