Posts tagged Willow Tree Cafe

Viking Blod

While my blogs usually start off with me walking the market and finding a new culinary treasure displayed on the shelves, this time it was actually my husband’s fortune.

A new mead has arrived at Magnolia Square Market, its bottle sets it apart from the myriad of shiny, colored glass beer and wine bottles. This vessel is ceramic and painted in black matte, which catches the eye with a red, white and gold label.  ‘Viking Blod’ if that name doesn’t inspire sense of intrigue you may want to check your pulse.  My husband said it evoked thought of Klingon Blood Wine, which considering the name is interestingly coincidental… It is a warrior’s drink!

Viking Blod a Nordic honey wine with hibiscus and hops added (they had my husband at “honey wine”).  Theo saw husband’s interest was piqued and handed him a bottle, so here we are sitting in the dining room after the kids are in bed, with mismatched glassware and a chilled bottle between us.

We were looking forward to sampling it all afternoon. We actually had mead (a honey wine) served at our wedding 10 years ago. They were both homebrewed by our friends and have set the bar pretty high for us when we have tried other store bought bottles. I am a big fan of sweet drinks so mead has always been a personal favorite, while my husband’s tastes lean more towards Scotch or beer.

DSCF0079 While neither of us are master brewers or sommeliers here is what we thought of Viking Blod.

The smell was very pleasant with flowery sweetness and hint of spice, it is 19% ABV and you can clearly smell it. It has a beautiful rose and old gold color, and we both noticed how the tears rolled slowly down the glass.

The first sip was sweet and easily recognized as a mead, and was much better than the last store bought mead we had tried.  I got flowery notes with a lite spice and a very pleasant taste that lingers on the tongue. I is definitely something I might take with me to the next girl’s night to share a few glasses with.

My husband found a smoky flavor, almost peat like with whisky but not as much. The hops were light and not at all overpowering and mixed with the spicy sweetness. It was something that he would want to drink out at camp surrounded by friends around a fire.

All around we feel that it is a wonderful drink to sit back and enjoy.



Leave a comment »

Marzipan Picnic

What do you think of when the 4th of July comes around? A day spent with family and friends, maybe out on the water, grilling in the backyard, sitting out on a blanket under the stars watching fireworks?

When thinking over what I could blog about on such a great holiday I didn’t want to write about the obvious Brats and BBQ. I saw the boxes of marzipan sitting on the shelf and a cute idea struck me.  When I was younger on the 4th of July I would often have little picnics on my Grandma’s back patio. I’d get an old blanket and spread it out in the shade of her house and just enjoy the weather listening to music on my Walkman and enjoying a Peanut Butter & Fluff sandwich.

After my moment of nostalgia passed I thought it might be a fun idea to make a small summer picnic basket out of Marzipan. If you have never tried it, it is a delicious almond paste. Now I haven’t worked with Marzipan in 2 years and I forgot just how different it was than working with fondant. It is a little stronger and can support its own weight better, however when the marzipan cracked I had a much harder time trying to fix it and make it smooth.

I used one box of marzipan and made a full spread for my picnic. I only spent 15 mins fiddling around and the results aren’t half bad. If I’d had the time to color or airbrush I think it would have looked phenomenal.

I made two Coca Cola bottles, a burger with bacon, brat in a bun, sandwich, apple, & a bunch of bananas.

Marzipan is great to mold and give as gifts, or use as decorations on baked goods (dipping them in chocolate is a great idea!) A BIG favorite of mine is during Christmastime when a variation German Stollen is made with marzipan in the middle.

When I was finally finished I sat back and enjoyed my mini almond flavored mid-day dessert.

Wishing you all a safe, fun filled 4th of July!

Leave a comment »

Goose Liverwurst for lunch

Goose Liver Sausage…sounds fascinating doesn’t it? Having worked in the restaurant for several years I became a big fan of our Liverwurst sandwich on German bread with onions and pickles, that liverwurst is mostly pig liver. Today I wanted to try something that was familiar but different.  Looking over the options in the cooler of Bloodwurst, Calves Liver Pate, and 2 kinds of Teewurst the Goose liver just seemed like the way to go.


Chatting with Sydney while fixing my plate we decided it would be best to stay somewhat traditional with my sample. So instead of using slices of German bread I chose to pull a crunchy brotchen from the bakery rack, and laid out some pickle & onion slices. It was easily spread on the bread halves and I was surprised to see several small liver chunks and I noticed that its color was lighter than the Schaller & Webber brand we use other times. On one slice I added spicy mustard and my veggie fixings, and then it was off to my desk to pull out my note pad and dig in.

I sampled a small slice on its own to get the full taste and flavor. Slightly smoky it tasted very much like the liverwurst had with the exception that this was slightly sweeter with a very nice aftertaste.

It was wonderful when spread out on my crunchy brotchen, and even better with the mustard, pickles and onion. It was a small lunch with a mighty punch! I only used a quarter of the package, the rest I shared with my co-workers. Just a taste and it was gone, a great treat for everyone.

For a really creative party idea I’d like to say liverwurst is also really handy when making a unique visual (and edible) piece on a buffet table. I never would have considered molding and sculpting pate, but Chef Linda has created some adorable Liverwurst pigs on a few occasions and I think they are just the most unique looking arrangements I’ve ever seen.

Leave a comment »

Feb 3rd National Carrot Cake Day!


I have to say that I’m so happy the bossman shared the news of this great day early in the morning. Because what a nice way to begin the work day than with a nice muffin and a cup of coffee.  Chef Lisa began making GF Carrot Cake Muffins for the bakery a few weeks ago and they’ve been such a big hit.

     Now I’ve been pretty good about keeping away from sweets lately, but today I wanted to be bad with something that tasted really good. I sampled a piece of carrot cake from the Willow Tree Café & Magnolia Square Market’s GF Carrot Cake Muffin. So bring on the sugar rush!


The Willow Tree’s cake is made with freshly slivered carrots, crushed walnuts and California golden raisins. It’s moist and wonderful with an excellent texture. Spread in between the layers is a fruity apricot jam. What’s nice is that the brown sugar gives it just the right amount of spice, without completely overshadowing the cake. Not that it’s something to worry about because our bakers always make a lot of cream cheese frosting, so they can use a generous amount when icing (it’s also to help the crushed walnut stay on the sides). To top off the cake, each slice gets a fondant carrot as decoration.


The GF carrot cake muffins are so delicious! It’s similar to our carrot cake in that we use the fresh slivered carrots. Because Chef Lisa is using Gluten Free flour it’s still moist but the texture is a little more dense than the cake. She also leaves the crushed walnuts for the topping. She pipes a nice layer over the tops of the muffins and then sprinkles the walnuts over for an easy and effective decorative look that reminds me of a cupcake.

Well I hope everyone enjoys this special occasion, I know that I’ll be okay once I come down from my sugar high.


Leave a comment »