Happy first day of summer!
Summer is officially here. Yippee and yeehaw! Time for soaking up some sun, lazing about and escaping into a good read, sneaking in an afternoon nap, road trips, trips to the beach, berry picking, cookouts with yummy barbecue, fruity cocktails and fresh berry desserts with ice cream. And, my favorite…watching sunsets and listening to crickets chirping in the warm breezy evening air at day’s end. With a glass of wine, of course. It is also time to start making some great summer memories. Memories to cherish for a lifetime.
And, it is finally time to share one of my favorite recipes…ever! Cherry Berry Sundae Sauce with Red Wine made with fresh blueberries and Bing cherries. It is so easy to make and whips together in just a few minutes. The largest chore is pitting the cherries. Duh. But, with this inexpensive gizmo (read: cherry pitter), your kitchen task is done in just a few minutes. (No, at this time I am not an Amazon.com affiliate. I just like to share information with my readers about my favorite and recommended kitchen gadgetry.)
Within one half hour, you will have made the most enchanting berry sundae sauce you have ever tasted! Magical, I tell you. No. Kidding. The hardest part is waiting for the sauce to cool enough to spoon over your favorite frozen treat—ice cream, coconut milk ice cream or froyo. In fact, this particular sundae sauce goes perfectly with frozen yogurt. It’s like a symphony. Make this sundae sauce the night before and all you need to do is warm it in the micro. Or not. Easy. Peasy.
Why am I so enamored with this recipe? Well, it starts with a fabulous fruity red wine. This Italian red was chosen specifically for this sundae sauce. In fact, after learning about this wine, and using it to make my Sweet-Tart Cherry Cobbler (image below) last year, I will continue to reach for it with all my special “berry applications”. With fresh Bing cherries added, it sends this blueberry sundae sauce over-the-moon!
Now, about the wine. Let me tell you, it was a stroke of sheer luck to find the perfect (and, I do mean perfect) red wine to use in baking with berries and cherries. The stars were aligned, to say the least. Actually, it is a good thing I read my Whole Foods Market emails!
Last year, Whole Foods featured Tormaresca Neprica (Italy), vintage 2011. To quote Whole Foods last spring, “…a truly top-notch wine at an easy-to-swallow price”. That’s fer shure.
Neprica gets its name from the slightly untraditional blend of the negroamaro, primitivo and cabernet sauvignon grapes. I like untraditional, don’t you? So, I gave it a whirl in a tasting. I was blown away. How could a bottle of red wine priced just over $10 taste so fresh and lively and full of berries? And, the color? Oh, my! Ruby as ruby-red can be with a slight tinge of purple. Simply charming and a baker’s dream, really.
Tormaresco Neprica is the perfect addition for a berry cobbler or sauce. Although I had trusted Whole Foods in their assessment of this surprisingly fabulous Italian red, I conducted further research by reading several online reviews (to include one by Wine Enthusiast) before I made my purchase.
The reviews described the following flavor notes: “ripe fruit”, “loads of fruit”, “sweet red berries”, “ripe berry notes”, “layers of raspberry”, “black raspberry”, “plum and black cherry fruits”, “peppery red fruit”, “thick and succulent”, “herb”, “spice”, “light spicy notes”, “cassis”, “molasses” and “leather” as well as palate notes of “balanced”, “complex”, “fresh”, “juicy”, “rich” and “smooth and structured”. Whew! Pretty good for our berry sundae sauce application, eh?
Here are the tasting notes from the Tormaresca site:
Colour: Intense Ruby Red with violet hues.
Aroma: Red fruits, black-cherry with light violet notes.
Flavour: Soft, sapid (flavorful), balanced acidity, justly tannic.
As I mentioned, after tasting this delightfully drinkable Italian red, I knew I had chosen the perfect wine pairing for my cobbler filling and sundae sauce. When you need “fruity berry notes” in a wine for baking, Tormaresca Neprica is what you need. It truly delivered what it promises. However, I must note that although I tasted and worked with Tormaresca Neprica, Vintage 2011, last year, I could only find the vintages of 2006 and 2009 locally as my Whole Foods did not currently have it in stock. But, do check with the wine expert at Whole Foods Market in your area (they are always so helpful and can order in items by the case with a nice discount if the item is available) or your local wine shop.
Now, let’s talk about summer!
Some of my fondest recollections of summer surround vacations “up north” in Northern Michigan. There is no state like The Great Lakes State. Although I love Indiana, I miss the best part of Michigan—the beautiful lakeshores, especially Lake Michigan. Whenever I chat with peeps here in Indiana about growing up in Michigan, they all seem to think Michigan is some foreign land. Well, if it is a foreign land, then Northern Michigan during the summertime is a far-off fantasy land–for kids and adults alike. Northern Michigan is full of all sorts of wonderments summertime dreams are made of. It is truly God’s Country up there!
Do you have fond summer memories? Of course you do! A favorite summer treat? Or, a favorite summer vacation spot? My favorite summer treats always revolve around berries and cherries. And, my favorite summer Michigan memories were visits to Sleeping Bear Dunes, Mackinac Island (in the Upper Peninsula) and Traverse City–Cherry Capital of the World! (Now you know why I adore cherries so much.) Kids especially love trips to Sleeping Bear Dunes. You climb and climb to reach the pinnacle to a site so breathtakingly beautiful—Lake Michigan in all her glory.
About Sleeping Bear Dunes…an excerpt from Wikipedia:
“According to the legend, an enormous forest fire on the western shore of Lake Michigan drove a mother bear and her two cubs into the lake for shelter, determined to reach the opposite shore. After many miles of swimming, the two cubs lagged behind. When the mother bear reached the shore, she waited on the top of a high bluff. The exhausted cubs drowned in the lake, but the mother bear stayed and waited in hopes that her cubs would finally appear. Impressed by the mother bear’s determination and faith, the Great Spirit created two islands (North and South Manitou Island) to commemorate the cubs, and the winds buried the sleeping bear under the sands of the dunes where she waits to this day.”
Legends like this tear me up. Sorry if you had to go grab some tissues. I am a hopeless romantic and can’t help but share heart-tugging stories like this. Once you know this story, then climb to the pinnacle of the dunes on a gorgeous summer day, to take in the absolutely breathtaking view of Lake Michigan, you will know there is a higher power—without a doubt. The view is truly awesome. The sun shines down onto the enormous blue-blue lake (looks like an ocean with only water on the horizon) and catches the waves to make it look like sparkling diamonds. Truly, an expression of God’s love for us. If you have never experienced Lake Michigan, I highly recommend you place it on your bucket list!
What makes our Cherry Berry Sundae Sauce with Red Wine wicked good? Fresh blueberries and cherries. A divine Italian red wine bursting with fresh berry notes. The sauce is thickened just right to serve warmed, chilled or at room temperature over your favorite frozen treat. It has just the right amount of sweetness with organic light agave syrup to keep those sugar grams to a minimum. You know when a recipe is dang good when you cannot stop yourself from eating it by the spoon! Experiencing our Cherry Berry Sundae Sauce with Red Wine as a topper for your sundae is like tasting summer in a bowl. Yes, this sundae sauce is truly wicked good. Trust us here at Wicked Good Kitchen!
Do yourself, your family and guests a favor and make this to-die-for sundae sauce to serve over ice cream or frozen yogurt at your next summer gathering. It will surely be a hit. In fact, it would be simply divine served with slices of angel food cake or pound cake for an extra indulgence as well. Forks and spoons up!
And, once again…happy summer!
- 2 cups (480 ml) fruity red wine, such as Tormaresca Neprica (Italy)
- 3 cups (about 430 grams) fresh blueberries, sorted, rinsed & dried
- ½ cup (168 grams) organic light agave nectar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, such as McCormick®
- 2 cups (265 grams) fresh Bing cherries, pitted
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons (16 grams) tapioca starch (tapioca flour), such as Bob’s Red Mill®
Recipe Source: WickedGoodKitchen.com