Easter at the Grown Up Table: espresso chocolate ganache tart

Jen was kind enough to whip up this perfect Easter treat for us, and then I went and didn’t post it in time for Easter. #fail. But there’s no reason you have to wait for another Easter to roll around- this is not only the perfect spring dessert, it’s the perfect anytime dessert. I’m going to have to start requiring samples to go along with guest posts. Winking smile


chocolate tart recipe

here we go.
it’s easter.
loads of displays of chocolate eggs are zapping our system.
the anticipation for the easter bunny’s arrival is sending some kids into a frenzy.
and rightly so on their behalf.
but…is opening a brightly coloured foil wrapped chocolate egg as a grown-up as exciting as it was when you were five?
i’m guessing not.

the one thing i have felt in my life is a sort of roller coaster of development. you are born, embrace all that is child-like, hit the tweens and puberty and are forced out of all that and into more grown up adventures. then you are in your twenties or thirties, and are of course loving that and all it brings, and eventually you get knocked up and have to change your life right back to what you have grown out of. all of the precious time you took for adult development to shape you into this cool hip person now has to give way for baby einstein, peek-a-boo and nursery rhymes. and everything you do, eat and entertain yourself with has all the appeal to the 3 year old sitting in your lap – not so much yourself.

or you don’t have kids all together and feel a little left out when it does come to the easter egg hunts and gorging yourself on the required chocolate of the season.
so when do you get to have it all? the kids, the development, the holidays?
and why can’t it be sophisticated, refined and for lack of a better word – grown up?
that’s why am i bringing to you this….perfectly designed for the grown up table.

espresso chocolate ganache tart.

say it with me….espresso chocolate ganache tart.

think about it. savour it. now go and make it.

perfect for easter dinner.
not too pretentious for having with girlfriends.
classy enough for a dinner party when entertaining the boss or clients.
place a bowl of foil eggs on the kids table.
place this on yours.
and don’t forget the bubbly!! caps it off perfectly.

chocolate ganache tart

espresso chocolate ganache tart.

makes one 9 – 10 inch tart. i have on occasion stretched it out to accommodate a 12 inch one.

sweet shortcrust pastry dough.
the original of this comes from my grandmother. it’s the classic one – i didn’t re-invent the wheel here. but a trick i have picked up is adding powdered sugar to the crust rather than refined sugar. i feel it incorporates better and adds a smooth finish to the pastry. you could also add a touch of citrus zest if you like. i personally like a sweet dough – if that’s not your deal, just leave out the powdered sugar. do not adjust the other ingredients.
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out
1/2 teaspoon of fine salt
9 tablespoons of unsalted butter, chilled and diced
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons of ice water {i actually use about 4 but start with 2}

1) sift the flour, salt and powdered sugar together {if using} into a bowl and then rub in the butter.
2) mix together the egg yolks and ice water. add to the flour, mixing as you go. the dough must be a little wet to hold together. if you feel your dough is still a little dry add more water, a tablespoon at a time, till desired consistency is achieved.
3) invert dough out on to a lightly floured surface and gently knead together until smooth. form dough into a ball. flatten dough slightly and wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.

rolling out and blind baking your crust.
pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. roll out your dough, on a lightly floured surface, as thinly as possible – about 1/8 inch thick – to line the dish you are using. to line the tart pan simply roll your dough around your rolling pin {to avoid stretching out your dough} and roll it out over the surface of your pan. using an extra piece of dough wrapped in plastic, push down your dough into the edges & sides of your pan. once your are happy with this roll your pin over the top of the pan to cut off the excess dough {save this dough! or transfer right away to little tart shells or cut out in strips, twist, egg wash and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and bake!}. prick the dough all over with a fork and freeze/chill for about 15 minutes. {also if you have the freezer space a fun thing to do is prepare a lot of these, in different sizes and shapes, to have on hand in the freezer at a moments notice!}. line chilled dough with parchment paper and your "baking beans" {store bought pie weights or dry beans – i use nave beans – that you have specifically for this task.}. set on a baking sheet and blind bake in the center of the oven for 10 to 12 minutes. remove the parchment and the beans and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes. whne this is all done coast the crust with a egg ash {one beaten egg}, you can do this when hot or cold. then return the crust for one final time to the oven for 5 – 10 minutes to get it all shiny and golden brown. perfect. remove from oven and let cool completely.

espresso chocolate ganache.
the secret to this is the instant espresso powder. yes, it’s a powder. yes, it’s instant. yes, you can buy it in the grocery store. no, it’s not beans or brewed espresso. i’m sure you could possible seep crushed espresso beans in the cream while heating but not grounds – you would have to strain the cream before adding to the chocolate and the ground might sneak through the strainer. you could also swap out the espresso for a liqueur but that’s another recipe for another day!

12 ounces good quality 70% cocoa dark chocolate {you could do half dark and half semi-sweet but you want to have at least 6 ounces of dark chocolate in there.}
1 1/4 cup of heavy cream
2 tablespoons of instant espresso powder
chop up your chocolate and place in a heat proof bowl, sprinkle with espresso powder and set aside. in a small to medium saucepan heat your cream on low till just boiling, stirring constantly so it does not scald. pour hot cream over chocolate and espresso powder. starting in the center stir chocolate mixture until smooth and creamy. keep stirring till all the lumps are out. pour into prepared crust, smooth the top out with an off-set spatula and allow to set for 2 hours at room temperature or one hour in the fridge. serve with a dusting of powdered sugar or with sweet vanilla whip cream.

chocolate pie recipe

thanks heather for letting me hang out today!!


Jen Gronick is the voice behind the blog, Experience the Wonderful. When she’s not creating recipes and good food to eat, displaying her diy projects and expressing her voice, she is busy being the mother of two and the wife to her own mr. incredible.
After re-locating from the westcoast and putting down roots in the french-canadian countryside, jen and her family are still trying to discover it all and “experience their wonderful” every chance they get

experience the wonderful

It Is Up To Me

Today Elena is sharing her secret weapons for getting back on track after a break from fitness. After an injury and a pregnancy, I can more than relate to what Elena’s talking about today and I will definitely be using her advice in the coming weeks and months.

fitness goals

Two marathons, a dozen half marathons, sprint triathlons, Zumba, Pilates, and spinning. Albeit inconsistently at times, this has been my life for the last fifteen years.

But now? Three weeks away from what was supposed to be my very first international distance triathlon? I find myself winded during a 17 minute walk around my neighborhood.

Granted, my body is recovering from a surgery. But still. Winded. After 17 minutes of walking. Slowly. This is not where I imagined I would be right now.

I could spend FOREVER reflecting on how I got to this place, and how frustrating it is to feel weak. I could go on and on about the emotional repercussions of not working out regularly. But the truth is none of that will help. It will only make me more frustrated and more disillusioned.

The truth of the matter is that it is all up to me now. It is up to me to make the changes. To accept my new reality and create a plan that is realistic and attainable to get back on track. I cannot just pretend to jump back into where I was a few months ago, or worse, last year at this time. The first step has to be acknowledging my current level of fitness, or lack there of, and then putting one foot in front of the other, day after day, to eventually, in time, be strong once again.

There is no room for “last year, I was able to {fill in the blank}.”  The only room that exists is one of concrete actions.  Actions that will take time to become habit. Actions like getting up early to work out, or arranging for my family to take care of dinner so that I can get a workout in after work in the early evening. Actions that will not just happen on their own.

Which if I am being honest, is just plain scary. I cannot remember the last time that I literally was starting from scratch like I am now.  In the past, I have been able to rely on my old standbys to get me back into the routine. A few tough days on the treadmill, (ok maybe weeks) before feeling like myself again out on the running trail.  This time though, it is going to take time to build up a a base, a foundation of both cardiovascular and strength.

My Secret Weapons

The good news is that I have a lot of resources at my disposal. I have a treadmill and my road bike set up on a trainer in a workout room in our basement. I have some fantastic DVD’s and fitness games for the Wii and the Xbox. But more importantly, I have two secret weapons.

The first…is… a calendar.  A calendar where I will write down every thing I do.  A calendar that will keep me accountable, visually, for building that base. A calendar that will tell me, within a moment whether I have done my best or have fallen prey to the abyss of possible excuses that are waiting to pounce on my discouraged psyche.

The second is a goal event. An event to aim for. One that is just enough of a stretch that I will feel like it is an accomplishment, but one that is realistic and attainable.  A little bit like writing a SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time bound) goal in my professional life, picking a goal event means being honest with where I am now, what I think I can accomplish, and how much time it will really take for me to get there. Because picking a goal event and then not being ready? Talk about discouraging.

I am debating on what this goal event might be. I am still scheduled for an international distance triathlon in September, but I am a bit worried that it might be too much of a stretch.  There are a number of Disney endurance events that sound appealing to me, and several other local non local events that appeal to me…but I know that I need to think this through. Just like I would in my professional life, this goal needs to be mapped out. Thought about. It needs to MEAN something to me.

In the end, it is all up to me. It is up to me to be honest. It is up to me to make my goal a reality. It is up to me to fill that calendar with finished workouts. It is up to me to push past the excuses or potential road blocks.  Only me.

Because feeling anything less than strong and healthy? Is simply not an option.




Elena is a blogger, free lance writer, transitioning from the life of a teacher to one of a WAHMaven. Being a cancer survivor has taught her to believe in one thing: life is about living. One moment at a time. Elena shares her perspective on life, travel, fitness, and more at Ciao Mom and works to inspire and empower others at Just.Be.Enough.

My Husband Thinks I’m Beautiful. Why Don’t I?

Today I have a fantastic guest post for you by Chaunie Marie Brusie of Tiny Blue Lines. She teaches us all a lesson about self-confidence, owning your beauty, and just saying “thanks”.

The other day, I stood in the bathroom, getting ready to hop in the shower before I turned into bed for the night. As I turned to remove my earrings, my husband happened in.

Stopping dead in his tracks at all my naked pregnant glory, he kissed my shoulder and said simply, “Wow. You’re beautiful.”

women are beautiful

Disdainfully, I shrugged him off. “Yeah, right. Stop it.”

Sighing at this all-too-typical exchange, he trudged out of the bathroom, leaving me alone and feeling guilty.

Why is my response to my husband always the same? I am lucky enough to have a husband who tells me, almost daily, that he thinks my six-month pregnant self is beautiful—so why can’t I believe him?

The simple truth of the matter is, my husband thinks I’m beautiful.

But I don’t.

I know it’s bad for our marriage. With every kiss I brush off or compliment I vehemently deny, I am hurting not only my husband, but myself, and my daughters too.

Why is it so hard? Why can’t I believe that he thinks I’m beautiful? I know he is sincere. For some crazy reason, he really thinks I am the most beautiful woman in the world. I don’t know what he sees when he looks at me, but it certainly isn’t the mess of stretch marks, back fat, and loose, saggy skin that I see when I look in the mirror.

I grew up with a mother with chronically low self-esteem. In fact, I’m pretty sure almost every single female member of my family has displayed the same behavior I now exhibit. My childhood was filled with a litany of bodily complains from my mother and aunts…

“I’m so fat.”
“Oh, stop, no you’re not, I’m the fat one! Look at these rolls!”
“Please. Do you know how much I weigh right now? Do you??”

It was a constant, constant back-and-forth. A sworn oath to diet and exercise one day, a binge and remorseful body bashing the next.

There was never a healthy body image or appreciation for the female form in my household. And while I’ve tried to combat that now as a grown woman and mother, with exercising (I just ran my first 10 mile race this summer!) and introducing fresh and healthy foods to the girls, I still find myself focusing, over and over, on the flaws of my body.

-My arms are too big.
-My stomach, no matter what I do, or how much weight I lose, will never shake its bariatric-surgery-rolls of loose-flesh-hanging look.
-My legs have cellulite for the first time in my life.
-My hair is flat and thin.
-I’m pretty sure I have a double chin.
-I have one black hair that insists on growing right on the bottom of my chin, threatening to turn me into that old lady in the nursing home, sporting whiskers and yelling at people from my wheelchair.

Why can’t I see past the imperfections of who I am?

I am not my arms, or my stomach, or my cellulite-y legs; I am not even the whisker on my chin.

I am more than that.

I am a mother.

I am a sister.

I am a daughter.

I am a wife who is beautiful in her husband’s eyes.

Maybe you’re not like me; maybe you always believe it when someone compliments you. Maybe you don’t push your husband away when he comes home and you’re covered in milk, baby poop, spit-up and the remnants of your toddler’s lunch.

But just in case…

Here is my challenge to you:

The next time your husband, your boyfriend, your partner, or even a stranger compliments you, do not, I repeat, do not, deny, protest, or otherwise reject the compliment. Instead, I want you to try the two following simple tasks:

1. Say “thank you.”
2. Believe it.

Because we all really are beautiful. Whiskers and all.


Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mother of two (and counting!),part-time labor and delivery nurse, and an advocate for young women facing unplanned pregnancies. She blogs at www.tinybluelines.com.

Secrets to More Effective Weight Training

Today’s post is from the lovely Tina of Faith, Fitness, Fun. Tina’s incredible outlook on life always brings a smile to my face. She’s constantly reminding all of us that working out fits into your life, not the other way around. And if you need a little bit of motivation, go read her blog- she’s a new mom for the second time and has found ways to put exercise back into her routine from almost day 1- she’s even taken up running.

tina headshot

I love weight training. It was the first aspect of fitness I fell in love with almost a decade ago. Once I got the taste of strength, I never stopped turning to weight workouts. Very few things feel quite as satisfying as pushing my body to new limits and gaining new strength.

I truly believe strength training should be included in all workout plans. It does so much to benefit our bodies. And no – it will not make you bulky! Promise. On my blog I have some insights on how I set up strength plans, but I want to take this chance to let you in on ways I like to take it to the next level. Who doesn’t want more of a challenge, and more results, in a quicker and smarter way? I know I’m all for it! Which is why I include the following practices regularly in my strength training.

Take it slow. Doing movements in a slow and controlled fashion helps to decrease the amount of momentum used. Less momentum helping you along = more of your true effort doing the work. A good pace is two counts, small pause, two counts. For example, during a barbell bicep curl take two counts to curl the bar up, hold a moment, and then take two counts to release the bar back down. You can mix it up though and do a variety of eccentric and concentric contractions. You can take 4 counts up and 4 counts down. You can do 3 up and 1 down. Taking things slow also helps you to focus more on the move instead of just quickly going through the motions.

Use proper form. Proper form ensures that you are using the correct muscles to complete the exercise. You don’t want to be trying to work your glutes and hamstrings with a deadlift and end up working your shoulders from bad form.

deadlift Bdeadlift A

You will likely feel the move more by not allowing other body parts to assist due to not doing the move correctly. Proper form also decreases any possible pain or the chance for injury, so you are able to continue improving your lifts.

Emphasize the use of free weights. Machines do have their place in weight training, namely in adding variety or helping to learn weight training moves, but the use of barbells and dumbbells are more effective.


When you don’t have a machine assisting you, your body has to work harder to stabilize itself and will naturally use more energy to do the same type of move. You also have a wider range of movement with free weights so it is common to feel more comfortable using them. Another benefit is you can challenge muscles one arm/leg at a time with dumbbells to help balance weaknesses.

Include variety. Try to do something new at least every few workouts. That doesn’t mean you have to do new moves every lifting session, but try to switch up how many reps or sets you complete, do a slight variation of a move (like on an incline or decline/with a barbell instead of dumbbell/etc), or even in a different order. Doing things differently will keep your body from becoming too accustomed to your workout. It helps to continue challenging yourself.

Play with bodyweight exercises. We may think we need some iron in our hands to get a quality weight training workout. That is not true. Things like pushups, pullups, walking lunges, squat holds, and tricep dips can challenge your body in new ways.


Consider the moves I mentioned, Pilates classes, or holding yoga poses. Tough, huh? Bodyweight moves help build up more practical endurance and incorporate new movement into your workout.

Compound movements. Things like squats, bench press, deadlifts, and rows use more than one muscle group to complete the move. These moves are more challenging and therefore more effective. In squats, you train your quads, glutes, calves, abs, and even your arms and shoulders with lifting and stabilizing the bar. During rows, you will train the various parts of your back (lats, traps, rhomboids) as well as your biceps from the pulling action. It makes sense that using 3 muscles will use more energy and strength than working one. Compound movements can do that for you.

Play around with new training methods. Include workout techniques that provide a new approach to push your limits.

  • Supersets – completing two moves back to back without rest
  • Circuits – doing all moves straight through with no rest
  • Drop Sets – on the last set, drop your weight and then continue with more reps until you can’t do any more
  • Pyramid Training – complete a set of 15, for the next set increase your weight and do a set of 10, then increase your weight and do a set of 6 on the last set
  • Timed Training – instead of counting reps, do a move for a specific length of time

As you can see, there are many ways to train smarter and not harder with weights. I hope you give some a shot and have fun with it! Feel free to catch up with me on my blog, where I openly share about all topics related to living a healthy life to the fullest – body image, recipes, workouts, a positive attitude, my body after baby progress, motherhood, and more!

Do you enjoy weight training? What ways do you like to add a challenge to your workouts?

Personal Training: Busting Myths

Hi SoS readers! My name is Paige and I blog over at Running Around Normal.

As you all know, Heather is an awesome resource for all things nutrition coaching, so when she asked me to do a post on the type of training my job calls for, personal training, I happily obliged.

I’ve been a personal trainer for about a year and a half now, and have trained a wide realm of clients with a wide range of goals. Personal training is hands down the most rewarding job I’ve ever done. I can truly say it makes me incredibly happy to help others lead healthier, happier lives.


However, there’s quite a few nasty connotations floating around the health and fitness rumor mill about personal trainers.

Some of the stereotypical statements I’ve heard are:

· Only the rich and famous can afford personal trainers

· You only need a personal trainer if you’re new to exercise altogether

· Personal trainers will push you until you vomit

· Personal Trainers are only trainers because they like to work out

…And that’s just to name a few.

Well I’m here today to disprove the rumors that we’ve all heard about personal trainers and show you that not all personal trainers are like the Biggest Loser’s Jillian Michaels. From start to finish, I hold my client’s best interest as the most important aspect of our client-trainer relationship.

Myth # 1: You only need a personal trainer if you’re new to exercise altogether

Myth Buster: Many people are hesitant to reach out to a personal trainer for help because they’ve been exercising for years already. However, working with a trainer is an excellent way to re-vamp your fitness routine. I’ve had many a client come to me because they weren’t reaching their goals, but have been exercising consistently for months! When I ask them about their workouts, it usually involves just one type of exercise. For these clients, I love to incorporate new ways to work out into their current fitness routine. It’s a great way to bust through any plateaus as well.

Myth # 2: Only rich people can afford personal training services

Myth Buster: With shows like Celebrity Fit Club and Biggest Loser, it’s no wonder people think you have to shell out the big bucks to work with a trainer. Although some areas and some trainers are more expensive, you can typically find a trainer who offers more affordable services. Additionally, most trainers offer discounts and deals to renewing clients.

Myth #3: Personal trainers will make you work out until you puke

Myth Buster: While I can only speak for myself and the trainers I associate with, this is simply not the case. This method is not only dangerous, but can increase the drop rate significantly. There’s a difference between being pushed past your comfort zone and being pushed past what you’re capable of, and I make sure never to breach the latter with my clients. A good trainer will develop an eye for knowing when their client can be pushed a little more and knowing when to back off and allow more rest.

Myth #4: Personal Trainers are only trainers because they love to work out

Myth Buster: Although I have met a few personal trainers who “fell” into the job, most I know of have an honest passion for helping people get healthier. Case in point – I actually quit my job to pursue personal training! Bottom line is I show up to each appointment with a goal to inspire my client and help him or her reach their goal, not because it’s just on my schedule. In fact, there have been times I’ve been more excited for my client than he/she’s been for herself!

Myth #5: Personal trainers know nothing about nutrition

Myth Buster: I am well aware that there’s only minimal training on nutrition while pursuing a personal trainer certification, even with the more reputable certs. That said, most reputable trainers will pursue some sort of additional nutritional training. Only three months into my role as a personal trainer, I began taking nutritional training and am now a certified sports nutritionist. I find that the two certifications complement each other immensely, and it’s difficult to give clients advice to lose weight without overstepping your boundaries without that extra certification.

{of course I’m going to recommend you see an RD for nutrition advice, wink, wink ;)}

Have you ever done personal training? What was your experience like?

A Foodie’s Guide to Wine Pairings

HELLO SoS readers!!!!

First of all- THANK YOU to Heather for letting me ramble on entertain you all with my musings! I am Sarah, and I blog over at Savoring Sarah. Usually it is about food, restaurants, and festivals, but, with a wedding looming in July, there is a spattering of wedding/fashion chatter in there as well! Oh, yeah, and sometimes I run races and sprint triathlons.


(FYI, it was VERY VERY hard to find a picture of myself either A)not making a RIDICULOUS face, or B)drinking wine. Hard, as in impossible. See how much fun I am!?)

You *might* remember me from this summer- I was one of Heathers’ roomies at HLS!


And other than being a HUGE SoS fan, I am a public health educator and I live in the boonies. AKA, Northern Michigan. If we were standing face to face, I would be pointing at a random spot on my hand to explain where I live. The mitten, you know??


No? Okay, well anyway. WAYYYYY up there. But living in the boonies has its perks. I am skilled at starting fires with sticks, shucking more ears of corn in a minute than you could in an hour, I am immune to the smell of manure, and I have a lot of time to cook & drink wine.


In fact, I think I started cooking because of my love of wine! Northern Michigan is-surprisingly-becoming known worldwide for its vineyards. My experience with wine started at 18. My first job was as a waitress in a hoighty-toighty high end restaurant..like, they actually served food on REAL PLATES! I kid, I kid. But I did take SEVERAL classes on wine, and – before I had ever even tasted wine- I could pick out aromas.

Nowadays, I spend most of my spare time wine tasting, going to food and wine festivals, and drinking wine on the weekends. I wanted to share with you some pointers on pairing wine with your food, and some great recipes to start you out!

Picture 593 Picture 529 Picture 478 Picture 234

Rule #1:

There are no rules. Drink what you like! What you like to drink always takes precedence over any recommendation that I might make.

That being said, wine and food could be comparable to an intimate relationship. Any 2 (or 3, or 4, or more…a la the Bachelor Pad hot tub?!) can be paired together, but certain combinations are dynamic, or sensual, or explosive, or straight up dysfunctional. This is simply my guide to making the most of your culinary marriages Open-mouthed

Start by thinking about the dish or meal as a whole. Is it mild or flavorful? Spicy? Sweet? Is it rich or acidic? Light? Heavy? Ultimately, the wine you choose should taste good on its own yet elevates the flavors of your food by complementing, mirroring, or contrasting. Brush up on some terminology here.


I am skipping over the basic wines we generally hear the most about- chardonnay, cabernet & merlot..not to mention the “big three’s” wild step sister, white zin. White zin really is best served out of a box during a rousing game of slap the bag. You KNOW I know you know what I’m talking ‘bout…


So let’s dabble into some lesser known, but INCREDIBLY delicious and versatile varieties.



Exotic and fruity aromas of lychee, rose petal, apricot, pear, and clovelike spice (gewurz is  German for spice). Gewurztraminer is most often made in a dry or off-dry style, though sweet versions can be found (dominant in Northern Michigan!).

Dry/off-dry pairs well with fruit, poultry, and dense fish like swordfish or mahi mahi. It also is perfectly paired with spicy foods. The sweet versions are best suited for appetizers like bruschetta, cheese plates and desserts like fruit pies & milk chocolate dishes.

From Savoring Sarah (SS): Mango Curried Chicken

From Side of Sneakers(SOS): Salmon with Mango Orange Salsa

Pinot Gris:


Pinot Gris has flavors ranging from apple, pear, and peach to melon, citrus, banana, and tropical fruit. Occasionally, there’s also a vaguely smoky, nutty, or vanilla taste that suggests oak. Pinot Gris is known for its soft texture and good acidity; few dry white wines are as silky smooth as a good Pinot Gris. The wine is called Pinot Grigio in Italy, where it is made in a leaner (lighter) style with crisp acidity.

Pinot Gris brings out the best in pasta, ravioli, anti pasti, mild fish (tilapia, whitefish), and briny seafood like oysters. Because of its acidity, it does not do well with cream based sauces (think of what happens when you squeeze a lemon into milk…curdle!!!).

From SS: Spaghetti with Spicy Sausage, Artichokes and Peas

From SOS: Tilapia ‘Fish Sticks’



Riesling, aka the MAC DADDY of wines in Northern Michigan, is considered by most connoisseurs to be one of the world’s greatest (if not the greatest) white wine. It can be made in the full spectrum of styles, from bone dry to incredibly sweet and rich. Rieslings age best of all white wines, so the longer that bad boy sits, the more complex the flavors become.

Rieslings typically have strong aromas of apples, peaches, pears, with crisp mineral/steel background. When made with riper, late-harvest fruit, Riesling displays varying intensities of a honeylike character.

Rieslings go wonderfully with fruit salads, soft cheeses, veggie centered poultry dishes, crostini, and savory desserts (to balance the sweetness Rieslings posses) like goat cheesecake, bittersweet chocolate, and shortbreads.

From SS: Herbed Chicken with Balsamic Bell Peppers

From SOS: Pineapple Cashew Quinoa

Sauvignon Blanc


A dry wine made in a variety of styles, sometimes called Fume Blanc in the United States, Sauvignon Blanc has a grassiness or green herbaceousness, like the fresh scent of spring in bloom. White melon, grapefruit, and subtle fig to white peach, pineapple, mango. Sauvignon Blanc ranges from buttery and rich to crisp and light.

Personally, I like my Sauvignon straight up. This is my go to sipping wine because it is so light and balanced and flavorful. When paired with food, however, I think it tastes best with spicy asian foods, grilled foods, white and cream based seafood dishes and pizza.

From SS: Grilled Satay Chicken with Spicy Peanut Sauce

From SOS: Shrimp and Grits



Made from the Nebbiolo grape; other reds made from this grape include Nebbiolo (lightest), Barbaresco (medium), Barolo is deepest, fullest flavored. Bouquet of violets, smoke and rose, with flavors of cherry, truffle, fennel, licorice and tar. High levels of tannin- which some people are sensitive to, so be careful!

Pair with earthy &  rich foods, like beef, lamb, mushrooms, full flavor cheeses and coffee based desserts.

From SS: Sundried Tomato & Goat Cheese Stuffed Portabellas

From SOS: Pimento Cheese Smothered Filet with Roasted Broccoli


Picture 543

Sangiovese is a unique grape that has high acidity and a thin skin, which makes it difficult to master. Spicy black cherries, plum, vanilla, oak and other unripe fruit flavors are most prominent. The dryness makes it a great wine to pair with entrees, but can be difficult to find an appropriate dessert that matches well.

The acidity makes it perfect to drink with any tomato-based dish, pastas, and hearty meat stews, particularly of the Italian style.

From SS: Tomato & Leek Braised Chicken
From SOS:
Vegan Eggplant Parm

When it comes to pairing food with wine, never forget Rule #1- NO RULES! The more you experiment with wine and food, the more you teach yourself. And that really is the best way to learn- in the kitchen, with a glass of good wine.


Are you a wine lover? What’s your favorite kind of wine?