Ode to Overnight Oats!

August 23, 2010

Recently I’ve seen a lot of posts about overnight oats and decided I had to do one of my own.  I have a slight obsession with overnight oats.  I can’t even remember when this obsession started.  What I do remember, however, is my friend Jazz mentioning overnight oats to me.  I asked how she made them, did a little research online on the blogs, and I’ve been having overnight oats for breakfast pretty much every day since!

My obsession with oatmeal in general has been going strong for about a year and a half now.  I’ve always enjoyed those instant packets of Quaker oatmeal, but it wasn’t until I visited Jasmine last June, before moving to San Diego, that I discovered the delicousness that is old-fashioned oatmeal.  It blows instant oatmeal out the water!  Seriously.  Real, fresh ingredients taste so much better than that packaged stuff, not to mention it’s way more filling and better for you, too!

Anyway, back then I’d cook my old-fashioned oatmeal on the stove and substitute half of the water it calls for with milk instead.

In fact, here’s a picture of me enjoying some of my very first old-fashioned oatmeal.

Caught in the act... my love affair with old-fashioned oatmeal.

I would top it off with a spoonful of peanut butter and I’d suddenly end up in bliss-ville.  Yes, bliss-ville is actually a place… those Mickey D’s commercials weren’t lying.  Just don’t count on a “Frappe” as your ticket!

However, the days of stove-cooked oats are no more.  Overnight oats are where it’s at.  Now, some people prefer their overnight oats warm (Jazz).  Others, like myself, enjoy them cold.  The best thing about overnight oats is that you can “have it your way.”  (Must… stop… McDonalds… references!)

Last week I concocted the best overnight oats recipe to date!

Pumpkin oats!

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/3 canned organic pumpkin
  • 1/2 container Light Vanilla Activia
  • Splash of soy milk
  • 1/2 mashed overripe banana
  • Dash of cinnamon on top

Directions: Mix ingredients together in container and let sit overnight.  Then in the morning, wal-lah!  You’re oats are done.  An overripe banana is the key ingredient because it makes the oats sweet without adding any unnatural sweeteners.

Tonight I am trying out a new recipe for overnight oats.  I went grocery shopping today and noticed my bananas were way too ripe to make the usual. I almost always include bananas in my overnight oats.  But, variety is the spice of life, no?

Here’s what I came up with…

Raspberry oats!

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 container Light Vanilla Activia
  • Handful of raspberries, mashed
  • Splash of soy milk

Gotta love the 99 Cent Store—raspberries for a dollar are virtually unheard of!  My oats got picture-perfect, thus the single raspberry on top.  Tomorrow I’m thinking of adding some sliced almonds or a teaspoon of almond butter to my oats… NOMS!

So, that only leaves one question…  What’s your favorite breakfast?




Day Trip to Sunset Cliffs!

August 19, 2010

If you live in San Diego, chances are you’ve heard of Sunset Cliffs.  The national park takes up an amazing stretch of beach that extends 1.5 miles from the pier at Ocean Beach, and is well-known for producing the most picturesque sunsets San Diego has to offer.  With it’s steep cliffs, strange-crater looking rocks, and breathtaking ocean views, it really is something worth marveling over.  This past weekend, my friend Jazz and I decided to check out Sunset Cliffs for the first time, and left with some magazine-worthy photographs!  Sadly, you won’t see any sunsets captured in these photos because the day we chose was a particularly cloudy one; however the pictures turned out beautiful none-the-less!

A name carved inside a heart lies directly next to a smooth piece of the rock that also happens to resemble a heart.

The craters make me feel as if I am standing at the edge of the moon!

Jazz captures a moment just before the wave crashes and sends me reeling away from the rock's edge!

A close-up of the rock reveals a collection of nearly microscopic seashells hidden within the confines of the deep crater-like holes.

A long pathway of stairs leads us down into the abyss, where interesting surprises await.

Jasmine pauses in front of a rather stunning view of the cliffs.

Jasmine tells me to jump, but what she doesn't warn me about is the slippery moss! Thankfully I land on my feet instead of my behind.

An astounding view from the bottom of the cliffs looking up.

Surprise! We cross paths with a true-to-life Californian surfer -- a first for both of us!

A collection of flowers and seashells are gracefully strung together to create a heart-shaped alter -- all in preparation for the evening wedding that is about to take place overlooking the magnificent ocean.

My 27th Birthday at Splash Wine Bar!

August 7, 2010

Last Saturday, I finally got the opportunity to visit Splash Wine Bar in Northpark, a trendy little neighborhood in San Diego with several bars and restaurants to satisfy a range of different tastes.  I had been dying to visit this local spot for awhile now and finally used my birthday as the perfect excuse!

Learn by drinking doing is Splash’s philosophy!  At Splash Wine Bar, they believe that the best way to learn about wine is to drink the wine, which is why when you walk through their doors you’re greeted by a collection of self-serve wine machines.  From the wine novice to the beginner, this is the perfect place for anyone looking to expand their palate and find a few new favorites by giving you the option to taste from a selection of 72 bottles of wine that are produced all around the world!

Splash’s unique self-serve machines are organized by price and color, with red wines in the round serving stations as you walk in and white wines located towards the back.  It’s a fairly easy system once you get the hang of it.

  1. Head to the bar and load up a card (think of it as your wine passport) with any dollar amount
  2. Grab a glass from the drinking station
  3. Insert your card into the self-serve machine
  4. Select your wine!  (Don’t forget to put your glass under the spout!  It’s okay, rookie mistake…)

Not only does this system allow you to try many different varietals from all over the world, but it also gives you the opportunity to try wines that you might not be able to afford by the bottle.  Each taste of wine equals out to a one ounce pour.  I tried an amazing oaky and buttery Chardonnay from Carneros, California that would have cost me a whopping $40 a bottle, however a “splash” only cost me $4.50.

If wine machines aren’t your thing, they also serve house wine and a revolving selection of wines by the glass, including sparkling wines such as the must-try sparkling Shiraz (has one ever heard of such a thing?!).  I enjoyed a glass of their house Chardonnay, made by Fallbrook Winery just north of San Diego.

Aside from wine, Splash offers a nice selection of “small bites” ranging from meat and cheese platters to flatbread pizzas.  I’m pretty sure I saw a server come out with a tray of sushi too—but maybe that was just the wine taking effect!   Words cannot describe how fantastic their goat cheese and spinach pizza was, so instead I will sum it up with a picture. I also tried their baked brie wedge smothered in raspberry chipotle sauce and served with slices of French bread.  It was the perfect combination of salty meets sweet.  On a side note, I must say that I love the perks of being a wino because it means getting to experience all the great food that goes along with it!

I enjoyed my experience at Splash so much that I am already dreaming up my next “girl’s night out”.  It’s the perfect place to grab drinks after work with a girlfriend or have a first date!  The low lighting, decor, and couch seating helps create a very comfortable and intimate environment.  While it may be a small venue, it can definitely accommodate a party of ten or less, but I would not suggest going over.  If you do decide to bring a large group, call to reserve your space ahead of time in order to avoid wait-time.  The owner of Splash, Tracy, was very helpful and willing to work with me on seating, despite my lack of planning!

For more information on Splash, visit their website at asplashofwine.com or visit them in person at 3043 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92104.

More pictures from the night:

Lunch at George’s at the Cove

July 12, 2010

A meal is never just about the food.  It’s also about the ambiance, the environment, the company you share the meal with, the presentation of the food, and even the service.  Eating a 5 diamond meal in a lavish restaurant with less than stellar service could invariably put a negative spin on the whole experience.  You can only watch so many episodes of Top Chef before you begin to set a new standard for food.  That’s why it’s important that a restaurant think of every little detail when it comes to bringing customers not just a meal, but an experience.

I recently got together with my friend Jazz and her mom, Linda, who happened to be in town visiting.  Our original plan was to hit up the beach at Torrey Pines and grab lunch, but the day was overcast and chilly, so instead we settled for walking around the shoppes in La Jolla.

Jazz wanted to take her mom to a restaurant that overlooked the water.  After scouting a few restaurants, we finally settled on George’s at the Cove.

We ate lunch on their Ocean Terrance.  This was our view.  It really doesn’t get much better than this, does it?

Part of the San Diego lifestyle is that you can enjoy a meal outside year-round.  I love the freedom in that.

After much contemplation, I finally decided to go with the Grilled Portobello Mushroom Panini with onion marmalade, spinach and blue cheese.  I heart anything with blue cheese!

$11 for this and a great ocean view?!?  I definitely got my money’s worth!  I didn’t care too much for the arugula salad but the sandwich was great (especially after I picked the onions off ;))!

Linda ordered a Baby Green Salad and Jazz had The Cuban, a panini with roasted pork, ham and gruyere cheese.

So what does all this have to do with my schpeel about a meal being an experience?  Well, to put it bluntly, our server sucked.  Everything else about the restaurant was great—the view, reasonable prices, excellent food, beautiful ambiance!  Then add bad service to the mix and it could truly have the potential to take away from the overall experience.  Luckily we all had a good sense of humor about the situation and the bad service just became a ongoing joke.

Does this mean I won’t be going back?  Not necessarily.  I’m willing to give George’s another chance, but I think next time I’d like to come for dinner and eat downstairs in their California Modern dining experience.  See?  Even these guys got it right because they themselves even refer to it as an “experience”!

Anyway, I will leave you now with some random pix from our day in La Jolla.  Enjoy!



The San Diego Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Festival!

June 29, 2010

Well, it’s been nearly a month ago, but I’m finally getting around to posting pictures from the San Diego Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Festival that took place on June 4th.  Boy does time fly!  This month has been busy for me, what with the end of one internship and the beginning of a new one with ONEHOPE Wine, but that’ll be the topic for another blog entry entirely!

Now, I’m going to give you the details of the event through the planner’s point-of-view!

The WCCF, as I shall now refer to it, is a fundraiser for the Women’s History Museum of San Diego.  The past couple of years the WCCF’s been held in Balboa Park, but this was the first year the event was held in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village.  It was a beautiful venue and perfect for accommodating the size of this year’s event.

I came on board the WCCF in February through my internship with Lindsay Pomeroy of Wine Smarties, whose been involved in this event since it’s inception.

Besides helping out in pretty much every area of the event, Lindsay’s main focus was securing all the wine donations for the event.  She did a great job because there was definitely more than enough wine flowing at the event!  We had some great sponsors including…

Jake-Ryan Cellars

Hill Family Estate

Skylark Wine Company


Orfila Vineyards & Winery

Fallbrook Winery

I was assigned with the task of finding cheese and chocolate sponsors for the event, which sounds a lot easier than it actually is!  You try calling local businesses during a recession and then ask them to donate their time and product for 600 guests, and let me know how that goes ;).

Luckily there were a lot of great businesses in San Diego that generously agreed to be a part of this year’s event.  This event would not have been possible without the donations from our sponsors!

Here’s a few pictures of our lovely cheese & chocolate sponsors…

Big Kitchen

I want to send out a special thank you to Judy and Mark from Big Kitchen!  We couldn’t have pulled off the festival without their help.  They loaned us kitchen supplies, baskets, and had staff from their restaurant help out in our kitchen.  HUGE thanks to them!

Cupcake Love

Let me just tell you a thing or two about Cupcake Love.  They have the best cupcakes ever!  Their chocolate cupcake with whipped peanut butter frosting is to DIE for!

I really can’t say enough about them other than you have to go check them out :P.  Their store front location is in Solana Beach.

Ghirardelli Chocolates

Godiva Chocolates

Eclipse Chocolat

I wish I could pay homage to each and every sponsor, but my blog can only handle so much!

Even Jasmine, my friend and fellow blogger showed up to check out the event and do a write-up about it on her blog.

At the end of the day, I think the festival turned out to be a huge success.  I’m so glad I got to be part of such a great event.  With that said, I’ll leave you with some festival highlights below…  Enjoy!



My first trip to Napa Valley

June 21, 2010

Napa Valley is the place for wine.  If you’re a wino like me, you know what I’m talking about.  Just like skiers have the Swiss Alps, political junkies have Washington D.C., and geeks have Comic Con—we have Napa Valley.  I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to visit Napa for the very first time on a recent family mini-vacation up to San Francisco.

On the recommendation of my wine instructor, I visited The Hess Collection Winery.  The winery was started by Donald Hess, a Swiss-born entrepreneur who came to the States looking for business opportunities.  During his stay he fell in love with Napa Valley and eventually started his own winery in 1989.

The building where the Estate lives today was originally built in 1903 as a winery.  When prohibition came about in the 1920s, the winery was overtaken by The Christian Brothers who were permitted to make sacramental wine.  Up to this day, Mr. Hess continues to rent the property from The Christian Brothers.

First thing’s first, we headed to the tasting room!

For ten dollars, I tried four wines.

I began with the 2007 Mount Veeder 19 Block Cuvée, a delicious blend of 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Malbec, 4% Syrah, 4% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot.  This complex wine has aromas of black currant and plum.  Intense dark fruit flavors and medium plus tannins interact on the tongue to produce a strong finish.

Next I tried their 2007 Artezin Petite Sirah.  Not to be confused with Syrah, Petite Sirah is a varietal whose namesake came from early planters who mistook the variety for Syrah when it was first being introduced to Californian vineyards, but because it’s grapes are much smaller it was deemed “Petite Sirah”.  Black fruit character, high tannins and high acidity intertwine to create a highly drinkable wine.

Hess produces two characteristically different Chardonnays—think of it as French vs. Californian.  Their 2007 Su’Skol Vineyard Chardonnay is more reminiscent of a traditional, French-style Chardonnay because of it’s time spent in 30% new French oak barrels, adding flavors of toast and vanilla to the mix.  In stark contract, their 2007 Hess Collection Mount Veeder Chardonnay reflects a crisper, more fruit-forward style with flavors like nectarine and apricot—a trend that is becoming increasingly popular with Californian Chardonnays.

Surprisingly the Mount Veeder Chard was aged in four-to-five-year-old French oak, not stainless steel like one might assume.  Because the oak is older it only gives off neutral flavors, no oak.  I favored the Mount Veeder Chard, which is saying a lot for someone like me who is slightly obsessed with buttery and oaky French-style Chardonnays.  Wine Spectator gave it a 90 point rating out of 100, so you know it must be good!

The best part about The Hess Collection Winery is the winery itself.  Like something straight out of a fairy tale, the property is breathtakingly beautiful.  In the garden they have a lovely outdoor seating area reserved for food and wine tastings.  Luckily it was a slow day so we were able to secure a nice table beneath the trellis.

We ordered a sampling of three cheeses for $14.00 which came with Manchego cheese, blue cheese, and a triple-cream cheese made from organic cow’s milk.  On the side they included a bowl of candied walnuts and the best dried Michigan cherries you’ve ever tasted.

During our visit to the winery, we took advantage of the free tour where I learned a lot about the history of the winery and the owner, Donald Hess.  The tour also included a visit to the vineyards, where they harvest grapes for their Mount Veeder wines, and is followed by a short-film in the theater.  The film goes into depth about the land they harvest the grapes on and the specific opportunities and challenges they face with growing wine on mountain terrain.

The tour finally ended with a stop in their wine barrel room.  Here the wine ages for a chosen period of time in oak barrels, allowing it to develop new flavors and complexities.

If The Hess Collection Winery is any indication of what Napa Valley has to offer, then I’m ready to dive in feet first!  Even though I only had time to visit one winery, I definitely maximized my visit by taking advantage of the free tour, enjoying a wine tasting, and noshing on tasty cheeses.

If that isn’t the quintessential Napa experience, I don’t know what is.  What I am sure of, however, is that I want to return someday in the near future.  In the words of my Govenator, “I’ll be back.”



Jazz & my Californian Adventure

June 4, 2010

Yesterday I took my friend Jazz up to California Adventure to celebrate her birthday!  She had been dying to go to Disneyland for awhile now and finally settled on her birthday for the date.  Looking back now I wish we had gotten the “park hopper” pass so we could have go back and forth between Cali Adventure and Disney, but I was attempting to be frugal.  I think it worked out though because we got to see all the attractions that mattered and now I have something to look forward to next time I go!

Did you know Cali residents can get an annual pass for just $8 a month?!  All you have to do is purchase one ticket for the day, tell them you want the annual pass, and they’ll withdrawal it from your bank account automatically.

As soon as we entered the park we came across a vineyard!  Turns out you can’t go anywhere in California without tripping over grape vines.  The sign said Golden Vine Winery.  I didn’t get to do any wine tasting, but perhaps next time?

First we rode Mickey’s Ferris Wheel of Impending Doom where they lock you up in steel cages and force you to go round and round until you become nauseous!  This is the “before” picture, clearly…

Thankfully we recovered and managed to see the rest of the park!  I finally got the ca-hones to ride the Tower of Terror appropriately named the Hollywood Tower Hotel in California.  I still ended up screaming my head off!

While waiting in line we encountered Master Yoda.  I wanted to say hi but he looked like he had his hands full training the next Luke Skywalker…

We also managed to visit Muppet Vision, one of my favorite attractions as a kid and we didn’t even have to wait in line!  I love being able to go to Disneyland during the middle of the week when we can avoid the crowds.

After the park, we walked around Downtown Disney and ate dinner at the Rainforest Cafe.  Cool place, great food, baaaad wine.  I guess I should have known better being in a tropical paradise and all, but I’m a wino at heart—can you blame me?  Next time I’ll go for the Paradise Punch.

All & all it was SO MUCH FUN and I cannot wait to go back!  I also want to hit up the French Cafe in Downtown Disney where they serve fresh made benets!  Mmm… my favorite!  Reminds me of New Orleans, but that’s another story. 🙂



Santa Monica!

May 30, 2010

This past week I drove my friend Jasmine up to Los Angeles

Jasmine is a writer and soon-to-be publisher author!  She runs her own blog called Eat Move Write and is currently in the works of writing her FIRST book!  I hung out at a local Starbucks while she met with her agent up in West Beverly Hills.  Her meeting didn’t take long and afterward we decided to check out Santa Monica since we were about 10 minutes away.

We ended up walking around downtown Santa Monica.  I was enamored by all the cute shops and loved how the streets were completely closed off from cars, leaving pedestrians free to walk in the middle.  Although they had your staple expensive clothing and high-end stores you would expect from L.A., my favorite stores were a toys and games shop called the Puzzle Zoo and Ye Olde King’s Head, a shop that carried imports from Great Britain.  I bought a t-shirt at the games shop for $5!

We also stopped to eat at this wonderful French country-style cafe called Le Pain Quotidien (The Daily Bread).

All of their coffees were Peruvian organic! *so proud*

I ordered the Chicken Curry Salad Tartine with side of harissa-cranberry chutney.  De-Lish!  I ate about 3/4s because I wanted to save room for…

You guessed it… dessert!  It was a lemon custard made with fat free yogurt.  It was ok.

After lunch, we walked around some more and then headed down to the boardwalk where there were ride, shops, and more restaurants (though I didn’t get any pictures of that… whoops!).

The ocean was absolutely beautiful.  Even though we were freezing cold, we were determined to walk down the entire boardwalk!  When we finally made it to the end, we were in for a big surprise…

Mr. Seal was waiting to greet us!  Say cheese!

It was a fun little trip to L.A., but I’m glad to call San Diego “home” for now at least!



It’s official! I’m a food & wine blogger!

May 27, 2010

That’s right!  Little ole Jess, someone who barely thought she could put pen to paper, is officially a contributor for DishKebab.com’s dining news blog!  I didn’t want to mention anything until it was official, but when I opened my mailbox today and saw this…

Getting paid!

My very first "paycheck" for the blog entry I produced!

I couldn’t keep my mouth shut any longer!  Even though my blog entry hasn’t gone live yet, nothing says official like some dolla dolla bills ya’ll 😉  Also, I received a handwritten thank you letter and a copy of the agreement I signed!

You can also go read my contributor bio by clicking HERE!  It doesn’t get much more official than that, folks.

As you may remember, my last blog entry was about Port wine.  The blog about Port was actually my first blog entry for DishKebab.  One of the nice things about blogging for DishKebab is that you can use any article you’ve written for them on your own personal blog as well.

So, you may be wondering…

What the heck is DishKebab?

Well, to put it simply it’s a blog that supports iDine, a dining program that rewards you for dining out.  All of the contributors are members of the dining program that review restaurants on the program in their area and dish on topics other foodies would enjoy.

The program is a neat idea—kind of like frequent flier miles but for eating and everyone’s got to eat!  This is great way to earn rewards while dining out on vacation and at home.

How does it work?

  • First you chose a membership level.  Even at the most basic level you can sign up for free and earn 5% back on each purchase.
  • Register your credit cards/debit cards.  The more the better!  iDine uses your credit card/debit transactions to determine if you ate out at one of their qualifying restaurants.
  • OR take a look at their website and search for a restaurant on the program by looking up the city, state, or zip you are in.  Check out ratings and read reviews by other diners.
  • Rate your recent dining experience in order to earn rewards!
  • Sit back and watch as you earn money back on every purchase.

I experienced this firsthand last Friday when my friends and I ate out at Harney Sushi in Old Town, San Diego for my friend Christina’s birthday.  I had no idea it was part of the iDine program but surely enough, I received an email a few days later from iDine informing me that I had 60 days to rate my dining experience at Harney in order to earn my 5% back reward.  The survey took about 2 minutes.  Not a bad trade in my book.

So what are you waiting for?!  Sign up today!  Plus, while you’re at it, check out my blog entries on DishKebab.com for the latest in San Diego’s food & wine scene

On a last note, I will leave you with a new discovery I made yesterday about California.  Did you know it was once a Republic? I had no idea!

According to Wikipedia, “The California Republic, also called the Bear Flag Republic, was a government proclaimed by settlers on June 14, 1846, in Sonoma in the then-Mexican province of California. Declared during the Mexican–American War, the republic lasted a mere 26 days.”

Either way, I love my new t-shirt!  I am sporting my California pride!



A Crash Course in Port Wine

May 22, 2010

Port wine is like the nectar of the gods.

With its full bodied mouth-feel and sweet, rich flavors, it is the perfect after-dinner drink.  I recently uncorked a bottle of Tawny Port from Orfila Winery in Escondido, California and was highly impressed with their take on this lovely dessert wine.


Stories of Port wine go back as far as the late 16th century in the Duoro Valley of Portugal, where Port is still grown and produced today.  Port is named after the coastal city of “Porto” where the wine was originally exported.  Laws today protect the origin of this wine so that only the product from Portugal can be labeled as Port.  Wines that undergo the same process as Port wines are often be labeled “dessert wine” instead.

How It’s Made:

Orfila Winery’s Tawny Port is extremely aromatic with unmistakable scents of raisin and spice taking center-stage while hints of caramel and orange linger on the palette as an after-thought.  A friend of mine referred to it as “raisin-flavored cough syrup,” which isn’t entirely off base!

Because Port is a fortified wine it’s extremely sweet and syrupy.  Fortified wines undergo a different process than most where grape-derived spirits like brandy are added to the partially-fermented grape juice to kill off the yeast and halt fermentation before all of the sugar converts to alcohol.  This creates a wine that is sugary and several times higher in alcohol content than most at 19.5-20% abv.

Unlike other single varietal wines, Port is made with a blend of different red and black grape varietals.  Not all Port is made alike, however—there are also dry and semi-dry versions, and occasionally you may run across a white Port.

Styles of Port:

Orfila's Tawny Port

Ruby Port—Named for its deep red color, Ruby Port is young, fruity and undergoes two to three years of aging before it’s bottled.

Reserve Ruby Port—This is a higher quality Port with more intense fruit flavors and a longer period of aging before bottling, generally five years.

Late Bottled Vintage Port—Similar to a Reserve Ruby Port, LBV Ports are made from grapes harvested in a single year and undergo four to six years of aging before bottling.  It’s best enjoyed while it’s young.

Traditional Style LBV—This traditional style is made much the same way as LBV, except that the wine is not filtered before bottling, leaving behind a deposit that requires decanting.

Vintage Port—Vintage Port is the crème de la crème when it comes to Port.  It uses grapes from the very best vineyards during years when harvest is exceptional.  With a short period in oak, this wine benefits from several years of bottle aging and requires decanting.

Tawny Port—An inexpensive Port made from a blend of light-colored ruby and white Port, it brings to mind flavors of toffee nut, caramel, and dried fruit.

Reserve Tawny Port—Light brown in color with flavors of nut, coffee, chocolate, and caramel, these wines require a minimum of seven years in oak.

Aged Tawny Port—A high quality blend of wines labeled with 10, 20, 30, or 40+ years of aging, Aged Tawny Port does not require decanting and is best enjoyed slightly chilled.

Food and Wine Pairings:

It’s important to consider what foods pair best with Port wine. You can drink Port solo, but it’s particularly refreshing when served alongside chocolate desserts, fresh fruits, puddings, and cheeses.

Stilton cheese is to Port wine what jelly is to peanut butter: a classic pairing that should not be missed out on.  Stilton cheese comes from the blue cheese family.   I decided to go with Trader Joe’s White Stilton With Apricots because I thought the sweetness of the fruit would pair nicely with the sweetness of wine, and I was right!

Brix Chocolate

I also used some Brix Chocolate, a special type of dark chocolate made especially for wine.  Both the cheese and the chocolate paired nicely with the Port and helped mellow out the tannins, making it more drinkable.  For only $18 Orfila’s Tawny Port is definitely worth every penny.

Armed with your newfound knowledge of Port wine, now you’re ready to impress friends and family at your next dinner party!  They may thank you for the wine 101 lesson, but more importantly you’ll enjoy wine’s ability to bring people together for an evening of fun and great conversation. And, on that note, I’ll leave you with the wise words of wine connoisseur Percy Croft, “Any time not spent drinking Port is a waste of time.”