Padron plantsToday is Earth Day, which is a great time to work in the yard and maybe plan a garden.  It’s also the time to purchase padrón pepper plants from Paris-Madrid Grocery.   We won’t have as many plants this year, so get them now if you want to grow them. It’s been a cold spring, so keep them inside until the weather is warmer, at least 50 degrees at night.  If you’ve never tasted a Padrón Pepper, they are best eaten when about 3 inches long; by mid to late June you’ll be able to start harvesting them. To prepare, sauté the peppers in olive oil until the skins blister, then remove from the heat, sprinkle with sea salt, and serve.  About every tenth pepper is spicy, which is part of the fun of eating them.

cheesecakesNOW AVAILABLE ON SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYSBasque goat cheese mini cakes.  Inspired by a recipe in “The Basque Kitchen” by Gerald Hirigoyen, these bite-size cakes contain membrillo (quince paste), goat cheese, and herbed Marcona almonds.  Both sweet and savory, they appeal to even those who don’t like desserts. They make an excellent treat with coffee or tea, with brunch or after dinner.  Stop in and try one!

vieux telegrapheDomaine du Vieux Telegraphe, La Crau Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2019 ($98.00)   If anyone tells you that Châteauneuf is just a big red that’s never elegant, then they need to taste this masterpiece of elegance. So many spicy and savory nuances on the very concentrated but almost perfectly proportioned palate. This is both joyful and serious at the very long, focused finish.   97 points James Suckling

Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe, Telegramme Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2019 ($55.00) Telegramme is the 2nd wine from Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe.  It’s a beautiful wine on its own, and a glimpse of what to expect from the top wine, La Crau (above). It offers a fresh and floral nose, a silky, elegant palate, and such a perfect balance. Very fresh, with cherry puree and cassis notes that are silky in feel, laced gently with anise and savory notes. Stylish, smooth finish. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault.  91 points Wine Spectator

La Fruitiere MuscadetDomaine de La Fruitière Gneiss de Bel Abord Muscadet, 2020  ($16.99)  Made with certified organic grapes from 50-80 year-old vines.  Aged 6 months on lees, it is fresh on the palate with delicate floral aromas. Medium-weight with light citrus flavors and a coiled, salty minerality. Fantastic with cheese, oysters or any shellfish.

Elo MonastrellAlberto Orte, Elo Monastrell, Yecla 2016 ($40.00) The ‘Elo’ bottling is 100% Monastrell which grows un-grafted upon its original rootstock on beds of rocky, chalky limestone soils at 2,526 ft above sea level. This is a Monastrell to enjoy, savor and sip. Due to its restraint and balance, Elo is an incredibly food-friendly wine. Ideal pairings include pastas with sausage, octopus, dishes heavy in green vegetables and lean meats. This wine also pairs perfectly with cheeses.