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A Chewy, Spooktacular Pairing

A Chewy, Spooktacular Pairing

Hello all,

As tired as I am of seeing/hearing/tasting the word spooktacular I used it in my blog post—what can I say? ‘Tis the season.

Bottoms Up!

                          Bottoms Up!

It has been a little over a month since my last pair which I have decided is respectable. Evidently, you all needed some TRUE candy/wine pairing since Halloween is when a lot of various blogs become wine/candy experts. I can’t have you be led astray, now can I?

My friend Megan requested I pair a candy of her choice with a wine, so this post is a result! Let’s get to it, shall we?

The Wine: Alamos, Chardonnay, 2012

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The Candy: Laffy Taffy, Caramel Apple

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The Dream:

I chose a chardonnay because it could balance the sweetness of Laffy Taffy. I also thought the subtleness of the wine would play well with the caramel apple flavors. Chardonnay is also very light whereas taffy is very sticky and cumbersome to chew.

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The Reality:

The taffy is very sweet and reminds me more of a candy apple versus a caramel apple (yes, there’s a difference). The taffy is not all that chewy either. Readers, you may be thinking: Liz, Laffy Taffy is never that chewy. Well, some of us choose to eat taffy after it has gone stale ok…..

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The chardonnay is lovely–not too distinct and not too dry. It is a very neutral chardonnay. The wine goes slightly sour when paired with the candy, but otherwise they combine nicely. The apple of the candy leaves an appealing after taste when combined with the wine. We decided it was a hit!

(If you were thinking I was going to pair candy corn, well, been there, done that.)

I hope you all have a fabulous and SAFE Halloween (look both ways when crossing the street, don’t block your vision with a mask, and DON’T DON’T DON’T drink and drive….use this directory of national designated driver services).

BOO!!

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Peep This Pair

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Hello!

Whoa! Things have been very busy chez moi. Most notably being that chez moi is being packed up and moved to a new location in a week! After that, I zip off to California for a wedding, Disneyland, and July 4th festivities. I hope to get a post in sometime in July, but I can’t promise much. Today’s post is a lot of fun and features plenty of photos. Lets start off with one right now:

Do you Peep what I Peep?

Do you Peep what I Peep?

In case you don’t understand this incredible photo, it is my boyfriend and I in front of the PeepMobile (I don’t know if it is actually called that but…c’mon. What other name could there be?) Apparently, there is an entire Peep store in Washington, DC that nobody told me about.  Some may think an entire store devoted to Peeps is absurd, but I would challenge those people to a fight to the death. This store is what America is about.

*Do Not Eat

*Do Not Eat

I think you know where this post is going, so let’s get started.

The Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 Lake County, Butcher Block

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Not Made of Pigs

The Candy: Peeps, Watermelon

No Rabbits Were Harmed in the Making of this Post

No Rabbits Were Harmed in the Making of this Post

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The Dream:

I normally would try these with a Pinot or a Chardonnay, but I wanted to switch it up for variety’s sake. The Cabernet Sauvignon was an attractive option because the balance of fruit and tannins. I did not want anything too sweet  because the sugary candy would immediately throw the flavor of the wine.

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The Reality:

I am underwhelmed by this wine. It’s tart and round but the bouquet is very opaque and I can’t engage to its flavor. This wine would be a good table wine, but it is not great for a pair.

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The Peep is the fake watermelon flavor, which is what I expected. But it is more sweet than tangy. Why did I think it would be tangy? What is with me and associating colors with flavors which are not the flavors advertised? Anyway, it made no difference to the pairing because the wine just a wasn’t strong partner. In my experience, the wine really needs to lead the pairing experience. The pairing was very meh and the wine didn’t taste good, but it never tasted great in the first place.

But it is all ok, because I still went to this fabulous store.

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Alright folks! I may not post for awhile, but I will try to Peep in now and again.

 

Don’t Get Your Hops Up

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Don’t Get Your Hops Up

Hi Friends!

I can hardly believe it but I am running low on my haul from Istanbul. I will have to finally check out that candy shop in Chinatown I have been eyeing! Hopefully I can get some interesting stuff.

Today we return to the familiar war zone-the battle of the gummy pairing. Before we start however I wanted to give a special shout-out to a fan I met during a twitter chat. I won’t mention your name but it was fun chatting with you!

If you are interested in following me on twitter, my handle is @BraveBrasington. I mostly talk about public health stuff.

The Wine: Abadia de la Oliva, Tempranillo 2012

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The Candy: Haribo Frogs & Haribo Rainbow Frogs

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The Dream:

I chose tempranillo because, while it has an undeniable fruitiness, it also has other rich flavors that balance out the sweetness. In past pairings, I found fruity red wines went well with gummies so I wanted to keep to that trend while challenging it slightly.

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The Reality:

The tempranillo is quite lovely actually and smells of licorice and blackberries. The wine goes down smooth with a slight acidity and dryness.

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The small frogs are the superior pairing since they are fruity. The wine is not thrown and the fruity frogs draw out the wine’s sweetness.

The big frogs are a BIG disappointment. Their flavor is not that distinct and the wine’s flavor is altered. It’s not terrible, but not great.

Overall? The fruity gummies go well with the fruity wines. However, I don’t know what to do with the non-fruity gummies.  I think we will try the cola bottles or something sour for the next gummies. I’m always up for a challenge!

 

Feeling Jelly?

Hello again from the snow-dome that is Washington, DC right now. I have a special post today featuring a special candy I recently had to give up.

I have fewer memories I am more found of than the days my dad brought home a box of Jelly Bellys. The Type-A that rages from me daily loved how each flavor was sorted in a little box. When the jellybeans rolled out of their proper place I always had to resort them. Well, I fear my box buying days are over. It was recently revealed the Jelly Belly company is run by raging transphobes/homophobes. Unfortunately, several months early I had bought Jelly Bellys. So, we are having one last hurrah.

Special thanks to Nicole for helping me out on this special project during her visit.

Wine: Indaba, Chenin Blanc, 2012

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Candy: Jelly Belly, Hello Kitty & Regular Mix

IMG_0236The Dream:

I wanted a light wine that had a slight fruit flavor to compliment the Jelly Bellys. Obviously, I could not break down each flavor so I focused on Hello Kitty. The tart flavors of erm, pink and red (jk, bubblegum, cotton candy, apple, etc) would balance out the light, fruity chenin blanc. I also have never had Chenin Blanc before so this was a good excuse.

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The Reality:

The wine is not very sweet with a slight pear flavor along with the tartness of a Granny Smith apple skin. It’s quite unique–I hope to pick it up in the future.

Hello Kitty: The flavors do not throw the wine. I won’t break down all the flavors because they really act like a group. The tart-sweet flavor of the HK Jelly Beans works well with the Chenin Blanc.

Regular Mix: The wine is seriously thrown by the regular mix. There are way, way too many flavors. I think if you are going to pair Jelly Bellys in the future, go with the themed flavor packs. I think the Hello Kitty ones are a great place to start…if you still want to support Jelly Belly that is.

 

A Weird Start to a Weird Year

Happy New Year!

As promised, I am getting this post out to you before upcoming events and weekends sweep me away. My candy bowl is getting really full so I am going to make an effort to be extra vigilant to pair more often. This upcoming pairing is definitely odd. I have never heard of this candy but I found it back in November and knew I had to feature it. I can’t really say the pairing was good or bad—just unusual. Starting the New Year off right (really weirdly)!

The Wine: Chardonnay, The Wonderland Project, Vintage 2012 “La Reine Blanche”

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Long Live the Queen

The Candy: Abba-Zaba, Peanut Butter Filled Taffy (Strawberry & Plain)

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The Dream:

Wow. Peanut butter-taffy filled taffy….pretty wild. I picked the Chardonnay because I thought the dry sweetness would compliment the salty peanut butter. Chardonnay can really cleanse the palate and compliment a dish. I thought after chewy salty-sweet taffy, the Chardonnay would offer a nice clear flavor to relieve the tastebuds.

An Inside Look

An Inside Look

The Reality:

Both taffies are incredibly chewy because, again, I bought them in November. I really should have paired them immediately. The strawberry is has that unnatural saccharine sweetness with a touch of tartness. It reminds me a lot of strawberry laffy taffy which obviously makes sense. The peanut butter is good on its own–it’s that cheap sugary peanut butter you find in Reese’s. The candy is just bizarre on the whole. It’s like a train-wreck in your mouth–you really should stop eating it but it’s just so horrifying you can’t stop.

The wine is light, sweet and not very dry. There are some prominent pear notes with a nice hint of lemon. I enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t say it is my favorite Chardonnay. I do love that label though. When paired with the strawberry it is light and refreshing but does not add anything. I sort of ripped open the taffy to get more of the peanut butter but I don’t know if that helped.

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The plain taffy really doesn’t have anything going on. It is in fact plain. I would have preferred at least a vanilla or something because it is so much chewy taffy before the peanut butter. Again, the wine is perfectly fine. I think you lose a lot of the flavors of the wine because your  mouth is just so confused by the taffy. It’s like someone interrupting you when you are really busy and you have no idea how to respond. After you swallow the taffy the wine is delightful but I think I am just happy I am no longer eating the taffy?

I don’t know guys. It was a weird ride. I ate this taffy so fast as well. If you are not allergic to peanuts, I would try this candy just for kicks. I really have no clue what a better wine would have been. I think the fact the wine didn’t taste absolutely awful with the pairing is a success.

 

Blueberry Blues

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Hello!

Do you notice anything different? Well? It’s ok if you don’t but…let me just point it out.

I now own this domain name! Now it is even easier to find this little home of mine. You should expect a new look too in the coming weeks with a few twists and maybe some boxes where you can type things. I enjoy this blog a lot, so I want to work on its look. It’s time for a spring makeover anyway.

I don’t know why I am talking about spring…it was 80 degrees yesterday, so it is practically summer. Summer can be a rough time, depending on where you live. In DC, it is horrible. The hot air clouds your judgement and your skin oozes sweat and you can’t think. The only relief is a cool white wine and the sweet berries that grow this time of year. This pairing is dedicated to inevitable heat and all the sweaty, sweet things that come with it.

The Candy: Blueberry Licorice, Panda

Blueberry Panda

 

The Wine: Paradise Spring, Sommet Blanc, 2011

IMG_1506The Dream:

This wine is bubbly and I imagined how delicious frozen berries would be plopped in the glass. When I saw the blueberry licorice, I figured it was an obvious choice. A crisp wine, not overly sweet, would benefit from the tart blueberry. Granted, I was dealing with candy and not blueberries so there was some risk involved.

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The Reality:

I tried the licorice first and was hit by the soft, grainy texture. The blueberry flavor did not overwhelm and I was surprised by the touch of anise at the end. The candy works, but I knew straight off this was going to be a challenge. I had imagined something more sweet andI honestly did not think there would be an anise flavor. Even though it said licorice, I thought they would make it like strawberry licorice and not have any anise.

The wine has a bouquet of crisp, clean Macintosh apples. The bubbling, light wine dances on your tongue with the subtle apple flavor. I highly recommend this wine. It’s pricier, but it is one of my favorites.

I took a sip with a piece of licorice still in my mouth and didn’t notice any relationship. It was not bad, but it wasn’t really good. It just was. Sam really liked it, so his taste buds clearly have a different opinion. That’s the cool thing about tastebuds. Even when I think I am wrong…to someone..I could be right.

Take Away: Gummy textured candy continues to elude me…someday…

 

 

 

A Minty Xmas and a Malbec New Year!

Merry Christmas! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday / winter break. Whether your opening presents or cursing capitalism, I wish you the merriest of days. If you want to be EXTRA merry, you can try out the pairing below. I’m writing this on December 22d, but it should post ont the 25th. I am pretty proud of myself for being so organized. Although I mostly have this done because we delayed traveling by a day…

This turned out to be very tasty and an excellent choice. I hope you’ll try it. You may not being able to buy wine today but there’s always Boxing Day!

The Candy: Candy Cane Hershey’s Kisses & Mint Hershey’s Kisses

 

A Very Mmminty Christmas

A Very Mmminty Christmas

The Wine: Agua de Piedra, Malbec 2011

Malbec, It has Been Too Long

Malbec, It has been Too Long

The Dream:

As you may recall, we have tusseled with mint candy in the past. The pervious success worked with a port, since it is so heavy and fruity. The rich heavy flavor washes away the mint. Otherwise, the mint will dominate the wine’s flavor. It is just yucky.

Merry Merry

Merry Merry

But I didn’t want to repeat my success(especially because I can’t afford Port at the moment), so I chose the other heavy wine I adore: Malbec. My favorite type of Malbec is rich and juicy. I liken it to eating a delicious chocolate cake. Occasionally you get a weaker one and that would not work with a mint pairing. I tried my luck on this bottle. I had tried the other Malbec’s in the store (surprise surprise), so I moved on to something new. It turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

The Reality:

The wine is perfect-it is smooth and rich with hints of blackberry. There is a slight sweetness that fills the mouth. It dominates the senses, which is a good sign for our pairing. It reminds me very much of the El Presidente that succeeded in the last mint pairing.

The candy cane Hershey’s Kiss is not especially strong. It’s minty, but mostly sweet.  With a sip of wine, the peppermint remains but wine holds its ground. I credit this to the white chocolate which balances the intensity of the peppermint. Even the bits of candy cane sprinkled in the kiss feel faint when surrounded by this white gold.

The mint hershey kiss is more of a challenge since its entire center is bright green with mint. The Malbec and the mint mix nicely, with the wine maintaining its flavor. The mint remains strong, but since the wine is so heavy and rich it isn’t dominated. They flavors melt into each other.

The Take Away: Both Port and a rich Malbec pair well with mint! See, we are learning!

~Happy Holidays~