Light Whites for Spring Delights

Fearlessly springing forward, onward to brighter days and warmer weather, it’s time to emerge from hibernation at last. Blossoming alongside the flowers, as tender green buds unfurl their fragrant sails into the wind, is the urge to raise a glass in celebration. The crisp, clean, refreshing flavors of white wine are exactly what the season calls for.

Explore the world of nuanced, diverse white wines right at home through the carefully curated selection from Wine Access. Unique, rare, yet surprisingly affordable bottles perfect for the season can be unlocked with the turn of a corkscrew. Whites are my first pick when opting for a sophisticated sip, but I still don’t know the first thing about selecting the best bottle. That’s why this kind of rigorous vetting is invaluable; it’s impossible to pick a dud from this exclusive roster.

What makes a great white wine at this time of year? For food pairings, it should play nicely with delicate green vegetables, mild proteins, and sweet citrus, while still offering some substance and body. It should be cool, but not cold, for those evenings when there is still a bit of a nip in the air.

Starting the party with a bang, a velvety curtain of fine bubbles lifts with the first sip of this NV Langlois-Chateau Cremant de Loire Brut Loire Valley. Crafted like a fine champagne, it unfolds in layers, leading with acidity reminiscent of grapefruit that morphs into notes of tart green apple, finishing with a crisp, mineral bite. Pair with an elegant starter like creamy asparagus and coconut soup to best compliment these bold bubbles. It helps to cut the richness, while harmonizing with the bright citrus notes and subtle vegetal sweetness.

Herbaceous notes of tarragon and the tropical twang of kiwi and pineapple set the 2018 Kinfolk Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley apart from the pack. Pleasantly grassy, yet slightly floral with a hint of jasmine, it’s unlike any other white I’ve encountered. Lingering long after each taste, the surprisingly assertive flavor can stand up to stronger dishes, like the funky blue cheese on a classic wedge salad.

When you want a juicy, luscious white wine that’s as sumptuous in the glass as it is on the plate, look no further than the 2018 Tinpot Hut Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand. Dazzlingly acidic with a sharp nose combining lemons, lychees, and limes, it’s strong enough to take the heat in the kitchen. Fiddlehead scampi positively sings with this vibrant, fruit-forward infusion. Naturally, those fickle ferns can be a bit tough to find early in the season, so I’m happy to report that it’s just as delicious with your garden variety zucchini, too. Fava beans or artichoke hearts would be equally delicious substitutions, verdant and elegant, ideal for tangling around al dente strands of pasta.

Just like the season itself, this is just the beginning. Wine Access has so much more to offer for every occasion, even if it’s just an evening at home. Revel in the warmer weather and raise a glass to the bounty of spring produce making a triumphant return on the table. For a limited time, you can get 15% off your purchase by exploring this collection, and shipping is included for all orders over $120 or 6 bottles or more. Leap into spring to greet the sunshine with only the best white wines at hand.

This blog post is sponsored by Wine Access but as always, the opinions and experiences expressed in this post are my own.

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Fealing Better

It’s barely an exaggeration to say that the whole world has gone CBD crazy. The range of infused products is staggering, from shampoo to cough drops, cookie dough to sparkling water. I can personally vouch for the benefits of this natural nootropic. Sometimes the stresses of daily life can become overwhelming, and while it would be nice to run away on a yoga retreat to de-stress, having a little tincture of hemp oil on standby has been a real lifesaver for a quick fix.

I’ve tried many different brands over the years, so when I had the opportunity to try Feals, I was excited. What immediately stood out to me about Feals is their personalized approach. They have a testing flight for $20, which contains 3 samples of different strengths. This is perfect for the CBD newbie, as you can try all 3 (600MG, 1200MG, and 2400MG) before committing to a full sized bottle. Most people don’t know where to start when it comes to hemp-derived products, be it how much to take or when to take it. If you’re uncertain about how hemp might affect you, this trial flight is an easy introduction. Experience firsthand what a lesser or greater dosage feels like, without any risk, to figure out what works best for your unique brain chemistry.

My favorite thing about hemp is that it doesn’t cause a drastic, sudden change in mood. It’s much more subtle, slowly soothing and calming over the span of about 45 minutes. For those times when you’re stuck in a rut, in a sad downward spiral, it can be just the little push to get you out and get on with the day.

Improved mental health is the primary reason why I turn to Feals, but it can have many other beneficial uses, too. Products containing hemp oil have been shown to also help alleviate chronic headaches, muscle pain, inflammation, and other physical ailments.

Scientifically speaking, THC, the oil that is extracted from the hemp plant, is the ingredient that makes you feel calmer. The highest amount of THC you’ll find in any hemp product is under 0.3%. The trace amounts will not leave you feeling out of it, but just generally more at ease. I’m able to take a couple of drops during the day and still be fully functional, not the least bit groggy.

The great thing about hemp oil is that the effects are cumulative the more you take it. The only downside is the taste, which is every bit as appealing as cannabis smells. You can always mix a few drops into your morning coffee or smoothie to mask the intense grassy flavor.

Reaping the full rewards of hemp oil is all about finding the dosage that works for you. Feals is ideal for just that reason. When you find your optimal strength, their full sized tinctures last a long time because they’re so concentrated that you only need a couple of drops at once. Feals is a convenient, affordable way to start trying CBD without making blind leap of faith; the results will speak for themselves.

The folks at FEALS are extending a special offer to BitterSweet readers! Sign up for a membership and get 30% off your order, every time!

Seeds of Revolution

Ben & Jerry’s is making headlines so fast, you could get whiplash trying to keep up with these two men. No sooner than I hit “publish” on what I thought would be the ice cream review of the of the year, or at least of the season, did a brand new press release come flying through my inbox. Thrown in there as if it was a second thought, a little note to just slip under the door while no one was home, turned out to be a bombshell.

Beyond announcing another flavor, this was a brand new base entirely, never before seen in commercial ice cream production.

Sunflower butter.

No nuts, no dairy, pure indulgence.

If you were a fan of the original almond milk line from Ben & Jerry’s, you’re going to be disappointed… Because you’ll be deeply displeased that the entire range of flavors can’t be upgraded to this new base instead.

Almonds have enjoyed mainstream success for their established identity as wholesome, fairly neutral carriers of good fats and creamy textures. Sunflower seeds are the underdogs, with all those positive qualities, but none of the recognition. Masterfully blended with decadent flavors and extravagant mix-ins, I personally would have never guessed the seedy underbelly supporting it all. Not a hint of nuttiness, no matter how carefully I tasted, came though above the intended indulgences.

Coming this summer, keep an eye out for these three sensations that will rock your local freezer aisle and scoop shops:

“Milk” & Cookies (vanilla with chocolate chip cookies, chocolate sandwich cookies, and chocolate cookie swirls):

Delightful doughy bites swimming in a frozen pool of non-dairy milk, slowly returning to a more liquid state, coating each morsel in a luscious cloak of thickened cream. Huge chunks of sandwich cookies jut out of every other spoonful, as if they hadn’t even been chopped before being loaded into the pint. The end effect is neither vanilla nor chocolate, but somehow, all the best components of the two all at once.

Crème Brûlée Cookie (burnt caramel with brown sugar cookies and salted caramel swirls):

Dirty blonde with a dark, mysterious edge, this complex little vixen is my new obsession. Though it sounds like a straight shot of sugar in a waffle cup, it manages an impressive level of balance with subtly bitter, lightly salted caramel, toasted and nutty, perfectly complimenting the seeded base. The interplay between gooey swirl and soft, fudgy molasses-flecked cookies makes every bite exciting, right down to the bottom of the carton.

Mint Chocolate Cookie (mint with chocolate sandwich cookies):

Fresh, bright, sweet peppermint cradles a fine mist of crumbled wafer cookies, interspersed by enormous cookie boulders. Treading the fine line between rich and refreshing, the overall experience is solidly one of indulgence.

These seeded pints are being added to the current dairy-free offerings, making 17 flavors in all for the truly lactose intolerant to raise a spoon to.

Binge-Worthy

Curling up on the couch to watch big ticket movies on the small screen is quite arguably America’s favorite pastime. Theaters are hurting as ticket sales plummet and uneaten popcorn goes stale, but it’s hard to compete with the instant gratification of home viewing. “Netflix and chill” is more than a libidinous euphemism, but a genuinely innocent evening activity, as 158 million global subscribers would agree.

Well, I don’t have a couch, nor a TV, but I do have a cozy queen-sized bed and fully charged smart phone. While movie night at Chez Hannah looks a bit different than most, it’s no less glorious of an event. Of course, snacks are a mandatory, essential element, no matter how how late the featured flick drags on. Unlike concession stand limitations, having a full kitchen at my disposal allows for every craving to be satisfied, hot off the stove or fresh from the freezer.

Naturally, as I work on my seventh cookbook, this one all about ice cream, I find myself wrapped around a frosty pint more often than not. Apparently I’m not the only one with such cool inclinations, though.

Connecting the dots, Ben and Jerry’s has just unleashed an exclusive new flavor, Netflix & Chilll’d, upon the world. Showcasing a peanut butter ice cream with pretzel swirls and fudge brownies, the conventional pint has been released alongside a non-dairy, certified vegan variation!

Not gonna lie, Ben & Jerry’s gave me the full hook up.

  • Fluffy slipper socks? Check.
  • Wireless bluetooth speaker? Check.
  • Double-wide stainless steel spoons? Check.
  • Insulated pillow with built in pint holder and phone stand. Oh CHECK yeah!

It should come as no surprise this dynamic duo knows how to chill, no holds barred.

What really matters most, of course, is the scoop itself. Finely ground pretzel pieces combined with the creamy peanut butter base evoke the sensation of biting into a creamy butterfinger candy bar. Notes of malt linger with each lick, compliments of the burnished pretzel’s surface. Soft brownie chunks give way easily into the ice cream, melting like chewy squares of fudge. Nutty, crunchy, gooey, and decadent above all else, I think the critics would give it a standing ovation, even if they had to crawl out from under the covers to do so.

Full of sweet and salty twists and turns, this pint plays out like a good drama with a happy ending.

All-Access Pass

This blog post is sponsored by Wine Access but as always, the opinions and experiences expressed in this post are my own.

Still feeling a bit depleted following the holiday havoc? The dust has settled and the days of 2020 valiantly soldier on, but something seems to be missing. Plagued by an undefinable emptiness, once spirited conversations suddenly fall flat, marred by a pervasive emptiness. Don’t worry, it’s in your head- It’s simply not in your wine cellar, either! Pouring generous glasses all through December and popping the cork on New Year’s has no doubt depleted your secret stash, leaving the choices for imbibing scant at best.

As a total wine novice, the idea of buying even a single bottle is daunting, let alone a half dozen at once. How do I know I’ll like it? Is a lower-priced option a great value or just plain cheap? If you’re suffering the same sort of dry spell, here’s something to cheer about. The great “Restock Your Cellar Sale” is on at Wine Access, this week only, offering 15% off all Store Wines. These carefully curated bottles are sourced from producers both large and small across the globe, tasted, vetted, and selected from only the best stock.

To the discerning, the undecided, and the dubious alike, Wine Access has done all the hard work of collectively tasting thousands of wines each year to offer only those that exceed expectations typically defined by price. That means you always get the best deals on the best bottles, with a huge variety to pick from, no matter your preference. We’re not just talking about red or white, but a wide selection of affordable rosés, and even fine sakes coming in straight from Japan. If sparkling is more your speed, then you have options bubbling up all over, too!

If the affordable labels give you reverse sticker shock, fear not; there’s no bottom of the barrel, two buck chuck in here. The Wine Access team has spent decades cultivating relationships with producers from the US, Argentina, Chile, France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, and beyond. These personal connections unlock access to the most out-of-reach wines from First Growth Bordeaux estates to Napa cult icons with the longest wait-lists and impossibly rare treasures.

For example, I never would have found out about, let alone tried out, the Crémant de Loire Brut NV that has become a new personal favorite. A juicy white that sparkles with notes of grapefruit and tangerine, it has all the body of a crisp champagne. For fellow novices, each bottle comes with helpful hang tags that include tasting notes and pairing suggestions, along with in-depth descriptions with room to write in your own thoughts. Just add snacks and you’ve got yourself a party waiting to happen!

The Katafune Tokubetsu Honjozo Genshu Niigata is another pick that stands apart from the pack. I’ve never seen it in any restaurants, nor for sale in any other bottle shops. Unlike most brews based on fermented rice, each sip is bold, rich, and strong enough to pair with a hearty, deeply savory meal, like an umami portobello mushroom steak. If you think you don’t like sake, this one just might change your mind.

That’s not even a drop of what’s in store here. Don’t forget, shipping is included on orders over $120 or 6+ bottles, so now is the time to fill up your digital cart. The arrival of those carefully wrapped bottles dropped right at your doorstep will be a reason for celebration in and of itself.

With Wine Access, a world of classic, new, and rare wines awaits the turning of your corkscrew.

Hands-On Probiotics

Change is the only reliable constant when it comes to advice on health and wellness. Young or old, fit or inactive, immune support tends to be a hot topic, especially as colder months creep closer. The once popular antibacterial hand sanitizers that once proliferated in grocery stores, doctor’s offices, and public school alike have suddenly turned into the enemy. It seems that the detrimental effects may outweigh the benefits. By indiscriminately destroying all germs, both good and bad, you may end up with a more fragile immune system that’s less capable of coping with even a mild cold. It makes perfect sense, in hindsight, but turns previous health commonsense preventative care on its head. Without this protective line of self defense, what is one to do?

Probiotics are here to save the day, again, but not in the form you may think.

We’ve all heard of probiotics in our food and our supplements—but what about our hand sanitizer? Desert Essence has changed the probiotic game with their new Probiotic Hand Sanitizers, available in three botanical-infused formulas. While they kill 99.99% of most common harmful germs, they also deliver good bacteria from probiotic-packed vegan-certified kefir. Further differentiating themselves from harsh, old-fashioned options, a few drops actually helps moisturize skin, rather than drying it out.

Available in lightly scented blends of lavender, lemongrass, and simply tea tree oil, any aroma is short lived but refreshing and invigorating when you need it. Cooling upon contact, it’s like a topical palate cleanser, between activities. Best of all, the mini size is perfect for travel, because everyone knows the importance – and difficulty – of staying healthy while on the road or in the sky.

Are you on the probiotic bandwagon yet? Go ahead and rub it in; there are more ways to get your daily dose than yogurt and sauerkraut now!

Use the promo code DEprobioticpower to get 30% off Desert Essence Probiotic Hand Sanitizers by visiting desertessence.com.

This review was made possible as a collaboration with Moms Meet and Desert Essence. My opinions can not be bought and all content is original. This page may contain affiliate links; thank you for supporting my blog!