Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts.
Hellertown-Lower Saucon Kick Off the Holiday Season at Light Up Night!
The Hellertown-Lower Saucon Chamber of Commerce, a proud partner of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, and Mobile Technology Graphics are honored to present the 2023 Light Up Night on Friday, November 24th from 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM in the Morris J. Dimmick Park.
2023 Light Up Night on Friday, November 24th from 4PM – 8PM
Join for a fun-filled evening as they kick off the holiday season with what is shaping up to be their biggest holiday celebration yet!
“We could not be more excited for the 2023 Hellertown-Lower Saucon Light Up Night!” said Jessica O’Donnell-Gower, Executive Vice President of Affiliated Chambers, and the Northern Tier for the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.
“This event and the participation have grown year after year. We’re bringing back our crowd favorites and adding a few twists to keep it fresh.
The Hellertown-Lower Saucon Chamber Board and our Chamber team look forward to welcoming everyone back to Morris J. Dimmick Park for a spectacular night. This is the ultimate kick-off to the holiday season and a great way to ignite your holiday spirit!”
The evening is jam-packed with family activities for people of all ages! Live reindeer will be back at this year’s event along with an ice carving demonstration and holiday characters. Children’s activities will be available with local non-profits and businesses, as well as cash wagon rides that will be ongoing throughout the evening and cash pony rides, this year, too!
Hellertown-Lower Saucon Chamber Vice Chair, Brandon Wimbish, owner of Farmers Insurance on Main St. and proud sponsor of Light Up Night’s, is very excited to be a part of the event. “We are really looking forward to Light Up Night,” Wimbish continued, “it is a great time for families to come out and start getting into the holiday spirit. Make sure to stop by the Reindeer!”
In addition, free hot chocolate, coffee, cider, and cookies will be available for attendees; a holiday craft market called Vendor Alley will feature local vendors. Food will be available outdoors from Hausman Fruit Farm, Cosmic Kettle Corn, Big Poppa’s Backyard BBQ, RK Mobile Foods, and Why Not Burgerz. Adult beverages will be for sale by Lost Tavern Brewing, Easton Wine Project, and well as Five Maidens Cidery (with 15% of all their proceeds benefiting our community).
Entertainment will begin in Morris J. Dimmick Park at 4:00 PM. For a full list of performers, view the website. The Tree Lighting will commence with Santa’s arrival at 7:10 PM, followed by pictures with Santa and special giveaways starting at 7:15 PM.
Find the Facebook event page here.
Find the event listing on the Lehigh Valley Chamber’s event calendar here.
Date: November 24, 2023
Time: 4:00 PM -8:00 PM
Where: Morris J. Dimmick Park (570 Durham St, Hellertown, PA 18055)
Schedule of Events:
4:30-6:30 PM: Ice Carving Demonstration
5:00 PM: Caroling by the Hellertown-Lower Saucon Community Chorus
5:00-7:00 PM: Roaming Holiday Characters (Olaf, the Grinch, Elves, & Mrs. Claus)
5:50-6:10 PM: Saucon Valley Choir performance
6:15-6:40 PM: Saucon Valley Band performance
6:40 PM: Pledge to the Flag with the Saucon Valley Cub Scouts Pack 349
6:45 PM: Hellertown-Lower Saucon Chamber & Elected Officials welcome, invocation from Minister Jaime VanNostrand of Christ Lutheran Church, & Tree Lighting Ceremony
7:10 PM: Santa Arrives
7:15 PM: Pictures in front of the stage with Santa Claus
7:20 PM: Caroling provided by the Saucon Valley Community Choir
Sponsors (as of 11/10/2023)
- Presenting Sponsor – Mobile Technologies Graphics
- Ice Carving and Santa’s Sleigh Sponsor – Heintzelman Funeral Home
- Reindeer Sponsor – Farmer’s Insurance, Wimbish Agency
- Ice Carving Sponsor – Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital
- Toy Giveaway and Decoration Sponsor – Ellite Pool Services
- Warm Hands Sponsor – Lindsay O Albert Accounting
- Warm Hands Sponsor – Saucon Valley Bikes
- Candy Cane Sponsor – Creekview Veterinary Hospital
- Santa’s Ride Sponsor – Hellertown Auto Wash
- Hot Chocolate and Cookies Sponsor – Hellertown Dental Group
- Tractor Ride Sponsor – Steel Club
- Santa’s Ride Sponsor – Service Electric Cable TV & Communications
- Comfort Station Sponsor – The Goddard School
- Warm Hands Sponsor – Truist
- Hot Chocolate & Cookies Sponsor – ASR Media
- Apple Sponsor – Bechdolt Orchards
- Cookie Sponsor – GIANT Food Store
- Decoration Sponsor – Andy’s & Pennewell’s Flower Shop
- Hot Chocolate Sponsor – The Meadows of Saucon Valley
- Wagon Sponsor – Hausman Farms
- Light Up Night Supporting Sponsor – Designing Wealth Management of Raymond James
- Light Up Night Supporting Sponsor – TS Brand Elevation
- Light Up Night Supporting Sponsor – Lost River Caverns
- Light Up Night Supporting Sponsor – Saucon Karate
- Light Up Night Supporting Sponsor – Nice Day Beautiful Spa
- Light Up Night Supporting Sponsor – Hellertown Veterinary Center
- Decoration Sponsor – 412 Auto Tags
- Decoration Sponsor – JP Mascaro
- Decoration Sponsor – Limon Authentic Turkish Kebap House
New Cocktails for the Holidays! Fresh Victor serves Full Flavor for your Next Sip!
Fresh Victor is how you make fast, delicious craft cocktails and amazing mocktails — Every. Single. Time.
Fresh Victor is a line of premium mixers for consistently delicious and efficient cocktails (and mocktails too.)
H. Ehrmann knows his cocktails
H. Ehrmann is a bartender and drinks industry consultant who runs Elixir, one of the most influential bars in San Francisco. In the industry for 35 years, owned a bar for 20 years.
Recently he hosted a virtual mixer walking us through several cocktails using Fresh Victor as the mixer: from non-alcoholic, to low alc, to full alcoholic.
Cold-pressed juice-based cocktail mixers. They have added sugar, either organic cane sugar or agave nectar used to balance out citrus levels to hit the intended brix level for most cocktails.
For example, with the Lemon Sour, the base is known as a pretty simple flavor profile. You can add another layer of flavor complexity (like a liqueur). But the Fresh Victor mixer was designed to have more depth, a bit more bitterness to handle any additional sweetness added.
Fresh Victor +1 or +2
All of the Fresh Victor bottles are designed to make delicious cocktails, but simply and easier. How? The amount of cocktails that can be made by adding just 1 or 2 ingredients plus the Fresh Victor mixer.
+1 is agave and tequila. Lemon Sour and whiskey.
+2 might be carbonation, frothing, aromatics, like: tonic, soda water, champagne, egg white, bitters.
“2-3 pours and a lot of flavor”
– H. Ehrmann
With those 3 elements and Fresh Victor’s 9 flavors, you can end up with dozens of drinks. From classics, to a spin-off of a classics (including mocktails).
Mixing ratios: 1: 1 and 2: 1.
1 1 / 2 oz of spirit to 2 ounces of mixer
2 oz of spirit to 2 ounces of mixer
If the drinker likes the taste of the alcohol, they want that taste to “punch” through, then then 2:2 is better for them. If they want the flavor sweeter, iding behind the mixer, 2:1 is the answer for them.
Fresh Victor is a mixer, not a juice. So it’s meant to take on dilution as you build your cocktail. Right out of the bottle, it’s a bit more concentrated, more dense. Meant to be stirred, shaken, reduced down without watering down the flavor. It can dilute 15-20% without losing quality.
Using Fresh Victor, you can create a 32 oz, 64 oz or a gallon punch bowl for a holiday party in less than 5 minutes. And it’s not a simple, lame flavor. It’s complex.
Orchard Bliss Royale
Non-alcoholic. When you add Champagne or Sparkling, it’s called “Royale” and today’s drink is adding Sparkling Cider.
4 oz sparkling cider
2 oz Fresh Victor (Three Citrus and Mint Leaf)
Garnish with dehydrated apple slices
The nose is refreshing. Vibrant apple. Effervescent on the palate, from the Sparkling. A balance of lemon, lime, orange. Plump, but not overwhelming. Mint notes that bring a tertiary element.
Suggestions include playing with adding a shot of vodka, rum or tequila, any of which would work well.
Fresh Victor mixers give a fruit-forward base that makes it easy to play and experiment with.
Winter Spice Tonic
“When mixed well, Gin impacts the overall character of your drink, but doesn’t get in your face”.
1 oz Tanqueray london dry gin
1 Oz Fresh Victor (Cactus Pomegranate)
4 oz Fever Tree Tonic
Garnish with vanilla bean, All-spice berries, Dehydrated Lemon
The nose is immediately the charming, floral aromatics you’d expect from the gin. Then slowly the baking spices express themselves. Deep character layers and complexity. A gush of tonic, then lingering vanilla and lemon.
Definitely a gin drink for someone who’s not a gin fan as it showcases the best of gin without being overwhelming.
Love a standard gin drink? Try Gin and Tonic with Fresh Victor’s Cucumber and Lime!
“I’ve taught cocktail classes for over ten years. As much as students love it and geek out over cocktail details at the bar. When they get home to their kitchen, they still prefer to have something easy. That’s a huge part of when Fresh Victor is.”
“The 2 things that show us down when drinking cocktails, alcoholic strength and bitterness. Those are things that help us drag a cocktail out 10-20 minutes. Like, intentional speed bumps to keep you from drinking too fast. So removing the alcohol from a recipe, removes that speed bump. Adding more bitters, adds it back. It helps a non-alco drink feel more like a cocktail.”
“Just before Covid, we decided to focus Fresh Victor on bars and restaurants. So Covid hits. We decided to re-package into a 16 oz bottle. Within 6 weeks we had these bottles available in 7 states direct to consumer. Within 2 months, we had 48 states direct to consumer. I shifted to selling cocktail kits from home and Fresh Victor was the perfect partner for me.”
“Take a liter of tequila and a 64 oz bottle of Mexican lime and agave, you can make 32 margaritas. I was selling those kits like crazy. People were re-ordering every other day.”
“All the ways you can use Fresh Vector. I went through the lexicon of cocktails. What can I make with lemon sour? What can I make with Mexican Agave? Then I’d look at more unique flavor profile and ask myself what can I make with that?”
2 oz of Fresh Victor (grapefruit and sea salt)
2 oz VSOP brandy
1 / 2 oz fig syrup
Try thinking of Fresh Victor less as a mixer or a juice and more as an ingredient. Think of it as an ingredient where you can use as much or as little as you want to make a more complex drink.
Explore from a culinary point of view. What other flavors mix?
Fresh Victor Holidays Flavors
H. Ehrmann suggests a twist this cold, holiday season. Think like a Hot Toddy. Simply warm up your Whiskey Sour, Lemon Drop, even your sangria. Anything that would normally go with ice, this time heat it up warm and toasty.
Zayn Malik joins Mixoloshe as Chief Creative Officer and Co-Owner
The global superstar launches a custom Lychee Martini flavor, with a unique can design inspired by his own tattoos.
The fast-rising, award winning non alcoholic beverage brand, made with clean ingredients and nothing artificial will make its retail debut at Walmart, launching across the US with the retailer by end of October
Mixoloshe, a female founded and award winning non-alcoholic beverage brand, announces its partnership with celebrated award-winning artist and entrepreneur Zayn Malik, who has joined the company as the Chief Creative Officer (CCO) and Co-Owner.
The partnership will center around reshaping the narrative of the non-alcoholic beverage industry, as well as deep creative collaboration on marketing initiatives and upcoming flavor launches.
Additionally, Mixoloshe will launch in 500 Walmart stores across the country, marking the brand’s anticipated retail debut.
Zayn’s first flavor launch is a non-alcoholic Lychee Martini, a refreshing and exotic drink, that is sweet, floral, and slightly tropical. The can design is also captivating and unique, featuring replica illustrations of his own most beloved tattoos.
Mixoloshe was founded in 2022 to redefine the booming non-alcoholic drink category with a clean, alcohol-free take on cocktails and premium spirits that taste like the real thing.
Their collection offers a non-alcoholic range of popular cocktails, such as a Mojito, Old Fashioned, Gin & Tonic, and Margarita, as well as non-alcoholic Tequila, Whisky, and Gin, all made with real ingredients, and low in sugar, calories.
Mixoloshe’s soft seltzers and non-alcoholic spirits have been recognized globally as best in class, and in 2023 they were honored with the Bartenders Spirits Gold Award, Ascot Award Gold for Taste, and the SIP Awards in Gold, Silver, and Bronze, to name a few. Their collection includes 8 canned non-alcoholic cocktail varieties, including the newly launched Lychee Martini flavor, and three bottled non alcoholic premium spirits.
“The non-alcoholic beverage market is ready for disruption, which can create immense growth potential. We see consumers already shifting preferences towards healthier and alcohol-free alternatives, which provides an opportunity for a brand like MIXOLOSHE to redefine this industry. I could not be more excited about the chance to make some noise in the category of non-alcoholic beverages and build one of the most talked about drinks in the world.” – Zayn Malik
“Zayn is a creative visionary both in music and beyond. His passion for innovation and his ability to captivate audiences will undoubtedly help us redefine the narrative around the non alcoholic beverage category, with a fresh perspective on making healthy lifestyle choices and living well, irrespective of your beverage preferences,” said Kristina Roth, MIXOLOSHE Founder and CEO. “I’m looking forward to working alongside him and shaping a future for this category where the glass is always half full of possibilities.”
Soft seltzers are available in a 12 pack, and retail for $29.99. Non-alcoholic spirits are available in a 750 ml bottle and retail for $29.99.
For more information, please visit: mixoloshe.com.
Mixoloshe is a female-founded line of non-alcoholic seltzers and spirits that are formulated to taste and smell boozy without the booze. Whether you’re booze-free forever or just for the night, these drinks are the perfect inclusive answer to an age old question—what are we drinking? High in flavor and low in calories, MIXOLOSHE packs a party into every can of soft seltzer and bottle of non-alcoholic spirits. With a mission and ingredients that are anything but fake, the brand offers booze-free cocktail alternatives that taste like the real thing. Party tonight with no regrets tomorrow.
Looking for Big, Bold Flavor? 1000 Stories Wines delivers with Bourbon Barrel Aged Zinfandel
At 1000 Stories Wines, they share that same bold roaming spirit, which is why each of their wines tell incredible stories of exploration and discovery.
In every bottle thy hope you’ll find journeys, encounters, people and places—stories that stoke the roaming spirit in all of us so that once your grass of wine is finished, you set out once again to create the next chapter in our stories.
Today we’re talking with Margaret Leonardi from 1000 Stories Wines. The below conversation has been editing for length and clarity. For the full, unedited version, check out our FlavRReport YouTube channel.
Just to get to know you a little bit better, can you tell us more about what inspired you to get into the wine business?
Margaret Leonardi: I’m originally from an organic dairy farm in Northern California, so just the county north of here. We’re in Mendocino County. I’m from Humboldt County, so just the closest wine growing region from home. The wine industry is so much more glamorous and romantic than the dairy industry. I’ve been making wine since 2009. Now my whole life is the wine industry.
My husband is a winemaker too. We live in a vineyard. We’re in the middle of harvest right now. We’ve been harvesting for over a month now. We’ll harvest hopefully through Halloween.
How’s it going this year? Are the grapes looking good?
Margaret Leonardi: Pretty average yields. It’s a little later as a whole than normal harvest. Not noteworthy, but maybe a couple of weeks depending on the region, the variety. It’s tasting good. The chemistries are nice. Good acids. So far we’re happy but we’re only halfway done.
The brand is called 1,000 Stories. On your website it mentions each of your wines tell incredible stories of exploration, discovery. Where does the idea of stories come from?
Margaret Leonardi: There’s a lot of stories around how we came up with the name and how we got from point A to point B, but everyone has their own rendition, which is just ironic that it’s 1000 stories. Our consumer is adventurous, and likes to roam and wander and connect with people. So all those people, each adventure you go on, and each new connection you make, you have new stories, and you have new stories to share, and you can share our wines together.
You mentioned the word “explore”. Up in your area is Yellowstone National Park, and a thousand stories that you guys partnered with Yellowstone Forever.
Margaret Leonardi: That’s a new partnership for this year. The official non profit partner with Yellowstone, and their main focus is bison conservation. With our label, our mascot is a bison. The partnership promotes bison conservation, make sure their population is safe and healthy.
It’s a beautiful design. Tell me about how the bottle itself was created and how you decided what should be on that bottle?
Margaret Leonardi: We have three SKUs that are bourbon barrel aged. Our first is the Zinfandel, the OG of the portfolio, this came out first and then in the Bourbon Barrel Age side, we also have a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Red Blend.
Then we have an American Barrel Aged section that’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, so not Bourbon Barrel Aged, just American Oak. That would be used for normal winemaking, and then we have our newest corn sku, it’s a Sauvignon Blanc, and this is just stainless steel and some concrete aging.
The Bourbon barrel aged [popularity] has grown. We have customers who want more diversity, more variety. So we’ve expanded the set.
On the Zinfandel [label], we have our mascot the bison. Another noteworthy thing with this is on the Zin, because it was our first.
Each time we get bourbon barrels, we go through a 3rd party broker. So we’re not working directly with any distillers. We have a mix of the distilleries these bourbon barrels are shipping to us from, so they’re all different.
We’re filling finished Zinfandel in these barrels and then we taste each one.
Some can be really bourbon-y, really potent. A lot of fresh dill. Some can have less bourbon influence and it’s more smoky, toasty.
So we have to really craft each one. We’re tasting a bunch of lots and crafting the blend for the finished product.
That’s when we decided to put the batch number [on the bottle]. Because as a whole, the backbone of the wine tastes very similar, but there are some little minute differences. We wanted to convey that to the consumer with the batch number because you can tell [each bottle] tastes a little different.
Bourbon barrel has become very popular. How was that method chosen at your winery?
Margaret Leonardi: It was a practice from the original winemaker, the founding winemaker, Bob Blue, who just retired a couple of years ago.
We were innovating, thinking of new wine ideas, and this is a practice that he used 20 plus years ago. [Back then] French oak wine barrels were pretty pricey, like a luxury commodity to use. So he was looking at different alternatives to age his wines here at Fetzer.
He had this idea. Bourbon and whiskey barrels were cheaper.
We bought some bourbon barrels and tried it. We were like, we should bottle this, not blend this into a bigger portion. This should be its own bottle. That was in 2014, our first vintage.
I started with the company in 2015. I was here at the beginning, so I saw some of the evolution and then Bob has retired and he’s passed the torch to Sebastian and I.
Let’s talk a little bit about the different varietals. The process, the styles aromas, flavor notes.
Margaret Leonardi: The first original Zinfandel is our classic. I say classic because Zinfandel’s kind of an American grape variety, it’s very Americana. It goes with our whole spirit of the brand, and It’s what Mendocino County and Mendocino is known for.
We grow really great Zinfandel’s up here, it’s a nice and warm climate. We’ve also expanded, now we’re sourcing some of the fruit from Lodi as well, which is also a really great growing region for Zinfandel. They’re also known for their Zin.
It’s blended with some Petite Syrah. Just to give the color a little more enhancement. Some more tannin structure. We want the whole backbone of the blend to be bold. You’re supposed to match the bison. Big style, bold characteristics. We pick them when the fruit is really ripe. It’s pretty hot. Then we finish it in bourbon barrels and we can use a little bit of American oak, French oak in there too, just to give it some oak enhancement. Usually around 15 percent alcohol in the finished product.
The unique part of the Zinfandel itself is the blackberries. It’s really juicy, some cranberry and then the bourbon barrel aging process is just where you get some like dried herbs, oregano, thyme. Toffee characteristics from the toastiness of the bourbon barrel itself.
The point is to have a really strong wine. We want to have a really strong wine. We don’t want it to waft bourbon and we don’t want the bourbon to sit on top of the wine. We want them to be really integrated and just like a finish, not overwhelming or overpowering.
It’s very well balanced. Were there any challenges in finding the balance or was it pretty straightforward?
Margaret Leonardi: It’s not pretty straightforward. We wish. The barrels coming from the distillers can vary. They can be emptied the week before [and be very fresh]. They can be emptied a month [and be less fresh]. So how much has evaporated, how much has been absorbed into the wood. Those are unknown factors. So it’s a bunch of trial and error. So it’s fun, but it’s a lot of work. We want some consistency, but we want a little bit of difference.
You’ve mentioned Sebastian Donoso. Tell us about him. How the two of you balance roles.
Margaret Leonardi: He’s the winemaker for the Bourbon Barrel Aged Wines. Before we were both collaborating with Bob, it was more like a team effort. When Bob stepped down, we also had the new American Barrel Aged Pinot and Chard and the Sauvignon Blanc’s brand new.
Sebastian took the Bourbon Barrel Aged because he was working on those more, and then I took the other half. We work together.
Before we move on, I don’t want to forget the Sauvignon Blanc. Process, styles, aromas, the taste?
Margaret Leonardi: This just came out in April of this year so I’m really excited. I think it’s still working its way across the nation, but I’m really happy with this wine. I really like the way it came out and I got to make it from scratch. I made exactly what I wanted. It’s nice when you make something that you really like to drink too. The fruit that we source for this comes from the majority from the Arroyo Seco region, so down Monterey, central coast of California, which is just a really nice growing region, Bay Area influence. Warm days and then cool evenings. A little bit comes from just up here in Mendocino County. Then the rest is from Lodi.
A unique thing is it’s blended with 10% Viognier. The Viognier is an ironic blender for Sauvignon Blanc, but it’s like in the spirit of things bold, I have this Viognier that I really like. It’s really concentrated, ripened flavors. A lot of peach and nectarine flavors, so I thought it could be really interesting in a Sauvignon Blanc.
I fermented them separate and then blended this percentage in there and It’s really interesting because the Sauvignon Blanc has a little bit of grassy, grapefruit, citrus aromas,
The Viognier twist makes it almost a little floral, but you get those white peach, stone fruit flavors pop a little more because of that Viognier.
It’s all stainless steel, fermented and aged, so it has no oak contact. I do some concrete eggs. I think it enhances the texture and makes it a little more mineral-y.
Are you a foodie? Can you please suggest some really delicious dishes that pair with these bottles?
Margaret Leonardi: That is a nice thing about our portfolio expanding, because before we had the three reds. So it’s similar food pairings. Now that we’ve expanded, we can have almost a wine for any dish. The Zinfandel and all of the bourbon barrel aged wines go really great with barbecue or smoked meat, ribs, red meats. It’s a good “occasion wine”, right? If you’re going to a friend’s house for a barbecue or somewhere where you want to grab a bottle of wine, but you aren’t sure what – it’s a crowd pleaser, it’s a perfect conversation starter. Sporting events soccer games, Super Bowl, that kind of thing.
Then the Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with oysters, light sauce pastas, cream based pastas. It’s also great just appetizer wine. I think the Viognier is different. It is fun to start with it. So if you’re coming over and not sure what to open or if you’re having a dinner party, it’s like a great wine to kick off the night with.
You can explore it and then it transitions well with food, especially as it warms up a little.
Where we can find you follow and find that all this stuff both to buy as well as on social media
Margaret Leonardi: The brand as a whole is available through our website. They’re also available at any grocery stores around the whole country.
Lehigh Valley’s Flavor: Chilli No. 5 Unveils Hunted Alba White Truffles for Limited Time.
Chilli No. 5 launches a new batch of 50 bottles of magnificent White Truffle Hot Sauce to compete with Truff, the industry leader and USA truffle sauce master.
The only difference is Chilli No. 5 ses real white truffles from Alba in the Piemont and has won the Great Taste Award in 23.
Priced at £25/30€/$ per 100ml, it solidifies its position as one of the priciest and fanciest hot sauces in the global market.
Every October, Chilli No. 5 founder Rumble Romagnoli visits Alba in Northern Italy to hunt and handpick white and black truffles that are used to make a yearly batch of the Chilli No. 5 White Truffle Hot sauce.
The team has a dedicated Truffle Hunter – Renzo, and Lagotto Romagnolo truffle dog – Charlie to find the best truffles in the world. They also benefit from access to the truffle forest that has belonged to Renzo’s family for generations.
“Truffles are like diamonds. They cannot be made.
You have to find them.
“…Each one is unique. Close your eyes and bring the forest to life with this uber-umami white truffle sauce unmatched so far in the industry.” – Rumble Romagnoli founder says.
Romagnoli adds “You can understand that no expense was spared in sourcing the finest white truffles, carefully handpicked to ensure their unparalleled quality and aroma. Blended with a mix of fresh mushrooms such as Porcini, Ceps, Chantrelles, Girolles, and Morilles, this creation is a true culinary gem.”
According to the Great Taste Award Judges “It becomes clear very quickly that this sauce has been made with real skill. The truffle is very much present but tamed at all times. The additional mushrooms combine for a really characterful sauce that offers umami in spades but has some acidity, tang and sweetness too. On top of all this artistry, there’s the late and subtle arrival of chilli heat to round it all off. This is a very complex sauce, but very accessible too.”
This unique White Truffle Hot Sauce will be a versatile addition to kitchens, grills, and BBQs all over the world used not only as a condiment, but also as marinade, and a BBQ sauce. Traditionally, truffle is used on plain pasta, risotto, or grilled meats to enhance the complexity of this unique flavour. The intoxicating aroma and robust, earthy flavour of white truffles create a truly sensory experience that will transport you to a world of culinary luxury.
Chilli No. 5’s White Truffle Sauce is a limited-edition offering, available for a limited time as only 50 bottles are produced each season. This new batch left the Chilli No. 5 kitchens today, so don’t miss the opportunity to add this rare delight to your upcoming culinary repertoire.
Chilli No. 5’s White Truffle Sauce is the perfect choice for discerning home cooks, food enthusiasts, and those seeking to impress guests with a touch of decadence. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion, hosting an intimate dinner party, or simply indulging in a gourmet home-cooked meal, this sauce will leave a lasting impression.
This limited-edition White Truffle Hot sauce goes with everything and is perfect for a chilli sauce gift in its designer sustainable packaging.
To explore the rich flavors of Chilli No. 5’s White Truffle Sauce and elevate your culinary creations, visit Chilli No. 5’s Website.
Legendary Pennsylvania Restauranteur Joseph Costanzo Jr. Reveals all in Tasty Memoir with “On The Rocks”
Legendary Pittsburgh Restauranteur Joseph Costanzo Jr. Reveals all in his Tasty Memoir with “On The Rocks”
On the Rocks chronicles the real-life journey of restaurateur Joseph Costanzo Jr., from his rise to success in the 1990s as a owner of the highly acclaimed Primadonna Restaurant, radio host, columnist, and aspiring politician to his sharp fall in the early 2000s, ending in an investigation and a stint in federal prison.
Costanzo is a complex character, whom readers will admire for his confidence and rebuke for his arrogance, will love for his generosity and despise for his egotism, and will learn from in both his attention to detail and lack thereof.
This driven, not-your-average-Joe is an unforgettable character who achieves the seemingly impossible but can’t help getting in his own way. Come along with Joe for a bumpy ride on the rocks
On the Rocks: The Primadonna Story, co-written by Maria C. Palmer and Ruthie Robbins is available now on Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, Walmart, Target. Signed copies at the Heinz History Center. Also follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
Today, we’re having a conversation with all three: Joseph Costanzo Jr., co-writers Maria C. Palmer and Ruthie Robbins.
The conversation has been edited for clarity and length. Find the un-edited conversation on our FlavRReport YouTube channel.
Something that I find amazing, this book has been 17 years in the process. Is that an accurate piece of trivia?
Maria C. Palmer: 100%. Yes, that is a very accurate piece of trivia.
So way back 17 years ago, what sparked this for you?
Maria C. Palmer: A couple of things. I think that because the restaurant was such a significant part of our lives, and it was always the highlight of my father’s life. Once it went away, the spark kind of went away, too. And I wanted to bring that back in my Dad. So I started asking him lots of questions about his life. Specifically for a family history. At the time, being a writer myself, in addition to grant writing, I’m also a writer and I can really spot a good story that has commercial value.
There were just so many wonderful elements to his story. So I started recording some vignettes of different things that had happened throughout his life. But not really knowing and or intending at the time that it would be a book.
But as we went on, I saw that the potential was there and I was lucky enough to still be in contact with my former teacher, Ruthie Dines Robbins and brought the project to her and asked her if she would be willing to work on it with me.
It was really from there that we decided it would become a book and that we would work together diligently for probably 10 years together.
Ruthie Robbins: I’m only 7 years.
Joseph Costanzo Jr.: They had it in Maria’s voice originally. Ruthie was in a book club and they said, “Put it in Joe’s voice and they had to go back and change the whole book.” I watched 11, 000 emails back and forth.
Ruthie Robbins: We were not primarily emailing. We were mostly talking and texting, and that year was the pandemic year. So I was off teaching that winter and the following fall.
Before we get into the restaurant itself, what was the writing process like?
Maria C. Palmer: I can speak to the family history and just the overall process of it. It was really challenging. Because whenever you’re writing a memoir or a biography, You’re not writing a Wikipedia page. So it’s not from the time somebody is born until the time that they pass away.
You’re picking the most poignant time in their lives. Not only cherry picking all the good things that happened during that time period, but you’re picking some of the challenges too, because that’s what makes a good story.
It was challenging to figure out what the storyline was going to be and sometimes to tell those hard parts of the story.
What was even more challenging, was just the nebulous nature of the publishing industry. I just thought you wrote a book, it’s on Amazon and then people buy it. And that could not be further from the truth. Query letters. Polished one page, a 90,000 word manuscript. A whole book proposal. An entire business plan of why we’re writing the book and why it’s going to sell into the market. Requiring that much to not even get a thanks,, but just no response whatsoever.
Ruthie Robbins: Totally agree. The writing was not arduous part because Maria and I get along so well.. We’re real partners, but this publishing thing. We really didn’t understand the process, so it is difficult, and especially in this genre, [competing with] the celebrities and athletes and reality stars who wrote memoirs. They want a name on the shelf that someone will pick up in a bookstore.
Mr. Costanzo, one of my favorite parts of this book is the wine mentions. Tell us your “Pin on the wall” story.
Joseph Costanzo Jr.: Yeah we’re in a tough neighborhood, but we brought in a lot of people outside the area and upscale people, limos, what have you.
I had a bus boy and he was a really good worker. He became a server and he came to me after he got the drink order and said, ”what’s a pin on the wall?”
I never heard of a “Pin on the Wall”. So we went to the bartender. He didn’t know either. We looked it up, nothing.
So I went out there to ask the customers, so we could make it for them – and one of the most mortal sins at the Primadonna was making Joe Costanzo look bad – I said, excuse me what’s in a Pin on a Wall and they all started laughing. The guy said, “Pinot Noir.”
They’re laughing at me. That’s bad. So I went in and I really did a job on this kid. My wife grabbed me by my tie and pushed me downstairs to my office.
I was in this kid’s face because he really wasn’t real serious about the situation. If you’re going to be the best at what you’re doing, you can’t be messing up like that.
He ended up being great. Chris, who was the server, became a maitre’d and a great employee of mine. He was very loyal. I really went overboard with him and I did feel bad about it.
Reviews are incredibly important. The amount of work and effort you put in to get your Four Forks Review. Tell us a little bit about what happened.
Joseph Costanzo Jr.: Because the area was an old steel town which had a reputation of a lot of fighting, a lot of drinking, a lot of drugs, nobody would come into that area to eat.
I knew I needed credibility, and the only way I would get credibility was through the Pittsburgh Post, because the dining critic, Mike Kalina, who was a syndicated columnist, had tremendous credibility. KDKA TV, Post Gazette, New York Daily News.
For two and a half years, I kept reaching out to him. This is in a time before cell phones and emails.
But I knew if he comes down and gives us a good review, people from outside the area, from the upscale areas of the city are going to come in. That’s what happened.
But he did say to me, “You deserve four, but I’ll only give you three because you’ll never handle the business.”
That Friday night, June 3rd 1988, he was 100 percent right. People were lined up at the door. I was used to doing 10-15 dinners a night. We did over 200 dinners that night and it was a total joke. People waited two and a half hours. When food came out of the kitchen, people actually applauded. People were begging me to get him a bottle of vodka because they couldn’t get a drink at the bar.
We were short of service. We were short of bartenders. I made it all work in the next couple of weeks and I hired people.
I don’t want to ruin the upcoming movie or TV series, but when you trimmed it down, how much heartbreak was there in cutting out so many stories?
Joseph Costanzo Jr.: It was very tough. We had a book signing in August. I kept telling people they were in the book, and they were in the draft I read. But there were final touches that I didn’t see and we lost a lot of names and alot of stories. So I really felt bad. I found the actual early draft and sent copies to those people. This should be in a book, but it will be in the movie, I guarantee you.
Ruthie Robbins: It was so hard. We did a lot of fact checking when we wrote, because memories are so unreliable. We talked to people who were in the original book [draft] and they expected to be more. And on top of that, you try to end the chapter on a cliffhanger. When you take out a story that changes the number of pages in the chapter, it changes the pace of the book. That was a terrible editing challenge.
Maria, what was that like for you as the author and the daughter?
Maria C. Palmer: Originally the book was written partially in my voice and partially in my Dad’s voice. It started chronologically for me in my twenties and [had] flashbacks because the story starts in 1986 and I was very young at that time. It was confusing and it didn’t work. Everything that I wrote and all that I put my heart and soul into was all cut from the book. So now I have another book project that I’m working on.
But I will echo what my father and Ruthie said. It was hard because everybody did have a significant piece to the Primadonna story.
Mr. Costanza, it would be an easy assumption to say you’ve lived a big life. Are there one or two things you would have done differently in the stories of the book now looking back on them?
Joseph Costanzo Jr.: Sure. When you are hitting all home runs, you tend to believe that everything that you do is gonna be a home run. I had the most popular restaurant in Western Pennsylvania. Maybe I’m going to do something else, maybe I’ll go into politics.
I spent about $300,000 of my own money to put my name out there. Most people loved Joe Costanzo, but now when you get into politics it’s not that way. So that was probably my biggest regret.
My wife begged me not to do it. She said, Joe, we have a miracle here and you’re going to try for another miracle. And she was right. You may or may not like Joe Costanzo when you read the book, but you will love Donna Costanzo.
Joseph Costanzo Jr.: And that’s bottom line. Everybody says the same thing. Joe, it was great. What he did is impossible, but his wife was a saint for putting up with all this stuff that a restaurateur has to go through.
The theme of hospitality comes out in the book, but you so clearly love people. What has it been like getting all these people’s responses to this story?
Joseph Costanzo Jr.: This has been unbelievable for me. People are very happy that this all happened this way. I treated people really well and people wanted to reciprocate. So exhilarating to me. My life has been very boring, but now it’s really gotten to the point where it’s been great thanks to Maria and Ruthie.
Ruthie Robbins: It’s heartwarming. Especially from former students, the outpouring has brought me to tears sometimes. It’s reconnecting with people over the book. That has really been so wonderful
Maria C. Palmer: This has been such a 17 year journey. I always believed that there was something special about this story. Seeing that exactly what I felt in my gut for 17 years is actually playing out in real life.
Whenever we’re in Pittsburgh, it is almost surreal because people are talking about “On The Rocks and it’s really cool and crazy to know that something that you created means so much for people.
Joseph Costanzo Jr.: The big thing which is amazing to me is that the book came out August 8th, 2023. For two weeks, the book was the number one bestselling ebook on Amazon for culinary memoirs. Ahead of Anthony Bourdain’s, Kitchen Confidential and Stanley Tucci’s Taste “On the Rocks” for over two weeks was the number one overall best-selling ebook. Now that’s hard to believe because this was just a Western Pennsylvania thing and Bourdain and Tucci are worldwide known authors and entertainers.
Tell us where we can find the book and all the ways we can keep in touch with this story.
Ruthie Robbins: There’s also signed copies at the Heinz History Center.
Lehigh Valley wants to Celebrate: French Bloom Delivers Flavor without Boozy Bombs
You want to celebrate. You want to “pop the cork”, enjoy the flavor, but you don’t want the after-effects. The drunkenness. Certainly not the hangover. And women? Of course there needs to be ways to elegantly celebrate even (and especially) during pregnancy. Imagine a pregnant-friendly wine?
It’s a situation that should have been solved already. But now it has and with style. It’s a subtle, elegant, flavorful answer.
French Bloom Re-Invents the Game
Now everyone can share “moments of pleasure” as their website mentions. French Bloom’s organic de-alcoholized chardonnay and pinot noir, alcohol-free French sparkling cuvées combine French tradition with innovation.
The Team Behind French Bloom
Maggie Frerejean – Taittinger and Constance Jablonski bring different and complementary skill sets. Equally important, they bring the desire for the vision and the motivation for innovation.
Through their innovative and female-founded brand, French Bloom gives an alternative and inviting drink to those wanting to celebrate elegantly and differently, making the most of the precious moments shared with friends and family.
If the names sound familiar, Constance is a globally-working fashion model you’ve seen representing Estée Lauder and countless luxury brands.
Maggie is director of the Michelin Guide and married to Rodolphe Frerejean-Taittinger, chief executive of Champagne Frerejean Freres.
Carl Héline, the former head of Champagne Krug, joined French Bloom.
Let’s Taste French Bloom
Pale pink in the glass. Rose petals, freshly picked red currant, raspberry aromas on the nose. Indulgent white peach notes on the palate. Elegant. The organic French grapes give a nice acidity. Well-balanced complexity of minerality and freshness. Tartness and a rounded balance on the finish.
Certified Vegan- Organic- Halal
No sugar added, 4,2g/ 100ml
A blend of de-alcoholized organic French Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines, organic grape juice, Gensac spring water and natural organic flavors such as lemon.
Organic French Bubbly, 0.0% Alcohol
Medium golden amber in the glass. Minerality and pear aromas on the nose, that just keep opening and opening. Pear, banana, melon, white flowers. An explosion of complexity on the palate. As the flavors open, Granny Smith apple, spicy citrus. A full-bodied mouth with a luxurious, zesty finish that keeps going.
De-alcoholized organic wine, organic grape juice, French sparkling Gensac spring water, organic lemon juice, organic natural flavors.
Certified Vegan- Organic- Halal
No sugar added, 5,9g/ 100ml
Learn more: FrenchBloom.com
Lehigh Valley wants Family and Flavor — Howell’s Standard Hot Honey Delivers On Your Plate
Howell’s Standard provides raw, natural honey in its purest form, a variety of herb and fruit-infused honeys, and products from the hive.
They are a small family-owned company in Northeast Maryland that appreciates the gifts of nature and artistic expression. Find their website, their Instagram and their in-person farmer’s market experience.
Below, Alexander and Monica Howell visited for a conversation about family, flavor, health benefits and the magic of honey.
This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. Find the full, unedited conversation on the FlavRReport YouTube channel.
My understanding going back to the beginning is, this whole company was a COVID baby, meaning the idea of it launched during the pandemic. Is that accurate?
Alexander Howell: So I’ll give you a bit of a backstory. We had, like you said, started around the boom of COVID. During that time with all the sickness going around, one of the things we decided to do was to figure out how we can stay healthier and keep the entire family more healthy during that entire time.
One of the things we decided to do was to cut out a lot of white and processed sugars because it’s the cause of a lot of health issues, cancers, things of that nature. After that we [realized] we can’t just not have any type of sweetener at all. We’re not that strong.
We went across a couple of different sweeteners. We tried agave, we tried monk fruit. We tried all those, [but] they didn’t hit the spot for us.
Then we were at a farmer’s market [and] tried some raw honey. Once we had tried that, it’s like the entire world just opened up for us because.
We started researching it more and found out there were tons of health benefits tied into raw honey itself.
Once we started consuming it ourselves, we felt the changes. A lot more energy naturally, our skin started looking a lot better, our hair started looking better. Then we decided instead of keeping this a family secret, we can share it with the world.
Monica Howell: So I’ve got a slightly different angle on it. Everything Alex said is definitely true. Pre COVID, I had always been an entrepreneur at heart, always dabbling in something, always doing a little side things. They say you have to have multiple streams of income.
So I was always looking for the next best option. Prior to COVID, I was creating body butters and detox masks and sugar scrubs; and just looking for things that were positive for your skin in a natural manner. Honey was one of the ingredients that was always on my shelf.
[Honey] is one of those ingredients. It’s a wonderful connector. I had really only ever thought of honey as this thing that was on aisle number eight of the grocery store always next to the maple syrup. A condiment to get with your fried chicken.
But once I started having success with personal skin care, the products that were most sought after, that had the best outcomes for my skin all had honey in them.
During COVID, we just really started to come together more, having more conversations. Bringing together the things that we were doing individually as a group and kind of figuring out
We started minimizing ingredients. Looking at that 20 line ingredient list on the back of everything and saying what can [remove]?
Something you both touched on was the zero to one aspect. Talk a little bit about the process from idea to reality.
Monica Howell: So for me, it was checking boxes. Throwing something on the wall and seeing what sticks, that old spaghetti adage.
There’s so many layers, so many things that I wasn’t aware of honey as a whole.
Figuring out how we could integrate this into our lives, and then how we then convert that and transition that into something that was revenue generating, seeing there was a niche.
We started with friends and family. Letting people that would trust us, try things out.
A lot of the response was ‘I don’t like honey’ or ‘I already have sugar. I don’t need to do this.’
But we said, it’s open your mind, let’s look into something a little different. Let’s consider it in a different way and move forward from there.
One thing that I think stands out for us is the fact that everything that we do, all the honey options that we have available are all beneficial in some way, shape or form. You get the benefit of those things that are being infused into the honey. So everything is purposeful.
Everything added is to expand the benefits of the honey into something beyond.
Each honey is different, with different infusions. We call them varietals. Essentially a varietal is a honey that the beekeeper and the farmer have integrated hives into that particular crop. The honey has a flavor and nuance. Then we have our infusions.
Local honey is where I go. That’s all I want. Our local [honey] in Maryland is not the same local that’s in Texas. What’s local to California is not what’s local to Utah. What’s local to Utah is not local to Maine. But when you look at it, all those honeys have a slight variance and nuance in flavor because of what’s being pollinated.
Our plants aren’t the same here as in Hawaii. So when you say I enjoy wildflower, the enjoyment of your wildflower might taste completely different than what I’m used to because of the plants that are growing. It doesn’t necessarily all taste the same.
When you started with this idea, were you aware of the different varietals, the regions and how that affected honey?
Alexander Howell: We definitely didn’t know how intricate and how deep this kind of rabbit hole of honey goes. It’s a very nice and very informative learning experience for two reasons. One, just so we are aware of the benefits and can tell our family, but also so we can now have those kinds of conversations with our customers.
Monica Howell: Even something as a variance from season to season. Literally your spring honey can be a completely different product from your fall [honey] and your winter honey.
The amount of moisture that’s in the air, that can even be from location to location. April showers bring May flowers. Those April showers are happening, there’s a ton of moisture in the air. And then when you’re getting into the fall, you’re having the bees that are pollinated when you’re getting into the fall, there’s a variance in that same region.
That same area has shifted the temperature. You’re just coming out of 90 degree weather. There’s still flowers out. But the pollination process that’s happening, the bees are what they’re collecting now, it can be different.
In the U. S. alone, there’s over 300 different types of honey. Over the world, there are thousands.
The interesting thing is when we’re bringing those varietals together in one place, you actually taste them side by side, [you can taste and notice] there are definite differences that you may never [have noticed otherwise] .
Someone says, “I don’t like honey. I say, “Well you haven’t tasted my honey.”
They find out, they dont like wildflower from North Carolina, but they love sage from California or macadamia nut from Hawaii – it’s amazing.
You’ve both mentioned farmer’s market experiences, sampling and buying. Let’s talk a little bit about those experiences.
Alexander Howell: As far as farmers markets goes, we’ve gotten the entire spectrum of reactions – ‘Oh, this is some of the best I‘ve ever had in my life’, or ‘This is nasty’
I appreciate either side of the spectrum, it’s just very honest and blunt. In person, you get to actually see that emotion, you get to see that interaction, you get to not only see what they think but maybe they brought a friend or a family member of theirs – their husband, their wife, their kids, their dog.
We get to see what your dietary needs are, your favorite flavors, your favorite vegetables. If you have a health issue, what type of things we have that could possibly help.
It’s even as simple as someone getting a gift for somebody who’s a pescatarian who likes to cook so, ‘What do you have for this?’
And I can then give them a whole range of stuff [to browse].
Monica Howell: We’ve been selling at farmer’s markets for 2.5 years. By far, it is my favorite. People who grew up going to farmer’s markets. Beekeepers that have grown up in their Grandma’s backyard.
We always get somebody that says, ‘Oh, my grandma had honey. And I’m already familiar.’ I always challenge them to taste something that’s a little different,
We get people who are extremely health conscious. They are looking for natural options.
On your website, there’s a lot of products What are the major categories and what are one or two or three that you really want to highlight that are currently available?
Monica Howell: We do some switching out from season to season, but for the most part, 25 items. A combination of the varietals and the infusions.
We’ve got an amazing macadamia nut honey that comes from Hawaii. You get a honey that has a certain butteriness to it, a nice weight to it. A little nuttiness at the end. It’s amazing in coffee. It’s amazing on top of a banana bread, really good in yogurt. Also good to cook with.
Our blueberry is from Maine. A little bit of a nuance of that blueberry flavor. It’s a little sweeter than some of the other honeys. It’s amazing on bakery goods and breakfast. So instead of using traditional maple syrup, we’re using the blueberry honey on a Belgian waffle on a pancake. Amazing on yogurt and things like that.
Then we’ve got our infusions. So the infusions essentially are different botanicals using a particular honey.
I’m using an extra white honey from Iowa. If you’re looking on the spectrum of honey, not only does honey change area to area, there’s water white honey, all the way down to your dark amber honeys. So there’s an entire rainbow of different types of honey, based on what’s being pollinated and what’s growing.
Your darker honeys have more of a molasses flavor, probably 10 – 20 x the antioxidants that you’re getting then like a water white honey. But when we’re considering what to use to infuse, I’m usually going with that lighter honey.
Our elderberry honey is super important. We’re taking a ground elderberry from the actual berry, not the elderberry flower. And we’re grinding that up and then infusing that into honey over a period of time. That allows you to then take that elderberry on a regular basis, either in as a sweetener for your tea or actually adding it into a yogurt.
Alexander Howell: Some of the things that I like to highlight, because I’m a foodie, I’m always trying to find honey that would elevate the taste.
One of those is Hot Honey. Anything from chicken, to beef, to pork, to seafood, to shellfish. I love it all. One specific thing is strawberries. It sounds a little out there, but it’s amazing.
And also the vanilla. I love it on my baked goods, banana breads, cornbread, really good on cinnamon rolls. Instead of the sheet icing I’ll put the honey. Even simpler like a latte or a cup of tea. Put some of your pancakes or crepes.
It’s the two different honeys on two different ends of the spectrum, but at the end of the day they both serve their purposes
Monica Howell: We are working with a few bartenders and mixologists that have taken our honeys and creating mocktails. Super fun.
One thing to acknowledge, the audience is a large majority of our conversations are wine based. So it’s with winemakers and chefs.
Do any of these honeys pair better with any specific kinds of varietals of wine?
Alexander Howell: One of the best ways I do like to enjoy wine with honey is charcuterie.
Monica Howell: Charcuterie and honey go hand in hand. It’s like a whole little puzzle of delicious-ness.
I like Merlot. Something becoming more popular are meads. So mead is wine essentially made with the foundation of honey versus grapes. There are a lot of brewers that are starting to play with mead. So you’ll find mead in all different varietals, some that very much tastes like wine and some that tastes closer to beer.
We’re not necessarily pairing the wine so much with the honey as helping the person that’s hosting the event, creating that perfect board, that perfect accompaniment to it.
What’s the best way to learn more about you? Website, social media? How can we follow you more?
Monica Howell: Definitely the website is the easiest way. You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram. The unique feature of what we do in-person. That’s the benefit of coming to see us at a farmer’s market. We also are actually on a couple of stores in the local area, local by design, which is an Annapolis mall in Annapolis, Maryland, where our product is available on their shelves.
You can find gifting boxes and samplers on the website too.
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