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12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover: The Vinnibag

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Day six of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover goes to the VinniBag.

The VinniBag is a reusable travel bag with inflatable air chambers and is designed to provide superior protection against impact and leakage.

The VinniBag can be used for wine, olive oil, liquor, fragile items etc., and can hold most 750ml bottles—even larger magnum bottles (Bordeaux style only).

The Vinnibag exceeds all airline requirements and has been independently tested for alititude and temperature changes.

The VinniBag is recyclable & 100% USA Made. You can actually send used VinniBags back and the company has them turned into garden hoses to help keep our planet green and will give you a discount on your next VinniBag purchase.

The VinniBag is made by Ellessco, a women-owned company originally founded by a mother and her daughter (who still get along!). Their passion for travel, design, and technology led them to develop innovative products for life on the go.

The Vinnibag is $28 and $25 if you buy 2 at a time. You can purchase them here.

Why do I love the VinniBag? It’s pretty simple. It gets our wine from point A to point B with no bottle breakage. Andy and I have used it repeatedly over 3 years and it’s never failed. It even transported a magnum of Scribner Bend’s Black Hat Tempranillo to Mexico in perfect condition. Thank you, VinniBag! :)

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You can find VinniBag on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here. Check back tomorrow for day seven of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover! Cheers!


12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover: A Membership to the California Wine Club

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My number five selection of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover belongs to the California Wine Club. And my recommendation applies especially to non-California residents who are not as fortunate as I am to live within an hour of hundreds of small production wineries.

The California Wine Club focuses on small family wineries handcrafting extraordinary wine in quantities too limited to be found in local stores or shops. In 1990, wine club founders Bruce and Pam Boring discovered that these wine making families were the most passionate in the wine world and that their wines were the hidden gems of wine country! Together Bruce and Pam embarked on a journey to help these artisan wineries introduce their exquisite wines to the world.

Each month they visit all areas of California’s wine country. Then they share their delicious discoveries with you and your gift recipients, along with the rich stories of each winery. Plus you can reorder your favorite wines at up to 50% off normal retail.

With five wine of the month club levels to choose from, they have wine selections and wine gifts to suit all tastes and budgets. For questions or to place an order call 1-877-826-2101

The reason I am recommending this wine club as a gift idea is because you can pay month to month and cancel at any time. Also, Bruce and Pam the time to personally visit each winery (can you say dream job?), meet the families, the winemakers and then select two bottles of their best to ship to their customers. There are never any private labels and no bulk wine.

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You can find the California Wine Club on Facebook here on Twitter here and they have a Pinterest page here.  Check back tomorrow for day six of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover! Cheers!


12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover: Domaine Chandon’s Limited Edition Blanc de Noirs, Holiday 2014

The countdown rolls on with day four of 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover! For day four, I’ve selected Domaine Chandon’s Limited Edition Blanc de Noirs, Holiday 2014.

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Wrapped in chic winter-white and emblazoned with the golden phrases “The Party Starts Here,” “Pour on the Fun” and “I Am the After Party,” these Limited Edition bottles are as fun to give as they are to pour.

I’ll be serving this sparkling wine at my Gluten Free Cookie Exchange holiday party sponsored by Challenge Butter, Bob’s Red Mill and Whole Foods Market (Roseville) this weekend.

The wine retails for $24.00 per bottle (standard 750mL) and $19.20 per bottle for wine club members.

Head over to Domaine Chandon’s Estore to purchase. They’ve got a special offer on ground shipping with the purchase of a case and if you use ground shipping (enter code BUBBLES12), you can still get the wine in time for New Year’s Eve if you order by 12/18.

Also, check out Domaine Chandon’s entertaining and hosting tips over on their site!

I hope you’ll check back tomorrow for day five of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover! Cheers!

You can find Domaine Chandon on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here.

 


12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover: Wine Gifts from Big Mouth, Inc!

Day three of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover brings us this fun (and functional) wine gift from BigMouth Inc.

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The World’s Biggest Wine Glass holds THREE bottles of wine and is a fun way to impress your guests over the holiday.  Retailing for $19.75, it comes in a colorful gift package and is made of hand-blown glass.

For the full selection of wine accessories and other gifts, feel free to check out their online catalog – http://www.bigmouthtoys.com/CATALOG-VIEW. BigMouth Toys are also available at nationwide retailers like Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond and online at Amazon.com.

I hope you’ll check back tomorrow for day four of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover! Cheers!

You can find BigMouth Inc. on Facebook here, follow them on Twitter here and on Instagram here.


12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover: jcoco Chocolate Bars Gift Set

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It’s day two of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover and my second Christmas selection is this gift set of chocolate bars from jcoco chocolate.

jcoco chocolate is a remarkable new line of American couture chocolate. Like fashion’s haute couture, jcoco draws inspiration from cultures across the globe to create a fresh, contemporary style.

Their line of flavors include: On Dasher! On Ginger!, Peanut Strawberry Baobab (like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich dipped in chocolate), Black Fig Pistachio, Vanuatu Coconut Pecan, Edamame Sea Salt, Agave Quinoa Sesame, Cayenne Veracruz Orange and Noble Dark.

jcoco sent me the three bars you see above to sample and though my favorite of the three was the Noble Dark (72% couverture chocolate with Casa Luker cocoa nibs from Colombia), the most Christmassy flavor was On Dasher! On Ginger, a bar with pieces of candied ginger and a hint of allspice (below).

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What I really liked about the packaging of the bars is that each package has three individually wrapped 1 oz bars. This makes it perfect to open a package, take one bar out for yourself, and share the other two in the package with your besties. :) I hope you’ll check back tomorrow for day three of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover! Cheers!

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You can order jcoco directly from their website here. You can follow jcoco on Facebook here or follow them on Twitter here.


12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover: SIMI’s Landslide Cabernet Sauvignon

With twelve days remaining until Christmas, I thought I would count down until the big day by bringing you a dozen holiday gifts for the food and wine lover.

I’ll kick off the festivities with day one’s selection: A bottle of 2011 SIMI Landslide Vineyard Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

We enjoyed this wine while at our home in Incline Village a few weeks ago, and we paired it with filet mignon, Andy’s wilted chard, some sweet potato medallions and a salad. It’s always so fun to be up there relaxing in front of the fire and enjoying dinner on the giant wooden table.

The recently released SIMI Landslide Cabernet Sauvignon is a food friendly Cabernet blend: 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec, & 1% Tannat. It is 100% oak-aged for 24 months in French oak barrels, 56% new. It has aging potential, but the tannins are soft enough that the wine can also be enjoyed at your holiday event in the next few weeks.

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SIMI Winery was founded in 1876 by Giuseppe and Pietro Simi. They were brothers who had originally traveled from Tuscany, Italy, to California for the Gold Rush (didn’t pan out so much for them). ;) Instead, they ended up selling fruits and vegetables in the North Beach area of San Francisco. Eventually they bought grapes from the Healdsburg area and decided to make wine in their house. The wine making went a little better than the gold finding, so they then moved to Healdsburg in 1890 to expand their growing and wine production, and bought land with a winery already on the property.

In 1904, both brothers passed away from Spanish flu, leaving the winery to Giuseppe’s 18 year old daughter Isabelle. During prohibition, SIMI Winery survived by making alter wine and wine sold for medicinal purposes. They also shelved 500,000 cases of wine during this time and in 1933 when prohibition ended, lots of thirsty customers flocked to SIMI. I can only imagine!

In 1934, Isabelle designed and opened the current tasting room (fashioned from a 25,000 gallon cask that was installed in front of the winery.

By 1970, Isabelle sold the winery to Russell and BJ Green, but kept a position in the tasting room for many years. Russell and BJ updated the wine making facility and hired MaryAnn Graf in 1973. MaryAnn was the first female enology graduate in the United States. In 1979, Zelma Long became the wine maker at SIMI. Zelma just happened to be the country’s second female enology graduate.

The Landslide Vineyard in the Alexander Valley was purchased in 1982. The Landslide name comes from a series of earthquakes and landslides which occurred in the area. The vineyard has an interesting amalgamation of soils that have shifted from the uplands, midlands and lowlands and is now home to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot that make up the Landslide Cabernet.

Here’s a photo of the full dinner we paired with the wine. Highly recommended! I hope you’ll check back tomorrow for day two of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover! Cheers!

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You can find SIMI on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here.

 


The Hot Chocolate 5 and 15K Warms Up San Francisco on January 11th, 2015

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How will you be making a start to the new year? I’ll be heading to San Francisco to take part in RAM Racing’s Hot Chocolate 5K & 15K on Sunday, January 11th, 2015.

Join me and make 2015 the year you achieve your fitness and health goals!

America’s Sweetest Race, the Hot Chocolate 5K & 15K, is coming back to San Francisco on Sunday, January 11th.

Enjoy a beautiful run through Golden Gate Park with over 13,000 runners and then celebrate crossing the finish line with indulgent chocolaty treats at the unforgettable post-race party!

Known for their amazing swag bags, all participants receive the official 2014-2015 season swag bag and new for the season, all 15k finishers will receive the official Hot Chocolate Finisher Medal. In addition, runners can sign up for the “Go the Extra Mile” program to raise money for charities. Ronald McDonald House Charities are the official charity of choice for each Hot Chocolate 5K & 15K race.

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The Hot Chocolate Series is the fastest growing 5k and only 15k series in the world. The series is produced by RAM Racing, the nation’s premier race production company based in Chicago who strives to give participants an emotional, unforgettable race experience.

You can read about my Chicago experience here.

For detailed information on the race, please click here. To register for the Hot Chocolate 5K & 15K, click here. You can find them on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here.

Thanks to RAM Racing for sponsoring my race and see you in San Francisco! :)


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