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Happy National Martini Day!
Wednesday June 19th 2013, 6:45 pm
Filed under: Mad Picks | Wine, Beer, & Spirits,Uncategorized

For a lover of Mixology, the Martini still has a few variations to make it ‘fun’ but what we are really talking about here is a combination of good gin and good vermouth, stirred with ice and strained into a chilled cocktail glass.  There are a slew of drinks that have nothing to do with these ingredients, but share a common glass, as well as the suffix ‘tini’ – and they can be a lot of fun, but today, let’s talk about the Martini that has been giving stage actors something to hold for over a hundred years.

Gin is a clear spirit which derives its main flavoring from juniper berries, along with a shopping list of various botanicals, roots, and citrus.  A young person, first embarking on the adventure of developing a palate for spirits, often has an unpleasant impression of gin that leaves a prolonged disregard for the category as a whole.  This initial taste usually occurs when raiding the liquor cabinet of the absent parents of a friend – and usually ends poorly.  Let’s try to forget about that experience, and give gin another chance with the cocktail that elevates the spirit.

martiniblog

Vermouth is an aromatized, fortified wine that has been flavored with spices, botanicals, and citrus.  Originally a medicinal libation, vermouth acts as good stock when cooking – it balances the alcohol in a cocktail and rounds out the level of acidity.  When we are talking Martini, we are talking dry, white vermouth from Italy or France.  It is important to use fresh vermouth, to chill your opened bottles, and to replace them if they have been open for longer than you recall (or since last year’s holiday party).

Olives or lemon peel are the traditional Martini garnish.  The green olive is really where we should focus our attention; it provides salty, bitter sourness and a bit of vegetal fat.  Stuffed olives, filled with blue cheese, anchovies, pickled peppers are natural choices. You are adding a level of flavor that plays off of the cocktail and offers interesting taste variation on your palate as you consume the ice cold gin.  If you don’t care for olive, a thin surf-board shaped slice of lemon peel will offer a freshness that is sure to please the palate.

Martin-Millersnoilly-prat_blog

Glassware is somewhat important – you need a V-shaped glass to hold the olives elegantly, and the glass shouldn’t be so large that you are consuming six ounces of gin per drink.  You can also enjoy your Martini on the rocks, in a smallish well-weighted glass filled with fresh ice.

Martinis are meant to be enjoyed slowly, while chatting or conversing.  Mixing perfect Martinis for your friends is still an intimate and appreciated skill that you should practice.  Mixing – not shaking.  Fill a cocktail glass with ice and a splash of water and let chill.  In a mixing glass, measure out 4 parts gin and 1 part vermouth.  Add plenty of fresh ice and stir for thirty to forty-five seconds.  You are chilling the ingredients and diluting the cocktail.  You can’t really over-chill the drink, but you can over-dilute it so pay attention during the time that the spirits are in contact with the ice.  Empty the chilled cocktail glass of its ice-bath and strain the freshly mixed cocktail into the perfectly chilled glass.  Skewer three olives and drop it into the glass.

 Our Favorite Recipe

2  oz Martin Miller’s Gin

½ oz Noilly Prat Original Dry

Pimento stuffed Green Olives

Chill a cocktail glass.  In a mixing glass, combine gin and vermouth.  Add ice, and stir for 30-45 seconds.  Strain into chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with skewered olives.



Never, Ever Lamb
Thursday April 11th 2013, 6:19 pm
Filed under: Meat & Seafood,Uncategorized

Lamb can be a welcome change of pace from beef or pork, and it pairs well with so many flavors, making it fun to cook and even more fun to eat! Looking for the right cut and superior quality of lamb for your spring recipes? Plum Market is very excited to feature our favorite:  Mountain State Rosen (MSR), coming to you fresh from our butcher cases.

msr

We love MSR and here’s why:

MSR lamb is 100% born and raised in the US by families of ranchers and growers who are dedicated to their land, their animals, and their trade. The lamb comes from MSR’s own co-op family of ranchers, primarily in the Western States.

Mountain States Rosen was the first company to offer an All Natural, Never Ever lamb program, ensuring the animals never receive antibiotics or added hormones.  Their vertical integration ensures “best in class” products from the feed,  to processing,  and delivery.

Mountain States Rosen is committed to producing the highest quality lamb in a responsible manner, focusing on 5 pillars of sustainability:  Animal Care-in-Production, Environmental Quality, Economic Viability, Social Viability, and Community Support.  All of these standards combine to help make Mountain States Rosen producers of the highest quality lamb.

Now, how to cook it…

We’ve scoured the World (wide web) to find some of the tastiest lamb recipes around, so check out these, and some other great recipes for Spring on our Pinterest board!



Spring [Beer] is Finally Here!
Wednesday April 03rd 2013, 5:40 pm
Filed under: Mad Picks | Wine, Beer, & Spirits,Uncategorized

It may not feel like it now, but it’s Spring, and warm weather is just around the corner! What does that mean for beer drinkers? It means everyone’s favorite, fruity summer ale is back! Our shelves are stocked with Bell’s Oberon. Enjoy this seasonal wheat beer with one of our many exotic selections of citrus fruit or some succulent, red raspberries for a perfect warm weather snack.

bellsoberon

Spring beers have something to offer for everyone. So what else is our beer team drinking this season? They’ve come up with a couple of their favorite craft selections for you…

Experience one of Grand Rapid’s finest brews, Founders All Day IPA. It’s sharp hop profile, light body, and pleasantly crisp, bitter finish is perfect for an afternoon ball game or BBQ. Like Oberon and All Day IPA? How about Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’? This unique California beer flaunts a silky body, strong hoppiness and a complex wheat flavor that is sure to help you relax after some springtime gardening or mowing the lawn on a sunny afternoon.

alldayipa       lagunita



Functional Chocolate
Thursday March 14th 2013, 4:49 pm
Filed under: Apothecary,Grocery,Specialty Candy,Uncategorized

Okay, so we’ve all heard of SuperFoods, things like berries, nuts, honey and green foods, but did you know you can get the same kind of health benefits from chocolate? Yes, we said it. Chocolate! The newest trend in confections is functional chocolate.  It’s about time, but it was well worth the wait. Chocolate with added health benefits is showing up all over the shelves, and we haven’t missed a beat.

Good Cacao is a prime example of how to promote overall health and satisfy your cravings for chocolate. They offer bars with coconut and Omega-3. These are all-natural, gluten free and vegan.

Good Cacao also has a Lemon Ginger Dark Chocolate Bar to support Immune health. It’s high in antioxidants and probiotics. Good Cacao is a product you can feel good about buying, with 97% certified organic ingredients and biodegradable packaging.

Xan Confections (pronounced Zan) offers a special collection of satisfying, all-natural chocolates, called CocoXan. They boast products like CocoHeart and CocoBrain, infused with CoQ10, an antioxidant that helps support healthy brain, heart and digestive functions. Xan even sells chocolate to help satisfy cravings while minimizing PMS systems! Hold your applause please, ladies.

Sacred Chocolate is slowly stone ground below 115 degrees Fahrenheit and hand poured in a small, certified organic, vegan, and carbon balanced factory in California. Why, you ask? Because unroasted cacao (raw chocolate) contains countless health benefits and traditional roasting methods can destroy these “sacred” properties.  Sacred Chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and, with flavors like Mint and Coconut & Nibbs, this is one tasty Super Food!

Raw Chocolate by Gnosis is made from ethically sourced Raw Cacao from Bali, Ecuador, Peru, Grenada and Madagascar. These bars are certified organic, vegan, kosher and are free of gluten, soy and dairy.  Because Gnosis chocolate is never headed above 118 degrees, all of its valuable nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins are protected. At Gnosis, they believe that chocolate is food, not candy, and it should be enjoyed regularly. No arguments there!

German-based Beauty Sweeties makes Pure White Chocolate Bars with Q10, Aloe Vera and Collagen. With flavors like pomegranate/raspberry, acai, and mango/peach, each bar has a purpose, providing Vitamin E, antioxidants and beta carotene. This beautiful treat is all-natural and good for you, and even claims to provide cellular energy and neutralize free radicals. Imagine eating chocolate and looking and feeling better! Guess you really can have it all…



Exclusive Georg Riedel Wine Tasting & Glass Seminar
Thursday January 10th 2013, 5:00 pm
Filed under: Mad Picks | Wine, Beer, & Spirits,Uncategorized

Plum Market invites you to a unique, captivating wine glass seminar & tasting with Georg J. Riedel!

“The effect of these glasses on fine wine is profound. I cannot emphasize enough what a difference they make.” Robert M. Parker, Jr. The Wine Advocate

Join us as Georg J. Riedel, 10th generation of the Riedel family, guides us through the experience of how a Riedel glass can dramatically increase our enjoyment of wine.

Ticket price includes three Riedel XL wine glasses with a value of $105
And a tasting of premium Pinot Noir, Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon

Friday, January 25, 2012

Champagne reception, 6 pm

Tasting Seminar, 6:30 pm sharp

$65 per person

Purchase Your Tickets Online


 



Growing Season 101
Tuesday January 08th 2013, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Though you may be able to find just about every type of fruit, vegetable, or herb everyday of the year in the produce department, many items you come across are not in season. They have likely been transported from different climates to satisfy your out-of-season cravings. This extra time between picking and eating means loss of nutrients, flavor, and more.
Here are a couple of charts to help you select the freshest, most nutritious, and flavor-packed produce items, any time of the year.  Click on the below image to make it larger.

Don’t be shy! Speak with any of our Produce Team Leaders at your local store. They can fill you in on which items have just arrived from local farms, how long they’ll be in season, and what produce items to look forward to next!

Credits: our friends at chasingdelicious.com

 

 

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Interview with Madeline Triffon, Our First Lady of Wine
Friday December 21st 2012, 11:17 pm
Filed under: Mad Picks | Wine, Beer, & Spirits,Uncategorized

Our in-house Master Sommelier, Madeline Triffon, sat down with WDVD’s Blaine and Allyson for some “Bubbly Banter” in a segment we’ve come to call Entertaining with Taste. Madeline gives us the scoop on Sparkling Wine just in time for the Holiday Season.

Take a listen at  96.3 WDVD Interview

Or download the Champagne Tasting Notes with some helpful hints on Champagne, Not Just for Toasts!

Check out Blaine and Allyson’s website for more ideas on how to Entertain with Taste and listen live on January 3rd for a chance to win a Plum Market Gift Card!

 

 

 



Old Town | Chicago Coming Soon!
Thursday May 24th 2012, 5:37 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

We’re opening a new store!  Visit our Old Town | Chicago store page to learn more.