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Entries in red wine (3)


Red Wine Chocolate Truffles

Red Wine Chocolate Truffles

When the weather takes a frosty turn with falling snow and Christmas lights brighten the night sky, the sweep of holiday festivities begin to descend. Living in a cold climate, it just doesn't feel like the holidays until the ground is covered in a thick sheet of white. In the last few days, Old Man Winter has come to visit and with him has come the sudden pressure to get ready for the upcoming holidays. I'm still sorting out the matter of gift giving, waiting until the last minute to get my affairs in order. With homemade gifts currently strewn about my apartment in various levels of disarray, I wonder whether it would have been a better decision to purchase them instead.

Even so, each year I just can't bring myself to do it, mess or otherwise. I love to bring a personal touch, however small it may be.

Red Wine Chocolate Truffles Red Wine Chocolate Truffles

There is, however, one gift I present each year that I can never seem to keep a surprise. Since I was a young girl, it has become a tradition to make a box of chocolates for my father on Christmas. When a small package appears beneath the tree addressed to my father—wrapped with twine and a note warning Fragile!—everyone knows what is hidden within.

He has a deep love for chocolate that only a handful of truffles can cure; a hopeless craving that he has passed down to me. When I was young, I would wrap a bundle of Hershey's chocolate bars in paper, taking care to keep them away from the roaring flames in the fireplace. Now that I've grown older (and developed a few candy making skills of my own), his chocolate boxes have gradually grown in sophistication. The last box held an array of bonbons, with caramel and fondant filled treats, and enough milk chocolate truffles to last him into the New Year.

Red Wine Chocolate Truffles

When summer rolled around this year, the idea to combine chocolate and red wine into a delicate truffle rushed through me like a sweet burst of wind. Overcome with inspiration, I tried to make these truffles in a ninety degree apartment in the middle of July. Needless to say, it didn't work out as planned. I've kept the idea brewing since, a low level current of decadence flowing thought the back of my mind. Now that the air is cool and the season is right, it was the perfect time to try my hand at these truffles again.

My father's chocolate box certainly won't go empty this year. With any luck, I hope you will find yours filled with goodies, too.

Note: The winners of the homemade holiday cookie giveaway have been chosen. A big congratulations to Jenny Hartin, Edith, and Monika Stout for winning a box of cookies delivered to your doorstep. Expect to hear from me very soon!

Red Wine Chocolate Truffles

Red Wine Chocolate Truffles combine the aromatic strength of a dry, red wine and the dark tones of a quality bar of chocolate. The truffles themselves are simple to make, but have such a complex flavor you may guess otherwise. The truffles are rolled in cocoa powder before serving, lending a clean appearance to a rustic sweet. These truffles would make for a lovely addition to serve at a party with family and friends or enjoyed in front of a fireplace with a good book all by yourself.

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Red Wine Chocolate Cake

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

I've always had a vision of myself as a great connoisseur of wines—to be able to tell the subtleties between grapes grown from varied regions or, more rarely, the minute differences in the same wine year to year. I'm not a great connoisseur of wines. In fact, the word I and connoisseur don't belong in the same sentence. While I love a full-bodied glass of wine, I'm hopeless when it comes to actually describing what I'm drinking. Shamefully, I must admit the way I can tell wines apart (and if I enjoy them) is whether or not they taste like "church."

Now that is certainly nothing to brag about.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake Red Wine Chocolate Cake

Nevertheless, while visiting the Tuscan countryside in Italy a few years ago, I decided a wine tour was absolutely necessary. If I couldn't be an actual wine connoisseur, I could at least fake it. There is no place better to pretend to have the fine skills of a sommelier than the true heart of wine country, right?

My friend and I ended up choosing a wine tasting combined with a bike tour of the countryside. At the time it seemed like the perfect idea. With the sun on our faces, we could bike between vineyards with the smell of growing grapes lingering in the air. We would stop only for a glass of the finest wines, while we explored the intricacies of a working winery. Our plan was flawless.

However, reality was much different from our daydreams, but no less of a story to tell.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

The day started out bright and fresh. We rode our bikes, weaving between vineyards and gorgeous Tuscan villas. Our daydreams truly came to life as we stopped at a castle to taste wines and sample infused olive oils on freshly baked bread. Another ride through the countryside brought us to a small, quiet trattoria where we stopped for lunch. With our bellies absolutely stuffed full of salad, wine, pasta, wine, decadent desserts, and more wine, we settled back in our seats, never more pleased, with our eyes beginning to close from sheer bliss.

Then, to snap us out of our wine induced euphoria, we were told the hardest part of the ride was yet to come. The Tuscan countryside was full of gentle rolling hills, yes, but we had not anticipated climbing a hill so long and steep it could put mountains to shame (well, not quite, but to our alcohol addled minds it might have well been Everest).

After a bit of whining and complaining, we returned to our bikes for the uphill battle. Perhaps a little tipsy and our bikes a tad more wobbly, we trudged forward. The hill has a 17% percent grade in a few points, we were told. But only a few! Nevermind the fact that small hills put me and my biking skills to shame, I was determined to climb the hill.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

It's safe to say I walked my bike up the entire mile long hill, treading so slowly I was easily the last to arrive. I later argued I got to see more of the countryside this way (that's my story and I'm sticking to it).

While the wine and bike tour was not quite what I imagined it to be, it was perfect for me—the ideal mixture of sun, sights, wine, and absolute ridiculousness. I didn't become a wine connoisseur, but I learned I can walk up a really big hill with a belly full of wine. Something tells me that might just come in handy again.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake Red Wine Chocolate Cake Red Wine Chocolate Cake

This Red Wine Chocolate Cake embodies the beauty of a glass of wine in a rich chocolate cake. Using red wine instead of buttermilk brings a deep red hue to the cake as well as a rich flavor. While you may not be able to pinpoint the wine exactly, it adds an extra touch that gives the chocolate cake a rounded flavor. The cake itself is not terribly sweet (I really wanted the darkness of the chocolate cake to complement the wine), but the honey mascarpone whipped cream adds a touch of soft sweetness to the overall picture. The flavors in the cake develop more overnight, making the cake even better on day two.

This is an adult cake. The oven does not bake out all of the alcohol from the wine, so keep this cake away from the kids (finally a treat just for you!). While the cake does contain alcohol, it is not enough to make you tipsy (or anywhere near there). A glass of wine with a slice of this cake will do that for you.

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30 Second Sangria


After a long, miserable day at work, I don't feel like doing anything. I don't feel like making dinner. I don't feel like doing dishes. Sometimes, I don't even feel like eating. All I want to do is zone out in front of the television, involve myself in someone else's life, and forget about my own reality for a moment or two.

top down sangria

If you've had a particularly bad day, and you're like me, you might just need a drink. A sangria, perhaps? After the first drink, the cares of the day start washing away. After the second, making dinner might not seem like such a bad idea after all. And after the third drink? Oh, you'll be feeling mighty fine by then.


Although this isn't a traditional sangria, for a quick fix it can suit your needs just fine. This certainly doesn't taste like a simplified sangria; it tastes really good. This is not the ocassion to bring out the fancy wines. For this sangria, you'll want a cheap wine, something in the range of $7-8 dollars. If you spend anymore than that, it will be a waste. As a poor college student who can't afford fancy wines, this sangria is just perfect.

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