Single-vineyard wines + single-estate chocolate a fortuitous pairing.
Single sourcing seems to be a thing these days — single-vineyard wines and single-estate coffee, tea and now chocolate are capturing connoisseurs’ fancy. Boulder’s Settembre Cellars hosts a Valentines Weekend pairing of four of its own single-vineyard wines with four sweet bites of Boulder’s Fortuna Chocolates — two bonbons made with single-estate cacao and two ganaches.
I’m familiar with Settembre Cellars’ traditional, Italian-inspired wines, and I learned about Fortuna from a Daily Camera piece called “For the Love of Chocolate.” The take-away is that cacao beans grown in the shade of mango trees possess unique flavor characteristics that have captivated the trio that runs Fortuna Chocolate in its “mobile chocolate lab,” which is a glamorous way of describing a trailer
Frankly, this might all be too subtle for me, but I will rely on the refined tastebuds of those who can judge the merits of single-sourced chocolate or, for that matter, single-vineyard wines. Meanwhile, I do know that nothing says Valentines Day like the combo of wonderful wine and divine chocolate, regardless of the provenance. The Settembre Cellars tasting room is hosting this inspired local pairing this weekend — Saturday and Sunday, February 13-14 from 1 to 4 p.m. The cost is $17 online or $19 at the door. The tasting room is at 1501 Lee Hill Road, Boulder.
When I read the Thrillist.com headline, “The 21 Best Coffee Roasters in the Country,” I idly wondered which Boulder or Denver roaster would be on the list. Answer is “none” — or “one, sort of.” Sweet Bloom is the only Colorado roaster to make the list. It’s located in Lakewood, but its bags say “Denver.”
Lakewood, CO The bean: San Adolfo Colombia (floral, berry, nougat)
Most roasters are proud to have visited the farms they source their coffee from, but Sweet Bloom takes it a step further by actually inviting its farmers to its Lakewood, CO headquarters to taste the fruits of their labor, which happen to be roasted by a guy who’s taken home first or second in nearly all of the most important competitions in coffee. The roasts skew lighter than average, with an emphasis on sweetness (go figure) and floral aromatics. Word on the street is that Colombian beans are the move, but it’s hard not to try the Guatemalans once you hear the story of the third-generation farmers behind the crop.
Among other titles, Denver star chef Troy Guard is described as the “Broncos chef,” so it is fitting that he created a big burger as a run-up to Sunday’s Super Bowl. But unless you are flying somewhere, you’ll have to go to the airport to try it — and you’ll have to hurry. The $14.50 “Bronco Burger” will be exclusively served at Lefty’s Colorado Trails, Lefty’s Mile High and Lefty’s Front Range within the Denver International Airport — and only through Super Bowl Sunday, February 7.
The 7-ounce bison burger is topped with Tillamook cheddar cheese, sautéed onions, roasted jalapenos, smoky aioli and is served on a toasted pretzel bun. A problem for burger-loving Broncos fans is that all three are on DIA’s airside, meaning that burger lovers have to pass through security in order to enjoy this short-run burger. But Guard does know his burgers, event though nothing similar appears on the menus of TAG Burger Bar in Congress Park or Highlands. Sigh.
Settembre Cellars puts a colorful spin on wine tastings.
I didn’t pay too much attention to the adult coloring book phenomenon until I heard a piece about it on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” and now, I notice the fad/fashion/trend all over the place.
Blake and Tracy Eliasson, the owners of Settembre Cellars, also noticed. The winery in north Boulder hosts adult coloring sessions every Sunday afternoon from 1 to 6 p.m. Participants can bring their own coloring books or make a selection from Settembre’s library. While they’re coloring, guests can enjoy they winery’s elegant and balanced wines, available by the glass or flight — or bottle (to take home). I just wonder whether people get wilder as they imbibe — or whether they have problems staying within the lines. If they do, they probably don’t really care.
The tasting room is open Thursdays through Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to bring picnic fare while they sample the wines. 1501 Lee Hill Road, #16, Boulder; 303-532-1892.
Expanded, enhanced branch of Boulder restaurant in Ballpark area.
When they selected February 1, sisters Bo Bean and Arisa Chanchokpong didn’t pick the most auspicious day to open Aloy Modern Thai, an uptick from their Boulder eatery. Big snows are forecast for this evening, and I’m not sure what the chefs they’ve brought in from Asia will make of it. But snow melts and warm weather will arrive, and by then, I’m guessing that Denverites will have come to appreciate Aloy’s food, as Boulderites have taken to the original. Smaller than the Denver location and set in a Boulder strip mall, it certainly is one of the best in town.
I got a chance to sample an infinite procession of dishes during a media preview last week on an evening mild enough for a pleasant walk from the 16th Street Mall. Located in in the former Trillium space on Larimer Street, its decorative makeover was largely cosmetic. In addition to Thai classics, there is a definite Japanese undercurrent that appears here and there on the menu.
Guests were presented with 18 courses along with sips of a like number of excellent and unusual beverages to match. Even with modest tasting samples. The menu boasts of a farm-to-table connection and lists farms from which they source seasonal ingredients are sourced. The food was dazzling. Here goes with a sample of the sampling, as it were:
Tomorrow, January 30 and every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., a Winter Farmers Market is taking place in the Opera Galleria in downtown Fort Collins. I’m chagrinned that I just learned about these winter markets that run weekly from November until April. I haven’t been to one — yet — so no personal experience here.
Organizers suggest: “Start your day with a cup of coffee and a breakfast burrito from Wild Boar Cafe (located in booth 57) next to the NoCo Food Cluster/Market Bucks table, and then get all your shopping done with our great market vendors. We have fresh produce, meat eggs, honey, bread & pastries, wine, sangria, kombucha, teas, and tons of other locally produced foods, crafts, body care and jewelry. Find your favorite vendor on our interactive map.” 123 North College Avenue, Fort Collins.
Denver’s Bistro Charlotte makes these filled treats.
Once upon a time, there was a cafe in Boulder that made divine pierogis, filled dumplings that could bring gustatory sunshine to a rare Colorado gloomy day. I wrote about them here, but that now is a nostalgic essay rather than a description, because the Eggcredible Cafe is no more.
I just received a heads-up message from Charlotte Pistek, whose frozen pierogis are available in high-end markets around the metro area. Preparing them takes less time than driving across town. Three flavors (traditional Potatoes and Cheese with Sautéed Onions, Kraut & Sautéed Mushroom Potato and the Colorado-inspired Cheddar with Roasted Jalapeño) are sold under the Bistro Charlotte label, though there appears to be no brick-and-mortar bistro. Amanda Faison of 5280 Magazine has tried them and recommended them, so that’s good enough for me. She wrote:
Look to most any corner of the world and you’ll find a dumpling. Japan has the gyoza, Nepal the momo, Italy the ravioli, and Russia the pelmeni. But to many, the ultimate dumpling is the supremely comforting pierogi. The Polish finger food is usually stuffed with a starchy combo of mashed potato and cheese or potato and sauerkraut. A good pierogi is worth hunting for, especially as winter weather blasts us with cold and snow.
Enter Bistro Charlotte, Denverite Anna Postek’s boutique pierogi company. Postek began making and selling her own dumplings when she couldn’t find the quality she was looking for in the market. “Everything is so processed now,” Postek says. She looked in old books and pestered her Polish mother and family members and friends’ family members until she came up with a pierogi recipe that “is something like what used to be made.”
Postek works every batch from scratch using organic eggs and flour, and the results yield excellent chewy dough stuffed with creamy, satisfying fillings. She sells her Bistro Charlotte pierogi (there are three varieties: potatoes and cheese with sautéed onions, kraut and sautéed mushroom, and potato and cheddar with roasted jalapeño) at Marczyk Fine Foods, Whole Foods, and Sawa Meat & Sausage. The pierogi are so good, we keep a box or two in the freezer for a quick lunch, dinner, or anytime snack.
At Home Tip: We like serving the potato and cheese pierogi with balsamic-red onion jam.
Claire Walter's Colorado-oriented but not Colorado-exclusive blog about restaurants, food and wine events, recipes and related news. For address of any restaurant, click on the Zomato icon at the end of the post.