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Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

February + Chocolate = Love

February 1st, 2013 by Pat Fischbeck

February is finally here and we are looking forward to putting something chocolate on the breakfast table at The Speckled Hen Inn every single day this month.  Our very first offering this month will be our Mexican Hot Chocolate Cream for desert after breakfast.  This little bit of comfort food provides just the right touch of chocolatey goodness to put a sweet finish on our bountiful breakfast.  A slightly larger portion would make a decadent desert after dinner or a late night chocolate splurge.  We serve it warm so the consistency is somewhere between thick sipping cream and a spoonable chocolate mousse.  Garnish the little cup of cream with a bit of lightly sweetened whipped cream and a sprinkle of chocolate or cinnamon.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cream from the kitchen of The Speckled Hen Inn

3 Egg Yolks

February Desert

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cream for Desert

1/2 cup Sugar

2 cakes of Ibarra Mexican Chocolate chopped into pieces

1 cup Whipping Cream

1 cup Milk

In a medium saucepan whisk together the yolks and sugar.  Add cream and milk and begin cooking over medium heat whisking constantly.  As the milk begins to warm add in the chopped chocolate and continue cooking and stirring until the chocolate has melted and the mixture thickens to the consistency of thick cream. Do not allow to boil.

Serve warm topped with whipped cream and shaved chocolate or cinnamon sugar.

Serves 10-12 (demitasse cups)

A Foodie Visits Madison

February 21st, 2012 by Pat Fischbeck

A foodie visits Madison, WI and wants to know our Top Ten Foodie places.  Fine Cheese in Madison WI  It’s hard to pare the list down to just 10 places and I’ll not even attempt to include places where you could eat.  Here are my picks for the top 10 places for foodies to shop for things to eat, drink, and bless their home kitchens.

  1. Dane County Farmer’s Market.  Yes, it is a year-round love affair with all that is fresh and local.  The market is held every Saturday morning.  In the summer months a Wednesday market is added.  In fact, in the summer months there is a farmers market somewhere near Madison every single day of the week.
  2. Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier.  Madison’s finest dark chocolate truffles can be found here.  We love to feature them in the Romance Packages available at The Speckled Hen Inn.
  3. Fromagination. A cheese shop where you can taste before you buy.  Lot’s of local cheeses and a cheese merchant who really knows the stuff.  It’s right on the Capitol Square too.Spirits From Yahara Bay Distillers in Madison WI
  4. Penzeys.  Two shops in the Madison area will overload your senses with spices and herbs and inspiration.  Their Hot Chocolate mix is a favorite at the Inn.  If you leave the store with just one item, let it be the double strength vanilla.
  5. Ale Asylum.  Proof that beer is crazy good food.  The distribution of their beers is getting to be pretty good and you will find it in several local restaurants and markets.  But, it is a lot more fun to go to the source and maybe even meet the guys who make it.
  6. Orange Tree Imports.  Cookware and all manner of gadgets for the foodie’s kitchen.  There are also plenty of beautiful serving pieces.  It is great place to shop for a wedding gift for foodies too.
  7. RP’s Pasta.  Beautiful, delicious handmade pasta to pair with your cheese and veggies.  They make great gluten-free pasta too.
  8. La Brioche.  Fine Bakery items that you will never be able to create at home.  The morning buns have long been a Madison favorite and they produce wedding cakes that taste every bit as good as they look.
  9. Yahara Bay Distillers.  Go and be amazed.  They make some of the finest Lemoncello I’ve ever tasted.  It is almost worth taking Friday off from work so that you can be in Madison on Thursday night for their tastings.
  10. The Kitchen Gallery.  The love of their buyer for fine kitchenware is so obvious.  I can go in their shop and find things that I would swear they ordered just for me.

Innspiration for your Super Bowl Party

January 24th, 2011 by Pat Fischbeck

If you need a bit of inspiration for your Super Bowl Party, the innkeepers at the Speckled Hen Inn in Madison Wisconsin have a couple of suggestions for you.  Since Packer fans have a weekend off from watching football this weekend why not head to Madison to check out the Isthmus Beer and Cheese Fest.

Sample some of Wisconsin’s finest craft beers and specialty cheeses and decide which ones you will want to serve at your Packer’s party on Super Bowl Sunday.  There are even a couple of special sessions at the event that you won’t want to miss but need to sign up for early.  At 1:30 the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board will pair wonderful Wisconsin cheeses with the brews from Potosi Brewery.  That’s the great western Winconsin brewery that is also home to the Beer Museum.  At 3:00 there is a session on pairing beer with chocolate.  It even gets better.  The pairing is between Gail Ambrosius Chocolates (our local favorite) and the crazy craft brews from Furthermore Brewery.  (I’ve done this before and you have to try it to even imagine how good it is!)

If your entertainment plan is a bit more upscale head out to Wollersheim Winery in Prairie Du Sac for the party to celebrate the release of their 2009 vintage ports.  This year they will be adding a 2009 vintage White Port to their offerings and you can sample and celebrate any time between 10 and 4 on Saturday.  Enjoy a bit of live jazz and pair your port sample with a Combinacas Plate featuring Wisconsin-made Asiago cheese, a chocolate truffle, fresh bread, and dried apricots and almonds.  You will want to take home a bottle of Wisconsin Port or wine to toast the success of the Packers anyway.  Sampling is one sure way to find the wine that pleases you.

We still have rooms available on Friday night so that you can have a romantic getaway at The Speckled Hen Inn.  Enjoy our great breakfast and then head out to sample some of Wisconsin’s finest.

Last Minute Holiday Shopping in Madison

December 11th, 2008 by Pat Fischbeck

Everyone has to eat.  So, it just makes sense that gifts of food are always welcome.  There are lots of places in Madison where you can pick up fabulous local foods to suit everyone on your shopping list.
Wisconsin is all about cheese and there is a lot to choose from.  Stop in Fromagination on the capitol square to get your imagination going.  Or visit and sample your way through the artisan cheeses at Carr Valley Cheese in Middleton.  The tiny, tiny cheese store in Paoli is tons of fun too.  Not too far from the Speckled Hen Inn you will find Mouse House and Ehlenbach’s Cheese Chalet.  Have someone take your picture with the huge cow to prove that you were really there.

 

Carr Valley Cheese at a Speckled Hen Inn Wine Tasting

  

 

If you have someone who loves to cook on your list, stop in Penzy’s spice store on University Avenue.  Their double vanilla is divine and the variety of pepper and the mills to grind it is excellent.  It is a Holiday treat for your nose just to walk into the shop.  Next door, there is a cookware store that will actually sharpen your knives while you wait and next to that there is a shop that sells all kinds of wonderful vinegars and oils.  If you need something to finish off a food gift basket, Whole Foods is right across the street.
Chocolate lovers will long remember any gift of truffles from Gail Ambrosious Chocolatier.  Coffee lovers might appreciate the freshly roasted beans from Victor Allen, Steep and Brew, or Ankora Coffee Roasters.  Everyone loves pasta.  The fresh pasta from RP’s is excellent.
We will be happy to help guests at The Speckled Hen Inn find the perfect gifts for all those question marks on their shopping list.  One final suggestion: How about a Speckled Hen Inn Gift Certificate tucked into a copy of a Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast cookbook?  We can make it happen.