In Vino Veritas: The Truth About Homemade Wine

Jules EspositoIn South Philadelphia, bottles of homemade wine flow freely as hostess gifts and gracious thank yous from friends and family. Most of them have three things in common:

  1. The gifter thinks highly of you to share their precious stash.
  2. You must be incredibly grateful for their generous gift and enjoy it, or at least pretend to love it.
  3. It will almost certainly be more palatable as salad dressing than wine.

Jules Esposito, Jr. is determined to change the perception that homemade wine is nothing more than glorified vinegar. Jules is our cousin, and far from the average twenty-something. By day, he works alongside his family at Esposito’s Porchetta (1627 S. 10th St., Philadelphia, PA 19148). You may have enjoyed their sandwiches at any number of festivals in the area. In his free time, he crafts delicious homemade wines. Read the rest of this entry »


Eric Miller – The Vintner’s Apprentice

Eric Miller: author, wine enthusiast, lover of life!

I had the opportunity last Saturday to chat with Eric Miller – author of ‘The Vintner’s Apprentice’ and lover of all things wine. He was here at Fante’s discussing wine, signing copies of his book, and chatting with customers about…well, everything! Here are some highlights from our conversation:

What can blog readers learn from your book?
The book isn’t some technical in-depth and serious text book. It’s for people who are curious about wine, who love to drink wine and want to know WHY wines taste the way they do. It was very important at the beginning of writing the book that it appealed to all types of wine enthusiasts. Sure, there is technical information in the book for those that want that in-depth information, but also has interesting information about different types of wine, the grapes used for different wines, and again, why they taste the way they do.

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Home Soda Makers

Let’s start this week’s edition of Toque Tips with a little game: What ties these three things together? Plants absorb it, human beings release it, and it’s an essential ingredient to any refreshing carbonated beverage. Did you say Carbon Dioxide?

Drinks made with SodastreamWith Sodastream’s carbonating system, you can harbor the scientific power of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) right in your kitchen to create your own sparkling concoctions. This easy-to-use contraption uses a specially designed CO2 cartridge to quickly and easily carbonate water.

If seltzer is your go-to beverage, your drink is ready after one push of the button! But if you’re like me and prefer a fruity flavor or cola taste, it’s easy to add some extra zing to your drink with Sodastream syrups. For more at-home fun, try your hand at making different flavor mixtures. A personal favorite of mine is rhubarb syrup.

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Summer Drinks and Cocktails

Cocktail RanchOur anticipation for the hot summer days conjures visions of freshly-squeezed lemonade, sweet sun-brewed tea, and refreshing cocktails like mojitos, mimosas, and so forth. A full glass, a comfy chair in the sun, stylish shades, and a good book – these are the things summer dreams are made of.

Squeeze a few lemons, brew a quart of tea, and (if you’re up for it) add a little vodka or rum. Preparing summer drinks can be as easy as a summer breeze.

Whether you’re throwing a backyard barbeque or just wanting our own little slice of heaven, we have a couple special drinks in mind for you, and some handy tools.

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Home Juicers

Cucumber Celery Apple Juice* – click for recipe!

Take a good hard look at your weekly shopping list. How many fruits and vegetables are on there? If not very many, you’re not alone. While a recent survey found that Americans are better at it than we were five years ago, many of us still aren’t eating enough fresh fruits and vegetables. One way to introduce more fresh foods into your diet is through juicing.

Freshly juiced fruits and veggies are a steadily growing trend in this country, and with the many associated health benefits it’s easy to see why. Juicing can improve your cardiovascular and heart health, detoxify your liver, improve your immune system, increase your energy levels, and more. Juicing alone won’t instantly make you healthier or drop twenty pounds, as is sometimes claimed, but it can be an important component of improving your overall health when incorporated into an active lifestyle.

Did you know that juicing is nearly as healthy as eating whole fruits and vegetables?

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Macchinetta Madness

Bubbling Moka Espresso BrewEspresso can seem a bit complicated to a beginner. Many of us simply walk into the corner coffee shop, order a $5 brew, and wander out still wallowing in ignorance as to what “espresso” actually means.

There is a simple, fast, and inexpensive way to make espresso at home: the stovetop espresso maker, commonly called “macchinetta” or “moka”.

Coffee drinkers have taken much more interest in sourcing, roasting and brewing in recent years. Through all of that, the classic macchinetta has remained widely popular – even if it was inspired by a washing machine. This elegant coffee maker features a compact iconic design, takes little energy to produce coffee, and is very simple to operate.

And it’s tiny; anyone who has lived in a small city apartment can attest to the importance of counter space. Stovetop espresso makers are probably the most cost- and space-efficient way to achieve flavorful espresso at home.

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The Fab Five: Valentine’s Day Cocktails

Finding the perfect cocktail is like finding true love; it requires a lot of persistence and leaves you a bit woozy at the end.

Twist 'n Sparkle

Bubbly times await!

So why not combine the two? Valentine’s Day is a great time to experiment with cocktails – there’s no better time than with your Valentine to try out some new drinks.

We can’t point to one dreamy drink as the template for all Valentine’s Day dinners. Rather, we wanted to spread the love around to what we think are the Top 5 Best Drink ideas for Valentine’s Day.

For your bubbly Valentine: Sparkling Long Island Iced Tea (adapted from the Twist n’ Sparkle)

Inspired both by New York and our upcoming in-store demo of the Twist n’ Sparkle system, the Long Island Iced Tea is a drink known historically for it’s combination of potency and flavor. True-to-form, the only ingredients are spirits and a bit of soda!

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