I think Mark Twain said it best:

“’It’s Spring Fever. That’s what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want – but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”

It’s true, and April is upon us, and we definitely want it so. We are ready – beyond ready – to embrace it!

Right out of the April gate this year – our most anticipated spring holiday – Easter. For many, it brings thoughts of tulips and daffodils, turkey and ham, accompanied with thoughts of Spring. If you’ve been thinking about Easter feast pairings, remember that our Cherry Fruit Wine is readily available, and ready to be paired with roasted ham on tables everywhere. Also, with the tremendous harvest of sour cherries in Alberta last summer, I know many of you have a stash in your freezer. You may want to try this simple Cherry Sauce for a great little spice-up with your ham…

Sour Cherry Sauce
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup Wild Black Cherry Dessert Wine
1/4 cup minced shallot
3-inch cinnamon stick
1 cup chicken broth
1 pound sour cherries (about 3 cups), pitted
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
In a heavy saucepan boil the vinegar with the sugar over moderate heat until the mixture is reduced to a glaze. Add the wine, the shallot, and the cinnamon stick and boil the mixture til reduced to about 1/4 cup. Add the broth and the cherries and simmer 5 minutes (more if you prefer a softer consistency). Stir the cornstarch mixture, add enough of it to the sauce, stirring, to thicken the sauce to the desired consistency, and simmer the sauce for 2 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick, stir in the lime juice and salt and pepper to taste, and keep the sauce warm, covered. Yummy!

But no matter what you serve this Easter, think about serving local fruit wines alongside. For many, pairing our Bumbleberry Fruit Wine or Black Currant Fruit Wine with turkey dinner is a given. But don’t be afraid to try on a new pair! Nothing says “Spring” like the tastes of summer.

And let’s be honest. We’re all really ready for full-time Spring! We’re all really ready to say good bye to fluctuating temps, slush, mud and wind. We’re ready to dig out the summer clothes and the flip flops and fire up the grill.

As much as we all enjoy our roast turkeys and hams over Easter week, we really can’t wait to start thinking BBQ sauce, can we? We’re an impatient lot, we western Canadians. Especially this year!

We have a few suggestions that may help propel you toward frostbite freedom. With the weather outlook more positive this month, we’re thinking “Look out BBQ season … Here we come!”

If you haven’t tried our Bumbleberry Fruit Wine with barbeque fare, then this month can be a whole new flavour experience for you. Our popular Bumbleberry is ultra-smooth, a medium fruit wine that is truly the best of the prairie flavours combined – saskatoon berries, raspberries, strawberries, and rhubarb. It’s unique, but doesn’t sacrifice its wild berry flavours. Sound like the perfect marriage? It is!

Recommended weekend pairings? Beef burgers, Chicken Pizza, or Baby-Back Ribs.

And for a quick change-up, here’s our favourite Berry Barbeque Sauce recipe, excellent on all three…

Sensational-Saskatoon BBQ Sauce
2 cups frozen saskatoon berries
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. hot sauce
2 tbsp honey
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper;
Saute onion and garlic in oil until soft. Add remaining ingredients and cook 20-25 minutes. Use an immersion blender to pulse the sauce.

If you don’t have saskatoon berries, used frozen mixed berries. Prairie berries are not only great in fruit wines…. they give everything the taste of summer.

And if you have never tried pizza on the barbeque before, here is a very easy version to get you started:

Grilled Barbeque Chicken Pizza
2 cups cubed cooked chicken (deli-rotisserie works great)
½ cup barbecue sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 prepared pizza crust
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
¼ cup chopped green bell pepper
Heat gas or charcoal grill. In small bowl, combine chicken, barbecue sauce and chili powder; mix well. Spread evenly on pizza crust. Sprinkle with cheese, onion and bell pepper. When grill is heated, place pizza directly on gas grill over medium heat or on charcoal grill 4 to 6 inches from medium coals. Cook 8 to 10 minutes or until bottom of pizza is crisp and cheese is melted.

So whatever strikes your BBQ fancy this month, pair it up with fruit wine. Summer will seem like it’s right around the corner! Can’t you hear the sizzle now?

In other news, we’re excited to announce that the Airdrie “Spring Fling” Market is a ‘go’ next Saturday (April 3) with many of your favourite Alberta vendors setting up a “shop-local” event at the Town and Country Center from 10am to 4pm. Come and enjoy a slight return to ‘normalcy’ in a year that has made it very difficult to “shop local” at times. We’ll be there with all our wines open for tasting, and some great specials. You can find more details at www.airdriefarmersmarket.com. If this is your neighbourhood, we hope to see you there!

Finally, for those of you who have been asking after Saskatoon Dessert Wine lately, please note that our newest batch is now in the bottle and back on the shelves. Delightfully smooth and fruity, the prairie’s favourite berry is ready, liqueur-style, to join your favourite cocktail or lemonade, or ready to finish off that perfect meal all on its own. Come find us this weekend (and every weekend) at Edmonton Bountiful Market, Red Deer’s Gasoline Alley Market and Calgary Farmers Market, or look for us at your favourite liquor retailer.

Let’s face it: we are all ready for a great summer -and Field Stone looks forward to making Alberta fruit wines a big part of your spring and summer enjoyment.

Happy April everyone!


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