Saturday, November 21, 2015

Whole Foods Holiday Menu Tasting Event (Phillips Crossing)

Recently I was invited to enjoy a sampling of the Whole Foods Market holiday menu. The event happened at the Phillips Crossing Whole Foods off Sand Lake Road and what a cornucopia of deliciousness it was! The variety and creativity of the prepared offerings along with menu planning assistance will surely alleviate the stress of any gathering. Bring on the festivities! 

To begin, I tasted a luscious French blue cheese called Persille du Beaujolais served with a honeycomb to balance the savory notes. I learned that persille means parsleyed in french and just describes the blue green veining throughout blue cheese. The creamery in France overlooks Beaujolais vineyards, but it was truly dreamy when I paired it with a white Vin de Savio Apremont, which is a top 10 holiday wine pick. I also found out that Whole Foods Certified Cheese Professionals can create a cheese and wine pairing menu just for the asking. 
Cranberry Walnut and Fig Stuffed Brie is a layer cake made of American artisan Brie filled and topped with cranberries and caramelized walnuts and fig spread. It was a beautiful presentation available in a small or large stack.
Next I tried the St James Smoked Salmon platter. Scottish salmon cold smoked with oak, with no nitrates or preservatives, only a buttery silkiness served with hot house cucumbers, red onions, capers, and sliced eggs, David, the Regional Seafood Coordinator mentioned that St James has a smokehouse in Miami-- nice to support local-- and that the salmon are fed a high quality diet, that I found palpable in the flavor. In addition, the company prides themselves on sustainability. 
The Sasasian Caviar served on bite sized blini with creme fraiche was outstanding. There were three types offered: Truffle Pearls,Trout, and Imperial and I liked them all! The pop of the lightly salted glistening eggs was a tantalizing treat for all the senses.
Of course there was moist roasted turkey and an array of accompaniments and options. Here's the Bell and Evans smoked Cornish hens.
72 hour Beef Short Ribs
One of my favorite sides were the harvest root vegetables, kale, tender brussels sprouts, and butternut squash with candied pecans and cranberries dusted with cinnamon.
There's also a hearty Vegan Field Roast En Croute as a meat alternative. Grains are used as a vegetarian protein combined with squash, mushrooms, apples and spices wrapped in an outer layer. It is a great alternative to soy based proteins.
Pumpkin Cheesecake was creamy, without being too heavy, and had perfect undertones of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and of course pumpkin. It is a creative twist on the traditional pumpkin pie.
Fruit Cake also was sampled and it was nothing like the much maligned variety. It was very moist, tender, and dark with the sumptuous, soft fruits used mainly as a topping. This Fruit Cake would definitely be consumed immediately and certainly not re-gifted! 
With so many wonderful choices from Whole Foods Market here's to happy holidays
and eating!

(Written by Florence R.)

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