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Wine of the Week – Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc, 2013

Summer’s winding down but we still crave the crisp whites that cool us on hot, sultry days. The Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc 2013 from New Zealand reached out and grabbed our attention this week with its beautiful combination of flavors from guava, lemongrass and grapefruit to tropical fruits with a lingering finish. “Bright” describes this wine well but so do “crisp,” “dry” and “fruit forward.” It contains 12.5% ABV, is moderately priced and offers good value to diners and restaurateurs alike.

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What’s Brewin’ – Banks Barbados Brewery Caribbean Beer

This Gold Medal award-winning brew from Barbados has only 4.5% ABV but makes a refreshing beverage on a hot summer night with its own distinctive flavors from a mix of malted barley, Galena and Styrian Goldings aroma hops. It’s craft brewed with pure coral stone filtered Barbadian water. We were lucky to be served it at a Barbadian friend’s home in Dorchester, MA and hope to encounter it again!

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Annual Thirst Boston returns Nov. 7-10

Thirst Boston returns to Boston Nov. 7-10, hosted by founders and industry professionals Brandy Rand, Andrew Deitz and Maureen Hautaniemi.
Three big parties, 24 seminars and a host of tastings will being together major mixologists from around the country to celebrate cocktails.
On Nov. 7, events get underway with “The Thing” gala at The Fairmont Copley Plaza with craft cocktails in the “grande old Boston” tradition.
Other highlights include a Nov. 8 Portland-Providence Pop-Up featuring eight bartenders from those cities shaking it up at the Fairmont Copley Plaza.
New this year is Roadhouse, a new event on the 8th with Southern-style drinks, rockabilly, BBQ and more, Nov. 8. The 9th brings the New England Craft Showcase, three hours of tastings with 12 confirmed brands and more to come.
Wrapping up Thirst Boston is the grand finale, Blender Bnder, at Chau Chow City in Chinatown when 12 top Boston bartenders battle to create the best blended beverage as voted on by attendees.The 80’s style Tiki party takes place Sunday, Nov. 9.
A “last hurrah” is the Bartender Brunch on the 10th at The Hawthorne as a sendoff for participants and attendees.
Most of this year’s events plus accommodations at a special attendee rate are at the Copley Plaza.
Don’t forget to check back for more info on seminars and other programs. For more information about Thirst Boston, please visit http://www.thirstboston.com/, follow @ThirstBoston on Twitter, and become a Facebook fan https://www.facebook.com/ThirstBoston.

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Vermont cheese makers take home 36 ribbons at American Cheese Society event

The Vermont Cheese Council (VCC), an organization dedicated to the production and advancement of Vermont Cheese, proudly announces Vermont took home its second consecutive Best in Show first place designation, along with 36 ribbons from 16 cheesemakers at the 31st annual American Cheese Society competition in Sacramento, CA this summer. The Best in Show First Place was awarded for Farms for City Kids Foundation/ Spring Brook Farm’s Tarentaise Reserve cheese.
“Tonight saw a record win from Vermont at the American Cheese Society Awards,” says Tom Bivins, Vermont Cheese Council executive director. “Sixteen of the 23 cheesemakers who submitted cheeses walked away with at least one ribbon. And for Vermont to take home a Best in Show for the second year in a row, truly clinches our standing of Vermont being home for many of the world’s finest cheeses.”

Besides Farms for City Kids, winning cheese makers included:
Big Picture Farm, Townshend: Sonnet, third place
Boston Post Dairy, Enosburg Falls: Très Bonne, first place
Cabot Creamery Cooperative, Cabot: Monterey Jack, first place; Cabot Sharp, second place; Farmhouse Reserve, second place; Light Cheddar, third place; Plain Greek Style Yogurt, second place; Salted Butter, second place; Unsalted Butter, third place
Cellars at Jasper Hill, Greensboro: Harbison, first place; Alpha Tolman, second place
Consider Bardwell Farm, West Pawlet: Rupert, first
Grafton Village Cheese, Grafton: Shepsog, first place; 2 Year Aged cheddar, third place; Queen of Quality Clothbound Cheddar, first place; Bear Hill, third place; Bull Hill, second place
Lazy Lady Farm, Westfield: La Petite Tomme, third place
Maplebrook Farm, Bennington: Ricotta Alta, second place; Whole Milk Block Feta, second place
Plymouth Artisan Cheese, Plymouth: Red White & Blue, second place
Sage Farm Goat Dairy, Stowe: Belvidere, third place
Shelburne Farms, Shelburne: Farmhouse 6 Month Cheddar, third place
Twig Farm, Cornwall: Mixed Drum, third place
Vermont Creamery, Websterville: Bijou, first place; Bonne Bouche, second place; Coupole, second place; Torus (with Murray’s Cheese), second place; Feta, first place; Cultured Butter with Sea Salt and Maple, second place; Crème Fraiche, third place; Unsalted Cultured Butter, third place
Vermont Farmstead Cheese, S. Woodstock: Alehouse Cheddar, second
von Trapp Farmstead, Waitsfield: Savage, third place

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More products for the fall!

Rising prices of beef(up 76% in the past five years according to USDA) are leading foodservice operators to look at other options such as flavorful and less costly ground turkey. Butterball Foodservice offers a variety of recipes from Asian-inspired Banh wraps to turkey breakfast tacos. Give customers affordable, nutritious, healthy and less costly protein options!
Richie Jenkins, Butterball Foodservice’s senior director of marketing, points out: “As beef prices skyrocket, foodservice operators are increasingly being forced to either raise their prices or find alternatives. Our versatile ground turkey provides an opportunity for chefs to use their creativity and enhance their menus in a way that allows them to satisfy their customers’ need for delicious food, healthy options and wallet-friendly meals.”

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Products for late summer/fall

Pork Ossobucco ravioli from Lilly’s Fresh Pasta
Pork Ossobucco Ravioli make a great menu item for early fall’s cooler days and Lilly’s Fresh Pasta offers its fresh, made from scratch version. Also available from Lilly’s, which has been serving fresh-made pastas to New England foodservice operators for nearly 30 years, are gluten-free rigatoni and gemelli, and also vegetarian options. Go to www.lillysfreshpasta.com. The company is family-owned and operated and continually updates its product offerings to keep up with changing times and tastes as it serves restaurants across the region. Contact Antonio D’Alelio at (617) 651-0411 or sales@lillysfreshpasta.com

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Wine of the Week – Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection Sauvignon Blanc, 2013

Francis Ford Coppola’s Diamond Collection wines are classic California wines, easy drinking, fruit-forward, and with great minerality. This Sauvignon Blanc is no exception. It blends grapes from the Alexander Valley, Sonoma Valley and Lake County with rich citrus and tropical fruit flavors.
2013 was a good year, with little rain and temperatures that were more moderate. You’ll notice crispness, minerality sweetness in this excellent and moderately priced ($17 SRP) Sauvignon Blanc. You’ll taste lemon, melon, figs and minerals.
The Diamond Collection wines include 13 varietals and were inspired by a Napa Valley property Coppola purchased in 1954 and a bottle of 1906 Claret found there.
Winemaker Corey Beck produces a crisp and fresh wine with a long finish, one that’s perfect for hot summer days at the beach, on picnics, and at more formal dining occasions. It blends 90.5% Sauvignon Blanc, 6% Chardonnay, and 3.5% Semillon, and has 13% ABV.