The Sweet Complexity of French Wine
The French Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) certification system for wine is perhaps the oldest and most respected in the world. It sets standards for boundaries, growing parameters and production techniques for sites fortunate enough to have obtained this coveted certification. Actually, it is not just for wine but also covers cheeses, honey, meats, lentils, butters and a few other agricultural products. Handled by the Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualité (INAO), it is a living process which can change its requirements as improved techniques develop or newly discovered regions or wine varieties emerge.
Such is the case for Coteaux Bourguignons, one of France’s newest appellations. Officially decreed in November 2011, its wines are just now reaching our shores. Coteaux Bourguignons replaces another appellation, Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire (yes, it’s rather puzzling that a wine could be both “great” and “ordinary”). Its boundary, however, has been expanded to include not only Burgundy but also Beaujolais. The grapes allowed are Aligoté, Chardonnay, Melon, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris for the whites and Gamay, Pinot Noir and César for the reds and rosés. Oddly a Nouveau is allowed but only as a white wine.
At Plum Market we’ve seen the first of Coteaux Bourguignons to hit our shelves.
2011 Signé Vignerons Coteaux Bourguignons Vieilles Vignes.
It is from a cooperative of growers based in France’s Beaujolais region. From 100% Gamay grapes, it eschews the classic, vivid, red-fruit edge typical of Beaujolais to take on a sleeker, more tender expression of the grape. Indeed, it offers delicious elements of red cherries and cranberries with a little lemon zest and vanilla.
If you want a wine with a more stylish tone and with a degree of subtlety and complexity not often seen in traditional Beaujolais, this might be the one for you!
Guest Post from Rod Johnson, Wine Specialist at Plum Market Ann Arbor.
Happy Paczki Day!
It’s everyone’s favorite time of year! Fat Tuesday falls on March 4th this year, so grab your favorite pants with an elastic waistband and stop by Plum Market for fresh baked Paczki from Manchester Bakery!
Paczki (pronoucnced “poonch-kee”) is a traditional Polish pastry that literally means “parcel” or “package.” Paczki is actually the plural form of the word “paczek,” but we rarely use this form in America owing to the fact that it’s nearly impossible to eat only one!
This tasty parcel of deliciousness starts with sphere-shaped deep fried dough and is filled with all manner of delectable ingredients. We’re talking Bavarian cream, banana cream, cream cheese, chocolate custard, apple, cherry, prune, strawberry, lemon, raspberry, and blueberry. We will also have a limited number of ultra-decadent chocolate praline paczki this year. All of these treats will be finished off with either a glaze or dusted with powdered sugar. Each store will have rotating flavors available in six packs or individually, so stop by our Bakehouse frequently or order your paczki online to ensure you get exactly the right flavors (and amount) you want!
Happy Paczki Tuesday!
Sweets After V-Day!
If you need a little something to help you come down from your Valentine’s Day sugar-rush, we have two great ideas for you: Compartes Chocolatier and Heirloom Navel Oranges.
Well, this one won’t really help you come down as much as it will keep you flying, but if you’re still in the mood for chocolate, you’ll fall in love with Compartes Chocolatier. Compartes’ chocolates have been handmade in Los Angeles, California since 1950. These artisanal confections are made with only the freshest ingredients and never include any artificial flavors or preservatives. From single-origin South America cacao to fresh fruits from the Los Angeles Farmers Markets, Compartes sources the best ingredients to create amazingly rich flavors. From their gooey and decadent caramels, to the best praline nuts and uber-sophisticated chocolate bars, Compartes will not disappoint. Their chic packaging further elevates the whole chocolate experience, giving you eye candy to go along with their sophisticated, sensual flavors. Stop in our Ann Arbor or Old Town Chicago stores and have a taste for yourself!
If you’re looking for something sweet, but want to switch to something healthier, you can’t go wrong with this old fashioned flavor-bomb: the heirloom navel. “The heirloom,” as we call it, is the same fruit that got California’s citrus industry booming. It’s the original or “old line” Washington Navel. Over the years, the citrus industry bred the navel orange to produce more fruit, easier, and faster, but without considering flavor. What’s left is a watered down, uninteresting piece of fruit. It’s no surprise, on the other hand, that heirloom oranges maintain their original punch: the word heirloom means something passed down from generation to generation. In this case, it’s the bright flavors. Heirloom navels are grown using certain farming practices in which growers give special attention to the soil, just like they did when navels were first brought from Brazil to America in the 1800s. The secret is to use only the best sour root stock, but this practice isn’t commonly used anymore because the trees don’t produce fruit as heavily or as quickly as the newer root stocks. Doing things the right way is what gives these heirlooms their amazing taste.
Find the Perfect Gift for Your Valentine
The go-to gifts for Valentine’s Day are chocolate, wine, and flowers. But what kind of chocolate? Which wine should you pick up? Flowers? What?! Don’t get caught waiting until the last minute and having to get chocolates from the corner pharmacy! Tell us a bit about your Valentine and we’ll tell you exactly what to pick up on February 14th. Find a Plum Market location near you.
Once you know your Valentine’s style, use our guide below to find the perfect Valentine’s Day package:
Sweet & Sophisticated
Go with the Vosges Volupte Pink Heart Bon Bons, a bottle of Moet & Chandon Rosé Brut Impérial, and a dozen pink roses.
Classy & Refined
Go with the classic See’s Candies Red Heart, a bottle of 2010 Allegrini & Renacer Enamore, and you won’t go wrong with a bouquet of traditional red roses.
Glamorous & Irresistible
Your Valentine will devour the Godiva Chocolatier Gold Ballotin with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. Design your own bouquet by selecting an assortment of exotic blooms, picked just for her.
Find a Plum Market location near you.
Behold the Mozart Kugeln
Behold the Mozart Kugeln.
This little confection was first made in Salzburg, Austria in 1890 to commemorate the birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on Janurary 27th. It has since won a ton of awards, inspired a slew of imitators, gone to court for the use of its name, and then went back to settle an international dispute between Austria and Germany over both the use of the name and the shape of the chocolate shell. Needless to say, the Mozart Kugeln is no mere candy.
Made with dark chocolate, hazelnut nougat, and both almond and pistachio marzipan, these kugelns are as delectable as they are sophisticated. Reber Confectionary, a family owned Bavarian company that began making chocolates in 1865, has been producing some of the best Mozart-Kugelns of the past century. Their recipes are based on family traditions, meaning they only use the best, freshest ingredients and never use artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
Genuine Reber Mozart-Kugelns are a symphony of flavors in your mouth. Is that too baroque? Genuine Reber Mozart-Kugelns are a concerto of flavors in your mouth! The pistachio marzipan is earthy and slightly bitter, the almond marzipan is sweet with notes of cherry, and the hazelnut nougat is deep, like a strong cup of coffee. The dark chocolate exterior gives the confection a crunch and delicious brightness, holding together all the ingredients and making this treat utterly unique. Like nearly everything Mozart composed, these kugelns are true masterpieces.
As Reber’s motto states, “Alle Zeit Der Welt,” taking a bite of their Mozart-Kugelns is like taking “All the Time in the World” to enjoy their chocolates, to enjoy the escape from the everyday, to enjoy the indulgence and sophistication, and to enjoy yourself. So enjoy, with taste.
Please Pass the Yacon!
Wednesday January 15th 2014, 10:07 pm
Filed under: Grocery
Peruvian yacon syrup. That’s yacon with a “Y.”
Two months ago, this dark brown syrup similar to molasses was relatively unknown outside of South America. Thanks to a famous television doctor, who we will refer to as “Dr. O” for anonymity’s sake, yacon syrup is now receiving the respect and reverence it justly deserves. This all natural sweetener contains about half the calories of honey and it barely impacts blood glucose levels, making it a great sugar-substitute for diabetics and people looking to cut calories and lose weight.
It all starts in the Andes Mountains in Peru where the yacon plant is grown. Unlike many tubers and rooty plants which store carbohydrates as a starch or glucose, the yacon plant stores carbohydrates as a “Fructo-Oligo-Saccharrides” (FOS) or fructose. The small difference in this plant makes a big difference in the human body: because our digestive systems have no way to break down FOS, it goes through our bodies with minimal caloric and blood sugar level impact. Luckily, the high amount of potassium and moderate levels of calcium and antioxidants yacon also contains do get absorbed. It is also thought that yacon syrup encourages the growth of healthy bacteria in the colon while eliminating bad bacteria, which can lead to dramatic weight loss in some people.
The best news is that you can use yacon syrup in nearly the same way that you’ve been using honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, and plain or raw sugar. Depending on how it’s made, yacon syrup ranges in color and flavor from darker and molasses-like to lighter and caramel-like. The varieties from Essential Living Foods and SunFood, for example, are 100% organic and minimally processed and pasteurized, so they are lighter in color and have a sweeter than other brands. We highly recommend drizzling yacon syrup on your morning oatmeal and using a few drops of it in a homemade yacon salad dressing for dinner.
Be sure to check out the Get Fit Guide in your state to see other great products and recipe ideas that will nourish you, motivate you, and help you perform at your peak level!
Mad Picks: Holiday Wine Selections
With the holidays just around the corner, we wanted to let everyone know about some great wines we’ve got in stock that will make perfect gifts for anyone on your list!
Krug Grand Cuvee ‘Savoir-Faire’
Plum Price $129.97 List Price $200
95 Points Wine Spectator
This Grand Cuvee is a blend of 71 wines from 11 different years, the oldest being from 1988 and the youngest from 2001. The particularity of Krug Grand Cuvee ‘Savoir-Faire’ comes from the high proportion of reserve wines. The result is remarkable and shows the strength of Krug Grand Cuvee, going beyond the notion of vintage to offer the best pleasure experience every year.
“Such a glorious expression of Champagne, combining depth over vintages and complexity of sites to create a profound, multifaceted cuvée. Rich biscuit, ginger, coconut and citrus aromas are followed by gingerbread, baked apple and grilled nut flavors, all supported by a firm yet harmonious structure. Endless finish. Superb.” -Wine Spectator
1995 Ridge Monte Bello
1999 Ridge Monte Bello
Plum Price $179.97 List Price $250
Available for purchase in a wooden box with 3 bottles of each vintage or for individual purchase. First planted in the late 19th century, the Monte Bello property has long been one of the most storied viticultural sites in all of California’s vast wine country, and its signature offering, the Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello, is one of the most highly-regarded wines in the world. Nestled high up in the northern reaches of the Santa Cruz Mountains, and surrounded by these historic vineyards, our Monte Bello Tasting Room offers guests an un-paralleled opportunity to experience our exceptional single-vineyard wines.
2004 Moet & Chandon ‘Dom Perignon’ Brut Champagne
Plum Price $124.97 List Price $160
95 Points Robert Parker Wine Advocate
“Lily-of-the-valley perfume and scents of lightly toasted brioche and almond rise from the glass of Moet’s 2004 Brut Dom Perignon, along with hints of the apricot, pear and grapefruit that then inform a luscious and creamy yet strikingly delicate as well as consummately refreshing palate. Sweet-saline savor of scallop – also already intimated in the nose – lends compulsive saliva-inducement to a ravishingly rarified and persistent finish, joined by alkaline, nutty, liquid-floral, and nori seaweed notes for a performance of head-scratching subtlety and intrigue” -Robert Parkers Wine Advocate
2010 Joseph Phelps “Insignia”, Napa Valley
Plum Price $149.97 List Price $180
95 Points Robert Parker Wine Advocate
“A gorgeously intense bouquet of lead pencil shavings, spring flowers, black currants, blackberries, and subtle smoke and foresty aromas jumps from the glass of this full-bodied, rich, concentrated wine with soft tannins, a multidimensional mouthfeel, and a long, rich finish displaying well-integrated acidity, tannin, alcohol and wood. This beauty is one of the top Insignias produced over recent years.” - Robert Parkers Wine Advocate
2011 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Plum Price $59.97 List Price $100
The wild raspberries, Asian spice, green tea and a mocha nose convey the classic Sonoma Coast Pinot characteristics. Your mouth will explode with flavors of ripe wild berries, cranberries, toasted marshmallow, graham cracker, toffee and white pepper. Rich tannins and acidity balance out the ripe, wild berry flavors with flavors of citrus peel and fresh herbs on the smooth finish.
2006 Roederer “Cristal” Brut Champagne
Plum Price $199.97 List Price $275.00
94 Points Wine Spectator
“Refined in texture and beautifully balanced, this well-meshed version is framed by mouthwatering acidity, enlivened by flavors of yellow apple, pear, black currant, lightly toasted almond, kumquat and zesty ground spice. Drink now through 2023.” -Wine Spectator
NOTE: Prices and availability subject to change. Prices valid in Michigan stores only. Email Evan Barrett to reserve your selections in the Bloomfield store!
Holiday Tips you can Really Use
Let’s be honest, getting ready for Thanksgiving is always a challenge. Certain celebrities try to sugarcoat by suggesting you play fun music while you prep the bird, have a few drinks while you’re cooking, or maybe even start a few days early by chopping up vegetables and setting out silverware. Who has the time for that?!
Plum Market does. It’s why we are here. And while we enjoy listening to good music around the holidays (we recommend a heavy dose of Motown classics) and having a few drinks with friends and family (responsibly, of course), we have a few tips for the holidays that you can actually use.
First, use good ingredients! The better your ingredients, the less you have to do to them. We pride ourselves on our selection of natural and organic foods not only because we believe they are better for you, but also because they need less preparation. When you eat pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving, for example, top it with fresh whipped cream made with Horizon Organic Heavy Whipping Cream. Just whip it by hand or in a mixer, adding only a few sprinkles of powdered sugar and a drop of organic vanilla extract, and add a dollop right on top of your pie. 16oz containers are 25% OFF through December 31st, so you can enjoy delicious whipped cream all season long.
How about cranberry sauce? For fans of the canned variety, it doesn’t get any easier or more delicious than Woodstock Organic Whole Cranberry Sauce. 15oz cans are 2 for $7, so you’ll have another for the holidays in December!
Here’s another tip: buy local. The holidays are a time for friends and family, but they also mean a lot of traveling. When people come home, they want to be home, so buy them treats that remind them where they are. For our Michigan guests, we recommend Germack pistachios, which is as local and delicious as it gets. The pistachios are the most iconic treat, but we have other Germack items on sale in our Holiday Guide that everyone will enjoy. For our Illinois guests, indulge your friends and yourself on Lucila’s Homemade Alfajores. Six packs of these delicious confections made in Highland Park are on sale for $15.99, a savings of 20% off our regular price.
One last tip: If you want to host a holiday event, but don’t want the stress of preparing all the food, consider hiring Plum Market Catering to handle your event. Our team will work with you to create a custom menu that will be as delicious as it will be unforgettable. Please take a look at our reheating instructions for catered holiday events. For everyone else, please check our Holiday Guide for more great deals!
Grab the Germack for a Great Holiday
Friday November 22nd 2013, 10:11 pm
Filed under: Grocery
Whether you’re at the bar, celebrating with friends and family, or just loafing around the house, one thing will always hold true: sooner or later you’ll want a salty snack. And when that craving hits, The Germack Pistachio Company has exactly what you need. This Detroit-based company has been roasting pistachios and other nuts since 1924, making them the oldest roaster of pistachios in the United States. Germack continues to thrive because they only use the highest quality ingredients, they roast everything in small batches, and they consistently put out the freshest products on the market.
Germack has come a long way since 1924–they now make dried fruits and coffee, too–but they still use the same iconic paper-bag packaging and logo. “Paper bag?” you ask. “Yes!” we say. Similar to a sack of flour, the legendary Germack bag allows them to package up to three pounds of nuts at a time, which comes in handy around the holidays because these tasty snacks tend to go quickly!
If you have not had the pleasure of enjoying Germack products, please let us invite you the party. 3lb bags of Germack Mixed Nuts are currently on sale for $35.99/ea (20% off the regular price); 2.5lb bags of Pistachios are on sale for $19.99/ea (30% off the regular price); Assorted Nut Party Trays are on sale for $14.99 (25% off and a great way to try everything!); and 11-13oz bags of Germack Mixed Nuts, Cashews and Pistachios are on sale for $7.99/ea (saving you over 35%). These products can be seen on Page 8 of our Holiday Guide, just be sure to select the right guide for your state. Sale prices are good through December 31, 2013.
We also want to recommend Germack’s Motown Mix. A delicious blend of nuts, dried fruits, and chocolate chips, The Motown Mix is a definite crowd pleaser! Part of the proceeds from this product will also go to charity. Be sure to watch the new television ad for the Motown Mix online, too.
For our guests with nut allergies, please take a look through our Holiday Guide for your state. We have tons of other great foods, beverages and gift ideas on sale for you to enjoy.
Deep and Delicious Brown Rice Vinegar
Wednesday November 06th 2013, 7:37 pm
Filed under: Grocery
Please allow us to introduce you to our new favorite organic grocery product: Eden Foods Organic Brown Rice Vinegar.
This vinegar is unlike anything we have ever had before. It is sweet and sharp, tangy and complex, crisp and bright. It works perfectly as a finishing touch on all of our favorite Asian foods to give them added zip and depth—everything from plain rice to beef and veggie stir fries. We also use it in place of balsamic vinegar for a lighter, less sugary variation of oil and vinegar, or in this quick vinaigrette recipe:
In a medium bowl, combine 1 minced clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, a drizzle of honey, 3 Tablespoons brown rice vinegar, and one-third to one-half Cup of olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste, plus a pinch of red pepper flakes if you like it spicy. Whisk ingredients until combined, then pour it over your salad just before eating.
Brown rice vinegar is believed to promote healthy liver function, aid in colon health, and improve blood sugar control for diabetics. It’s also less acidic than other vinegars and made using a centuries-old natural process. We’re confident that once you try this product from our international foods aisle, you’ll add it to your list of everyday grocery staples. And did we mention it’s organic? That’s right, this vinegar will definitely help you Live Well, with Taste.