Tag Archives: Round Barn Winery

Chocolate and wine ideas for Mother’s Day

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Cacao beans for chocolate
Cacao beans for chocolate – Photo by Etty Fidele on Unsplash

It’s fun trying new products and sharing with you. Today we’ve got a bit of news about canned wine, and are introducing a new flavor from Round Barn Winery & Distillery in Michigan, along with a new brand of dark chocolate from South America by To’ak.

A recent surprising trend has single-serve, canned wines moving dramatically higher on the popularity scale. Convenience – undeniable. Less waste – you don’t have to open a whole bottle of wine to enjoy a glass. Safety – no need to worry about glass breaking if you take your wine outside, on a picnic in your backyard or sitting in the audience to enjoy a concert in Millennium Park…hopefully one day soon again. Maybe this year for Mother’s Day, plan a picnic on the living room floor!

Get on board with Round Barn's raspberry lemonade sparkler
Get on board with Round Barn’s raspberry lemonade sparkler

Baroda, MI-based Round Barn Winery has added Raspberry Lemonade as the fifth flavor in its lineup of refreshing canned wine options. The new variety blends wine from the winery’s proprietary grapes with natural raspberry and lemon concentrates to create a liquid refresher with a touch of carbonation and 5% alcohol. No high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors or artificial flavors are used. Each 12-ounce can – somewhat misleadingly presented as two 6-ounce servings ‘cuz who’s gonna drink half a can? – contains 24 grams of sugar, 10 of which are added, so it’s fairly heavy in sugar. But it also happily doesn’t use any of the not-so-healthy artificial sweeteners. This new flavor is a very pleasant, slightly sweet, lightly fizzy drink with a delightful tang of raspberry and lemon that sparks your taste buds. Would make a lovely brunch cocktail, an aperitif or even a dessert wine – kind of like a Prosecco with a tangy edge to it or a mimosa with raspberry and lemon.

To'ak dark chocolate mini-bars
To’ak dark chocolate mini-bars

The chocolate is dark – full of antioxidants – and made by To’ak in a way that preserves the biodiversity of Ecuador, which they say is the birthplace of cacao. The sample we got came in three flavors that actually carry a “vintage,” that is, the year in which the cacao was picked and made into chocolate. They even give you a little guide that tells you how to smell and taste, and it gives practice naming the taste sensations you experience. Just like your wine.

  • Rain Harvest 2015 Dark (80.5% cacao). Tasting notes say floral, woody, herbal, earthy, berries.
  • El Nino Harvest 2016 (78% cacao). Notes say ripe banana, mint, floral, earthy, berries.
  • Rain Harvest 2017 (70% cacao). Notes say pistachio, orange bitters, black cherries.

Perfect! Sparkling wine and chocolate for Mother’s Day brunch!

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5 summer pleasures for home and in Chicago restaurants

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Every nice day in summer is another great excuse to indulge yourself – after you work, do your chores and exercise of course, right? Everywhere you turn in Chicago – and online of course – another opportunity presents itself to help you get creative with your enjoyment. Here are just a few restaurant ideas and home cooking/drinking products to get you rolling:

River Roast is celebrating summer with their weekday happy hour Oysters & Rosé special. Every weekday from 3 to 5 pm enjoy a dozen oysters and bottle of Rose wine for $35. Sit at the bar or along the river soaking in the sun all while enjoying a refreshing summer combo that’s irresistible.

And while you’re dreaming about enjoying the outdoors, think about having friends over – or just treating yourself – and serving something unique and easy: Sangria in cans, the most popular product made by Round Barn Winery, located in the hills of Southwestern Michigan, complete with tasting room. A fizzy, lightly sweet version of the drink beloved by so many in Spain, this Sangria is a nice combination of fruit, dry wine and sweetness. Be aware of the calories, though. A single 12-ounce can packs a whopping 290 calories, so feel free to consider this dessert…

Oh, and if you’ve got your grill out and ready to go, here’s a spice company that puts together some really tasty combos to rub on your meat, poultry and even vegetables. Pereg Natural Foods offers classic blends that are made from fresh, natural, 100% pure spices, bringing more than 100 years of expertise and quality to the table. Get to know some of these Middle Eastern-style secrets when the grill heats up.

Pereg’s Koobah starts with baharat, a ubiquitous Israeli and Mediterranean staple, and then adds warm layers of cinnamon, allspice, rose, nutmeg, and cardamom for a complex finish. It makes an excellent dry rub for grilled or roast lamb, salmon, and chicken, sprinkled into burgers, mixed with hummus, or tossed onto vegetables (particularly corn on the cob and eggplant) before roasting. Use their Kabab seasoning to douse cubes of chicken, beef, or lamb liberally with Pereg’s hearty mash-up (paprika, black pepper, coriander, garlic, and cumin). Thread on skewers with vegetables of your choice, and grill over medium heat until fully cooked. Serve on warm pita bread with tahini and cucumber salad for an authentic version of Israeli street food. And check out their special take on Shawarma and Ras El Hanout plus some sweet mix seasonings.

Casati’s, the family owned, modern Italian restaurant – claiming  designation as home to the “healthiest pizza in Chicago” – offers Pinsa creations, which offer 90% less fat, carbs, and gluten than traditional pizzCasati’s, which is home to a new 42-seat, pet-friendly patio, will also offer 40% off specialty cocktails and wine during lunch. Owned and operated by Italy-native Stefano Casati, and run by Michelin Star Chef Christian Fantoni, Casati’s aims to bring light, fresh, healthy, and authentic tastes of Italy to Chicago’s Lincoln Park.

Carnivale Restaurant, 702 W. Fulton St. Things are heating up outside AND inside at Carnivale, where  talented chefs and mixologists have created a new Lounge menu that features a Charcuterie Tabla, Sliders, Carnivale Mai-Tai, Jackie’s Daiquiri, and much more! Lounge open: Monday – Thursday from 4-10, Friday 4-11, Saturday 5-11, Sunday 5-9. *Every Weekday, enjoy Happy Hour from 4-6:30pm.

Coming soon: more beverage ideas perfect for summer sipping.

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