A farewell to summer party (and a giveaway!)

Yes, it’s been a lovely summer, in England, France, Vancouver and Mexico. But all good things must come to an end and as I head to work today for the first day of classes with the boys, I must sadly bid goodbye to summer.  But not before one last backyard get-together…  I was recently given the opportunity by Trudeau to try some of their products and as I was trying to decide what to choose,  I thought what better way to say goodbye to summer than a wine and cheese (and other random bits and pieces) party with close friends on Labour Day weekend, using some of the Bar, Wine and Cheese line of products?

In a final burst, summer showed up hot and steamy and instead of wine, people opted for gins and tonics. A perfect farewell summer drink…  But uh oh, what happens when everyone’s drinking the same drink and they all put their glasses down when they are off getting food. How do you tell whose glass is whose?

Well normally I am not a huge fan of wine charms, but I was quite taken with these pretty floral charms...

Too pretty to let someone else make off with!  Made from silicone, so no breakable pieces and dishwasher safe!

Now, about that food.  We often have people bring cheese over for parties – all our friends are big cheese lovers – but many times we end up with so many that we lose track of what’s what.  So I was really happy to see Trudeau make lovely ceramic (i.e. re-usable, dishwasher-safe) cheese markers – a useful and elegant addition to any cheese plate!

Ok, so you’ve had your gins and tonics and now you feel like you should move on to something a little stronger to go with the cheese.  But what if your red wine needs breathing and it’s not even open yet? No problem, you can use you Trudeau’s Aroma Wine Aerating Pourer.  Said to ” improve bouquet and flavor instantly by injecting air into the wine as you pour,” this is a nifty little device that my resident sommelier was more than a little skeptical of.

We made Neil do a blind tasting with one glass poured in the regular manner and the second “aerated”.  He actually was able to tell the difference, even after only a few minutes.  Neil suggests that this is useful for impatient wine drinkers, as it opens up and will soften a lower-priced wine fairly rapidly.  He says that many of today’s wines are not made for aging and tend to be more fruit-forward (almost overly so) and this aerator can temper and soften the fruit, making the wine slightly less aggressive. So yeah, it works!

All right then, you’ve had your apéro, you’ve got your wine and now you want a plate of food to go with that. What’s more annoying than having to put your glass down while you are getting or eating your food? Well worry no more because Trudeau have cute little plate clips so your wine and food never have to part company!

Cleverly designed to fit most plates, the glass-holder is flexible, adapting to most glass stem sizes.  Invaluable for events where you are required to eat and drink at the same time – I will be tucking a few of these into my bag so I always have them on hand. Because you never know, right?

Now you’re done with the party and there’s wine left over (what’s wrong with you??? LOL!). What to do? Well, you can cork it and hope for the best, or you can use the Flair wine preserving pump.  Neil thinks that for anyone who drinks red wine and often doesn’t finish a bottle, it’s essential to use a device like this.  Basically wine starts dying as soon as it comes into contact with oxygen and if you’re not finishing a bottle, it’s essential to stop that process through one of three ways:

1. Keep an empty half-bottle around. Pour your half-finished bottle into the half bottle so that there is hardly any ozygen in contact in the wine.  There is an obvious downside to that method.

2. Use an inert gas wine preserver usually made up of argon or nitrogen – both heavier than oxygen so that they form a protective layer between the wine and the oxygen.  Though it works, many people find it finicky and environmentally speaking, it’s not the friendliest.  Most professional pouring systems use this method.

3. Use a tool such at the Trudeau Flair.

This device pumps oxygen out of the bottle.  Obvious advantages: It’s reusable, there’s no waste and you get a little bit of exercise in the process.  But does it work?  Neil opened two identical bottles of French red wine, poured out glasses to the exact same level in each bottle, then sealed one with a cork and the other with the Flair.  Two days later, in a blind tasting, Neil was definitely able to tell the difference. He proclaimed that one glass had retained more of the vibrant fruit flavours whereas the other was a bit dull and slightly oxidated. We’ll be using this again and again. Sorry Neil, no more “it won’t keep another day” excuses!

We had one more product to test – the Trudeau Champagne stopper. Imagine having leftover champagne!  Well we actually had some leftover Québec cider that we tested this on. Does it work? The proof is in the bubbles:

Not sure this will get THAT much use for Champagne chez nous but it will be useful for ciders and the like. Every home should have one of these!

Has all this wine and cheese talk made you hungry and thirsty? Well here’s the good news – Trudeau are offering to give away the start of a great wine and cheese party to one lucky reader (US/Canada only, sorry international friends) comprised of a set of plate clips, wine charms and the Aroma wine aerator.

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post telling me how you say farewell to summer.  For a bonus entry, you can tweet the following message:

Enter to win the start of a great #wine and #cheese party from @trudeauKitchen at @eatlivtravwrite http://bit.ly/nluFlf

then come back to leave me a comment telling me you did.  Contest closes Wednesday September 14th at 6pm EST. I will announce the winner on Thursday September 15th.  Bonne chance!

64 thoughts on “A farewell to summer party (and a giveaway!)”

  1. One other wine-storing tip…put your partly-finished bottle of red in the FRIDGE.

    Yes, I know that may freak out some of you: but wine deteriorates more slowly at cooler temps. Don’t worry; it will warm up soon enough once you pour in the glass. Unless you’re REALLY impatient. 😉

  2. I can’t… or maybe I just won’t… say farewell to summer. It makes me too sad. But I have been eating a lot of tomatoes this past week. Like, an insane amount.

    Also, drinking a gin and tonic or a bottle of rose always keeps it feeling like summer 🙂

    I love all of these products. No doubt I’d use all of them for our winter BBQ that E and I hold each year.

  3. What an amazing summer and although working again, it’s still here (I think!) Too bad live in France so can’t enter since I NEED that wine aerating pourer. Like now. Love gadgets that are useful like this. Oh, you have made me hungry and thirsty, for sure. But then you always do 😉

  4. For us, the end of summer is in October when we close the trailer. It involves lots of cleaning and packing, but also a big feast with family and friends. Everyone adds to the table and we laugh and tell old stories and have a grand time!

  5. We “celebrate” the end of summer in early August out in the mountains of West Texas at Bloys Cowboy Campmeeting. The 5th generation of my family goes now and makes lifelong friendships.

  6. Well my birthday is just a few days away and we have a little party to celebrate that and we have a little get together of family and friends .

  7. Well I hate to say good-bye to summer and in the south (North Carolina) we are lucky that the warm weather lasts so long…typically into October.
    However before the kids went back to school we hit the beach one last time and had a cook out. It was a great way to relax before the crunch of making sure all 3 kids have what they need everyday for school 🙂

  8. Saying farewell to summer is a ritual for me. In addition to tydying up the garden and putting away the garden furniture, rolling up the hose and emptying the fountains, I put my summer wine cellar to bed. I go throught the bottles, moving the light, fruity rosés to the back, putting the tart lemony whites to the side, and bringing forward the big, bold reds, the aging grande dames of my cellar, the heavier ports and winter evening sherries.

  9. I have an aerator, and it works well for impatient me, but now I want that wine vacuum thingie. And thanks to Mr. Neil, I’ll try putting half bottles in the fridge. End of Summer for us is a late vacation, but now that that’s over, I guess it’s time to take out the sweaters.

  10. First off, thanks for the giveaway! No matter who wins, the wine aerator is really cool!

    I say farewell to summer TEARFULLY! I miss the warm weather and extra sunshine. Then I head to the kitchen and start a fall/winter of delicious soups!

  11. I wring every bit of Summer from the season–we have 13 more days to savor the season. I grill outdoors until snow stops me!

    Thank you for the fabulous giveaway.

  12. I said “goodbye” to summer today by making wild blackberry jam. When the snow flies, I will remember picking the berries in the hot sun and feel warm again. Blackberry jam is the perfect antidote to midwinter blahs.

  13. I usually spend the end of the summer at the beach with my family. The memory of campfire food, sitting by the water, and the amazing local ice cream, keeps summer alive just a little longer once it’s gone.

  14. We were planning on a last beach trip.. but Irene messed up our plans. trying to reschedule for September, but if not, we will host an Oktober party at home.

  15. I cook a turkey.

    Once the first of the cooler weather comes, the craving for turkey kicks in.

    I have been doing it for at least 5 years now.

    Summer was pretty much non exsitant this year and we are jujst now experiencing warm summer temps.
    My end of summer turkey may actually be on Thanksgiving this year.

  16. I said good-bye to summer by making my last pitcher of Sangria for the season. I love wine on it’s own but there is nothing more refreshing than a cold glass of Sangria on a hot summer day.

  17. I try not to have to say goodbye to summer, keeping pie fillings canned and on hand, and my local grocer imports fruits and such that are usually only available in the summertime from warmer climates, so aside from the weather I dont have to say goodbye… really… 🙂 but I do wish I could get the warm weather to stay!

  18. Well I can’t say that I won’t miss my favorite season of the year, but to bid it adieu, my husband and I are going on one last camping trip to the nearest National Park and plan on hiking, swimming, making delicious meals over the campfire, drinking beer, and playing our guitars. I can’t wait to sleep under those beautiful starry skies!

  19. Glad to say goodbye to this long hot summer! We had a little party last night then ended up at the casino. I think this is going to become an “end of summer” tradition.

  20. Summer is year round in beautiful Coronado, so I won’t be saying good bye this year. I really enjoyed this post Mardi. A friend just gave me those adorable wine charms as part of a house warming gift…too cute!

  21. I say farewell to summer, very sadly, by drinking beaucoup de rosé, preferably from Provence, but I can drink others if I must 🙂

    I hope that this fall will be as beautiful as summer was.

  22. I tweeted! (@tiffing)

    I said farewell to summer this weekend by riding a Bixi bike for the first time, having a sausage cooked outside at a street festival, going to my favorite rooftop bar for a drink and wearing my favorite sundresses as many times as possible before the beautiful weather ends!

    Love those plate clips!

  23. My husband and I have been eating dinner outside on our back balcony every night, enjoying the last few warm days of summer. And BBQing as much as possible in September before fall gets here. Beautiful pictures of your wine & food!

  24. Wow, just making it before the cutoff time, life has been nuts. How do I say farewell to summer? I go into denial for one, then I wear jeans and just a small sweater and I hang on to my sandals for as long as I can! Love Trudeau stuff, I have a few.

  25. In my area (Windsor ON), it is difficult to know when summer ends. Early in November there were still some shirt sleeve days. Tomorrow might also be shirt sleeves.


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