Friday, August 26, 2016

Daytripping from Americus - A Tale of 3 SouthWest Georgia Vineyards - Chapter 1

Did you know that there are 3 vineyards within a reasonable drive from Americus, Georgia? 
We set out on several day trips to check them out, just for you.
The first one we visited was Still Pond Vineyard Winery and Distillery.
It was a beautiful drive through the country to reach Arlington, Georgia, about an hour or so from Americus.
We passed acres upon acres of farm fields.

Finally, we came upon the sign for Still Pond Vineyard, just 1.5 miles ahead.
The minute I stepped out of the car, this dragonfly landed at my feet.  I took that as a sign that this was going to be a really good day.
The entry way is charming and we were greeted by Charles Cowarth, the owner and winemaker (and distiller...) who gave us a tour of the facility.
This machine harvests the muscadine grapes.
 This is the machine that actually presses the grapes to extract the juice.
This is where the magic happens, turning the grape juice into delicious wine.
These tanks are enormous.
Besides making wine, Still Pond is also distilling alcohol.

The entire distilling process is really fascinating.
They are producing vodka, brandy and Moonshine at Still Pond.
Legal, moonshine, to be clear.
Here you can see the brandy is aging in barrels, not yet ready for consumption.
Now for the tasting room.  The first thing you notice is the number of awards that have been bestowed upon so many of their wines.
And, the most amazing part of this experience is, your first 7 wine samples are FREE!
You might try the blackberry bliss.
or the gold limited reserve
or the Farmhouse white
or AppleShine
or how about some mead?  I did not know that mead is wine made from honey.  Did you?
So, after all that tasting, we had a hard time deciding what to buy.
We decided to take a walk around the vineyard and check out the pond on the property.  Of course, I was totally distracted by the dragonflies.
A few of them posed for a photo.
It's amazing how many different species there are.
I discovered my new favorite dragonfly, the halloween pennant.
The pond was beautiful with Spanish moss covered trees nearby.
Truly a picture perfect day.
After learning about the muscadines and how they are harvested,
we took a closer look at how they are planted.
You can just imagine how much work it would be to harvest by hand.
They weren't ripe yet when we visited, but, they sure were pretty.

So, the next time you visit us in Americus, consider staying an extra day to visit our friends at Still Pond Vineyard and Winery.

Stay tuned for our next blog post on Vineyard Winery #2!

Thanks for visiting the Americus Garden Inn Bed and Breakfast blog.  Check back soon for the next installment of Daytripping from Americus.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Gluten Free Fresh Fig Crumble Recipe

This is the first year that the birds and the beetles have decided to share the figs on our fig trees.  With an abundance of figs, I decided it was time to try a new recipe.  I found a recipe that was similar to a cobbler or a crisp and thought to myself, I can make this gluten free (so I can eat some).  Be forewarned, the recipe yielded a high ratio of crumble to fig, so, if you would like less crumble, adjust accordingly.  I started by harvesting some fresh figs, washed them and halved them.

I placed them in a single layer in a baking dish - about 16 figs fit perfectly as most were small.

I preheated the oven to 350 degrees as I assembled the crumble ingredients - butter, brown sugar, cocoa, coconut flour, almond flour, baking powder, salt and toasted pecans.

I allowed the butter to soften to room temperature and then added the dry ingredients to the butter.

It quickly combined into a dough.

I chopped the pecans

added them to the dough

and here is the finished crumble dough.

I placed some of the crumble on each fig half.

It took about 30 minutes for the figs to soften and start to release their juices, and for the crumble to turn a beautiful golden brown.

Kim and I both did a taste test - We both loved it!

So, the next time you have some figs that you want to play with, try this recipe.  It was delicious!  And, let me know how it turned out for you.

Gluten Free Fresh Fig Crumble

16 small figs, halved
4 Tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place halved figs in a single layer in a shallow baking dish, cut side up.
  3. Combine the next 7 ingredients in a medium bowl, mixing until it holds together.
  4. Add the pecans and mix until it is evenly incorporated.
  5. Place a generous amount crumble on top of each fig, gently pressing onto each fig.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the figs begin to release their juice and the crumble is nicely browned.
  7. Enjoy!

Thanks for visiting the Americus Garden Inn Bed & Breakfast.  We hope to host your visit to Americus in the near future.


Friday, June 17, 2016

Chilled Watermelon Soup for a Hot Summer Day

It's that time of year when watermelons are ripe and the temperature outside is crazy hot.  What is more refreshing than chilled watermelon soup?  It's easy to make and a great way to use all that extra melon.  By the way, the watermelons this year have been phenomenal!

Here's the recipe:
Chilled Watermelon Soup (from Southern Living July 2003)
Yield:  3 - 4 cups soup

  • 4 cups seeded watermelon cubes
  • 1/3 cup apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
  • 1/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt
Process first 5 ingredients and honey, if desired, in a blender or food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Cover and chill 1 hour. Serve in individual bowls with a dollop of yogurt.

Stay cool and enjoy!  Hope to see you here at the Americus Garden Inn Bed & Breakfast soon.