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Category: Holidays

California Wine Country Fun for the Non-Drinkers

Award-winning VJB Cellars in Kenwood, California is the perfect place to take a friend or loved one who enjoys great food and good company but not necessarily wine! Non-wine drinkers can enjoy a beautiful visit to wine country at VJB Vineyard & Cellars which was created as a gathering place for all.  Located in downtown Kenwood, in the heart of Sonoma County wine country, a visit to VJB is akin to enjoying an afternoon in a bustling piazza in Italy. From the outdoor wood burning pizza oven and live opera music on weekends to the sweet little gelato and...

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Game Day Eats and Treats

Score major points with delicious dishes If the crew is coming over to root for your favorite team, it may be time to spice up the menu. Whether you’re hosting the weekend get-together or watching the game after work, switch up your typical spread and serve something new to leave your guests cheering for more. When it comes to choosing an ingredient that can lend a winning assist to nearly any dish and score you some major points, look no further than California Ripe Olives. Variety is key when mapping out food for a crowd, regardless of the event....

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Chocolate for Valentine’s Day: The Food of Love?

Shakespeare suggested that music was the food of love, but judging by the tens of thousands of heart-shaped boxes presented to wives and sweethearts on Valentine’s Day, that honor should be shared with chocolate. Not only is chocolate delicious, it has been celebrated as a food that holds the promise of significant health benefits similar to those in red wine and green tea. Like wine and green tea, cocoa beans are rich in flavonoids–phytochemicals (plant compounds) with powerful antioxidant properties. While the research on chocolate’s benefits may be relatively new, it has had a long and distinguished history. Ancient...

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Twice-As-Nice Holiday Treats

With 334 days leading up to December, make the most of the season by enjoying the holiday’s quintessential flavors like gingerbread, peppermint and cinnamon – with double the festive treats to please every taste. Transform one vibrant holiday flavor into two festive treats that family and friends are sure to love. Nothing signals the holiday season like the sweet and spicy snap of gingerbread. Enjoy this must-have flavor in freshly baked Gingerbread Men Cookies or a Triple Chocolate Gingerbread cake. Peppermint offers a refreshing, sweet taste that’s perfect for gifted treats like Peppermint Crunch Popcorn and Peppermint Bars. Also,...

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Sparkling Wine and Spirits Gift & Cocktail Ideas for the Holidays

Holiday parties and celebrations are all around! Sparkling wine, spirits and cocktails are a must when entertaining. Here are some holiday cocktail recipes you won’t want to miss! Best buys are included below. Cheers!  Simple sparkling wine and spirits cocktails recipes for single-serves and crowds. Sparkling Holiday Punch   A bubbly and festive addition to all holiday festivities. 8 oz. Chambord Liqueur 8 oz. Cranberry Juice 2 chilled bottles Korbel Brut Cranberries Pour ingredients into a large punch bowl or pitcher and stir. Top with raspberries or cranberries. Herbarium Holiday Pitcher A refreshing and light break from heavy holiday indulgences. 4...

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Global Etiquette: Holiday Gifting/Re-Gifting

It’s the time of year that can be challenging for most of us—who, what and how much to gift for the holidays. I’ve many of my own thoughts, but I came across Sharon Schweitzer’s list of 10 rules of holiday gift giving etiquette and she makes excellent points covering most situations. Sharon, is an international etiquette expert, author, and founder of Access to Culture. When discussing gift etiquette opinions are all over the place. For me, it is important to stick to a budget and choose gifts for the individual, not by the dollars you spend. Most people discover...

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The Best Holiday Displays in California

During the holidays, some of the most luxurious hotels in California have constructed the largest and most spectacular gingerbread houses and holiday displays that are featured throughout the lobby and hotel.  Here are the best of the best: Montage Beverly Hills Guests and visitors at the Montage Beverly Hills are dazzled with multiple brightly lit trees, a menorah, and life-size sleigh with mistletoe above to sneak a memorable kiss. Life-size nutcracker soldiers made of fondant stand at attention in the lobby of the hotel. The Montage Beverly Hills is offering special programs for the entire family. Younger guests can...

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Luxury Experiences and Rare Goods Are Top Gifts for the Wealthy

With the official holiday season in full swing, the time has come to start shopping for loved ones, but what happens if that person is a millionaire who already has the world at their fingertips? MillionaireMatch, the largest and original millionaire dating site with over 3.5 million singles, surveyed its members and discovered some of the top gift ideas for the holidays. “No matter the income bracket, it really is the thought that counts,” said Katherine, spokesperson for the world’s largest millionaire dating site, MillionaireMatch.com. “It’s just that sometimes that thought comes with a price tag.” Here are the top...

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Feliz Navidad From Isla Cozumel

Celebrating Christmas in the tropics promised to be a grand family adventure with no snow, no tree, no turkey, no stuffing and zero stress. During the traditional season of gift giving, Cozumel was the present we gave to ourselves! Cozumel’s Tormentos Reef “That was one of the best dives I’ve ever done!”, Kathryn proclaimed after surfacing at Cozumel’s Tormentos Reef. Comprised of coral pinnacles towering approximately 20 to 30 feet high and interspersed with wide, sandy areas. The colorful coral heads are adorned with purple and orange sponges, brain and whip corals. Tormentos is a veritable ocean garden where...

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Go Beyond Pecan Pie this Holiday Season

  When deciding which dishes to serve this year at holiday gatherings, consider going beyond traditional recipes and use beloved seasonal ingredients in new ways. For example, while pecan pie is top of mind for many dessert-makers, it’s also a perfect time to make new dishes with an ingredient like pecans, also known as The Original Supernut. Naturally sweet and nutritious, the pecan lends itself to nearly endless holiday menu inspiration. It hasn’t been an easy year for the pecan industry, but you can support American pecan growers and #PledgePecans – that’s a promise to add one more pecan-friendly...

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Holiday Baking and Wine Pairings

There are few holiday traditions as sweet as baking a selection of treats to share with family and friends. This is especially true for the California winemaking family the Mondavis as it is for families across America. As the season begins, Janice Mondavi, wife of third-generation CK Mondavi and Family co-proprietor Marc Mondavi and their four daughters, Angelina, Alycia, Riana and Giovanna, always set aside time to gather for an afternoon of holiday baking. Their Grandma Rosa was an incredible cook, and the tradition continues through the generations. It should surprise no one that in this household, instead of...

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4 Favorite Dishes You Didn’t Know Pair with Champagne

While you may think of Champagne as just for toasting, experts point out that it can actually be quite food-friendly. “Champagnes with a higher proportion of Chardonnay in their blends — such as the signature style of Champagne Taittinger — can be particularly versatile when it comes to food pairings,” says Chicago-based sommelier, Belinda Chang. For this purpose, Chang recommends the family-owned and operated champagne house, which offers a distinctive, light and delicate style, a longer aging period before release and sustainable production processes. “Every self-respecting foodie and wine geek knows to pair Champagne with a towering icy plateau...

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