Meal Ideas 26 March 2019

Wild About Blueberries

Family Features) If you're looking for tasty ways to improve your diet, you're in luck. You can get big taste and big benefits from a little fruit - Wild Blueberries.

The Color Connection

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Eating across the color spectrum is important so you get a variety of nutritional benefits.

Wild Blueberries get their color from naturally occurring phytochemicals, which are primarily responsible for antioxidant activity. Wild Blueberries are antioxidant rich, making them a great choice for their nutritional benefits and disease fighting potential. In fact,

  • USDA studies rank Wild Blueberries highest in antioxidant capacity per serving, compared with more than 20 other fruits including cranberries, strawberries, apples and even cultivated blueberries.
  • Health magazine has named Wild Blueberries high on its list of "America's Healthiest Superfoods for Women," singling out their variety of potential health benefits, including preventing memory loss, improving motor skills, lowering blood pressure, and fighting wrinkles.

Wild Blueberries are available year-round in supermarkets nationwide. Frozen at the peak of ripeness, all the farm-fresh taste and nutritional benefits are locked-in. Most studies show that frozen fruits and vegetables are higher in vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients because they are frozen near the time of harvest.

Great taste, good nutrition and really convenient - no wonder so many people are wild about blueberries. Learn more about this superfruit and get more great recipes at www.wildblueberries.com.

Did You Know?

Wild Blueberries are a different berry from cultivated blueberries. They grow naturally in the fields and barrens of Maine and Canada. They are smaller in size, have a unique sweet-tart taste, and are only available frozen.

Freezer Facts

Here are some of the reasons frozen produce is a perfect option for people looking to fill the pantry with healthy foods all year round.

  • Frozen offers great value when compared to in-season pricing.
  • No aging or spoiling means no waste, saving you money.
  • Frozen produce is ideal for smoothies, entrees, desserts, breakfast, and most recipes that call for blueberries.
  • Frozen Wild Blueberries are thoroughly washed and have no caloric syrups or additives.

Chicken Breast with Sweet and Sour Wild Blueberry Sauce

Prep Time: Approximately 20 minutes
Serves 1

  • 1 6-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 small red pepper
  • 1 small green pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fig jam (or apricot jam)
  • 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sweet and sour chili sauce
  • 2/3 cup frozen Wild Blueberries, thawed and drained
  1. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper. Heat oil in small, non-stick frying pan. Fry chicken breast for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Wash, seed and cut peppers into bite-sized pieces. Cut cooked chicken breast into bite-sized pieces; combine with peppers. Mix jam with balsamic vinegar, sugar and chili sauce. Gently stir in Wild Blueberries.

Wild Blueberry Gingered Lemon Muffins

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Yield: approximately 36 muffins

  • 6 cups cake flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) egg substitute
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 4 cups frozen Wild Blueberries
  • 1/3 cup (3 ounces) crystallized ginger, chopped
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, for topping
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  1. In bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; reserve.
  2. In another bowl beat together buttermilk, egg substitute, 1 1/2 cups sugar and oil; stir into flour mixture just to blend. Fold in Wild Blueberries, ginger and lemon zest.
  3. Scoop 1/4 cup batter into each greased 1/3-cup muffin tin. Sprinkle each muffin with sugar. Bake in 400°F conventional oven or 375°F convection oven 18 to 22 minutes or until firm to the touch. Serve warm.

Wild Blueberry Lemon Jam

Prep Time: 25 to 30 minutes
Yield: about 8 half-pints

  • 5 cups frozen Wild Blueberries
  • 1 package dry pectin
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  1. Crush thawed Wild Blueberries one layer at a time, or chop frozen in food processor.
  2. Combine thawed, crushed Wild Blueberries and pectin in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Stir in grated lemon zest and lemon juice. Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water canner.

Wild Blueberry Ice Cream Pops

Prep Time: Approximately 15 minutes, plus thaw and freezing time
Yield: 6 Pops

  • 1 cup frozen Wild Blueberries
  • 1 ounce milk chocolate chips
  • 2 cups fat-free vanilla frozen
  • yogurt, softened slightly
  • Materials: small wooden or plastic sticks
  1. Thaw Wild Blueberries and purée. In a bowl, combine puréed Wild Blueberries, chocolate and frozen yogurt. Mix thoroughly.
  2. Rinse 6 standard muffin cups with cold water and spoon in Wild Blueberry mixture, dividing it evenly between the cups (silicone muffin cups need not be rinsed first). Place a stick in the center of each "muffin" and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.

Tip: Mixture can also be frozen with plastic sticks in small glasses or espresso cups.

Source:Wild Blueberry Association

Holiday 30 January 2019

Simple Seafood Solutions for Lent

(Family Features) With people across the country observing Lent, a religious tradition observed during the 40 days before Easter, it’s time to rethink the standard family meal menu.

This nearly eight-week period typically calls for a special diet. Specifically, red meat is cut out on Fridays for some and for the entirety of Lent for others. According to Datassential, 26 percent of consumers observe lent and of those, 41 percent said they eat fish on Fridays instead of meat.

Eating two servings of seafood per week – as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans – is one way to make a positive commitment to you and your family’s health during Lent and throughout the year. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, research shows eating seafood 2-3 times per week reduces the risk of death from any health-related cause. Seafood also provides unique health benefits as a lean protein and is a quality source for omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats essential to human health and development.

With so many seafood options available, including Alaskan cod, snapper, salmon and more, it can be easy to incorporate this nutritious lean protein into your diet.

This simple recipe for Blackened Catfish with Quinoa and Citrus Vinaigrette can help you on your way to a more nutritious meal plan that includes consuming seafood twice per week. If you can’t find catfish or prefer to substitute, any white fish such as cod, mahimahi or flounder will work.

For more seafood recipes and Lenten meal inspiration, visit seafoodnutrition.org or follow #Seafood2xWk on social media.
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Blackened Catfish with Quinoa and Citrus Vinaigrette

Recipe courtesy of chef Tim Hughes on behalf of the Seafood Nutrition Partnership
Servings: 4

Blackening Seasoning:

  • 1          tablespoon salt
  • 1          tablespoon pepper
  • 1          tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1          tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1          tablespoon thyme

Quinoa Salad:

  • 1          tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1          cup corn, canned and drained or frozen and thawed to room temperature
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1/2       cup edamame, shelled and thawed to room temperature
  • 3          cups quinoa, cooked

Blackened Catfish:

  • 1          tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1          pound catfish, cut into four fillets
  • 5          tablespoons Blackening Seasoning

Citrus Vinaigrette:

  • 2          tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1          teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1          tablespoon honey
  • 1/2       teaspoon thyme
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  1. To make Blackening Seasoning: Combine salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and thyme.
  2. To make Quinoa Salad: Heat and oil skillet. Add corn; salt and pepper, to taste, and saute until golden brown. Add edamame and sauteed corn to quinoa and set aside.
  3. To make Blackened Catfish: Heat cast-iron skillet to medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon peanut oil added. Coat both sides of catfish fillets with Blackening Seasoning. Add catfish to skillet and cook 5-6 minutes per side, or until well done.
  4. To make Citrus Vinaigrette: Whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, honey and thyme. Slowly add olive oil, whisking until dressing is formed.
  5. Serve Blackened Catfish on top of Quinoa Salad and drizzle with Citrus Vinaigrette.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Source: Seafood Nutrition Partnership

Snacks 17 January 2019

Smarter Snacking with Nutrition in Mind

(Family Features) Planning health-conscious New Year’s resolutions typically includes cutting back on unhealthy foods during meals from breakfast to dinner. However, it’s also important to cut out sugary, calorie-laden snacks that can counteract all your hard work throughout the rest of the day.

Rather than skipping snacks entirely, it’s possible to instead incorporate nutritious options that pack protein to help you recharge without going overboard on calories, sodium and sugars. Opt for quick bites like Baked White Bean and Artichoke Dip paired with light, crunchy, low-sugar crackers to get the fuel you need between meals.

This snack idea can be especially filling yet nutritious when you dip with an option like gluten-free, non-GMO Crunchmaster Protein Snack Crackers, made with wholesome ingredients crafted to fit healthy, active lifestyles. With five grams of plant-based protein per serving, the cholesterol-free crackers can aid in providing energy without unnecessary sugars.

As you take steps to incorporate a healthier lifestyle in the New Year, be sure to take into account healthy activities along with nutritious eating habits from the first meal of the day to the last, and each snack in-between.

For more nutritious snacking ideas and recipes, visit crunchmaster.com.

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Baked White Bean and Artichoke Dip with Crackers

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 1          can (15 ounces) organic white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1          can (14 fluid ounces) water-packed artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1/3       cup olive oil
  • 2          tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives, divided
  • 1          teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1          tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1          tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2          cloves garlic
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1          package (3.54 ounces) Crunchmaster Protein Snack Crackers in Roasted Garlic flavor
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. In food processor, puree beans, artichokes, olive oil, 1 tablespoon chives, lemon zest, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper and cayenne until smooth. Scrape into 4-cup baking dish and smooth over top.
  3. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining chives and serve with crackers.

Tip: Substitute parsley or mint for chives, if desired.

Nutrition information per serving: 200 calories; 10 g fat; 1 g saturated fat; 580 mg sodium; 21 g carbohydrates; 4 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 7 g protein.

Source: Crunchmaster

Meal Ideas 06 April 2017

Discover Chile

Exciting Flavors for Every Day

(Family Features) In restaurant kitchens nationwide — and at home — Latin American flavors continue to be a hot trend — and it’s not because of spiciness. The unique culture and geography of countries such as Chile offer exciting possibilities for everyday cooking, adding flavor and excitement to American dishes and dinner tables.

Chilean cuisine is full of flavor and color and owes its delicious variety to a combination of cultural influences: native Indian, Spanish (including Arab and Jewish), French, German, English and Italian.

Chile is about twice the size of California and stretches along the Pacific coastline of South America. This narrow country — only 265 miles at its widest point — boasts a variety of climates, allowing for richly varied agriculture. Also, the seasons in the southern hemisphere are opposite those in the northern hemisphere, so fresh fruits and vegetables associated with summer in the U.S. are available from Chile during the winter.

Chilean products you may already have in your kitchen include:

  • Grapes
  • Kiwis
  • Avocados
  • Olive oil
  • Stone fruits such as peaches, nectarines and plums

Chilean Treasures

Seafood. With nearly 3,000 miles of coastline, Chile offers an extraordinary bounty of seafood. The clean Pacific waters teem with oysters, prawns, salmon, abalone, sea bass and more.

Wine. Chile is the world’s fifth largest wine exporter, and culinary writers regularly sing praises for Chilean wines. Michael Green, the wine and spirits consultant for Gourmet Magazine, said, “Chile is a sleeping giant in terms of the quality, diversity and value of its wines. The region is home to some of the most thrilling and tasty wines in the world.”

Spices. One of the most unique flavors of Chilean cooking comes from a spice blend called merkén from the Mapuches, a native people of Chile. It’s an aromatic mixture of dried and smoked red chilis, toasted coriander seeds, cumin and salt. Merkén is an extremely versatile spice with an attractive copper color and smoky flavor. It can be sprinkled on fish, shrimp, poultry, beef and vegetables, or added to soups, sauces, cheese and pasta. Available in specialty grocery stores, it can also be ordered online.

Produce. Chilean chef Pilar Rodriguez has created recipes featuring unique Chilean flavors. One centers on the carica, also known as Chilean Golden Papaya, and ulmo honey. Carica is a unique fruit that has been described as a combination of a mango and a peach. It can be used as an appetizer or dessert, in salads and hot dishes. You’ll find it sold in jars in specialty stores and online. Ulmo honey comes from the ulmo tree, native to Chile. It has a creamy texture and a buttery sweetness that make an excellent accompaniment to mild cheeses. It is also available at specialty stores and online.

Chile offers a wide variety of fresh foods and rich flavors to discover.

Chile’s food growing regions

North
goats, llamas, subtropical fruits such as carica, scallops

Central Valley
avocados, olives, apples, grapes, wine

Central Valley South
dairy products, razor clams, kiwi, grains, cattle, wine

Lake Region
cattle, dairy, berries, salmon, Chilean abalones

Extreme South and Patagonia
beef and sheep, Chilean king crab

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Seared Salmon & Avocado Tartar

By Chef Pilar Rodriguez
Serves 6

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup fleur de sel (coarse sea salt)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro seeds
  • 1 tablespoon merkén
  • 1 tablespoon cochayuyo molido ahumado (smoked seaweed powder), optional

Salmon:

  • 6 3.5- to 4-ounce boneless, skinless salmon fillets
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

Avocado Tartar:

  • 2 cups avocado, cut in small cubes
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon finely diced yellow chili pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper
  • Pinch sugar
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 parsley leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Lemon zest
  1. Coarsely grind and mix salt and all the spices. Reserve in shallow bowl.
  2. In a non-stick pan, sear salmon filets with olive oil on both sides, just getting a nice golden color (about 90 seconds per side). Do not over cook. The center of the fillet has to be raw.
  3. Press one side of each fillet into salt-spice mixture and set aside.
  4. Mix all ingredients for Avocado Tartar in a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the salmon fillets over the tartar. Serve immediately.

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Ulmo Honey Panna Cotta, Grilled Citrus Carica Salad

By Chef Pilar Rodriguez
Makes 8 to 10 4-ounce portions

  • 1 quart cream
  • 1/4 cup ulmo honey OR honey of choice
  • 4 gelatin sheets OR 1 package powdered gelatin
  • 4 full caricas OR fresh papayas cut in half to grill
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Lemon zest
  • Fresh mint leaves
  1. Heat cream in small sauce pan and turn off the heat right before boiling point. Add honey and, using a wooden spoon, mix well with the cream. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate.
  2. Put the gelatin in cold water until you see the gelatin is soft — about three minutes. Discard excess water (gelatin will be softened) and dissolve gelatin in the cream mixture.
  3. Fill panna cotta containers (or 4-ounce ramekins) 3/4 full and chill until set (about three hours in the refrigerator).
  4. Brush the caricas with olive oil and grill them over medium heat until color browns a bit (one minute per side). Right before serving, sprinkle lemon juice, sugar to taste and lemon zest on top. Serve on the side of the Panna Cottas (in containers) with mint to garnish.

Source: Trade Commission of Chile

Main Dishes 27 March 2017

Modern Spins on Spring Traditions

(Family Features) From Easter to Passover to the Kentucky Derby and beyond, there is a lamb dish for nearly every spring occasion.

While many traditions rely on lamb as a centerpiece, it doesn’t have to be prepared like grandma’s overcooked, tough and often tasteless roast. Today’s home cooks are forgoing the jar of mint jelly and using fresh mint in pesto and salsas, while serving their lamb medium-rare to preserve its tender juiciness.

If a rack of lamb is your preferred cut for spring celebrations, the American Lamb Board offers six simple steps for the perfect entree. For those who opt for roasting a boneless leg of lamb that is tender and full of flavor, try using these step-by-step instructions for a succulent lamb roast. For a real showstopper, turn off the oven, fire up the grill, butterfly a leg of lamb, season well and grill to desired doneness.

Toss grandma’s jar of mint jelly and brighten up your feasts with fresh condiments like this Mint-Pistachio Pesto or a Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Rosemary Sea Salt. For more tips and spring celebration-worthy recipes, visit americanlamb.com/spring/.

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Mint-Pistachio Pesto

Recipe courtesy of the American Lamb Board

  • 1 cup shelled, toasted, unsalted pistachios
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • pinch of red chili flakes
  1. In food processor, pulse all ingredients until mixed but still somewhat chunky.

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Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Rosemary Sea Salt

Recipe courtesy of the American Lamb Board

  • 1/2 cup coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 1/2-3 pounds boneless leg of American lamb, trimmed and butterflied
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lemons
  1. In food processor, grind salt and rosemary leaves together until mixture is texture of coarse sand.
  2. Season lamb generously with rosemary salt, working it into all crevasses; it should take about 2 tablespoons. Set lamb aside at room temperature at least 30 minutes before grilling, or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.
  3. Heat charcoal or gas grill. Pat lamb dry, if needed, and rub lightly with olive oil to coat.
  4. Grease grill grates with oil and place lamb on hottest part of grill. Cook with grill covered, turning once, until brown and crusty.
  5. Move lamb to cooler part of grill and continue cooking until instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 130° F for medium-rare, 15-25 minutes total. Transfer lamb to platter, cover with foil and let rest at least 10 minutes before cutting into thick slices against the grain.
  6. Halve lemons and brush cut sides lightly with oil. Place cut-side down on grill until deeply charred, 2-3 minutes.
  7. Arrange lamb slices on large platter or directly over salad. Serve with charred lemon halves for squeezing and additional rosemary salt.

Source: American Lamb Board

Dessert 23 March 2017

Pair Like a Pro

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(Family Features) When it comes to pairing wine with food, even experts agree that desserts can pose a challenge. A wide variety of flavor combinations can make it hard to find the perfect selection to serve with your sweet treat. While there’s no exact science to wine pairing, these simple tips can help you make your selection.

Sweet Cheesecake
A good rule: the lighter the dessert, the lighter the wine. Avoid heavy reds for a sweeter dessert and instead pair with a crisp white like Chardonnay, such as Joseph Carr from Sonoma, California.

Citrusy Lemon Meringue Pie
Lemon flavors can sometimes be polarizing, but complementing this dessert with an equally citrusy wine can work wonders. Try pairing with a food-friendly pinot grigio or a sauvignon blanc.

Rich Chocolate Cake
Red wine with chocolate seems like a no-brainer, but not all red wines are created equal. For a richer delicacy like this devil’s food cake, try something like Villa Pozzi Nero D’avola, a more fruit-forward, easy-drinking red varietal.

For more tips and wine selections, visit winefix.com

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New York-Style Honey Cheesecake

Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, grated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • fresh berries, for garnish
  • fresh mint, for garnish
  1. To make crust: In small bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs and butter until well blended. Press mixture evenly onto bottom and sides of greased 9-inch springform pan; set aside.
  2. Heat oven to 350° F.
  3. To make filling: In electric mixer bowl, combine cream cheese, honey and flour. Beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in cream, lemon zest and vanilla.
  4. Pour cream cheese mixture over crust; bake 15 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 200° F and bake 1 hour and 30 minutes longer, or until center no longer looks wet or shiny.
  5. With oven off and door ajar, let cheesecake cool 1 hour in oven. Remove cheesecake to rack to cool completely.
  6. Cover and refrigerate cheesecake at least 4 hours before serving. Garnish with fruit and fresh mint. Pair with chardonnay like Joseph Carr.

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Honey Devil’s Food Cake with Rich Chocolate Frosting

Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups honey, divided
  • 1/2 cup 2 percent low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • milk chocolate shavings, for garnish
  1. To prepare cake: Heat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.
  2. In large bowl, combine flour, 1 cup cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups honey, milk, oil, eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla; beat 2 minutes. Gradually beat in water.
  3. Divide batter between pans. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until sides pull away slightly from pan and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Turn onto wire racks and cool completely.
  4. To prepare frosting: In medium bowl, combine remaining cocoa powder, honey and vanilla, and cream. Beat until just thick and fluffy.
  5. To assemble: Spread frosting evenly over sides and top of one cake layer. Place second cake layer on top. Spread remaining frosting evenly over sides and top.
  6. Garnish with milk chocolate shavings. Pair each serving with a glass of prosecco, like Nero D’avola from Villa Pozzi.

Photo courtesy of 275847/Shutterstock.com (cheesecake)
Photo courtesy of Barnaby Chambers/Shutterstock.com (chocolate cake with wine)

Source: Deutsch Family Wines

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