17 February 2017

Will Work for Wine

...or chocolate!

Recently we went on a Valentine's wine tour in Oklahoma. The last time we went on such a trip was a long time ago and it was only a day trip. This was an overnight trip...

There were a little over 50 of us on the bus snacking and talking that Friday evening, looking forward to the first winery when we ended up without phone signal at the end of a dirt road during a full moon. Our driver, Don, had it under control but it was a little scary for a bit ... until the hosts showed up with wine, that is!

Red, Red Wine
At Tres Suenos - the first winery of the trip
The wines were pretty good and thankfully the pours were smaller than in Napa.
After the tasting, we road the bus to Tulsa and played Cards Against Humanity with some work friends. That was fun!

It was late when we got to the hotel but we hadn't had any dinner yet, so we grabbed a quick bite at the grill downstairs and headed off to sleep in our king sized bed. It was a little slice of heaven with no kids around for the first time in a long while.

The next morning we met my nephew (who is completing med school - yay Vincent!!!) and his wife for breakfast at the Dilly Diner. We were lucky to have family in town with such good recommendations for food and it was nice to touch base on future plans for celebrations!

Breakfast at the Dilly Diner

When we got back to the hotel, the bus took us to Glacier Confection around the corner to educate us on chocolate.

This guy knows his stuff!
"Chocolate is made from the seeds of the cacao tree, a lowland rainforest plant that can only grow in a relatively narrow region, no more than 20 degrees north or south of the equator. The seeds grow in football-shaped pods and are pollinated by midge flies, a tiny creature about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. "

I can't wait to go back when they have their chocolate factory and tasting room complete. It would be so cool to go on one of their harvesting trips too. Maybe one day...

For this wonderful tasting, we were each given a few samples, some water and crackers (to cleanse our palates). I learned that I really did like white chocolate after all of these years. I just had to sample some real white chocolate to find this out.

Chocolate Samples - Mild to Strongest Clockwise
Mild to Strongest (Clockwise)
1200 - 35% Opus White
0300 - 49% Dark Milk Maracaibo
0600 - 64% Java Dark (raisiny finish)
0900 - 68% Bolivia Wild Cacao

After the presentation, we were invited to check out the store. This is where we did the most damage.

Like kids in a candy shop
Literally like kids in a candy shop!
We got a bag of white chocolate disks, some artisan truffles for the kiddos and a couple of chocolate bars (including the Fortunato bar) for us. So delicious!

Some of our Glacier Goodies

And also, this light and crunchy but delicate toffee covered with chocolate.

Sponge Candy from Glacier Confection in Tulsa
Sponge Candy
One of my co-workers pointed out this landmark:

Center of the Universe - Tulsa

The "Artificial Cloud" statue marks the "The “Center of the Universe,”  a little-known mysterious acoustic phenomenon. If you stand in the middle of the circle and make a noise, the sound is echoed back several times louder than it was made and no one standing outside of the circle can hear a thing. I didn't get to try this phenomenon out because we were leaving, but how cool is that? #nexttime

The next stop was Whispering Vines Vineyards.

Whispering Vines Vineyards

David and Adrienne made us feel very welcome. Their wines were a bit on the sweet side, but we found a Pinot Noir and a Chardonnay that we liked so we took some home.

Whispering Vines Vineyards Tasting Room

My favorite part of the tasting was the wonderful smoke mahi mahi spread served with crackers. I know I ate more than my fair share of that stuff! And the owners showed us pictures of them actually catching the fish. The folks here were so friendly that we will definitely be back. And I have already experimented with the smoked mahi spread because it was soooo good!  I think I have cracked the recipe.

The last winery we visited was not great and I hope that it was just a fluke thing.  The owners didn't seem to be prepared for us and the self-serve wine tasted rancid. I wanted to like the watermelon wine, but I didn't. I didn't find anything to my liking here. Maybe the timing was off for this place. I hope so.

It was a nice packed 24 hours and we learned a lot (mostly about chocolate). I'm glad we got to get away for a bit even though we don't really celebrate Valentine's Day.

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