Ballou?s Wine Bar revolves around three prized delicacies: chocolate, wine, and coffee. From those staples, dozens of indulgent dishes ensue, including chocolate, Nutella, and peanut-butter-chocolate fondues and homemade truffles developed by Debbie, half of the husband-and-wife team that runs Ballou?s. Her chocolate fondue and homemade truffles are so deliciously decadent that they?ve earned the wine bar a spot on the Best of New Haven Reader?s Poll list for best desserts. In addition to rich desserts and froth-capped cups of cappuccino, guests can order wines from local and international vineyards, as well as a wide selection of pastas, sandwiches, and flat breads.
Named for a small archipelago off the Branford coast, Thimble Island Brewing Company began with the home-brewed concoctions of Connecticut Natives Justin Gargano and Mike Fawcett. Though they lacked formal training, the duo tirelessly spent nights and weekends tinkering with their recipes until they sold their first pint of American Ale to KC's Pub in Guilford. Today, American Ale is one of the brewery's three mainstay beers, which Justin and Mike craft along with specialty batches such as a dark pumpkin porter. The twosome keeps four beers on tap at Thimble Island's tasting room, where visitors can drop in to fill up a growler, buy a t-shirt, or take a tour. Outside the brewery, Justin and Mike's beers grace many local establishments, including pubs and grocery stores.
Bishop's Orchards was established in 1871, when the first of six Bishop generations began filling shoreline bellies with fresh-from-the-farm fruits and vegetables. Today, having withstood 140 years worth of technology changes and weather disasters, the orchard continues to thrive, currently growing crops on more than 320 total acres—313 of which are family-owned. In 2005, the orchard stretched its homegrown empire into potable territories with the birth of a winery, which produces more than 15 wines using the farm's fruit. Not to be outdone, the orchard's market is still a year-round source for fresh produce more than a century after it sprouted into a humble roadside stand from a single appleseed.
At The Wine Press, aficionados crush, press, rack, and bottle their own brand of wine. Overseen by the shop's staff, amateur winemakers craft their silky reds with the same process as modern-day wineries. Through this process, they learn how much time and care goes into winemaking. They can produce varietals such as sangiovese or pinot noir or create hybrids such as a cabernet-merlot or a sentient pinot-human. To show off the possibilities of winemaking at their facility, The Wine Press also leads guided tours and wine tastings during the summer months.
Stephanie O, the charismatic celebrity talk show host on Long Island's News Radio 103.9, has teamed up with Clear Vision Productions to host smashing events along the Atlantic coast. Backed by a combination of national and local vendors, each event features amenities such as food and drink samples, top-shelf entertainment, and celebrity appearances in VIP areas. Guests are also treated to red carpet photos and interviews before being sent home with goodie bags and other surprises.
Located in the quaint town of Wallingford, Connecticut, The Crush Club gives visitors the opportunity to make their own wine. Grapes are sourced from across the globe?from Chile during the spring and from California, Washington, and Italy during the fall. Over the course of a year, students crush and press grapes, clean their barrels, then bottle, cork, and custom label the resulting wine before taking it home with them. During blending experience classes, participants taste five different wines, learn about the winemaking process, and experiment to create their own blend, custom labeling and bringing home one 750mL bottle.