A former boyfriend once mentioned Gary Chapman's book The Five Languages of Love. While I never read the book I did do a little web research and think that his categories of how people express themselves and expect others to act actually hold some merit. The 5 categories are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. He had brought it up to explain his desire to do something or other helpful for me (not being one who accepts help well -- I am working on it).
I bring it up because I am not a very good gift giver. It is definitely not one of my superpowers and I am sure I have left friends and lovers disappointed but occasionally I will try especially when I know someone is giving me a gift and the gesture needs reciprocation. But remember with this "love language" it is all about the thought behind the gift, so just getting anything won't do. For Christmas, after much agonizing on what to get my beau, I finally figured out the perfect gift. He enjoys wine as much as I do and speaks wistfully of "retiring" to run a winery in Virginia. So, I got him a wine making experience at the now defunct Carafe Wines. This is pretty much the cake mix version of wine making but a fun experience nonetheless. We ended up with 30 bottles of wine that will make a debut here once they recover from bottle shock. A quick review of my camera card would seem that something has happened to the few pictures that I managed to take on the day of bottling as I was busy corking, foiling and labeling the bottles in I Love Lucy fashion. (That might explain the crooked labels.) Here is the mixing of the wine with the winemaker and beau adding yeast and wood chips to the juice.
We headed out after bottling to find something a little less young to drink and headed up to Le Tastevin in the former Old Town tasting room for Prince Michel Vineyard and Winery. On our way there, we passed the former site of Banana Tree, an import housewares shop. The windows were covered with craft paper but the door was open and a poster announced the arrival of Olio Tasting Room. The owner, Penny Willimann, seeing us poking around, invited us in and gave us samples (shown left) of Garlic Roasted Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Mango Balsamic Vinegar. I am excited to share that Olio Tasting Room will be having their grand opening open house on Saturday, July 16, 2011. Stop by and check out the oils and vinegars or pick up some Bombolini pasta from a family owned business in Richmond. It is sure to be worth the visit.
In the meantime, I used my samples to whip up a refreshing summer salad of cucumbers, tomatoes and feta cheese.
- 2 cups chopped cucumber
- 2 cups chopped cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 1/2 tsp roasted garlic EVOO
- 1 1/2 tsp mango balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar (unflavored) '
- salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients and enjoy as a side dish or even an afternoon snack.