Food & Drink

Local wineries win big at world competition

Sticky Toffee Pudding Apple Pie was a best in show at pie championships last year.
Sticky Toffee Pudding Apple Pie was a best in show at pie championships last year.

Kentucky made an impressive showing at the 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition earlier this month. A record 5,500 wines were entered in the world's largest competition of American wines, and two Kentucky wineries brought home medals.

Jean Farris Winery of Lexington and Smith-Berry Vineyard and Winery of New Castle received awards.

This was the first competition for Smith-Berry. The winery received a silver medal for its single-barrel select American oak, a bronze medal for its 2007 zinfandel, and a bronze medal for its 2008 Kentucky cabernet sauvignon.

"Winning these awards on the first judging ever entered makes this a special moment for us," co-owner/winemaker Chuck Smith said.

Jean Farris received a double gold medal for its 2007 cabernet sauvignon, which is a blend of 97 percent cabernet sauvignon and 3 percent malbec.

"This award of double gold for our cabernet sauvignon at such a prestigious competition is a true honor. We are very proud to have earned this double gold medal for Kentucky," owner Jeanie O'Daniel said.

Smith-Berry's single-barrel select is a chardonnay varietal sourced locally and fermented in stainless for as long as 11 months, then aged in medium-toast new American oak barrels.

Smith-Berry Vineyard is at 855 Drennon Road in New Castle. Call (502) 845-7091 or go to Jean Farris is at 6825 Old Richmond Road. Call (859) 263- 9463 or go to

Bluegrass Baking of 'South's Best'

Lexington's Bluegrass Baking Co. is considered one of the South's best bakeries, according to Southern Living.

The list of "The South's Best Bakeries" is featured in the January issue of the publication. "In a region where artisan breads and pastries are scarce, we're in awe of these bakeries that present stunners equally pleasing to the eye and palate," the article said.

"We were thrilled to be selected as one of the best bakeries of the South, and to be the only one selected in the state of Kentucky was a huge honor," owner Jim Betts said. "We think that Lexington has a lot to offer, and for our business to be selected by a national magazine ... is a nice compliment to both our bakery and our city."

Bluegrass Baking is at 3101 Clays Mill Road. Call (859) 296-0581 or go to

Also in the January issue of Southern Living, Edward Lee, chef at 610 Magnolia in Louisville, is featured as one of 10 chefs who share their best comfort-food recipes. Lee's recipe for an open-faced meatloaf sandwich, and the other chefs' creations, are at

Readers can determine the winner of the magazine's Top 10 "Tastiest Towns in the South" by voting for their favorite hometown or food destination at Deadline is Jan. 31.

Take wholesome classes

Cooking classes at The Wholesome Chef offer a variety of sessions on how to eat healthier in 2012.

Classes focus on using fresh, local and organic produce and meats. Topics include "New year, new you," with health coach Paula Antonini; "New year, kitchen farmacy," with owner/chef/instructor Carolyn Gilles; and risotto with chef/instructor Mary Katherine Miller.

"There's really not a better way to begin to take control of your health than to get in the kitchen and cook local, organic produce," Gilles said.

The Wholesome Chef is at 507 East High Street. Call (859) 721-1448 or go to

Attend a wine academy

Winston's Restaurant at Sullivan University in Louisville begins its monthly wine-tasting classes on Jan. 26. The first session, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., features wines of Northern California, presented by Southern Wine and Spirits. Cost is $25 and includes five tasting portions of the featured wines, light snacks and instructional materials. Winston's Wine Academy will be held one Thursday evening a month, and each class will feature a different region. Reservations are required. Call (502) 456-0980. Winston's is at 3101 Bardstown Road. Upcoming classes include South America: Chile and Argentina, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23, with David Dubou from Vintner Select, and Oregon, 6 to 7:30 p.m. March 22, with Will Albert from Republic National.

Celebrate with a pie party

National Pie Day is Monday, and the American Pie Council suggests throwing a pie baking — and tasting — party with family, friends, and coworkers to raise money for a favorite charity. Recipes and tips on how to throw a pie party are at

Bakers of all skill levels can enter the annual National Pie Championships, to be held April 27 to 29 in Orlando. Entry forms are at Here's the recipe from Linda Hundt of DeWitt, Mich., who was winner of the Crisco Innovation best of show professional category last year.


Laura's sticky toffee pudding apple pie

Pie crust:

1½ cups flour

¼ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

¼ cup cold butter, cut in small pieces

½ cup refrigerated Crisco shortening

Apple filling:

5 medium to large Michigan Cortland, Ida Red apples, peeled, thinly sliced, diced

1 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons flour

4 tablespoons melted butter

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon lemon juice

¼ teaspoon salt

Sticky toffee pudding filling:

½ cup praline pecans (recipe follows)

1 stick butter, softened

½ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 egg, beaten

½ cup self-rising flour

Crumb topping:

¾ cup of flour

1 cup sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 stick butter softened

To make pie crust: Mix ingredients in KitchenAid style mixer on medium speed swiftly until crust appears "pea-like." Carefully sprinkle water in crust mix until it starts to become moistened and gathers together. Pat into a disc, wrap and refrigerate for at least half an hour. Roll out onto floured surface, and make and crimp crust. Freeze until ready to use.

To make apple filling: Cook apple filling ingredients in large pan on medium heat until cooked halfway. Stir in 3/4 cup homemade caramel until melted (recipe follows).

To make pudding filling: Mix pudding filling ingredients just until blended.

To make crumb topping: Mix together all crumb topping ingredients by hand or a pastry blender until fine and crumbly.

To assemble pie: Spread sticky toffee pudding mixture on bottom of crust. Put apple mixture over pudding mixture. Sprinkle with crumb topping. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for one hour or until knife easily slides into center of pie with no resistance. If pie becomes too brown before done, turn down oven to 350 degrees to finish baking and cover with foil completely. Top with a generous amount of homemade caramel and praline pecans.

Homemade caramel

14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup light corn syrup

1 cup sugar

½ cup brown sugar

½ stick butter

1 tablespoon real vanilla extract

In heavy 3-quart saucepan, combine all ingredients except vanilla. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, covering all parts of bottom of pan with wire whisk to avoid scorching. Stir until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, constantly stirring, until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and continue stirring until caramel reaches 244 degrees on a candy thermometer or firm-ball stage. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour in glass container. Cool to use.

Praline pecans

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup of chopped pecans

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Melt butter in small pan on medium-low heat until melted. Add pecans and brown sugar, and stir ingredients until you start smelling the nuts roasting. Take off heat and cool. Crumble.