I spent this last weekend working at my friends' winery again for their Fall Harvest Festival. It was the last two days of summer, and the weather was glorious in a way that you hope you can remember come March, when it is cold and gray and you are digging your car out of the snow. Blue skies, bright sunshine, and a nice breeze off the lake brought the regulars and tourists out in droves, and I was too busy to say more than a quick "hello" to Marie Louise et famille, or Meg & Mo from Two Ladies in Waiting, when they breezed through the shop on their way to the tasting tent. Well, it was really crowded, so I'm lying when I say they "breezed through". Think subway platform at rush hour and you've got the right idea, especially given the preponderance of New Yorkers that come up to the country for a bit o' sightseeing.
Before the crowds arrive I like to peruse the retail area and scoop up the good stuff for myself familiarize myself with the new merchandise, and there was a nice display of new chutneys, spreads and dips by The Gracious Gourmet. I think a heaping spoonful of this Spiced Sour Cherry will be great on pork loin. Sear the pork loin on the stove, finish it in the oven, and deglaze the pan with a little wine. Reduce and stir in the cherry goodness. Yum.
Gracious Gourmet owner Nancy Wekselbaum and her husband Natan base their gourmet business out of nearby Bridgewater, CT, so they stopped by the festival to pick up some chardonnay and see how sales were going. They are not only gracious, but charming as well. Their toy poodle, Chutney, is cuter (and mellower) than the Mango Pineapple Chutney in the line.
In addition to checking out their website, I googled them and found that Natan and his brother founded NYC's famous emporium of home goods, Gracious Home. There is so much merchandise that it can be a little overwhelming to shop there, but you come out inspired to go home and move furniture and redecorate. They carry everything from basic cleaning supplies to Diptyque candles to switchplates to 800 thread-count sheets. Definitely one of those places where if they don't have it, you don't need it.