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The Bubbly Girl

Bubbly Events

The Bubbly Girl at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

October 19, 2010
Maria Hunt aka the Bubbly Girl is appearing at Epcot Food & Wine Festival Oct. 22-25.

Maria Hunt aka the Bubbly Girl is appearing at Epcot Food & Wine Festival Oct. 22-25.

Sparkling wine and gourmet cuisine might not immediately come to mind when one thinks of a trip to Walt Disney World in Florida.

But right now during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, which runs until Nov 14, the park has been transformed into a culinary amusement park. Epcot has attracted an exciting line-up of celebrity chefs like Cat Cora of The Food Network, Boston’s Todd English and Art Smith of Table 52 fame to do cooking demonstrations and appearances. I’m looking forward to seeing Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods at a Celebrating Family & Friends Luncheon Oct. 22 and Gale Gand at her Sweet Sunday dessert tasting and brunch on Oct. 24. Throughout the park, international chefs are serving up tastes of German spaetzle, Spanish Serrano ham and Korean barbecued ribs paired with regional wines and beers.

I'll be signing books and talking about bubbly at Epcot's Food & Wine Festival Oct 22-25.

I'll be signing books and talking about bubbly at Epcot's Food & Wine Festival Oct 22-25.

I’ll be speaking on Oct. 22, 23 and 24 as a part of Authors Without Borders, a program that features cookbook authors talking about their favorite subjects. I’ll be sharing what I love about “Bubbly: The Happiest Drink on Earth” and exploring international sparkling wines in my cocktail recipe book The Bubbly Bar: Champagne & Sparkling Wine Cocktails for Every Occasion (Clarkson Potter, 2009).

On Monday, Oct. 25 I’m mixing up my Stiletto Cocktail, giving tips on entertaining with bubbly and signing books for the discerning gourmands who are part of Disney’s Grape Getaway, a luxurious four-night package of exclusive food events and tastings limited to 100 guests.

Since one cannot live on great food and wine alone, there’s a series of free concerts called Eat to the Beat, featuring acts like Boyz II Men, 38 Special, Billy Ocean and Rick Springfield.

With all the good wine and food flowing at Epcot, it’s sure to be the happiest place on earth.

Sparkling Wine

Four Organic Sparkling Wines for Earth Day Weekend

April 23, 2010
Terra Savia's Blanc de Blancs is just one of the many sparkling wines from organic grapes on the market today. (Courtesy photo)

Terra Savia's Blanc de Blancs is just one of the many sparkling wines from organic grapes on the market today. (Courtesy photo)

The weather was odd this Earth Day 2010, with strong showers  and wind alternating with patches of sun. It’s like Mother Nature is bi-polar, or she’s trying to show off all of her stuff in one day.

One of the best ways to show your love for the planet and your body is by drinking wine made from organically grown grapes. These wines used to be hard to find, but these days with increased awareness about the dangers that pesticides can pose to the earth, farm-workers and end consumers, there’s lots of choice. One of the best places to find international organic wines online remains The Organic Wine Company and Whole Foods Markets around the country also have a good selection. Read up on all sorts of organic wines at Organic Wine

I especially like sparkling wines made from organic grapes. My favorite sparkling wines have a sheer and elegant quality to them and this seems to be magnified in sparkling wines and champagnes made from organic grapes.

Plus I find that winemakers who produce an organic sparkling wines – one of the hardest styles to make – share this reverence their vineyards and nurturing them so they yield the best clusters of grapes. On a recent trip to Spain, winemaker Ton Mata of Cavas Recaredo told me that he tested out growing without pesticides or chemical fertilizers, his vineyards let him know that this was what they needed. Now their production of 300,000 bottles of long aged cavas called gran reservas are all made with organically grown grapes. I found the same passion for the land talking to Jim Milone of Terra Savia in Mendocino and Eileen Crane of Domaine Carneros in Napa.

Some people feel guilty about drinking wine that has had to be shipped for thousands of miles, because of the fossil fuel burned up along the journey. So in the interest of being completely eco-friendly this Earth Day, I’m offering a list of some great green wines from around the world.

Terra Savia Blanc de Blancs – I stumbled across the wine at Andy’s Market in Sebastopol one day and bought it because I was thrilled to find an organic grape sparkling wine for under $25. My friends and I loved its bright green apple notes and clean flavors balanced with a hint of toastiness.

La Cantina Pizzolato Prosecco

La Cantina Pizzolato Prosecco

La Cantina Pizzolato Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene For five generations the Pizzolato family has been growing grapes in the northern Italian town of Treviso. In 1991, their Treviso vineyards were certified organic. They now produce a range of organic proseccos including from the Treviso and Valdobbiadene DOCs as well as a sparkling chardonnay and a raboso, a red grape that produces sprightly, fruity wines. The prosecco typically sells for around $15-16.

Domaine Carneros Brut Rose

Domaine Carneros Brut Rose

Domaine Carneros Brut Rosé Cuveé de la Pompadour – Since 2005, all the wines from this Taittinger-owned house in Napa have been made from organically grown grapes; the estate’s vineyards were certified organic in 2008.  Winemaker and CEO Eileen Crane says the vines just seem more vigorous, it’s better for the workers and the wines taste even better. The Brut Rosé is completely dry, but has wonderful strawberry and plum flavors thanks to the predominance of pinot noir.  It’s $25 to $30 a bottle.

Cavas Recaredo Brut Nature 2006

Cavas Recaredo Brut Nature 2006

Cavas Recaredo Brut Nature Cava 2006There are so many little details that go into producing Cavas Recaredo, which are poured at the best restaurants in the world including Arzak and The French Laundry in Yountville. All the cavas are aged long on the yeast to produce a complex flavors, they’re aged on the cork, disgorged by hand and are finished with no sugar in the dosage, making them brut nature in style. About $35.

Bubbly Girl Cocktail Recipes, Pop Culture

Oscar Worthy Cocktail & Popcorn Recipes for That Academy Awards Party

March 7, 2010
golden glow small

Edible flecks of 24K gold add some dazzle to the Golden Glow, a perfect cocktail for Oscar-viewing parties.

Sorry to be posting this just hours before everyone starts strutting down the red carpet at the 82nd Academy Awards, but sometimes a blog is at the mercy of technology.

I’ve got some great recipes for a star-studded, sparkling cocktail called Golden Glow and delicious gourmet popcorn that will be the hit of your party. The night they hand out the golden statues called Oscars for the best work in movies this year has become a lesser national holiday, with people planning viewing parties, voting for winners and even creating costumes to match their favorite characters.( I’m still a little freaked out remembering the time a female co-worker showed up looking like Truman Capote’s long lost twin.)

Everyone knows it wouldn’t be an Oscar party without bubbly. While champagne and sparkling wine have the power to make any occasion even more special, for Academy Awards parties star chefs like Wolfgang Puck make it even more fabulous. Each year, cases of 24K edible gold leaf get shipped up to Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, to add sparkle to Oscar Party desserts and cocktails.

I created the Golden Glow sparkling cocktail, spiking a base of Iron Horse brut sparkling wine or brut champagne with Goldschläger – an Italian cinnamon flavored liqueur with edible gold flakes – and Bärenjäger a German honey liqueur. Both are easy to find at any well-stocked liquor store. And if you really want to give your party the Midas touch, Sur la Table cookware stores sell a little shaker of edible gold flakes for $26.

Edible 24K gold flakes like these from Sur la Table will be adding sparkling to drinks, desserts and other foods at Oscar parties this evening.

Edible 24K gold flakes like these from Sur la Table will be adding sparkling to drinks, desserts and other foods at Oscar parties this evening.

Golden Glow
1/2 ounce Goldschläger Cinnamon Liqueur
1/2 ounce Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur
4 ounces Iron Horse Brut sparkling wine
a dash of Angostura bitters

Shake up the Goldschläger bottle to mix up the edible
gold flecks in it then add 1/2 ounce to a champagne
flute. Add the Bärenjäger. Top with the chilled brut
champagne or sparkling wine. Finish with a dash of
Angostura bitters.
Makes 1 cocktail

Of course, popcorn is a must for watching a movie, so it makes sense that on a glitzy night like this to serve the ultimate in popcorn. Plus popcorn is very budget-friendly and your guests will love eating these buttery, crunchy kernels spiked with some special seasonings. The Recipes section on my web site shares ideas for a few different ways to make what I call Posh Popcorn. The Spicy Popcorn and the one with Black Truffle Oil and Parmesan are two of my favorites. But with a slightly sweet cocktail like the Golden Glow, I’d go for the Five-Spice Popcorn which is drizzled with butter, brown sugar and warm spices.

For your Oscar Party, follow my recipes and dress up your popcorn with parmesan, truffle oil or Chinese Five Spice.

For your Oscar Party, follow my recipes and make Posh Popcorn with parmesan, truffle oil or Chinese Five Spice.

Bubbly Events

Last Minute Ideas for Delicious Valentine’s Outings from San Diego to the Bay

February 12, 2010
Can't decide what to do for Valentine's Day? Let me play Cupid.

Can't decide what to do for Valentine's Day? Let me play Cupid.

Still pondering where to go for Valentine’s Day? Here are a few spots in Northern and Southern California planning some creative and romantic offerings.

The Bubble Lounge in San Francisco is pulling out all the stops with a jazz singer performing, a special menu of aphrodisiac foods and featured romantic cocktails by moi, The Bubbly Girl on Feb. 14. They’ve selected the Elderbubble (St. Germain, raspberry vodka and champagne) and the gorgeous Belle de Jour, a mix of Lillet Blond, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur and rosé champage created by Jackie Patterson and featured in my book Bubbly Bar. Couples can also order a bottle of Dosnon & Lepage Brut Rosé Champagne and have it sabered open – (by the way, there’s a web site devoted to the art of Saberage). Bubbly Lounge chefs are cooking up a sexy menu of sweet roasted beets with micro greens and goat cheese, caviar from the California Caviar Company served with blinis and creme fraiche, a seafood platter with oysters and shrimp and a heart-shaped Scharffen Berger Chocolate cake. The fun starts at 6 p.m. at 714 Montgomery St.; for reservations call 415.434-4204.

The Grand Del Mar, a five-star resort in northern San Diego, is offering a seductive set of food and wine experiences on Feb. 13 and 14 that are sure to spark a romance. On Feb. 13, enjoy a three course Chocolate and Red Wine Tasting menu from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Lobby Lounge for $25 per person; Grand Del Mar Sommelier Jesse Rodriguez will stop at your table and chat about the pairings. Or if you don’t feel like chatting, pick one of the cozy corners of the Lobby Lounge, and sip Another Day In Paradise a cocktail for two featuring rose petal and raspberry infused vodka. Strawberry Chocolate Decadence, a dessert with layers of strawberry confit and dark chocolate, is also available for $19 paired with the sparkling red wine Rosa Regale Brachetto d’Acqui[/caption]

If you’re craving a total culinary experience, call 858.314.1900 and make a reservation for Executive Chef William Bradley’s lavish six-course Valentine’s dinner in Addison’s dining room. The chef — a very happy newlywed — is sure to be cooking with his heart on his sleeve; seductive courses include baby sea scallops, roasted endive with caramelized pears, butter-baked salmon and pistachio nougatine with honey comb gelato. The dinner is $125 per person, or $185 per person with wine pairings plus gratuities, but hey, Valentine’s Day only comes once a year. Meanwhile at Amaya, Chef Camron Woods’ tempting dishes include winter mushroom consomme with truffled ravioli, seared Diver scallops with parsnip puree and golden raisins, and a limoncello semifreddo. That repast is $110 per person or $155 with wine pairings, plus gratuity. For reservations, call 858.314.2727

Bubbly Girl Cocktail Recipes

Real Aphrodisiacs for Valentine’s Day Drinks: Passionate Pomegranate

February 9, 2010
Not only does the pomegranate suggest fertility, it also boosts libido.

Not only does the pomegranate suggest fertility, it also boosts libido.

A red orb with all those juicy seeds inside, a pomegranate just suggests fertility and promise. It’s thought to be the tempting forbidden fruit that seduced Adam and Eve in the Bible. In the Greek myth, Persephone was forced to spend half the year in the Underworld after she was tricked into eating a few pomegranate seeds during a visit to Hades. All in all, these myths make the pomegranate a pretty fascinating and tasty fruit.

We’ve all gotten word that pomegranates are chock full of healthy antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which scientific studies show can help reduce wrinkles, lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease. Pomegranate is also a great source of folic acid, which is an important nutrient for pregnant women. If you’re trying to get pregnant, it turns out pomegranate can help in that department too. A researcher at the University of California found that pomegranate is good for men with erectile dysfunction and prostate health. And a study at the University of Sussex (another sex study from the UK, hmmm) found that drinking pomegranate juice increases the libido in women and even more so in men.


Featured on San Diego Fox 5 my cocktail called Kismet – which means fate – is sure to get something started with this combo of pomegranate, passion fruit and ginger which is great or heating things up. To make a non-alcoholic version, substitute pomegranate juice for the Pama, ginger juice for the ginger liqueur and sparkling water for the wine. Kismet was one of the romance enhancing cocktails I featured on San Diego Fox 5 this morning.

With tangy pomegranate, passion fruit juice and ginger in the Kismet Cocktail, it's sure to stir something up.

With tangy pomegranate, passion fruit juice and ginger in the Kismet Cocktail, it's sure to stir something up.


1 ounce Pama pomegranate liqueur
1-1/2 ounces passion fruit-orange juice
1/2 ounce ginger liqueur
3 ounces sparkling wine
3 pomegranate seeds

Add Pama pomegranate liqueur, passion-fruit juice and ginger liqueur to a champagne flute. Top with chilled sparkling wined. Garnish with the pomegranate seeds.