Can you feel it? That’s love in the air. The love of local food. We just loved putting together our Holiday Gift Guide and thought it would be lovely to do the same for Valentine’s Day. And once again a lucky reader will win this entire basket. We chose items that we thought celebrated this much-hyped “holiday” in a slightly different way. Sure, we’ve got some token chocolate, but we tried to think a bit out of the heart-shaped box too, all the while celebrating some wonderful North Carolina purveyors.
Foothills Brewing Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout
This is one sexy lady. Foothills Brewing releases this vintage annually, to much fanfare. The night before the release (which was this past weekend) Foothills throws a pre-release party. The party then heads outside where people literally camp out to be one of the first to get their hands on a coveted bottle. The Foothills team encourages the fun with swag. Then the doors open at 8:00 am with the tap flowing (with breakfast even) and then bombers go on sale at 9:00 am. Foothills Marketing Director Ray Goodrich says, “it’s really a fun party. And it’s become such an experience that it’s gone from a craft beer tradition to ‘Winston-Salem tradition’.” You can get Sexual Chocolate at the tasting room and at the pub and most local beverage stores for a limited time (and often limited sales customer). What to pair it with? Foothills’ Dave Goliszek says, “Grilled meats because the char of the meat pairs with the roasted barley. But also any dessert that would go great with coffee. Think molten lava cake or especially a raspberry cheesecake because the bitterness cuts the sweet, just like coffee.” foothillsbrewing.com
Cloister Honey (Ghost Pepper)
Why not add a little heat to your night? Produced in Charlotte, Cloister Honey’s Ghost Pepper was named Southern Living Magazine’s Honey of the Year. The honey is many a favorite of chefs around the state. Ghost Pepper will bring a bit of heat to your flavor party. How we love it….Drizzled over some goat cheese or brie, it has a sweet and spicy kick to jazz up whatever it touches. Or warm it up and drizzle it over a pizza with some arugula and pancetta or sopressata. Owners Randall York and Joanne Delarionda have also dressed up their other honeys with lavender, bourbon, vanilla, cocoa and cinnamon. If you are not quite sure what to do with your flavored honey, they can help you with that. Says Randall, “We have recipes on our website that are easy and the flavors are very interchangeable.” You can take a look at the full line of honeys on their site and find it on the shelves of several local retailers. Savory Spice Shop in Greensboro for one, almost always has a good variety. cloisterhoney.com
Two Triangles Sparkling Wine
The signature sparkling from Carolina’s Vineyards & Hops. We’ve featured CV & H before as the destination to enjoy North Carolina Wine and craft beer with local menu items like charcuterie and panini, plus desserts. In addition to the celebrated vineyards across the state, CV & H produces their own line called Two Triangles. This sparkling is is one of the first wines they created and bar manager Ashley Jones says it’s a top seller. “This wine is a toast and tribute to North Carolina. It’s not too sweet and not too dry and a reminder of how balanced our state is from the mountains to the coast and the two triangles that represent the Triad and Triangle.” This wine features tropical flavors, peach and honeysuckle and a hint of effervescence. What we love it with….artisanal cheeses like a creamy brie or something spicy with jalapeno. Chorizo would be marvelous, as would a great spicy curry dish. 111 S. Marshall Street, Winston-Salem; carolinasvineyardsandhops.com
Named after the town in Western, NC because it’s home to one of the premiere folk art colleges in the country (John C. Campbell Folk School). Brasstown Chocolate’s founders Rom Still and Barbara Price wanted the name to be a reflection of the artistry of their chocolate. Still is an award-winning chocolatier tempering and molding handcrafted chocolate in Winston-Salem since 2010, when it simply started out as a hobby. His bars have won International Chocolate awards for the past few years running. We love this chocolate because of the complex flavors imparted by the native region from which the bean hails. Our winner will enjoy Ecuador, awarded the Whole Foods Market Good Food Award and the bronze winner in the 2015 International Chocolate Awards. The bar is made from organic Nacional beans from Manabi and has flavors that are more floral than fruit, with spice and the natural taste of honey. These bars average $8 retail. Obviously meant to be savored. brasstownchocolate.com
Granny Roselli’s Pasta Sauce & Pasta Wench Fettuccini
What’s more decadent and romantic than light, handmade pasta topped with a satisfying and rich pasta sauce passed down from generations? There’s just something about this simple Italian dish that says “romance.” And not because of Lady and the Tramp. But feel free to do that, when no one’s looking on your date night in. Maybe it’s the twirling of the pasta. Of course it’s definitely the red. Granny Roselli’s pasta sauce is made in Surry County and inspired by Daisy Roselli, who owned Sunny Italy Restaurant in Wilkes County for years before her passing a few years ago. Now, her son, John, keeps the tradition alive. Pasta Wench All Natural Gourmet Pasta (formerly of Boone) is now made right here in the Triad, on site at Musten & Crutchfield in Kernersville. Our winner will enjoy Original flavor but when you see this pasta (available at locally-owned markets), check out their other flavors like Chocolate or Cabernet, Wild Chipotle or Black Pepper. It’s mostly available in noodle form but they are working on a ravioli to be available soon. Granny Roselli’s Pasta Sauce, Salad Dressing and her famous Seasoning Blend are available at area supermarkets, as well as Musten & Crutchfield.
For more info about Pasta Wench, visit the online store, pastawench.com
Tart Sweets Macarons
Special for Valentine’s Day, Tart Sweets Boutique bakery and coffee shop created these lovely conversation hearts with messages of love for your sweetie. Why we love them? Have you seen them? They’re adorable. And crazy deliciously, crispy light and creamy. You’ll find all kinds of yummy confections at Tart Sweets, in addition to bourbon cherries, chocolate dipped stemmed berries, and other delights. Not to mention rows of French macarons filled with flavors only limited by pastry chef, Chelsea Tart’s imagination. Our winner will love their gift card to customize their selection.
848 W. 5th Street, #110, Winston-Salem tartsweets.com
As always, reach out to us if you know of a product that deserves to be loved and gifted, maybe you’ll see it in a future guide. If you want to get your hands on Valentine’s Day basket, follow us on our Facebook page to learn how you can win! The winner will be announced on Friday, February 12. And be sure to watch WFMY’s Good Morning Show at 6:45am on Friday as I share this on live TV!