Wine and Cheese—and More Wine

Posted: October 18th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Drinks, Event, Marblehead, North Andover, Salem, Shubie's Market Place, Wine Connextion | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Wine lovers, it’s time to grab a jacket and get out to one or more of the fantastic wine festivals coming up in the next three weeks. And yes, there will be cheese.

First up is Shubie’s Annual Wine & Food Festival, this Saturday (Oct 20) from 1:00 to 5:00 in Marblehead. Always a great time, this year’s event features more than 20 artisan cheeses and 50 wines to taste (free). We’re happy to add that a portion of the proceeds will go to the Sue DeVries Cancer Foundation.

Take the week to recover, then head over to Wine ConneXtion in North Andover on Saturday the 27th from 12:00 to 5:00 for their Third Annual Fall Grand Tasting. Taste a wide selection of new wines, peruse more than 50 hand-selected bottles from all over the world, and enjoy culinary treats from Chama Grill (free).

Finally, you won’t want to miss Salem Wine Imports’ annual Grand Tasting Event at the Hawthorne Hotel on Friday November 2 from 6:00 to 9:00. Advance tickets are $25 for members of Historic New England, Historic Salem, Inc, and the Salem Athenaeum, $35 for nonmembers (all tickets are $35 on the day of the event). Enjoy wines from dozens of vendors, light refreshments, and live entertainment; all proceeds support Historic New England, Historic Salem, Inc, the Salem Athenaeum, and Hamilton Hall. Contact Salem Wine Imports at (978) 741-9463 for tickets.


In Which We Learn to Pair Wine With Local Cheese

Posted: October 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Classes, Marblehead, Shubie's Market Place | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Wine and cheese are two of life’s essentials, as far as we are concerned. Together, they make us very happy—but is pairing them as simple as all that? Well, yes and no, we learned last week at a terrific class taught by Bill Shube of Marblehead’s gourmet grocer Shubie’s.

The one-hour class was $25 and included six cheeses and four wines, plus a wealth of information. It was held in the store’s upstairs demonstration kitchen/classroom, which is bright and comfortable.

We began by tasting each of the wines, a petit mouton muscadet (Louis Metaireau, France, $13), a lambrusco (Vecchia Modena, Italy, $18), a cotes du rhone (Domaine Gris des Bauries, France, $14.99) and a cabernet sauvignon (Route Stock, California, $24). Bill talked about the qualities of each wine, the region it was from, and how one might think about pairings.

For example, the muscadet is from France’s northern region where they make a lot of goat cheese. Its crisp acidity makes it a great partner for food. Similarly, the bubbles in the lambrusco help clean your palate, making it a good partner, especially for cheeses you are unsure about pairing.

We then tasted each of the cheeses, which are all from New England. The Bonne Bouche from Vermont Butter & Cheese (goat, Vermont) paired brilliantly with the muscadet, with the cheese somehow making the wine taste fuller.

Tiny Hannahbells from Shy Brothers Farms (cow, Mass.) are barely aged and very tangy. A bit difficult to pair, they require either a full bodied red wine or a sweet wine. The Landaff from Jasper Hill Cellars (cow, NH) is similar to a Welsh cheddar and paired well with both the muscadet and the cotes du rhone.

Blythedale Farms Vermont Brie (cow, Vermont) was delicious and incredible creamy. It was also a bit hard to pair but went well with the lambrusco. The Olga from Seal Cove Farms, (cow and goat, Maine) was very nutty and a bit crumbly (would be great on a salad). Its great flavor would be overpowered by a strong wine and went nicely with the cotes du rhone. The last cheese was the wonderfully earthy Black Ledge Blue from Cato Corner (cow, Conn.), which needed the strong flavors of the cabernet for a good match.

What we enjoyed most about the class was its accessibility. Rather than a know-all teacher telling his pupils what to drink and eat, Bill helped us understand why some pairings work well and how we might determine some happy matches on our own, which we’re definitely looking forward to doing.

16 Atlantic Ave, Marblehead
(781) 631-0149


Weekend Picks, December 9-12

Posted: December 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Coven, Event, Green Land Cafe, Ipswich, Marblehead, Milk & Honey, Salem, Shubie's Market Place, Wenham | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

It’s been a while since we talked about weekend picks, but this weekend there’s so much going on we can barely scratch the surface.

Tonight is a great night to get some shopping done in Salem. Many of the stores are open late and are offering deals and treats to shoppers. Salem Wine Imports will have a free tasting and special discounts; Milk and Honey Green Grocer will offer cheese and crackers, food samples, and 15% off your purchases; and Pamplemousse holds their annual open house from 6:00 to 9:00 with wine, hors d’oeuvres, and free gift wrapping.

Also open late tonight are the shops in Hamilton and Wenham. Stop into the Wenham Museum from 4:00 to 8:00 to check out their terrific gift shop as well as the Gingerbread Express model train layout and the Gingerbread Contest Judging.

From 6:00 to 9:00 tonight, the Mansion at Turner Hill hosts the 13th Annual Taste of Ipswich Wine & Food Gala. You can taste local fare prepared by Ipswich’s finest restaurants, sip wine, and sample Ipswich and Stone Cat brews, as well as Mercury Soda Pop. This year, the proceeds will benefit the Ipswich Family YMCA. For more information, call the Ipswich YMCA at (978) 356-9622.

The Salem fun continues on Saturday, when Santa will make a visit to Coven. Your small person can check out the big guy while you warm up with a coffee and tasty treat. Also on Saturday, Green Land Café will be holding a Toys for Tots drive. Children eat free when they bring a toy to donate.

Marblehead continues its annual Christmas Walk this weekend with music, street entertainment, and shopping deals on both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, you’ll find two wine tastings. From noon to 5:00, Haley’s will be sampling Y & B organic wines with Neil Deininger. (Even though it looks like a juice box, we like the Sauvignon Blanc) From noon to 4:00, the fun loving BZ Zohn will be back at Shubies with for a tasting of French, Italian, and California wines. Joining BZ will be Demaris Cahoon, owner of Landmark Winery in California, and Helen Gallo of Winebow Imports.

If you’re looking for a tree this weekend, stop by Marini Farm in Ipswich. Not only do they offer the kids cookies and crafts with Santa and tractor rides around the farm, but they’re also ladling out free bowls of hot chowder from the Clam Box to help fend off the falling temps.

Now here are some picks from our pals in the North Shore Bloggers Consortium:


The wonderful Jane Ward has some great ideas, over at Food and Fiction.


Heather Atwood from the Gloucester Times has her picks at Food For Thought


Media giant Seth gives up the best of Lynn at Lynn Happens.


Joey at GMG has the scoop on all that’s going on in Cape Ann at Good Morning Gloucester.


Great pick for North Shore Families from North Shore Kid.


Our Weekend Picks

Posted: October 28th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Event, Shubie's Market Place | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

It looks like we’ll get the fall weather back this weekend, just in time for Halloween. The biggest Halloween party in the nation happens right here on the North Shore, and if you’re the partying kind and have never been to Salem for the big day, get thee hence; it really is a scene like no other. Just take heed when deciding how to get there.

Whether you have little ones looking forward to trick or treating, or you’re stocking up on candy to hand out to the neighbors, here is a list of the official trick or treat hours in North Shore communities.

For those of you who prefer smaller crowds and fine wines, on Saturday October 30, Shubie’s is holding their Corks and Forks Annual Fall Wine & Food Festival. From noon to 4:00, they will be pouring with over 50 wines, featuring The BZ Collection, MS Walker, European Cellars, Old Bridge Cellars, Wildman Imports, Grange Fine Wines, and Classic Wine Imports.

There will also be tastes to try along with the wine. Among others, Chef Lynn Aronson will be debuting her new cheese fondue, Fantastic Fortunes will be on hand with samples of the giant fortune cookies, and Tea Forte will be demonstrating their innovative teas and delicious blends.

The event is free to the public and special discounts on wines will be available that day. We’ve really enjoyed these tastings in the past, and you can read about our experience here.

While not happening on the weekend, next Tuesday’s Take a Bite out of Trafficking is an important event everyone should be aware of. Restaurants, chefs, and businesses located north of Boston will join together in support of Anuradha Koirala, one of CNN’s Top Ten Heroes of 2010 nominees. Her Maiti Nepal is a non-profit organization that combats the sex trafficking of Nepali women and children.

Held at the Ipswich Country Club, the event will kick off at 5:45 with a special chef’s tasting featuring samplings from various restaurants, including 62 Restaurant & Wine Bar, Tryst, The Blue Ox, Pellana, 15 Walnut, Shea’s, Ipswich Country Club, Salem Waterfront Hotel, 9 Elm, American BBQ, Mr. India, Ithaki, Bradford Tavern, and The Green Land Cafe.

In addition to culinary samplings from some of the area’s most recognized chefs, the evening includes an exclusive movie screening and an auction featuring a variety of fabulous items. Tickets are $45 presale, $50 at the door. Cash bar. All proceeds of the event go directly to Maiti Nepal.

For more things to do this weekend, checkout these choice picks from our North Shore Bloggers Consortium pals:

Seth’s rundown of what’s up in Lynn this Halloween Weekend at Lynn Happens.

Joey C’s Halloween edition of his weekend picks at Good Morning Gloucester.

Jane’s got some spooky cool events listed in her  picks over at Food & Fiction.

Rob and Laura have scouted out hauntings all over New England at The Two Plaverers.


Ladies Who Lunch

Posted: November 16th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Marblehead, Marketplace, Shubie's Market Place | Tags: | 2 Comments »

Okay, so it’s not The Birdcage in the Boston Lord & Taylor (remember when department stores had restaurants?), but we love Shubie’s market in Marblehead and thoroughly enjoyed our lunch there this past weekend.

If you live on the North Shore and haven’t been to Shubie’s, you should put it on your list. There is an amazing selection of goodies packed into this store, including wine, kitchen gadgets, serving dishes, prepared foods, deli items, and pastries. It’s the perfect place to pick up stocking stuffers, edible and otherwise, for that foodie on your Christmas list.

We began with an inspection of the wine department and were pleased to find a large selection of reds and whites under $15. A number of interesting selections are highlighted with a detailed description, including Boston Globe wine writer Stephen Meuse’s pick for this month’s Plonk (wine for $12 or under). There’s a large section on the back wall with wine pairings for seafood, beef, pasta, and even pizza.

We lingered a bit over the gadgets (do I need onion chopping goggles?) and lusted after the Incanto plate collection from Vietri ( After a browse through the gourmet food display (olive oils, imported packaged foods, jams, and more), the diverse cheese and deli-meat section, and the prepared foods, we ordered sandwiches and sat at a nearby table.

We sampled the warm cuban sandwich and the vegetarian, enjoying both. The cuban featured pulled pork, ham, gruyere, pickle, and ancho vinaigrette. The bread was toasted, the cheese was melty, and the flavors worked. We asked for the vegetarian on sourdough (there are many breads to choose from); it was spread with delicious hummus and stuffed with roasted vegetables, provolone, and arugula. The sandwiches are on the high side ($8 for the veggie; $9 for the cuban), but they’re made to order, and the ingredients are top-notch.

Adjacent to our table was a freezer filled with Lizzy’s ice cream (made in Waltham,, gourmet heat-and-serve hors d’oeuvres from Good Wives (also local,, and much more. On the other side was a dessert case filled with mini cakes, brownies, and pastries, not to mention a giant-sized whoopie pie.

Being the kind people we are, we selected a few sweets and brought them home to share with the ones left behind to install the garage-door opener. The mini apple pie looked cute but was altogether bland, more like Table Talk than gourmet. But the mini flourless cake was rich and mousse-like, and the two cookies (cherry white chocolate chunk and chocolate-filled peanut butter) were first rate.

A few more items of note. Shubie’s has an e-newsletter you can sign up for to learn about the frequent wine tastings and specials (sometimes there are e-coupons, too). The service is outstanding, and during past visits we’ve received excellent advice on wine and cheese selections. Last, but not least, Shubie’s has three things you won’t find in many Marblehead businesses: food samples, wi-fi, and parking—all free.

15 Atlantic Ave, Marblehead
(781) 631-0149