Panetini, Fig & Cheese


Have you ever felt a deep desire to acquire some snacks that would delight your palate and joyfully meld with a bottle of wine? My dearest friend Mo was coming for a visit last fall and I felt the need to gather the appropriate sustenance for an evening of laughs and good conversation. My perusing at the local grocer led me to these three very delightful guests to join our little soiree.

The first new friend is this delightful toast – Panetini. Oven Baked Italian Toast. Baked twice in the tradition of Old World Italy. This is all noted on the package. Having traveled to Italy on our honeymoon, I get just a wee bit nostalgic about anything Italian-related. Seriously. What’s not to love about Italy or Italian food? I honestly can’t think of anything.

Garlic? Parmesan? Yes! Yes! I like those too..

Fig Spread

The second guest is this Fig Spread. Oh the JOY! Fig! Sweet. Perfect. Delicious.

Did I mention the JOY?

No particular connotation of country here.

Except for the fact that it was made in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

The third to make its acquaintance is this delicious Dubliner cheese. Imported straight from Ireland. Ahh…Ireland. Mo and I had been for a visit back in 2001. She’s been to Italy too. Not with me the little bugger but I guess sometimes husbands trump best friends. Sometimes.

All three together. OH. MY. Oh me! Oh my! I could die. It tastes like a bit of heaven.

{and please accept my apologies for the slight Dr.Seuss-ian excursion above}

This trio speaks to my soul. They say “Ang, we are good together.” And so, I am forced to put them in my belly. (After all, if food talks to you, you should listen to it.)


For the celebration with Mo, we enjoyed the Rosso & Bianco Pinot Grigio from the Francis Ford Coppola Winery. It was a perfect choice to accompany the Panetini, Fig and Cheese. Please click here for tasting profile and winemaker’s notes.


On my most recent Panetini, Fig & Cheese adventure I engaged this very lovely Evolution white.

I’ll admit it. I am a sucker for pretty packaging. This bottle drew me in. Then, it sucked me in. Then it told me, solely based on its looks, that it would taste good. So I bought it.

Great work on the marketing, my friends at Sokol Blosser Winery.

Just look at the cork.

evolution cork

They included life-saving directions! *smiles* *winks* *bursts with admiration at the ingenuity*

I am also happy to report my affirmation of cracker, sweet preserves and cheese as a winning combination were confirmed when we had dinner at our neighbors a few weeks ago. Jan graciously served crackers with pear preserves and cheese. I could barely contain my excitement. My insides were shouting with infinite glee.

If you need a little pick me up, or you need to pick up something to share with a friend, I can just hear the Panetini, Fig Spread and Dubliner cheese saying “Pick Me!”.


Luck o’ the Irish


In 2001, I had the pleasure of visiting the Emerald Isle. What a glorious and true gem of a country!  I loved it and very much hope to visit again.  My great grandma Marie’s family came over from Athlone, Ireland to America so it was a special trip for me to go back and see where her family came from. We have friends that live there (whom we met in Australia) and our dear friend Mark and the gang were truly gracious hosts.  We flew into Dublin, where he carted us off to the west coast and the enchanting town of Listowel for an annual music festival.  Pints of Harp and Guiness filled our bellies and lively music overflowed from the pubs.  We traipsed all over Ireland visiting Galway, County Kerry, Athlone, Magherafelt in County Londonderry (Northern Ireland), Donegal, the Giant’s Causeway (on the northeast coast where you can actually see Scotland!), through Belfast and back to Dublin. This photo was taken on our visit to the Aran Islands where we allowed our bikes to aimlessly wander while we soaked in the landscape. The lush, green countryside and stone fences were captivating!

All in all, it was a spectacular experience, one that I will truly treasure forever.

Coincidentally, we returned stateside on September 6th, just five days before the September 11th attack.  Our connecting flight from Dublin to Minneapolis was through Boston’s Logan International airport, where American Airlines flight 11 originated from on the day of the attacks.  (AA11 was the first plane to hit the Word Trade Center.)  We had originally planned to return on the 13th but we changed plans so my travel partner could attend university classes in the fall.  Watching as the horror unfolded, we felt extremely lucky to be alive and well, sitting at our homes in America.  Our story is insignificant compared to the stories of heroism, survival, and saving grace that were experienced by so many.  For us, it amplified our ability to relate to the souls travelling on that fateful day.  I don’t know if it was the luck o’ the Irish but I do know we thank God for our blessings every day.

I’m raising my pint and honoring Ireland with Shepherd’s pie and Irish soda bread tonight.  Cheers!