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Two Women on Wine: How sweet it is

Wine jellies: reinventing a classic from childhood

Posted: June 24, 2010 3:45 p.m.
Updated: June 25, 2010 6:00 a.m.
Wine-infused jellies have turned a childhood classic into something for adults. Wine-infused jellies have turned a childhood classic into something for adults.
Wine-infused jellies have turned a childhood classic into something for adults.

It's a universal truth that wine properly paired with food creates a gastronomical masterpiece for those who enjoy the pleasures of a good meal. Books, websites and classes are devoted to this subject and available for those interested in learning the fine art of food and wine pairing.

But what about wine in food? Whether cooking with wine or enjoying foods infused with wine, this secret ingredient holds court to most any foodie's taste buds.

We recently discovered the joys of jelly - wine-infused jellies and jams. This isn't the same jelly that made a daily appearance on your breakfast table growing up, nor is it the sugary-sweet stuff that holds up the "J" in a PBJ. No, this is the reinvented adult version of a childhood classic.

A wine-infused jelly actually makes perfect sense. Most wines started life as a noble grape. Through fermentation and aging, the grapes were crafted into wine suitable for drinking. Take the essence of that hand-crafted process and marry it with sugar, a natural preservative. Voila! The flavors of the wine are now suspended to give it a long and fruitful life (pardon the pun).

These wonderful, spirited preserves can top everything from pancakes and bagels to roast chicken and lamb, depending on the type of wine used. In general, sweeter wines produce a jelly that is perfect, served with breakfast or afternoon tea. Jellies derived from drier wines produce a savory topping, which pairs well adorned on crackers with a cream cheese base or used as a glaze for meats.

We recently discovered "My Mary's Wine Jelly" from the hills of Missouri. It's a classic tale of "necessity is the mother of invention." When owner Carol Muldrow was laid off from her insurance job and unable to find another position due to the recession, she found time to go through some of her late mother-in-law's recipes. She stumbled upon a recipe for wine jelly and began the process of dabbling and perfecting the homemade creation. Carol eventually rented a commercial kitchen to produce what can best be described as jelly with a touch of love, happiness and laughter.

As with all fairy tales, My Mary's Wine Jelly has a beautiful ending. Carol's father-in-law always referred to his loving wife of more than 63 years as "My Mary." As a loving tribute, the name of the jelly line emerged. With the help of a local hospice organization, Mary was able to stay with her husband in the couple's home until the very end. For that reason, a portion of the proceeds from each jar of My Mary's Wine Jelly sold goes to the hospice to make sure more people are able to stay at home with their loved ones for as long as possible.

We're happy to announce that we carry quite a spread of My Mary's jellies: Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Petite Sirah and, just for kicks, Jalapeño.

In addition to four-ounce jars on the shelf, we also introduced a new small plate offering on our menu appropriately named, "How Sweet It Is." A petite-sized jar of any of the My Mary's jellies is served with cream cheese, crackers or honey pretzel sticks, and an assortment of dried fruit. Whether enjoyed as a breakfast of champions or served as a sweet epilogue to an evening's meal, we hope you'll enjoy these newfound treasures as much as we do.

At Vino 100, we're always looking for fun and exciting wine-related or wine-inspired products. Perhaps our quest will someday land us another adult version of a childhood favorite: wine-infused marshmallows. One can only hope.


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