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 or a dessert-style treat?
Do you love the taste of ginger? Here’s a lovely variation on a Cherry Sangria with the added tang of ginger beer. It is truly patio-perfect and as easy as pie..
Cherry Cider Sangria
1 bottle Cherry Fruit Wine
500 ml. apple cider
2 – 250 ml. bottles ginger beer (non-alcoholic works too)
Red & green apple, sliced
1 cup cherries, pitted and halved
Mix all ingredients together in a large pitcher. Chill for one hour to let flavours mingle. Delish!
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!
As many of you already know, summer desserts can be delectably easy and fun. We love to use fruit wines for some unusual patio entertaining. Here’s one you may want to serve up this weekend:
Black Currant Wine Sorbet
3 cups Black Currant Fruit Wine
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup fresh blackberries
1 cup fresh blueberries
½ cup fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Black Currant Dessert Wine
½ teaspoon lime zest
Cook first 3 ingredients and 1 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes or just until sugar dissolves. Fill a large bowl with ice, place saucepan in ice and let stand, stirring wine mixture occasionally, until cold (about 1 hour).
Pour mixture into freezer container of a 1 ½ qt. electric ice cream maker: freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions (times will vary). Spoon sorbet into an airtight container, cover and freeze at least 8 hours. Combine blackberries and next five ingredients; toss gently. Cover and chill up to two hours. Serve sorbet topped with the berries. A summer delight!
And before we leave the subject of desserts entirely, here’s one more. Before summer ends, be sure and discover 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 our wins in the recently-announced ALBERTA BEVERAGE AWARDS, sponsored by Culinaire Magazine. First off, “Best In Class” for our Strawberry-Rhubarb Fruit Wine! This is the third year that our Strawberry-Rhubarb has won Best In Class – the top performing wine in its category – despite the category entries growing by leaps and bounds each year. In addition, our Black Currant Fruit Wine received the nod for Judge’s Selection. With hundreds and hundreds of beverages represented, we were very thrilled 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. A recent addition is the Airdrie Farmers Market on Wednesdays! Most of the markets continue until the end of September, and some even past September 30. If you haven’t already, come on out to one of them 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 hankering for a little road trip in the country, please note that the winery is open until the end of August. We are located about 30 minutes from the Calgary city limits and you can check our website for directions. Come on out between 11 and 5 on Saturday or Sunday. We’d be happy to have you!
Finally, we are very excited about an upcoming event in our neighbourhood. Our neighbours, Rocking R Guest Ranch, will be hosting the inaugural farm-to-table dining experience, Prairie to Palate, on September 21, 2019. You don’t want to miss this!
Meet coveted Calgary chef Judy Wood, who will present a multi-course feast for the senses featuring locally sourced ingredients. You can meet the Prairie to Palate producers, including Dancing Goats Farm ~ EH Farms ~ Origin Malting & Brewing ~ Poplar Bluff Organics ~ Renaissance Cafe & Bakery ~ TK Ranch and of course, yours truly! For tickets please click on this link to Eventbrite. Pencil it in and we’ll see you on the 21st.
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.