"It's a hard grape to grow. As you know. Right? It's, uh, it's thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It's, you know, it's not a survivor like cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and thrive even when it's neglected. No, pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And, in fact, it can only grow in these really specific, little tucked-away corners of the world. And only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression."
Monday, December 29, 2014
Friday, December 12, 2014
|Olive oils and vinegars lining the modern store.|
|Vita Sana is in Rapid City, South Dakota, but don't miss its parent shop in Casper, Wyoming!|
|Store manager Rhonda showing us how this tasting is done.|
I have infused my own olive oils in the past, and the “plain” olive oils here would be great for use alone or for infusing. However, my favorite part of the experience was looking at the different options of already-infused oils for sale. Some of these flavors I would never have thought to put together; many were old standbys, but all were so tasty. Take blood orange for example. I would never have thought to infuse oil with this fruit, but it was one of my favorites! Of course, other flavors like Herbs de Provence and White Truffle were oils I loved and wanted to begin using right away. On the other hand, I must not get so caught up in flavored options that I forget about the quality of the oils themselves. During this time of year, the oils for sale originated in the southern hemisphere, from countries like Peru and Chile. This is because of the harvest seasons there. After the northern hemisphere harvested this fall, oils from Europe and Texas will be in the store by summer, making sure that the freshest oils are always available for customers. There are many different styles and even organic options from which to choose, no matter what time of year it may be.
|Tasting the oils and vinegars...they mix WELL!|
|My comrade showing proper olive oil tasting technique.|
Though oil and water may not mix, a pairing not to be missed is oil and vinegar…and I mean good olive oils and good balsamic vinegars! The increase in popularity of both of these products has made it easier for consumers everywhere to get the best of both. It’s a trend I hope stays and becomes common place. Vita Sana Olive Oil Company in Rapid City (with its parent store in Casper, Wyoming) has embraced this movement and offers the best in both oils and vinegars for dipping, dressing, and infusing. Stop in to do a tasting today. Mix oil with your vinegar soon!
|Though olive oils and vinegars are the star of Vita Sana's show...|
|The designer cheese case is also a supporting cast member that shouldn't be missed.|
How to use your oils and vinegars:
Red, Orange, and Blue Salad
Hearts of romaine lettuce—3 cups
Blue cheese crumbles—1/4 cup
Golden raisins—1/4 cup
Honey roasted almond slices—2 tbsp.
Grilled or roasted chicken breast—2 oz.
Blood orange olive oil—2 tsp.
Cranberry orange white balsamic—3 tsp.
Sunday, November 30, 2014
|Just one example of the unique and fun atmosphere.|
|Excited to enter the Independent Ale House.|
|Warm and modern surroundings.|
Some friends and I had the opportunity to stop at the Independent Ale House on a recent chilly afternoon. The atmosphere was warm and inviting as we entered and slowly made our way through the beer menu. It is no wonder it took us a while to read the beer options: there are 145 choices of bottles and 40 choices on tap. To say there is a brew here for everyone would be an understatement! There are the “usual suspects” (as the Ale House’s web site puts it) of beers like Bud Light and Coors Light. However, those who love unique and unusual beers are covered with pilsners, ales, stouts, lagers, bocks, and IPAs from around the world, primarily from small, independent producers (hence the name, “Independent” Ale House). There are even gluten-free options! The forty choices on tap are always rotating, so new selections are available, even for the frequent Indy guest.
|Beer board for the constantly rotating forty beers on tap.|
Of course, everyone knows beer and pizza are a natural pairing, and the Independent Ale House has this area covered as well. Fresh, hand-made pizzas are made to order with special options like Buffalo Chicken Pizza (with Buffalo wing sauce, chicken, and blue cheese) to daily menu options like Pizza Bianca (with alfredo sauce) and Three Little Pigs (with pepperoni, sausage, and bacon). These are just a few of the options that had the entire establishment smelling of mouth-watering garlic and cheese as we entered the building.
Now, most know beer is not my first choice. However, wine drinkers like me still have some excellent options at Indy. Though the list isn’t as extensive as the beer menu, it carries both by-the-glass and by-the-bottle selections, starting with a house red and a house white. Other whites include many varietals ranging from Sauvignon Blanc to Chardonnay. There are even multiple sparkling and sake choices. For reds, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and (my personal favorite) Pinot Noir begin the menu. Indy’s best night for wine drinkers would be Monday, when half-price wine is the special. During daily happy hour, dollar discounts are given on wine (and beer too).
|Of course, I went with an Oregon Pinot Noir!|
|The place to go for the independent thinkers and drinkers--Independent Ale House.|
Sunday, November 2, 2014
|Good food in a great environment.|
|The seven Bitter Esters brews on tap.|
|Build your own beer flight...have one of each.|
|Many original qualities in this brew house, from the food to the growers...|
|...to the sense of humor of Swanson and staff! Myspace...haha!|
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
|The brown areas are actual coffee beans marking the areas coffee beans are grown throughout the world.|
|Whole coffee beans and ground beans waiting to be sniffed.|
|Instructor Mary and her helper pouring the hot water for our coffee to steep.|
|Waiting for the grounds of the coffee to form a "crust" on the top of the cup.|
Monday, September 15, 2014
Vines at Old Folsom Vineyards.
Rows of Marquette vines with the bird net still in place.
Beautiful Marquette grapes just waiting to be picked.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Dessert course: house-made vanilla bean ice cream with cabernet fudge sauce and port.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
The modern front entrance welcomes visitors.
Sparkling house, producing the first traditional method sparkling wines in the Black Hills.
The Belle Joli tasting lineup. New and old labels on display.
The beautiful patio with the rolling hills in the distance.
Saturday, August 16, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Public Open House
Sunday, August 17, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Wine Club Member Party
Read about Belle Joli's harvest and hard work here.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
More than truffles here--also caramel patties and Fortunato No. 4 chocolate bars.
Milk chocolate creations.
Chubby Chipmunk's website: Get Your Chocolate Here
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Pastoral Blanc 2012, Trousseau Gris 2012, and Mourvedre 2012
Viognier 2013 and Syrah/Mourvedre 2011