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Dark chocolate and sweet cherries pair perfectly with Cabernet Sauvignon and complement each other harmoniously to bring an elegant dessert to any outdoor experience. Mini Chocolate Mason Jars with Cherry Jam are the perfect way to end your romantic picnic on a sweet note.
Summer has the family going in all different directions. We’ve had sports, vacations, play dates, etc, etc, etc. Sometimes my husband is taking my son to one ball game, while I’m bringing my daughter to a gymnastics meet. Sometimes dinner comes out of a bag and window and half the family doesn’t see one another until it’s bedtime.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love being busy and my kids being active in the summer. I love being able to stay home with them, during the day, and driving them here and there, but I miss my husband and I miss dating. Long gone are the days of going to a movie on a whim or enjoying a meal where we can talk, one on one with zero interruptions. We love our children dearly, we just need a few moments to have a conversation and catch up on one another’s lives.
We’re lucky in the sense that we have wonderful parents, on both sides, who are willing to take the children for a weekend so the hubs and I can have a minute to be with one another. Just me and him. In fact, last weekend, we got that chance. My mother in law ASKED, isn’t she great, if she could have the kids for a weekend and we were happy to oblige. The wonderful thing is, we didn’t have any plans. So after the children had been dropped off we wondered what in the World we were going to do with all of our free time. Free time? What is that.
I suggested something way out in left field that I figured the hubs would immediately turn up his nose. A picnic. Just me and him, a few bottles of wine, food and nature. He obliged and I about passed out. No, just kidding. He’s wonderful when it comes to my ideas and just going with the flow of my craziness. I’m crazy people, totally Type A and must have my life planned out 100%.
Naturally, I quickly got to planning. I Googled a whole bunch of ideas on how to have a romantic picnic, what to pack and especially what to eat. I immediately thought of an article I recently read in Seasons magazine and I knew right there I would start with a Charcuterie board. It’s light, refreshing and super simple to put together and the best thing, it pairs perfectly with wine, red or white. I’m a huge cheese person and he’s a meat person so it’s a perfect starting point.
We weren’t going to be traveling far, just to our favorite local nature park, but we would be walking for a little bit before we would get to level ground. Therefore, we still needed items that were portable. I headed into the store to see what I could find in the wine department that wouldn’t be heavy, bulky and breakable. Insert Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi. You guys these are stackable, plastic, single serve wine cups. Amazing and perfect for a picnic, outdoor concert, on the go or a camping trip. I was in love. I purchased the white, Chardonnay and red, Cabernet Sauvignon. Again, both perfect to pair with a charcuterie board, to satisfy both palates and super convenient.
For the charcuterie board, which I will have an entire post on how to make one, but I started small and with most things you could buy in the store. i purchased salami, prosciutto, briny olives, almonds, crackers a baguette, a few cheeses and grapes. Then I wanted to make a few things which included Spicy Mango chutney hummus (recipe coming soon) Roasted garlic, rosemary and white bean spread (recipe coming soon) and for some sweetness, Mini Chocolate Mason Jars with Cherry Jam.
On Saturday afternoon we headed out to the nature park to find the perfect spot to sit. We each had a bag to carry, which was perfect and found a small little dock to sit on and set up our romantic picnic.
We laid out the blanket and got started on putting everything out for our little feast. It took no more than 10 minutes and then we were enjoying the scenes of nature while sipping our wine and munching on our charcuterie board. There were zero interruptions, minus the bullfrogs, and we chatted as thought it was our first date and we couldn’t get a word in edgewise. It was lovely from the food, the wine and the company. The afternoon was perfect.
I was so pleased with the Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi and how portable and easy it was. There were no extra glasses to carry, no corking and no mess. We were able to tear off the top and enjoy wine immediately. From now on, I will absolutely be purchasing the stack wine, it’s too convenient and delicious not to. I also love the variety too. I’m more of a white wine drinker, unless it’s dessert time and my husband is more of a red wine drinker so these couldn’t have been more perfect for our picnic.
It was starting to get dark and buggy, so we decided to have dessert, finish our wine and head home. Again, we weren’t traveling far or sitting out in the hot sun all day, so cooling wasn’t a huge issue for the Mini Chocolate Mason Jars with Cherry Jam. I packed a freezer pack, inside of a tray and then wrapped it in foil and they were still cold when it was time to eat.
The Mini Chocolate Mason Jars with Cherry Jam were the perfect ending to our romantic picnic. They were sweet from the cherries, a little bitter from the dark chocolate and espresso and the perfect palate cleanser. I loved that they were portable and could easily be eaten right out of their container and recapped if we didn’t finish them.
- Mini Chocolate Mason Jars
- 1 cup milk, I used 2%
- ⅔ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1½ teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoons almond extract
- Sweet Cherry Jam
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ cup cherry juice (I used a fruit juice blend of cherry, blueberry and cranberry)
- 6 ounces frozen dark sweet cherries, thawed
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- Mini Chocolate Mason Jars
- In a medium sauce pan whisk together milk, mayonnaise, heavy cream, sugar and espresso powder. Over medium heat bring to a simmer until thickened.
- Remove from heat and add chocolate chips, vanilla and almond extract. Stir until smooth.
- Divide evenly between 6- 4 ounce mini mason jars.
- Place in refrigerator to cool for 3 hours.
- Sweet Cherry Jam
- In a small saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch and cherry juice.
- Add in dark sweet cherries and cook over high heat until thickened.
- Stir in extracts and cool completely.
- Mini Chocolate Mason Jars with Cherry Jam
- To prepare, place 1 tablespoon sweet cherry jam on top of each mini chocolate mason jars.
These Mini Chocolate Mason Jars with Cherry Jam are super simple to make, portable, taste decadent and pair wonderfully with the Cabernet Sauvignon. To make the mason jars, you just whisk everything together until smooth and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours. The same goes for the cherry jam. It’s a matter of bringing all the ingredients together and allowing to cool.
Look at that espresso powder studded throughout that luscious chocolate. The sweet cherry jam pairs perfectly with the bitterness of dark chocolate and espresso. It’s decadent and divine!
Here are a few of my tips for the perfect picnic:
• Food- Create a charcuterie board with a variety of meats, cheeses, crackers, breads, fruit. Don’t forget a portable, mini dessert.
• Drinks- Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Stacked wine. It’s genius, period. No corks, no glasses= ultra convenient. Bottled water.
• Essentials- a blanket for you to sit on as well as the food. Napkins, paper plates, utensils, garbage bag, bug spray, sunscreen, good company
Here is how I packed up the Mini Chocolate Mason Jars with Cherry Jam. Again, we weren’t going very far so they didn’t need to be chilled for very long. We just kept them in the tray covered with foil until we were ready to eat and they were still cold. These little 4 ounce mason jars and lids can be purchased online and make for the perfect portable mini dessert. Or you could simply fill them with a salad, pickles or spread.
When you’ve got food, wine and good company, what more do you need to have a romantic picnic?!
Be sure to check out EntertainAndPair Social Hub, for all your entertaining needs with recipes, tips and entertaining styles. Stacked wines are convenient, easy, portable and perfect for on the go. They are my new choice in entertaining magic.
Also, check out Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi on Facebook where they highlight delicious recipes pairings and videos.
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