Today, January 31st is National Hot Chocolate Day!
We thought you’d like to read some of our fun ideas for creating delicious hot chocolates. Whether you’re looking for topping ideas or a way to celebrate the day we have got you covered.
The Best Hot Chocolate
One of our favorite ways to make hot chocolate is to grate real chocolate into hot milk. You can try this with lots of different types and flavors of chocolate to find the best one for you.
Otherwise, the best hot chocolate is the one that you love! Try a few to find one that works best for you. Do you prefer it with hot milk or mixed with water? You could even try plant-based milks for a different flavor.
Play with toppings and syrups
You name it, it could be delicious on top of a hot chocolate! We’re sure someone has even tried crispy bacon bits on top of their whipped cream! So this is the time to get creative and experiment with something new.
There are the classics: marshmallows, cream, chocolate sprinkles. But you could also add cinnamon, sauces, nuts, marshmallow fluff, dried fruits, coconut shavings, or cereals. For extra decadence, try popping a chocolate truffle on the top and letting it melt in. You could even put a scoop of ice cream on the top for extra creaminess. If you add marshmallow fluff, try crisping it with a kitchen blow torch for a s’mores effect!
For extra flavor with your chocolate, you can pour in something a little extra. There are so many syrups available now and loads of them would be delicious in a hot chocolate. Try classics like peppermint, salted caramel or vanilla. You could even try making your own syrups at home with your favorite flavors. We highly recommend trying a bay syrup with your hot chocolate for a grown up twist. add a little of your favorite spirit. Whiskey or brandy work well but our favorite would have to be Irish Cream. You could try even flavored vodkas instead of syrup.
Friday Night Celebrating National Hot Chocolate Day
It’s a Friday so we think tonight is the perfect chance to gather some friends together, get cozy with a mug of hot chocolate and even a movie or even some board games. Why not have a competition to see who can create the most delicious and inventive hot chocolate? If you’ve got little ones they’re sure to enjoy a little sweet treat. You could use lower sugar hot chocolate to include them without it being too unhealthy.
If you want to celebrate in true Shisler’s Cheese House style, you’ll need our signature mug to enjoy your hot chocolate in. We even sell it as a gift set with some chocolates if you are a true chocoholic!
How are you celebrating National Hot Chocolate Day? Let us know in the comments below.
Last week, we brought you some of the health benefits of drinking wine. Today we are answering some of the frequently asked questions about this.
Is a glass of wine everyday good for you?
This is a difficult question because the answer will be different for everyone. In general, however, a glass of wine a day should allow you to enjoy the health benefits without encountering too many of the risks. If you are struggling to moderate your alcohol consumption, then seeking help from a professional can help you to get back on track.
Is wine fattening?
Wine does have a high calorie content, so drinking too much of it could cause you to put on weight. Sticking to the guidelines of one glass per day will help reduce this risk, but it you are on a calorie-controlled diet you may wish to cut out wine on some days.
What are the risks of drinking too much wine?
Just like any other alcohol, drinking too much wine can negatively affect your health, social relationships, and career. Excessive consumption can even threaten your life. Alcohol consumption can increase the risk of some cancers including breast, mouth, throat, liver, and bowel cancer.
Which is better for you: red or white wine?
Whilst white wine will certainly have some of the benefits listed above, many of the healthy qualities of wine are derived specifically from red wine because of the use of the grape skins. Whichever you prefer to drink will have some benefits, although this should always be in moderation.
Which wine has the least amount of sugar?
The sugar in wine comes from the fermentation process as the grape sugars are turned into alcohol. The residual sugar depends on when the fermentation is stopped. If this happens earlier, there will be more sugar left. To find wines with low sugar content, look for a dry wine or an extra brut champagne. Whether red or white, dry wines will have the lowest sugar content. By contrast, a dessert wine or champagne labelled as demi-sec will have a high sugar level.
We hope these facts about the health benefits of drinking wine have been interesting to you.
Please do remember to drink responsibly!
January 24th is National Peanut Butter Day!
We have a whole range of fun peanut butter products for you to try!
Our Amish Peanut Butter Spread is made locally from a special blend of all natural ingredients. It’s sweet and creamy, with a soft and silky texture, perfect for baking or spreading on toast!
We thought that you might like to celebrate the day with a little baking. Read on to pick one of our ideas to cook up something fun!
- Peanut Butter Cookies
Best served with a glass of milk, these are a true classic. Add peanut butter to your cookie batter or spread it on top. You can go for straight peanut butter or add chocolate – choose your favorite. Cookies also make great ice cream sandwiches!
- Peanut Butter Cheesecake
Mix the peanut butter into the cheese, use peanut butter cookies in the base, or even create a peanut butter topping. You could even chop some Heggy’s Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Creams and stir them in. However you decide to bring peanut butter into your cheesecake, you know that it will be delicious.
- Peanut Butter Brownies
Take your favorite brownie batter and swirl in some peanut butter. You could even add a crunchy topping with some crushed up Peanut Butter Pretzels. Try a blondie with white chocolate if you have a really sweet tooth.
- Peanut Butter S’mores
Just when you thought s’mores couldn’t get any better, we added peanut butter! You can do this in a couple of different ways. Either make a normal s’more and add a smear of peanut butter to one of your graham crackers or replace your chocolate with a peanut butter cup. You could even add some caramel if you want a real treat.
5. Peanut Butter Pancakes
Pancakes aren’t just for breakfast. They make a great dessert too! This filling will work for both. Put peanut butter, chocolate chips and slices of banana in your crepes before rolling them up.
6. Peanut Butter Sundae
Create a sauce by heating 3 parts caramel, 1 part peanut butter and 1 part milk until it is smooth. Pour it into the bottom of your sundae glass. Layer it with ice cream, banana, caramel, and any other ingredients that you like. Top with a sprinkling of chopped peanuts.
Happy National Peanut Butter Day everyone!
If you plan to serve these at a party or take them along to an event, please be careful to ensure that no-one present has a nut allergy and always label your dish stating its ingredients. We would hate for someone’s baking to become a health risk.
Lots of us love drinking wine, but we’re also concerned about staying healthy. Luckily, it turns out that you can do both! We put together a list of some of the health benefits of drinking wine.
Antioxidants protect your heart
Polyphenols in both red wine and white wine have antioxidant properties. These can protect you against cardiovascular diseases and have anticarcinogenic effects. These polyphenols mainly come from the skins of grapes, making the levels higher in red wine, although rose wine will also contain some.
Wine can raise your omega-3 fatty acids
Usually found in fish, omega-3 fatty acids are believed to protect us against heart disease as they lower the level of triglyceride blood fat. Red wine appears to raise the blood level of omega-3 fatty acids when drunk regularly in moderation. These good fats can also relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and reduce levels of depression.
Improvements in short-term memory
Resveratrol, one of the active ingredients in wine, has been shown in plants to fight off bacteria and fungi. It is found in the skin of red grapes and therefore only found in red wine. It has been shown to improve short term memory in participants asked to retain words over a short period of time.
Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease
Research has suggested that having one to three glasses of red wine per day can be linked to a reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. This is because of the antioxidant compounds which protect brain neurons against damage and destruction. When the neurons are protected, they may be less susceptible to neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s. Whilst this is still very difficult to treat, anything that helps to prevent the problem seems like a great idea.
Help your gut health
Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and yogurt are praised for their health effects on our gut bacteria. Wine is also a naturally fermented product, allowing it to help produce and promote the healthy bacteria in our gut. These bacteria help us with digestion, boost our immune system and can help us to stay at a healthy weight.
Protect against diabetes
Moderate red wine consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes in women. Another study also found that moderate alcohol consumption could reduce the risk by up to 30 percent. This might prevent diabetes but if you already have it you’ll need to be more cautious as alcohol will affect your blood sugar and could also interact with any medication you are taking.
Prevent vision loss
Resveratrol in red wine can also prevent vision loss caused by blood vessel growth in the eye, it has been found. Angiogenesis, the overgrowth of blood vessels, is a leading cause of blindness in Americans over 50. This research could change how people experience vision loss, including those who have complications associated with diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Keep your teeth healthy
This might be one of the most surprising benefits on the list if you’re used to worrying about whether you have red wine on your teeth or lips. A Spanish study tested bacteria that cause dental diseases in various liquids and found that red wine was the best at removing the bacteria. You’ll still need to drink in moderation and make sure you’re cleaning your teeth, though!
Increase bone density
Your bones naturally become more brittle as you get older, putting you at risk of osteoporosis. This condition weakens the bones and makes them more likely to break. As you get older, this can create complications as healing becomes more difficult. The high levels of silicone in red wine increase bone mineral density, reducing that risk.
Prolong your life
Resveratrol, the chemical that helps with memory and vision loss, could also help us to live longer. It suppresses molecules that cause inflammation and stops compounds in the blood that interfere with insulin production. Combine that with the benefits listed above and it can all lead to a longer, healthier life.
We’ll certainly drink to these health benefits of drinking wine!
Please do remember to drink responsibly.
We know that this time of year can be a little deflating, especially after the bright fun of the holidays. That’s why we’ve put together a list of things to might help you to beat those January blues.
- Take time to get outside
A bit of fresh air can do you an absolute world of good. Take a hike or even just head to your local park. After the indulgences of Christmas, it is super refreshing to get outside. Not only that but being in a green space can help you to reach a positive mental state. Perhaps you could get the whole family involved and head out on a nature trail or wrap up warm for a winter picnic.
2. Cook your favorite foods
When the weather is cold and you’re stuck inside, it’s the perfect time to be stirring at the stove or popping something delicious in the oven. Whether it’s baking something sweet or creating a new savory something to share with friends, it’s definitely one way to beat the January blues. If you’re cooking up a storm you could even invite friends and family to enjoy your efforts. A table brimming with food surrounded by your loved ones is usually a good antidote to any problem. Of course, our favorite foods usually involve cheese!
3. Dance it out!
After all the Christmas songs in December, you might have forgotten to listen to your favorite music. Find a playlist that you love, crank up the volume and have a good dance to get all that tension out. Even better, head to a local dance class. Whether it’s some street dance or a bit of ballroom with someone you love, all that movement is sure to banish any winter blues.
4. Don’t give yourself unrealistic expectations
The New Year can be a time that makes you feel like you need to set huge goals or create resolutions that change your whole lifestyle. For lots of us, this can be more stressful than calming. Why not give yourself a break and set yourself some realistic goals that won’t push you to feel under pressure. One simple change, or something you would like to achieve this year, is enough!
5. Plan a holiday
We all need a break now and then and now might be the perfect time for you to plan one. It doesn’t have to be far away or overseas, a local break can be just as refreshing as a holiday on the beach. If that’s not possible right now, why not spend a day as a tourist in your local area? See the sights, eat some delicious food, even treat yourself to a hotel stay and get some proper rest. If it’s the cold winter that is getting you down, then planning for a summer holiday might be the perfect thing to look forward to. Put a countdown in your calendar so that you can enjoy the run up!
How do you like to beat the January blues? Let us know in the comments!
Did you know that January 11th is National Hot Toddy Day?
If you’ve never had one of these classic drinks, read on to find out more about where it originated and how to make one for yourself at home.
A hot toddy is a warm cocktail of liquor, honey, water, herbs and spices. It’s perfect for curling up with on a winter’s day and some regard it as the perfect cure for a cold!
National Hot Toddy Day: The History
The history of the drink, along with its recipe, is contested. The word toddy comes from India, where it meant a drink made from fermented palm tree sap. The British adopted the idea and began to combine hot water with scotch whisky to warm up cold pub goers. The other story goes that an Irish doctor named Robert Bentley Todd began ordering his patients to drink a combination of hot brandy, cinnamon and sugar water. It then made its way across to us in America, where variations with rum and brandy were all made.
National Hot Toddy Day: The Recipe
3 tsp honey
1 cinnamon stick
Whisk the honey and whisky together, split between two heatproof glasses or mugs. Add half of the cinnamon stick to each and then top each of the mugs with 100ml boiling water. Add a splash of lemon juice to each, then taste and add more honey or lemon to your taste. Finish each drink with a slice of lemon studded with a clove.
Some people like to add tea to their hot toddies. Try it with earl grey for a lovely addition. You could use a teabag but the best thing is loose leaf tea in an infuser. If you want to add a bit of Canadian flavor, try replacing the honey with maple syrup.
You can use almost any spirit you like, but the best are usually whisky, rum or brandy. Try varying your spices too to enjoy different flavors. Pop in a cardamom pod or some star anise. You could also swap the lemon for orange!
National Milk Day
Not to worry if hot toddies aren’t your thing because today is also National Milk Day! Without milk we wouldn’t have our delicious cheese, so it’s definitely a day that we’re going to celebrate (albeit it with a hot toddy!). If you need to warm up but don’t need the liquor then a mug of hot milk with a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste and a pinch of grated nutmeg is the perfect thing. Nutmeg is actually proven to make you drowsy so it’s excellent if you’re heading off to bed for a good sleep. If it’s the morning, leave it out and simply enjoy a cosy moment to yourself.
Will you be making one this National Hot Toddy Day? Let us know in the comments below!
To get 2020 off to a fun, cheesy start we have decided to introduce a Cheese of the Month blog post!
We will share with you some of our favorite cheeses to eat throughout the seasons, some ideas for eating them and even wine pairings so that you can make a party of it.
January’s Cheese of the Month is…
What is Raclette?
Raclette (ra-klet) is a semi-firm, salted cheese made from cow’s milk. It originated in the Swiss canton of Valais, but is today also produced in the French regions of Savoie and Franche-Comté.
The term raclette derives from the French racler, meaning “to scrape”. Raclette cheese is heated, either in front of a fire or by a special machine, then scraped onto diners’ plates. It’s the perfect cozy cheese for the colder winter months!
What is the history of Raclette?
Raclette is mentioned in medieval writings and was then known in the German-speaking part of Switzerland as Bratchäs, or “roasted cheese.” Traditionally, the Swiss cow herders used to take the cheese with them into the mountains. They would cook it by the campfire and scrape it onto bread. Can you think of anything more delicious than a meal of melted cheese on the top of a mountain? We certainly can’t!
Don’t worry though, you don’t need to climb a mountain to enjoy this incredible cheese.
There are a few options for serving raclette at home. You can invest in, or borrow, an electric table-top grill. These have small pans that make the job of melting the cheese easy and fun. Each person fills their small pan, known as a coupelles, with cheese and melts it before adding it to their plate.
If you have a fire pit outside, and don’t mind standing in the cold, or an indoor open fireplace, then you can actually heat the cheese next to this, just like the cowherds! Scrape the rind off the cheese and put it on a heatproof plate or stone. Then place the cut edge next to the flames until it is soft and gooey. Using oven gloves, carefully pick up the cheese and use a knife or spatula to scrape the gooey layer to push melted cheese over boiled potatoes. Do this on a big serving dish if you are serving guests and then everyone can help themselves to this.
Alternatively, you can use your oven. Cut the cheese into fairly thick slices (around 3/4 inch) and arrange the slices in a baking tray on top of boiled potatoes. Pop the whole thing in the oven and bake until the cheese is completely melted.
However you’ve melted your cheese, you should now have a plate of cheese and potatoes. The traditional accompaniments are fresh bread, cornichons, and small pickled onions, as well as a good seasoning with salt and pepper. You can serve yours in your own way, though! Try it with meats, other cheeses and a variety of chopped vegetables, especially if you’re looking to make this into the whole meal.
Serve this all with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir or a light wheat ale.
Have you tried raclette? What’s your favorite way to serve it? Let us know in the comments below!