As part of my drinking around New Hampshire Series, I thought I would share this amazing bit of prestige for Throwback Brewery, one of New Hampshire’s nanobreweries… Throwback has won the title of being 1 of the 10 best nanobreweries in the US according the Bon Appetit Magazine! Congratulations Throwback! Your brews have always been enjoyed in my home!
Hundred Nights is an emergency cold weather shelter in Keene New Hampshire, open from December through March. This shelter, started by Don Primrose in January 2010, is a volunteer/ donation run charity. They offer a resting place on cold nights for those who have been displaced or are homeless. They cater to individuals and families.
On March 30th they are hosting their 2nd annual Hundred Nights’ Masquerade Ball. This event will be to help raise money for the shelter. It will include dinner, a cash bar, dancing and a silent auction. Tickets are $40 with a guest purchased before the event or $50 at the door. Please check this event out. It’s a fun night out and great way to give back to the New Hampshire community!
Mom Prom is a nationwide event that came to New Hampshire three years ago. It was started in Canton, MI with a desire to raise money for a local charity and for women to have a great night out. Women get together to get dressed up in their best or tackiest dress and bring awareness to a charitable cause, in New Hampshire they are raising money for St. Joseph’s Breast Cancer Center.
On April 20th Mom Prom Nashua will be hosting there 3rd annual Mom Prom event. It will include snacks, one drink ticket with a cash bar, dancing, a photo booth, and a silent auction. Tickets are $50. This event will help kick cancer out of our lives and help improve the quality of care offer to patientsfighting breast cancer. Please check out this event! It’s great night out for women!
Local shopping isn’t limited to the little locally run shops downtown. They are great and I recommend checking them out to everyone but what about locally made shopping? The stay at home mom who knits the cute caps, the local wood carver who creates bears from logs or the local farm who turns seeds into veggie feasts, they aren’t always easy to find. We search the net, craft sales and expos to find these fun treasures.
So I’ve found a few for you to check out.
Castle Berry Fairs is host 3 different local crafts events around New Hampshire.
These are great opportunities to check out local crafters and find some great gift but that’s not it. Don’t forget to check out NH Made’s website. They have a great calendar for local events. They offer links for the farm to restaurants connections, NH Farmers’ Market Association, NH Winery Association, New Hampshire Cheese Maker Guild and more. This is a really exciting site for NH goods, products, and events.
This last event I’m really excited about, it’s the 18th annual Made in NH Expo. It offers a wide variety of New Hampshire Services and products wines, desserts, chiropractors and more. The current list of vendors seems endless. It is April 5-7. Tickets are just $9 for endless tastes of NH. It is being held in Manchester at the Raddison.
New Hampshire has an ever growing local wine industry. Currently there are about 21 wineries in New Hampshire that have wine you can purchase locally, whether it is from the grocery store, the state liquor store or directly from the winery itself. The New Hampshire Winery Association has even published a map of all of the wineries in the state.
Of course wine drinking doesn’t stop at local wines, although they are amazing. New Hampshire does provide a state liquor store on most major highways. Wine can be purchased at the grocery store and even local wine shops, like the WineNot Boutique in Downtown Nashua or the Wine Studio in Manchester. If you’re in a pinch some beer stores like Beer Store NH also offer wine. There is always the gas station which often sells wine as well.
Oh course now we are all curious where I’m going with this, well here it is… WMUR posted on their website that New Hampshire has the #3 highest wine consumption rates per capita per state. Now #1 was DC, which, well to be frank isn’t a state since we only have 50 states not 51. With that said New Hampshire is still really high on the list. So is this because we are super wine drinkers or is it because Mass, Vermont and Maine jump the border to buy their wine here because it’s cheaper or does New Hampshire really enjoys their wine? I can’t say for sure but I found the stats interesting. Check out the link below for WMUR’s post.
Chocolate brings smiles to the masses. Whether hot chocolate, chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake or just delicious chocolate by itself; it can’t help but bring out the best in all of us. When we see the sweet treat a smile come to our faces. We know it means a brief sugar rush. It’s supposed to be an aphrodisiac. So it only makes sense that someone should throw a Chocolate Fest, right??
Well tomorrow, March 9th from 12 – 2pm at Colby-Sawyer College; chocolate lovers will converge for the 18th annual Chocolate Fest! Tickets are just $10. This festival will include “best chocolate” and “best display” in which festival guests will be voting for the winner. This is an event not to miss! So if you are in the Lake Sunapee region swing by and if not head that way or you may have to wait till next year and it’s chocolate so that’s just not worth it when you can taste the region’s best chocolate!
Every year as winter begins to lose its bite and the temperature starts to break away from freezing during the day and creep into the forties maple trees start to produce their sweet sap. At this time collection of the clear fluid begins by a tap in the tree collecting the sap in a bucket or by piping it to a collection station. The sap is brought to the sugar house where the sap is turned into syrup by boiling the water out of the syrup. 35-50 gallons of sap is needed to make just one gallon of maple syrup depending on the sugar count in the sap. The syrup this then filtered and bottled for us to take home and enjoy.
New Hampshire will be celebrating the Maple Syrup production process on March 23rd and 24th when over 110 sugar houses will be opening their doors to celebrate and educate us about the sweetest food found in New Hampshire. The weekend will include learning how maple syrup is made, samples, horse- drawn rides and of course pancake breakfasts. Make sure to check out your local sugar house!
When most people think about potatoes they think Maine or Idaho but what about New Hampshire’s potatoes? I’m not talking about who’s the most prosperous potato producing state in the industry, but who has adopted the white potato as their state vegetable. New Hampshire has as of mid-February.
Why the potato, you may ask? Well a group of fourth graders from Derry Village School in Derry, New Hampshire were research the white potato when the discover the place the white potato first grew in North America was Nutfield, New Hampshire now known as Londonderry, the birth place of General John Stark. I’m not suggesting he or his family grew the first potato but it was first planted by an Irish-Scottish immigrants. The state of Virginia weighed in on this, claiming that Virginia grew the first potato but they have since withdrawn their claim. The students requested the state house make the white potato the state vegetable. After some debt about the potato and a consideration for broccoli as the state vegetable the students request was approved.
So a little about white potatoes… White potatoes also sometime called Irish Potatoes. Potatoes are edible starchy tubers. They are in the night shade family with bell peppers, tomatoes and eggplant. They were first brought to Europe after the invasion of South America. They were adopted into the English and Irish diets. When the Irish were migrating to North America they took this dietary staple with them and began producing in New Hampshire.
New Hampshire no longer grows potatoes commercially but they can be purchased as part of the fall harvested at most local farmers markets. They can also often be purchased at winter markets because they store well in root cellars or a cool dry location.
For those of you curious the state fruit is the pumpkin as of 2006!!
Cut the potatoes in half or quarters and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary; toss until the potatoes are well coated. Dump the potatoes on a baking sheet and spread out into 1 layer; roast in the oven for at least 1 hour, or until browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking to ensure even browning.
Remove the potatoes from the oven, season to taste, and serve
I’ve been dying to start my Drinking Around New Hampshire blog but the timing never seemed to work out. Holidays, busy schedules and blizzards have kept me from experiencing what New Hampshire has to drink, until Wednesday.
Now, many may not know this but New Hampshire may become the drinking capital of America. Currently New Hampshire has 28 licensed wineries. Twenty-one of which you can visit and they aren’t limited to just grapes. They also include fruit wines, meads, spirits and ciders. But when it comes to your favorite drink, New Hampshire doesn’t stop at wine. They offer at least 21 breweries, microbreweries and brew pubs and it’s still growing. With the new laws about nanobreweries, I predict beer brewing will continue to expand. Especially since New Hampshire is said to sell the most beer per capita. Looking for something a little bit more family friendly. Homemade soda can also be found here. This is the home of Moxie after all. Check out the links below for the new laws about nanobreweries and New Hampshire’s beer consumption
But now onto my Wednesday night adventure to LaBelle Winery.
LaBelle Winery isn’t a new winery in New Hampshire. It was start over six years ago by Amy LaBelle. In this time, LaBelle has grown and expanded, including their new building which opened on Route 101 in Amherst in October 2012. The new building includes a surrounding vineyard on rolling hills, and outdoor dining area with a large fire pit. The inside is beautifully decorated with a tasting room and gift shop, not limited to just wines but also jellies, chocolate and wine lovers’ gifts. The new building also has a stunning ballroom for functions. The room has already hosted 5 weddings. Check out LaBelle’s website from the link below.
LaBelle’s wines have received over fifty awards for their wines while competing against large scale wineries. Twenty-three wines are offered on the tasting menu and three cooking wines. An $8 tasting fee is required for five one ounce tastings, for an additional $5 you can taste 5 more wines. I tasted five wines. The menu is in order of dry to semi sweet, white to red, and finishes with dessert. So I tried two white, two red and a dessert. The first wine I tried was the Seyval Blanc. I found it refreshing and summery, lightly sweet with a crisp finish. This wine would be great for relaxing around the pool or to enjoy at a summer barbecue. It’s supposed to pair well with fish or creamy pasta dishes. The Apple Cranberry was my next wine of choice. The apples from this wine are from Walpole, New Hampshire and the cranberries from the cape. Thanksgiving turkey would love to be paired with this perfumed slightly sweet wine. My next wine was the Granite State Red. This wine is the best in house seller while the Cranberry wine is the best local wine seller according to my wine serving hostess, who was very charming and informative. The Granite State Red is a blend of a Marchel Foch grape that has been aged on French oak with a touch of blueberry to smooth out the finish. This is a wine I had to take home and enjoy again later. It was a flavorful smooth red that will pair well with grilled meat especially steak! The Virginia Mae Sweet Blueberry was my second red wine tasting. I love blueberry wines and I really enjoyed this one, but what I loved best about this wine is that this wine was named after Amy LaBelle’s aunt. Her aunt had suffered from ALS and now LaBelle’s donates a portion of the money made on the sale of this wine to ALS. My final tasting was the Dulce and all I can say is bring on the apple crisp on a cool fall day!! This wine is fantastic and this is when I got the chance to meet Amy herself. She came out when I tasted the Dulce wine. She was a fascinating woman with her passion for wine. I really enjoying meeting the winemakers and hearing what they think of their wines. Dulce is a hybrid grape variety that is enhanced with cinnamon, vanilla, and New Hampshire maple syrup and it begs for warm apple crisp and a side of ice cream on a crisp autumn day. But what I found most appetizing is the mixed drink recipe LaBelle offers for this wine. I suggest trying it.
Vanilla & Rum Eggnog
2oz LaBelle winery Dulce
2 oz Hood Eggnog
½ oz simple syrup
Dash of Labelle Winery Pure Vanilla
Dash of cinnamon sugar and nutmeg
Blend first five ingredients over ice in a strainer & shake to blend until frothy. Strain into martini glass with sprinkle of cinnamon sugar, nutmeg and a candy cane for fun!
Drink recipes aren’t the only wine instruction they offer. How about dinner ideas? Here’s a recipe they offer using their jalapeno cooking wine:
1 tbsp of olive oil 2 large red onions, chopped
3 tbsp chopped jalapeno with seeds 6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 ½ lbs ground beef 1 tbsp flour, preferably Wondra
¼ cup chili powder 2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt 1 tsp paprika
1 can diced tomatoes 2 15oz cans kidney beans, drained
1 cup LaBelle Winery Jalapeno Pepper wine 1 14oz can beef broth
Optional: sour cream, grated cheese, chopped green onions, chopped cilantro
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion sauté until brown. Add jalapenos and garlic; sauté about a minute. Add beef; sauté until brown, breaking up as it cooks, about 5 minutes. Add flour, chili powder, cumin, salt and paprika, then mix in tomatoes with juice, LaBelle’s Jalapeno Cooking Wine, beans, and broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until chili thickens, Stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. Can be made ahead, keep refrigerated. Serve with toppings.
But with Labelle’s new facility the buck doesn’t stop here. Make sure you check out their website for upcoming event and details. Here’s a list of a few:
Upcoming LaBelle Events
Feb. 20 – Princess K.I.M.: A Path to a Play. Hear how Maryann Cocca-Leffler made her book into a play!
Feb. 27 – Introduction to Wine. Learn from a LaBelle expert
Mar 10 – Winemaker Brunch (Reservation Recommended) An intimate, plated meal, made by winemaker Amy LaBelle
Mar 31 – Easter Brunch (Reservation Recommended) Seasonal delights from our chef, plus an Easter Egg Hunt!
Apr 25 – Beer & Wine Pair with White Birch Brewery
May 2 – Introduction to Winegrowing/ Viticulture. Vineyard Manager & Winemaker teach Grape Growing 101
May 12 – Mother’s Day Brunch (Reservation Recommended) Honor Mom with a delicious meal.
June 6 – Summer Music Series Kickoff. Live music every Thursday night on the terrace.
June 16 – Father’s Day Clambake (Reservation Recommended)
Looks like New Hampshire will be enjoying a good deal of snow Friday. So this is just a friendly reminder to give your plow guy a call and take Friday off. Stay home with the family and watch New Hampshire get a fresh blanket of snow while sipping some hot chocolate by the fire. Check out the link below for Super Secret Projects song Plow Guy.
So while looking up items and information for future blogs, I came across an article in NH Magazine “Find Out What’s Sexy About New Hampshire” that I got quite the laugh from so I had to share it with you. I never knew NH was such a sexy state. Hahaha!