Ah, the dog days of summer.
I always thought this term came from the idea that dogs, lazy in the summer heat, take it easy. Not so, apparently. The term has its roots in Roman mythology, where it was believed that the Dog Star, Sirius, caused the hot, sultry weather of summer. It was considered an evil time, a time when the sea boiled, dogs went mad, and the wine turned sour.
The wine turned sour? My, how things have changed.
Nowadays we enjoy the opposite – dry wines, sweet wines, dessert wines at their best, standing ready to be opened and enjoyed during the dog days. What fun it can be!
With only three weeks left in this summer month, it seems imperative to enjoy the lovely fruits of summer in as many ways as possible. If you’ve been to the markets, you’ve seen the tables still heaped with berries and fruits of all kind. Why not bring some home and serve up a beautiful fruit sangria. Here’s a nice variation on a Raspberry Sangria, patio-perfect and easy as pie..
Super Sunday Sangria
1 litre white grape juice
2 cups cranberry-raspberry juice
1/2 cup Raspberry Dessert Wine
1 navel orange—trimmed, quartered lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/3 inch thick
2 cups raspberries
2 bottles Raspberry Fruit Wine
Ice cubes, for serving
In a 3-quart bowl, combine the white grape juice, cranberry-raspberry juice and dessert wine.
Quarter and core the apples and pears, then thinly slice them and add to the bowl along with the orange and berries. Cover the fruit and chill for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
Transfer the fruit and juices to a 5-quart punch bowl. Add the fruit wine and serve the sangria over ice cubes in tall glasses.
Of course I can’t let a summer newsletter go by without again mentioning a favourite adult treat: Strawberry-Rhubarb Popsicles. What screams summer more than strawberries? Try this delightful variation while the hot weather smiles around us!
Strawberry Wine Popsicles
¼ c. water
¼ c. sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 lb. fresh strawberries
1 cup Strawberry-Rhubarb Fruit Wine
Bring water, sugar and lemon juice to a boil; boil for 5 minutes. Let cool.
Cut up the strawberries and slightly puree them. Combine with simple syrup and fruit wine. Stir slightly. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze overnight. Yum!
And while the peaches, blackberries and blueberries are widely available, you may want to try this delicious fruit compote. This compote can be made up to two days ahead of time and served warm or cold, by itself or as a topping for pancakes, ice cream or over cut fruit.
Summer Berry and Fruit Compote
2 cups blueberries
½ c. brown sugar
¼ c. Black Currant Fruit Wine
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
½ trsp grated lemon peel
½ tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups quartered strawberries
1 ½ cups blackberries
2 cups sliced peeled peaches
Combine blueberries, sugar, wine, lemon juice and lemon peel in a saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes or until mixture is slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool to room temperatures. Cover & refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Combine strawberries, blackberries and peaches. Spoon strawberry mixture into 6 serving dishes. Spoon blueberry mixture over top. Serves 6.
(Variation: Substitute Raspberry Fruit Wine for the Black Currant Fruit Wine and substitute raspberries for the blackberries. Either way, it’s great!)
And before we leave the subject of strawberries entirely, here’s one more. We recently discovered the tangy, cool beauty of a granita. “Granita” is the Italian term for an “ice” or frozen dessert made with fruit or fruit juice. Here’s one using our Strawberry Dessert Wine.
Strawberry Lime Granita
1 pound fresh strawberries
1/3 cup Strawberry Dessert wine
5-6 Tbsps. lime juice or to taste
½ cup water
Put berries, wine and water in food processor. Process till smooth. Add the lime juice.
Pour into a 9’ baking pan, freeze uncovered. After two hours, break up with a fork.
An hour later, repeat process. Scrape with fork to break up ice chunks that are forming.
In five hours it should be frozen to a good consistency.
When firm and solid, scrape up with a fork or spoon and serve in martini or parfait glasses.
As many of you know, there are endless ways to use flavourful fruit wines to enjoy summer events. Whether sipping an ice-cold fruit wine on the patio, or using dessert wines to make desserts or summer cocktails, summer beverages can be interesting, varied, easy-to-make, and extremely delicious. Our collection of recipes is ever-growing at www.fieldstonefruitwines.com. Just click on the Recipes page, and check out the categories on the right hand side.
In other news, Field Stone in proud to announce four wins in the recently-announced ALBERTA BEVERAGE AWARDS, sponsored by Culinaire Magazine, including a “Best In Class” for our Black Currant Fruit Wine! With over 500 beverages represented, we were very happy to be awarded by Culinaire, one of Alberta’s great promoters of foods and beverages. All the winners from this year’s ABA will appear in the October issue of Culinaire Magazine as well as on www.culinairemagazine.ca. Watch for it!
If you’ve visited our “Find Us” page on the website lately, you’ll have noticed our ever-expanding list of Farmers Markets where Field Stone is set up this summer. Most of the markets continue until the end of September, and some even past September 30. Come on out to one of the markets before the end of summer, where you have a chance to taste all our products. The markets’ bounty will amaze you… and we look forward to seeing you!
And if you are seeking an extra-special family event this month, you won’t want to miss “Alberta Open Farm Days”. On Sunday, August 21, more than 90 farms, ranches and ag-tourism operators open their gates and invite visitors to share in local stories, see on-farm demonstrations and purchase locally grown and produced products. You can find more information at www.albertafarmdays.com. Here at Field Stone Fruit Wines, we will be open from 11 to 5 and will have field tours, berry ice cream sundaes for the kids, wine equipment demonstrations and wine-tasting for the adults. We hope you come on out and join us.
As part of the Open Farm weekend, we are also very excited to be part of the Culinary Event for our area – the “BBQ in the Badlands.” This event takes place on Saturday evening, August 20th from 4-9pm at Rocking R Guest Ranch, our good neighbours and gracious hosts! This year’s dinner, prepared by celebrity chef Judy Wood, includes local beef from Barbeejay, chicken from Country Lane Farms, local produce from Poplar Bluff Organics, craft beer from Coulee Brewing Co., along with all of our wines for your enjoyment. It promises to be a great night celebrating some very local products. We hope you don’t miss this once-a-year event. Tickets available by phone at 403-934-6974 and more information at www.rockingrguestranch.com/events/.
Until next month, then, happy summering. We hope you wring all you can from the final dog days of summer. Pencil in some patio time, pour a chilled glass of fruit wine, and say “woof.”
Happy August everyone.
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