Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Under the Tuscan Sun

Under the Tuscan Sun

We had a wonderful experience exploring Tuscany this summer with the primary goal of enjoying  fantastic wine...namely Brunello!  This was the view from the small hotel we stayed at in Montalcino, Italy.  As far as the eye can see we saw rolling hills, olive trees and vineyards.                                                                                     Our main mission was to visit a small vineyard called  Tenuto Silvio Nardi in the Montalcino region of Tuscany.  We arrived after some  maneuvering around steep and twisty Italian  roads and a few stops to ask for directions in our hastily practiced Italian!  Emanuele Nardi greeted us and  gave us an in-depth tour of the property while sharing how Brunello is made. 
 Brunello,  created from the Sangiovese Grosso grape is one of the most sought after wines in the world.  Located in the southern tip of Tuscany, the Montalcino region covers about 60,000 acres, but due to the exceptionally difficult and hilly area only about 5,000 of these acres can sustain vineyards-- which may be why Brunello is produced in such limited quantities. By law Brunello must be fermented in the Montalcino region and cannot be released before a total aging period of 4 years (and a minimum of 2 years must be in wood).  Riservas are actually aged 5 years. 

Mason and Emanuele at Tenuto Silvia Nardi Vineyard

We were treated to a tasting of three delicious wines including the Manachiara, the Brunello and the Rosso.   The Manachiara earns its DOCG status as coming from the very small region of approximately 10 miles around the town of Montalcino.  Only 10,000 bottles are produced in the finest of years. The Rosso is made from the  same Sangiovese Grosso grape but it is only aged for 1 year.  This wine is sometimes called "Baby Brunello" and is a moderately priced version of the prized Brunello. 
  There are many producers in the area and perhaps the most famous is Biondi-Santi which is really the birthplace of Brunello.  But there are many others and we really enjoyed several different producers while we were there.  

As we departed we stopped for a quick walk through thousands of sunflowers before heading on  to our next vineyard for more Brunello tasting!

  We hope you'll join us for dinner at the inn and enjoy one of the beautiful Tuscan wines on our award winning wine list.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Oh, The Dreaded Black Friday.....

Oh, The Dreaded Black Friday....

Not everyone enjoys the rush to the stores, the big crowds or long lines at the crack of dawn on Black Friday (or for that matter...this year the stores are opening on Thanksgiving Day-  Yikes) to save a few dollars.  We've both done it a few times...but doubt we will be doing it anytime soon. 

So...while we usually don't use this space to advertise or market anything...we're going to make an exception here at the Colby Hill Inn  for this special sale!  We want to help make your gift giving easy this year!  We are offering our:

 ONCE A YEAR Special Gift Certificate Sale 

   Available on Friday Nov. 29 and Saturday Nov. 30 Only

  $50 - 10% OFF

 $51 - $149 - 15% OFF

                         $150 and up - 20% OFF                       

Gift Certificates can be used for dining at the inn, cooking classes or a romantic getaway. 

 Just give us a call at 1-800-531-0330 or 603-428-3281 and we'll take care of your gift giving.  We'll make it easy and you'll be saving a little too!  This Friday and Saturday only.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Do You Love Hand Crafted Beer?

Do You Love Hand-Crafted Beer?

Henniker Brewing Company is just a few miles down the road from the Inn and they have really burst onto the scene of hand-crafted brewing in a big way! Started in 2011 this  Both Mason and Jesse have been to the tasting room and toured the brewery as well as many of our guests.  Of course, we are proudly serving the Henniker Brewing selection of beers here at the Colby Hill Inn. 

We're thrilled to have them producing beer here in Henniker (by the way, it's the ONLY Henniker on Earth!).  Anyway, Henniker Brewing has four unique beer offerings.  Working Man's Porter, Amber Apparition, Whipple Wheat and Hop Slinger.  Don't you love those names?  The labels are even more interesting and a tip of the hat to the artist/designer who created the labels...very creative!   Check Out Working Man's Porter details.  Sounds delicious to me and love the suggestion about food pairing.  We'll highlight the other varieties in future blog posts.

Working Man's Porter

an ale of true merit, brewed in the tradition of England's Industrial Revolution, an age of rough-handed factory workers, a time before the weekend existed. Hearty and truly robust, this Porter's body is built with complex English brown and black malts, and refined by Brambling Cross hops, which lend notes of herbs and black currants. It pairs well with oysters, shepherd's pie, and sitting down after a long day.  

Working Man's Porter is just one of the unique brews being produced at the Henniker Brewery.  Check it out on your next visit to Henniker .  The Tap and Tasting Room is open Monday-Friday from 3 to 6 pm and on Saturday from noon to 2 pm with brewery tours at 1 pm.  Be sure to check it out and Happy Hand-crafted Beer tasting/drinking!





Monday, November 18, 2013

A Trip Along the Currier and Ives Byway- Henniker to Webster

Rowell's Bridge (#9) Hopkinton, NH
The Currier and Ives Byway led us on a delightful trip this past weekend and we wanted to share this afternoon journey with you.

We first headed out of Henniker from the Colby Hill Inn off of Western Avenue along the ByWay and onto Route #127.  From 127 we drove across the Hopkinton dam and came upon Rowell's Bridge (#9) in Hopkinton which  crosses the Contoocook River.  It was built in 1853 and cost  $300.25 to construct.     What a bargain! This is one of the covered bridges you can drive across- but take note, it's only one lane so you need to be on the lookout for others crossing the bridge.

It was a bit of a dreary day, but we didn't let that stop us from taking photos,  including this one warning us that the water may rise rapidly and there may be turbulence.  We didn't plan to jump into that water on a cool, rainy November day, but may be of interest to anyone with a Kayak as the Contoocook River is a popular kayaking locale.

We moved on through the center of Contoocook and Hopkinton still on Route #127 and traveled up and into Webster amid the falling leaves and hiking ready roadside trails.  Our main destination was Coffin Cellars, Country Winery.

Coffin Cellars Country Winery, Webster, NH
Coffin Cellars Country Winery, is located in Warner and is a family owned business with Father, Peter Austin and his two sons making and marketing specialty wines.  These wines are all fruit wines with interesting flavors like Apple, Blueberry,  Kiwiberry and Raspberry.  They even have a Jalepeno wine which we were told is excellent to cook with.  When I asked Peter about the origins of the name of the winery he explained it was a family name vs the more sinister 'coffin' I immediately thought of.

  We were greeted by Timothy Austin who talked with us about the winery and explained that they have a small production of wine rotating through 12 varietals.  They source many of their fruits locally and grow and harvest some of the berries on their own property.    

They are open on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 5 for tastings and you can also purchase the wine directly from them.  My favorite was the Apple Wine which was light and delicate and would go nicely with a fish or chicken dish.  Mason liked the fuller body, French oaked Blueberry wine which was also good and we purchased a few bottles to see how our guests would like them. 

By now, we were hungry for a late lunch and right along the Byway we found the EveryDay Cafe in the center of Contoocook on Main Street.   It's an old fashioned sort of spot and we loved it. It has a warm and cozy feel to it.   They had a nice selection of sandwiches, muffins and assorted coffees and different kinds of beverages.  We ordered  two of their signature sandwiches and were surprised to find fresh Contoocook Creamery Chocolate and Blueberry Milk.  We took some home to share with our family as a special treat!    

This is a nice little stop and there are several unique shops nearby including the Whistle Stop Sweet Shop across the street  from the Cafe and Indigo Blue.  Check out all the Shopping in Contoocook and Hopkinton, NH here.

Another surprise was the hand-made pottery  from Sweetgrass Pottery right in the window at  Everyday Cafe.  Great looking mugs and bowls that would make really nice gifts.

We headed back to Henniker
after a great day ejoying the
Currier and Ives Byway.  We
hope you'll explore it too!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Most Requested Recipe.......

Colby Hill Inn's Most Requested Recipe!

Colby Hill Inn Granola
 We were surprised to realize that the most requested recipe at the inn is our Colby Hill Inn Granola!  We of course love coming up with terrific and unique breakfast items like Orange Thyme Pancakes with Orange Sauce, our special Eggs with Boursin over Puff Pastry, coffee cakes and scones and lots of other great recipes but we are always asked about our Granola!

With more people eating fruits and grains this is a perfect breakfast (or delicious snack) option and we continue to offer it each morning.  We've been asked so often for the recipe that we are happy to share it with you here.  We've also been asked many times if we sell our Granola and we do!  We have it packaged in 1 lb. packages that you can pick up when you visit (or we can send it to you) if you are craving it.  Enjoy!

 6 cups of quick or Old Fashion Oats
1 cup of walnuts
1 cup pecans
½ cup shredded coconut
¼ cup sunflower seeds
2 T Poppy seeds
Mix above in a large bowl

Mix ½ lb brown sugar with
¼ cup white sugar
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¾ teaspoon ginger
Add sugars and spices to the oat mix and distribute evenly.

Melt 1 ½ sticks of butter (3/4 cup) in a saucepan. Add
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup orange juice
Pour the warm liquid over the oat mix and mix well

Lay the mix out on 2 cookie sheets
Bake at 275 degree oven for 30 minutes
Let cool completely
Add 1 cup each of raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots
Store in an airtight container