It seems that the Christmas season starts right after Halloween.

All around this week we see Christmas decorations and trees going up.  Choirs are practicing carols (with singing masks firmly in place) and groups are rehearsing their Christmas programs in new and innovative ways.  Santa is showing up in strange and wonderful places, sometimes just waving from afar, but nevertheless, showing up.  Whether we like it or not, it’s time to think about getting ready.

Here at the winery, our first order of business is preparing for multiple Christmas markets.  Who doesn’t love a Christmas market?  There are new merchants every year, loads of gift ideas, and you are almost guaranteed to find a unique something for everyone.  One-stop-shopping doesn’t get any easier.

There’s no doubt that the markets will look a little different this year, protocols notwithstanding, but rest assured, all the stops have been pulled out to ensure a wonderful experience. 

With that in mind, we are busily grouping our wines into favourite gift packs and wrapping them up with some cellophane and ribbon.  Know someone who loves local, loves wine, loves to try new things, or loves the taste of summer berries?  Pick up a gift pack of one Fruit Wine and one Dessert Wine… just $40.   Co-workers, hostess gifts, neighbours, friends and family…when it comes to gift giving, what could be simpler?

Christmas is such a great time to enjoy dessert wines.  In addition to sipping one after a delicious meal, you can try it in a mixed drink or cocktail, shake it into a fruity martini, serve it up in a yummy dessert, or add to some Prosecco or Champagne for a celebratory sparkler.   You’ll find many ideas for using dessert wines on our website at www.fieldstonefruitwines.com/recipes.
 
Here’s one of our old favourites:  Field Stone Saskatini.  So easy and quick to whip up when guests arrive (just make that a small group this year)…
1/2 oz. vodka
1 oz. Saskatoon Berry Dessert Wine
1 oz. Pineapple Juice
Pour ingredients into a shaker with cracked ice and shake well. Strain into chilled martini glass.. Garnish with a saskatoon berries or a lime twist.. An easy and local treat!

 
And don’t miss trying out a new dessert wine recipe this season.  Here’s an easy twist on a very old favourite!

Chocolate Raspberry Tiramisu
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
1 pound mascarpone cheese softened
8 ounces dark chocolate or milk chocolate
2 cups seedless raspberry jam
4 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1/2 cup Raspberry Dessert Wine
36-40 lady fingers
2 cups fresh raspberries
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Begin to prepare the layers.  In a chilled bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.  Add in the mascarpone and mix until blended, set aside.  Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Set aside to cool.  Once cool, stir the chocolate into the cream/mascarpone bowl.
In another bowl, mix the raspberry jam with the Grand Marnier, set aside.  Pour the Dessert Wine in a shallow pan.
Using a 13 x 9 pan, layer the bottom of the pan with the ladyfingers, briefly dipping them into the Dessert Wine.  Do not allow them to get soggy, just lightly dipped.  Spread half of the jam over the lady fingers.  Spread the chocolate mascarpone over the jam mixture and repeat the layers finishing with the chocolate mascarpone.  Top with fresh raspberries and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate overnight.   Dust with confectioner’s sugar and white chocolate shavings (optional) when serving.   Makes about 8-10 servings.  Yum!

 
 Another favourite offering at our Christmas markets is our Mulled Cherry Wine Pack for $40.00.  Made from our popular Cherry Fruit Wine, with the addition of apple juice and spices, this has become a Christmas favourite for many.  (See complete recipe below). Simmered in a pot or slow cooker, the aromatic “Christmas” spices waft through your home and spread their own Christmas cheer.   It’s perfect for winter weather. 

And that bring us to “Where do you find us this Christmas Season?”  We will be returning to many of our favourite farmers markets around the province, as well as some new locations.   Here’s our list of planned events – we hope you stop by to say hello:

November 5,6,7,8      Millarville Christmas Market   Millarville RaceTrack,  9-4
More info here.

November 7                 Crossfield Christmas Market   Comm. Center, 10-5 
More info here.  

November 6, 7              Airdrie Christmas Show   Town & Country Ctr., 10-7, 9-4
More info here.   

November 12,13,14,15  Millarville Christmas Market   Millarville Racetrack, 9-4 
More info here. 

November 13,14           Lethbridge Farmers Mkt Christmas  Exhibition Park, 1-8, 10-5
More info here.

November 27,28           Lethbridge Big Christmas Show  Exhibition Park, 1-8, 10-5
More info here.

November 28                Strathmore Christmas Market   Civic Ctr., 10-4
More info here.
  
November 28                 Cochrane Artisan Christmas Market   Lions Club Event Ctr., 10-4
More info here.

Dec 5                                Airdrie Last Minute Market   Town & Country Ctr., 10-4
More info here.

Dec 5                                 Drumheller Christmas Market   Badlands Comm. Ctr.,  11-3 
More info here.

Dec 9 to Jan 3                  Edmonton Glow Merry Makers Market   Expo Centre 4-10/1-10
(Selected Dates)  More info here.  

It’s a big list for sure … but stay tuned… there may be more!  

And don’t forget our indoor year-round markets.  They are well-known for pulling out all the stops during the Christmas season, and making your shopping trip a joyful and festive experience. 

Calgary Farmers Market is transforming into a Christmas market from November 12th – December 23rd where you can find thoughtfully crafted goods from your favourite vendors, plus a few seasonal vendors offering Yuletide gifts, food, jewelry, décor and more.  Parking is free and no admission fee! 

Hours and dates may vary from the rest of the year, so check out our websites for all the latest info:  www.calgaryfarmersmarket.ca and www.bountifulmarkets.com.  Few of us will be travelling too far from home this year, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t jolly places to visit right in our own neighbourhoods, and good times to be had.

And finally, we now have our opening date at the new Gasoline Alley Farmers Market in Red Deer.  Drum roll, please…..

We will be open and ready to serve you on November 21st!   Yessiree Bob, holiday shopping for central Albertans will be pretty exciting this year.  This week vendors are setting up and finishing touches are going on.  It looks terrific … and we’re thrilled to share it all with you in two weeks’ time.  Keep in tune at www.gasolinealleyindoorfarmersmarket.ca.

What’s more fun than doing your Christmas shopping at a Christmas Market?  Come on out and support Alberta, buy local, and have fun at the same time!

And that’s all our news for this month.

Happy November, everyone!  Let the season begin. 

 

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