The Week in Bites 09 December 2018

The Week in Bites <br data-recalc-dims= 09 December 2018″>This week at FDL we brought you an exclusive interview with chef José Andrés, who is nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, explored high-tech mixology, and more!

Everyday Pairings with German Riesling

It’s been awhile since I’ve had German wines I’m ashamed to say.  Riesling was really my first love from my trips to the upstate NY at the Finger Lakes years ago.  Then I got acquainted with German wines following that and made a couple trips over to Germany as well, but unfortunately it wasn’t to the wine regions there.  I was partaking mostly in Oktoberfest activities and visiting some other towns.

Due to the climate in Germany it’s best suited for white wines, which is the majority of what it produces, but reds are being produced here as well on a smaller scale.  Your most popular white grape varietals are riesling by far as well as muller thurgau and silvaner.  Today I’m sharing a couple Rieslings and pairings and will be updating this site with more German wines that I have yet to try.
The Land
Germany has 13 different wine regions and the two wines I’m sharing today come from 2 of the most popular wine regions, the Rheinhessen and Mosel.  The first Riesling from Dr. Heyden, comes from the Rheinhessen within the village of Oppenheimer.  This is the largest wine region of the 13 comprised of a variety of hills.  Wines of Germany states these wines are “soft, fragrant, medium-bodied, mild in acidity, pleasant and easy to drink”.  The other Riesling from Dr. H. Thanisch hails from the Mosel with some of the steepest vineyards around at about 60-70 degrees.  Imagine the hard work that goes into taking care of the vines and harvesting grapes on slopes like that!    

The Wines
2016 Weingut Dr. Heyden Oppenheimer Riesling Kabinett
This winery was founded in 1999 by Dr. Karl Heyden and today is run by his wife and 2 sons, Frank and Harry.   This wine is sourced from 2 of their single vineyards, Kreuz and Herenberg.  Made of 100% riesling this straw colored wine has an nice bouquet of stone fruit and citrus.  Dry, crisp, clean with firm acidity and well balance with fruit.  Kabinett is a level of sweetness indicating an off-dry wine.  ABV 11.5% SRP $13
Dr. Heyden winery
2017 Dr. H. Thanisch Feinherb Riesling
This winery’s history goes back 350 years.  They are located in the prestigious Mosel valley named after the Mosel River that flows through the land and for over 150 miles.  The winery owns about 40 acres of land and exclusively produces riesling on their steep slopes.  They believe in purity and expression of their terroir and also practice sustainability by not using herbicides, pesticides or chemical fertilizers in the vineyards.  The 2017 Riesling is more of their entry level wine at an affordable price.  Straw colored with florals and lemon on the nose.  A light bodied, delicate wine with refreshing acidity.  This wine weighed heavier on the citrus than the previous where the stone fruit showed more.  ABV 11% SRP $14
slate soil for riesling
Slate soils of Dr. Thanisch

Dr. H. Thanisch winery German Riesling

The Pairing
I played around with a few pairings with these wines.  I played the easy route on a Friday night where we did chinese takeout, which is always such a great pairing.  
chinese food pairing with riesling
I also prepared a cream shrimp topped haddock dish, but this dish didn’t work out as well.  It strangely overrode the sauce and made the fish taste more fishy. 
cream of shimp topped haddock
The surprising pairing that worked out really well is what I call my slow cooker Tex Mex chicken.  Being a working mom with 2 little ones  I do what I have to do to feed my family, which typically will involve one crockpot meal a week.   I prepared it with a side of spanish rice.  The sweetness in the wine complimented the spice in the dish and integrated together quite well.
Tex Mex Chicken wine pairing
  • Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla will be tempting us with “Feasting for Sankt Nikolaus Tag: German Sips, Schweineschnitzel, Spätzle, and Sauerkraut”
  • Kat from Bacchus Travel & Tours will share “A German Holiday Celebration #winePW”
  • Sarah from Curious Cuisinière is pairing “Chicken Schnitzel and German Riesling”
  • Deanna of Asian Test Kitchen will discuss “German Riesling: The Default Asian Food Pairing #winePW”
  • Jade of TastingPour will tempt us with “Coq Au Riesling #winePW”
  • Jeff from FoodWineClick discusses “50 Shades of Kabinett Riesling”
  • Michelle of Rockin Red will share “German Wines: Expect The Unexpected #WinePW”
  • Jill from L’Occasion will “Outfit Your Holiday Table With German Wines”
  • Jane from Always Ravenous will share “Food Pairings with German Riesling #winepw”
  • David of Cooking Chat has prepared “Chicken Sausage and Veggie Bowl with German Riesling”
  • Gwendolyn from wine predator will enjoy “German Riesling and Fun Fondue With Friends for #WinePW”
  • Cindy of Grape Experiences has you covered with “Your Party Planning Checklist: Must-Have German Rieslings”
  • Rupal from Journeys of A Syrah Queen will share “Rieslings For The Holidays”
  • Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm will be “Celebrating St. Nicholas Day”
  • Nancy at Pull That Cork will share “Two Styles of German Wine and a Meal for Both #winePW”


*All wines were provided as samples, but opinions are my own.  Most images sourced by WineSellers LTD.

Slow Cooker Creamy Broccoli Mac and Cheese

Slow Cooker Creamy Broccoli Mac and Cheese - The easiest mac and cheese of your life! No boil noodles, no condensed soup! Completely homemade and SO GOOD!

The easiest mac and cheese of your life! No boil noodles, no condensed soup! Completely homemade and SO GOOD!

Slow Cooker Creamy Broccoli Mac and Cheese - The easiest mac and cheese of your life! No boil noodles, no condensed soup! Completely homemade and SO GOOD!

It’s a miracle, guys. It’s mac and cheese without any of the fuss!

Now this recipe will come in particularly handy during the holidays, especially because it doesn’t take up any oven or stovetop space!

I’m serious. Even the uncooked pasta gets cooked right in the actual crockpot!

Plus, there’s no condensed soups, no velveeta, no nothing. This bad boy is completely homemade, and it’s so stinking creamy, it’ll get you weak in the knees.

Slow Cooker Creamy Broccoli Mac and Cheese - The easiest mac and cheese of your life! No boil noodles, no condensed soup! Completely homemade and SO GOOD!

And I threw in some broccoli because I guess we’ll need some veggies in our diet. But you’ll barely notice it. PROMISE.

Just be sure to keep a close eye on this. It’s best to serve immediately (as with most mac and cheeses) and to avoid keeping this on the WARM function as it will continue to cook in the slow cooker.

Simply serve, devour, and nap. That’s what we did!

Slow Cooker Creamy Broccoli Mac and Cheese - The easiest mac and cheese of your life! No boil noodles, no condensed soup! Completely homemade and SO GOOD!

Slow Cooker Creamy Broccoli Mac and Cheese

The easiest mac and cheese of your life! No boil noodles, no condensed soup! Completely homemade and SO GOOD!


  • 12 ounces medium pasta shells
  • 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups broccoli florets


  1. Place pasta, 1 cup cheddar cheese and cream cheese into a 4-qt slow cooker.
  2. Stir in milk, evaporated milk, Dijon, paprika, onion powder and 1 cup water, making sure the pasta is submerged as much as possible; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Cover and cook on low heat for 90 minutes, stirring every 30 minutes until tender.* Uncover and stir in broccoli; cover and cook on low heat for an additional 30 minutes.
  4. Uncover and stir in remaining 2 cups cheddar cheese until melted, about 2-3 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add more milk as needed.
  5. Serve immediately.


*A brand new 4-qt Crock-Pot was used for multiple recipe testing. Results and time can vary by brand, size and longevity of your slow cooker.

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The post Slow Cooker Creamy Broccoli Mac and Cheese appeared first on Damn Delicious.

Malibu Wine Region Wildfire Survivors Brace for Mudslides (Wine Spectator)

First came fire, then rain. As if recent devastating wildfires hadn’t caused enough suffering for the beleaguered Malibu Coast wine region, an unexpected severe storm dumped an estimated 2 inches of rain on Southern California yesterday. Mud and debris flowed down from the fire-scorched Malibu hills onto the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) during the morning commute, forcing officials to close the road until late afternoon.

(The storm also dumped several inches of snow on a stretch of Interstate 5, California’s main north-south thoroughfare, that passes through the Santa Monica Mountains, forcing its closure too).

An already massive and complicated cleanup of the hills between Highway 101 and the Malibu coast that was devastated by the Woolsey fire is now even more complicated. Not only are vintners and growers in the appellation dealing with the loss of homes, vineyards and habitat due to fire, but now they’ve got to think about rain, flooding and mudslides as California’s rainy season begins. (Fires increase the risk of mudslides by stripping the hills of vegetation that holds the soil in place.)

The Malibu Coast American Viticultural Area (AVA), established in 2014, encompasses some 50 vineyards totaling approximately 200 acres spread out over 44,598 acres. None of the producers have winemaking facilities on site, due to local restrictions. Wines from Malibu grapes are generally produced in facilities in the Central Coast area. They are all small-production wines, sold mostly to high-end local restaurants in L.A. and consumers in the local tasting rooms or wine clubs.

The recent Woolsey fire devastated the area and hit many of the vineyards and wineries hard. Although the extent of damages and losses may not be fully known for many months, some vintners have lost everything: homes, vineyards and tasting rooms.

Dakota Semler, owner of Semler Malibu Estates and Saddlerock Vineyards, lost his house and vineyards and narrowly managed to save the exotic animals that were a part of Malibu Wine Safaris, his company that runs open-air vehicle “safaris” through his hillside vineyards.

Others’ homes were spared, but still face damaged vineyards. Howard Leight, owner of Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyards, said, “Our vineyards and estate were originally planted for erosion and fire control, so I took everything and threw it into the house, which was like a fortress—covered French limestone. The vines actually took the brunt of the hit.”

In the days following the fires, locals and celebrities, many of whom had lost their own homes, banded together to form the Malibu Foundation to aid those who needed help the most. Gathering at the home of actor Gerard Butler and partner Morgan Brown, the celebs managed to raise $2 million to aid victims of the fire. Jamie Foxx, Sean Penn, Cindy Crawford, Rande Gerber, Pierce Brosnan, Minnie Driver and Robin Thicke, along with Butler and Brown, were among those on hand. Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth (who lost their home in the fire) donated $500,000 to the cause. The Malibu Foundation’s website continues to accept donations for victims.

What’s next for Malibu’s vintners and growers? There will be a need for vine cuttings to replace damaged or destroyed vines. And more immediately, growers will need to prepare for the effects of rain. “There will be a very high potential for debris flow for the next three or four years,” said Chris Stone, assistant deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. “But we can identify where they will likely go. That helps us to plan, evacuate and be prepared.”

With the rains falling hard today, rebuilding will have to wait for now.

8 Gifts for Every Kind of Wine Lover (Wine Spectator)

Searching for the perfect holiday gift for the wine lover in your life? We’ve got ideas for everything from stocking stuffers (you can never have too many corkscrews!) to gifts for gadget geeks and professional-grade wine region maps for the true student of wine.

Pulltap’s Corkscrew


The classic waiter’s key is a marvel of simple, efficient design, and these double-hinged versions are Wine Spectator tasting department–approved. They’re also simple to tuck into a pocket (or a stocking), come in pretty much every color of the rainbow, can be personalized, and cost a measly 7 bucks—that’s buy-by-the-case value!

Courtesy of Artificer Wood Works

Artificer Wood Works Wine Boxes

Starting at $35,

There’s a reason that so many of the world’s most sought-after trophy wines come in fancy wood boxes emblazoned with the winery’s logo—it adds an element of luxury that makes the moment you open it feel that much more special. If you’re giving a bottle of wine to a friend or loved one this holiday season, you can add that same level of sophistication with a personalized wood box from Artificer Wood Works. The boxes are made from aspen and Baltic birch, come in a range of sizes and finishes and can be customized in limitless ways. Artificer also plants one tree for every product sold through a partnership with Trees for the Future, a non-profit working to end hunger and poverty among farmers on degraded lands around the world.

Of course, you might be reading this at the last minute, in which case you’ll want to check out our video for tips on how to personalize a gift bottle with all kinds of fancy gift-wrapping ideas …

[videoPlayerTag videoId=”5852516410001″]

Courtesy of Wine by Your Side

Wine by Your Side Ice Bucket


This innovative ice bucket saves valuable space by easily but securely affixing to a table or counter via a steel extension with rubber-sleeved ends that both grip and protect your surfaces. The stainless-steel bucket is double-walled to both prevent sweating and keep ice from prematurely melting. Just add wine!

Courtesy of WineGame

DIY Blind Tastings with the WineGame App

Free download,

Speaking of entertaining, any wine lover with a smartphone will appreciate the WineGame app from chef José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup, available on iOS and GooglePlay. All your party needs is four bottles of wine and a way to conceal them for the blind-tasting element. (Kraft wrap, perhaps?) Just make sure no one peeks! Here’s how it works: The designated host enters the information about the wines into the app to begin a new game. They can then invite others with the app (did we mention it’s free?) to join. Each player samples the wines blind, and the app generates questions about the wines’ grapes, regions and vintages. Clues and second guesses are welcome, but the attainable points diminish with each incorrect answer. Technically the person with the most points wins, but we all know that no one loses when it comes to wine tasting.

Courtesy of Savino

Savino Connoisseur Wine-Saving Carafe


In a perfect world, we would open and enjoy our wine all in the same day, but there’s often some leftover after cooking or having a glass after work. This wine-preserving glass carafe keeps wine fresher than leaving it in the bottle with the cork, for up to a week. Just pour your leftover wine into the Savino carafe, then insert the provided float that protects the wine from oxygen. When you’re ready to have another glass, you can easily pour from the carafe—no need to remove the float. Once you’ve finished off the wine, just run Savino through the dishwasher and it’s ready to save more wine and money!

Courtesy of Rabbit

Rabbit LED Bottle Stoppers


While wine is naturally one of the highlights of any outdoor party or occasion, now it can literally light up the celebration with these L.E.D. bottle stoppers. This set of 2 batteries-included stoppers is good for 96 hours of festive bottle-topping nightlighting. They make for a great stocking stuffer!

Courtesy of De Long

De Long Wine Region Maps

Starting at $20,

For the wine lover who loves to learn about where their wine came from, these De Long wine region maps are the perfect addition to a home, cellar or office. The maps, which can also be purchased handsomely framed, are available for a dozen wine regions, from California to France to New Zealand and beyond, and include index booklets for more context. Now you can learn as you sip!

Courtesy of Zingerman’s

Zingerman’s Oil & Vinegar Odyssey Gift Box


Oil and vinegar are great staples for any kitchen, but the kitchen of a wine lover would especially benefit from a gift box filled with Spanish red wine vinegar that’s been barrel aged for four years. Combine it with the extra-virgin olive oil for a vinaigrette that’s something to celebrate any time of year.

Unfiltered: Silver Oak at Golden State: Winery Unveils Throwback Warriors Logo Bottles, Becomes In-Arena Pour (Wine Spectator)

The Bay Area is joining the NBA’s wine league with a splash. The Golden State Warriors are partnering with Silver Oak, and the Napa and Sonoma Cabernet house announced it will be providing the team’s official in-seat pours at Oracle Arena and releasing an etched set of five Warriors-themed Cabernet bottles.

Courtesy of Silver Oak

The starting lineup suits up.

Platinum–ranked Silver Oak first came to Golden State in 2015 through All-Star Draymond Green. The power forward and Michigan State alum made a wager against LeBron James over a college football game: Green’s alma mater versus James’ home team Ohio State. Because James is the dean of NBA enophiles who drains Cabernet like he does three-pointers (enthusiastically but in moderation), he set the terms at two cases of wine. The Spartans won, and Green found 2 cases of Silver Oak Napa Cabernet in the mail.

“The [bet] really kicked this off. We saw this incredible energy and very authentic interest, and a lot of new customers discovering us through that initial introduction,” explained Silver Oak director of marketing Ian Leggat to Unfiltered. Soon after, Silver Oak partnered with the San Francisco Giants and discovered sports and wine fandom made for a natural pairing, with “people being kind of ritualistic in their sports routines, where they have certain traditions in terms of what they want to eat and drink.” (After the introduction at Oracle, the plan is for Silver Oak to follow the Warriors to the new Chase Center, where the Warriors will relocate next season.)

The winery also created a collector set for superfans of the Silver and Golden, a 5-bottle pack of 2014 Alexander Valley Cabernets, each etched with the Warriors’ five historical logos over the past half-century, to open “for five winning Warrior moments”—individual player records, going to the playoffs, winning the championship, winning the championship again ….

‘Three Days of Glory’ Film Follows Five Months of Misery in Burgundy’s Brutal 2016 Vintage

When frost smashed Burgundy vineyards on April 27, 2016, ultimately causing some winemakers to lose more than 80 percent of their crop, director and producer Scott Wright and his crew were in the middle of shooting a documentary—about the struggles of grapegrowing. “The idea was to show the stories of these small family winegrowers and the difficulties they were facing after all these difficult vintages [since 2009],” Wright told Unfiltered. “Then suddenly on top of this comes this crushing 2016 vintage. It just amplified the story we had already intended to tell, and it created a lot more drama then we had anticipated.”

The resulting film, codirected by Wright (himself an Oregon winemaker) and American Wine Story director David Baker is Three Days of Glory, which debuted last month for American audiences on streaming platforms like iTunes and Amazon.

The severity of the 2016 vintage and the tiny crop it yielded might have caught the filmmakers by surprise, but the goal of telling the story of the small family wineries, remained intact and became perhaps even more urgent. “People probably think these winemakers are rich, and they have this very sexy, glamorous life, and that’s not necessarily the case,” Wright said. “They live wonderful lives, but at the end of the day, these are farmers out working in the dirt with their own hands.” Still, even in the face of 2016’s grind, vintners, merchants, chefs, critics and connoisseurs of Burgundy gathered to bid the harvest adieu with an epic annual fête—the titular Les Trois Glorieuses.

Three Days of Glory

Château des Rontets on a “Burgundy tropical” day

After the headaches of 2016 subsided and filming wrapped, good news was on the horizon, with auspicious seasons for many in 2017 and 2018, Wright added. The vignerons “now have the ability to start digging themselves out of the hole that they were in.”

Take Note: ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Star Ezra Miller’s Champagne Pen

Ezra Miller is certainly not the first celebrity to accessorize with wine, but his intellectual-chic ensemble at a recent Dior fashion show in Tokyo made a splash nonetheless.

Twitter / @bestofezra

The vibes of Grindelwald

Stepping in front of the paparazzi, Miller—known for his roles in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series and as the Flash in DC Comics’ superhero movie universe, among others—took on a studious persona on the red carpet, wielding a clipboard and taking notes with Unfiltered’s new favorite writing tool: a handsome silver pen that doubles as a stem for the flute of sparkling wine that rested atop it. No word on what the bubbly was, or who made the fantastic contraption that contained it, but there is one thing that those who follow the happenings in wine-style might speculate about this fashion choice: Rihanna would approve.

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