In 1810, Munich, Germany held its very first Oktoberfest festival. Originally a celebration of the marriage between King Louis I and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, the annual party has made its way across the world. Now, in the United States, each year we highlight seasonal beers, foods, and activities all in the spirit of Oktoberfest. Here are some of our favorites!
Pretzels: Soft pretzels are a prized possession at Oktoberfest. In 610 A.D., as the story goes, Italian monks made the first pretzels from leftover bread-dough scraps. The twisted knot shape was meant to symbolize arms folded in prayer, and in Europe they became considered a holy food with healing powers. This explains its presence at such a large European gathering. Eventually pretzels made their way to America and we fell in love with them, especially with a Dark Lager, IPA, Brown Ale, or even German Märzen beer! Check out the video below for our Bavarian Soft Pretzels recipe.
German Märzen / Oktoberfest Beer: Speaking of German Märzen, what exactly is it? It’s essentially the beer of Oktoberfest and the style that breweries in the United States refer to as Octoberfest. For a great-tasting take try Samuel Adams Octoberfest. For a tasty, authentic food pairing outside of soft pretzels try Beer Mustard Crusted Pork Loin, Pork Schnitzel, or German Potato Soup!
Würstl or Sausages: Whether it’s Bratwurst, Weisswurst, or any of the many other varieties, sausage is a major player in German and Oktoberfest cuisine. Of course, most often served with a generous amount of mustard and sauerkraut. If you’re looking for the perfect beer to pair with your sausage, a good tip is mildly spiced sausages work well with sweet malt flavors and light hops, compared to the spicier varieties which pair with darker and heavier brews.
Desserts: No festival is complete without dessert. At a typical Oktoberfest celebration, Strudels and Kuchen, the German word for cake, are appropriate. In America, seasonal pies are also fitting for the occasion. All excellent while paired with a nice Märzen!
Pumpkin Beer: Although it’s more American than German Oktoberfest, everything is pumpkin in the fall, including the beer. It’s a signature seasonal flavor that truly brings the essence of October to your tastebuds. We carry a number of different options in our beer aisle. Looking to enjoy pumpkin beer with a meal? We recommend slow-cooked meats, chicken and waffles, or chili. Maybe some pecan or apple pie for dessert. YUM!
Oktoberfest has taken off since the original festival in Munich. It’s inspired many across America and given us a number of awesome seasonal flavors. We love celebrating this annual tradition and hope you join us by trying one of these delicious food and beer pairings. For everything you need to enjoy your own Octoberfest visit your local store, or shop with us online!
Tea Up for Well-Being
As the evenings turn cooler, our beverage choices also shift to warmer temperatures and more comfort and health-oriented drinks. Tea is the most popular beverage in the world, second only to water, and has a range of flavors, benefits, and culinary applications.
Tea has a simple recipe – water and some form of the leaves of the Camelia Sinensis bush, it is most often made with hot or warm water, but can be made with cool water, such as “sun tea”. That simplicity earns it a spot on the list of whole foods, or more accurately, whole food-derived drinks. Interesting to note that America is the primary country where tea is enjoyed cold – the demand for functional beverages that are portable and personal has created a unique opportunity for tea as a grab-and-go beverage. Approximately 75 – 80% of tea consumed in America is iced. ¹
The first written records of tea as a medicinal beverage were found in China, around the 3rd century A.D. Modern research has been able to identify specific compounds that may have health benefits, including polyphenols such as flavonoids, theaflavins and catechins, all antioxidants. Observation studies connect 2 -3 cups of tea per day to reduced risk of premature death, heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. More research must be done to define intake and specific health impact, but tea has a place on the table for traditional teetotalers and health seekers alike.
Generally, caffeine content of a cup of tea is 50 mg or less, half the content of an 8 oz cup of coffee. ² Time brewing and form of tea also impact caffeine content. Tea assists with hydration, and contains the amino acid theanine, which research hints supports brain health. This makes it a perfect beverage for that afternoon energy-seeker, busy parents recharging between work and evening family activities, or an end-of-day stress soother.
Tea is also riding the innovation wave as more functional beverages that include nootropics, ingredients that enhance energy, focus, and relaxation, or added vitamins and minerals. Culinary innovations include using flavored teas (such as green tea with lemon) as a poaching liquid for seafood or chicken, or macha (green) tea powder as an ingredient in baked or dessert items. Tea is even in barbeque sauce!
I had the opportunity to see a tea plantation and enjoy a tea ceremony in Japan. The evergreen shrubs were beautiful and carefully tended. Tea grows at higher elevations in many Asian countries – it was a beautiful landscape and is where I was first introduced to green tea.
Tea flavors are shaped by the terroir or soil/climate/altitude of the place it is grown. ³ They are also defined by the part of the plant that it is made from, and the types of processing those plant elements are subjected to. Finally, they may be enhanced by essential oils, or combinations with other plants, such as herbs or spices (such as Chai, a tea spiced with cardamom and cinnamon). Tea truth – beverages made with herbs, spices, flowers and other plants that do not include the Camelia Sinensis leaves are not teas – they are tisanes. That term is more technical – “herbal tea” is a more consumer-friendly description and has become the more common term used for those brewed beverages.
Take some time to explore the amazing world of tea with the many varieties and flavors you can find in stores. You will find yourself in good company – 159 million Americans enjoy tea each day! ⁴
²IFIC, accessed 9/7/22, https://foodinsight.org/coffee-and-tea-can-hydrate-too/
³Tea Aroma Formation https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S221345301500018X
Shifting Into Soup Season!
Fall is here and soup season is upon is, and this year we want to take full advantage of it. We’ve put together a list of our favorite soup recipes that will keep your tastebuds excited all season long. Soups, bisques, stews, it’s all in on the fun!
Cheeseburger Soup: Nothing hits the spot like a good cheeseburger, let’s make the soup version. Ground chuck, American cheese, onions, and all the extras make this hearty soup delicious and filling.
Pork & Navy Bean Soup: This Pork & Navy Bean soup is everything that makes soup great. Creamy tomato with basil soup complimented beautifully by pork and beans.
Jalapeño, Chicken & Pumpkin Soup: This recipe is packed with flavor. If you’ve never considered jalapeño and pumpkin in the same dish, this recipe will open your eyes.
White Cheddar & Ale Soup: This White Cheddar & Ale Soup is fantastic. Flavors of white cheddar and your favorite pale ale combine into a blissful meal.
Creamy Sausage & Mushroom Soup: Sausage and mushroom work in perfect harmony in this recipe, and the creaminess of the dish elevates it to a whole different level.
Sweet Corn, Crab & Vegetable Chowder with Spicy Shrimp: This chowder is packed with taste. Sweet corn, crab, vegetables, and spicy shrimp all in one mouthwatering bowl.
Carrot-Tomato Bisque with Parsnip Crisps: We love the addition of carrot in this tomato bisque. Top with parsnip crisps for the perfect crunch.
Chicken, Spinach & Quinoa Soup: Chicken, spinach, and quinoa make a great trio in this recipe. Guaranteed to fill you up and to become a dish you rely on.
Crushed Red Lentil Soup: This is one of our favorite takes on lentil soup. Full of flavorful ingredients that will keep you coming back for more.
Beef & Butternut Squash Stew: Finally, we can’t forget about a good stew. This recipe celebrates the return of butternut squash to our table as it makes a beautiful entrance in this beef stew.
Game-Winning Food Plays for Sunday's
We’re pumped to have football back! One because we love watching the games and two because of the epic gameday recipes and platters that go along with them. Join our huddle and figure out the best gameday eats to put into action this year. We think we’ve got a great gameplan!
Ole Philly Cheesesteak Sliders: Tough to beat an old-school Philly Cheesesteak while watching the game. These sliders are a major crowd-pleaser.
Chipotle Pulled Pork Sandwiches: Pulled pork is another great gameday option. This tasty recipe adds a chipotle twist for more flavor and more fun.
Popcorn Steak Bites with Buttermilk-BBQ Dip: These Popcorn Steak Bites are a standout in the appetizer game. Paired with Buttermilk-BBQ Dip they are SO good and might just become a favorite of yours this season.
Italian Sausage, Peppers, and Onions: Classic sausage, pepper, and onions on an Italian roll. Oldie but a goodie for gameday.
Jalapeño Popper Pizza: Pizza is a perfect football food. This recipe heat things up with the addition of jalapeño.
Tortilla Chip Sheet Pan Nachos: Our list wouldn’t be right without a good nacho recipe. We love these Tortilla Chip Sheet Pan Nachos while watching the game.
Slow Cooker BBQ Meatballs: How about some BBQ Meatballs from the slow cooker? Yes, please. Great gameday eats.
Grilled-Cola Chicken Wings: Chicken wings are another must-have during football season. Try these Grilled-Cola Wings for a fun play.
Fresh Cherry Salsa: Every football season deserves a nice salsa recipe, this Fresh Cherry Salsa recipe is refreshing, and one of our go-to’s this year.
Slow Cooker Carne Asada Cubed Steak Chili: It may not be quite chili season yet but keep this recipe in your back pocket for the colder weather games. It hits like a game-winning field goal at the buzzer.
Also, we are writing this on National Eat A Hoagie Day. Hoagies are another great option for gameday success. And we have plenty of them. Check out our catering & platters service to provide your watch parties with all the food you need to keep family and friends happy!
Enjoy the games this year and we wish your team the best of luck!
Sandwich Inspiration for Back-to-School
Well, Labor Day has passed and it’s time to head back to school. Of course, this means lunch and meal planning is back in full force. One of the best ways to do lunch is a tasty sandwich, and we’ve got some new ideas for this year that may not have been on your lunchbox menu in the past. Check them out and give them a try!
Grilled Chicken Pesto Wraps: You can throw these Grilled Chicken Pesto Wraps on the grill for the best results. Pesto, tomatoes, chicken, kale, and cheese fill up the grilled tortilla wraps for a wonderful lunch.
Egg Pesto Melt: Sticking with pesto, this Egg Pesto Melt recipe from Weelicious is awesome! The whole family will love them, but they are great for a lunchbox.
Grilled Chicken BLT: Try your classic BLT but add grilled chicken to the mix! It provides the extra brain power needed for the second half of the school day.
Chicken & Apple-Kale Slaw Wrap: These Chicken & Apple-Kale Slaw Wraps are full of flavor and easy to make! A perfectly light lunch wrap.
BLT Waffle Sandwiches: Add a fun twist to your BLT with waffles rather than bread. Whole-grain or multigrain waffles create a whole new BLT experience.
Open-Faced Turkey Melt: This Open-Faced Turkey Melt is another great choice for lunch. Turkey breast lunch meat and granny smith apples make a great combination. With other flavorful ingredients added to top it off.
Apple Pie Panini: This Apple Pie Panini is a fall favorite! Plus the kids will enjoy how its like dessert for lunch.
Pizza Sub: Back in the day Pizza Day was a big hit in the cafeteria. Well, make any day pizza day with this Pizza Sub recipe!
Have a great school year! And try out these new recipes to keep school lunch exciting!
How to Make Ice Cream at Home
Ice cream is an amazing treat! Especially on those beautiful summer nights. But stopping buy your local shop can add up throughout the season. That’s why sometimes it’s nice to make your own homemade ice cream. It can sound intimidating, but it can actually be super easy. Here’s our guide to making ice cream at home!
The easiest way to make ice cream takes only four ingredients, a mason jar, and just a bit of elbow grease. 1 cup of heavy cream, 1.5 tablespoons of granulated sugar, .5 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt is all it takes. Add these ingredients to a mason jar, twist the lid on tight, and shake. This is where the elbow grease comes in. The mixture needs a good shake for 4 to 5 minutes, if you can call in some backup or other members of the household that will certainly help. Just tell them they will be getting ice cream out of the deal!
Once it’s nice and shaken, the mixture will have doubled in size and nicely coats the back of a spoon. Once you’ve reached this point you know you’re ready for the next step…freezing! Store the jar in the freezer and in about 3 hours, you should have created firm, scoopable ice cream. This is the simplest way, but definitely add in your own flavorings to the base or toppings to the final ice cream product.
You can also make ice cream in plastic baggie at home. Add the same ingredients to small, resealable plastic bag, make sure all the excess air is out and the bag is sealed tightly. Meanwhile, combine salt and ice in a large resealable plastic bag. Place the small bag inside the large bag and shake, elbow grease again, but this time for 7 to 10 minutes, until the ice cream hardens. Remove from the bag and enjoy!
https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a54721/ice-cream-in-a-bag-recipe / https://www.mentalfloss.com/posts/how-to-make-simple-homemade-ice-cream
S'more Summer Fun
S’mores are the star of summer campfires and backyard cookouts. Everyone loves the classic s’more, a harmonious sandwich of marshmallow and chocolate, stuffed between graham crackers. However, today we are suggesting more for your s’mores! Check out some of our favorite creative, next level s’more recipes to try at your next summer night hang out.
Rice Krispie Treat S’mores: Is there anything better than marshmallows and chocolate? Well yes, marshmallows and chocolate AND Rice Krispie treats. Rice Krispie treats will elevate your s’mores to an elite level of crispiness.
Candied Bacon S’mores: Candied bacon brings a wonderful sweet and savory mix. This is at the top of our list.
Roasted Berry S’mores: Berries pair wonderfully with chocolate, why not add them to your s’mores for a refreshing twist? We love roasted berries for a campfire aesthetic in the summer.
Salted Caramel S’mores: Decadent, gooey, and delicious Salted Caramel S’mores can become very addicting.
Tropical S’mores: These tropical s’mores will have you in vacation mode in your own backyard. Add some grilled pineapple, maraschino cherries, and toasted coconut to your s’mores and replace the graham crackers with white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. Paradise.
Chocolate Chip Cookie S’mores: This idea is simple, but oh-so delicious. Pack your s’more between your favorite chocolate chip cookies for more chocolaty goodness.
Elvis S’more: We all love a good Elvis sandwich, but how about an Elvis s’more? Peanut butter, banana, and bacon added to your s’more. Yum!
Grasshopper S’mores: This minty fresh recipe features dark chocolate mint, like an Andes, rather than your regular s’mores chocolate. A fun, tasty twist.
PB&J S’mores: Did you think we were done remixing sandwiches? Nope. Peanut butter and jelly s’mores are the best thing since sliced bread.
Caramel Apple S’mores: Last but not least, caramel apple s’mores. We recommend using a granny smith apple topped with a warm caramel drizzle.
This summer, we will be enjoying these different recipes at our campfires and highly recommend you do the same. The best part? All of your s’mores needs are conveniently located at your local Price Chopper & Market 32 or on our website.
International Beer Day
Today is International Beer Day, and we are celebrating the international drink of getting the weekend started. And it’s Friday, how fitting! Let’s highlight some of the breweries that bless our Northeast region with quality, refreshing beverages for every and all seasons. Not all heroes wear capes, some of them concoct awesome brewskis.
Brooklyn Brewery – Brooklyn, NY
When good beer is hard to find, sometimes you have to make it yourself. That’s exactly the story of Brooklyn Brewery. In 1988, Steve Hindy took his homebrewing knowledge from his days as a foreign war correspondent and started the business with his friend Tom Potter. Together they hand-delivered the first batches of Brooklyn Lager to a handful of local bars.
Today Brooklyn’s beers now travel to more than half the U.S. and over 30 countries. Brewmaster Garrett Oliver, a James Beard Award winner, and his team brew everything from classic styles to bold experiments, collaborating with their peers across the globe to keep pushing the boundaries of beer.
Popular Brews: Brooklyn Lager, Brooklyn East IPA, Brooklyn Summer Ale
Saranac Brewery – Utica, NY
In 1985, Saranac 1888, named after the iconic Saranac Railroad, was the first concoction to don the brewery name. The Saranac Railroad line connected Utica to the Adirondacks. Similarly, Saranac’s Utica location connects with the Adirondacks through the tastes and experiences provided by their brews.
In fact, back in 1991, Saranac’s Adirondack Lager was awarded the top premium lager at the Great American Beer Festival, chalking the Lager up as Saranac’s first brewing home run. Naturally, the brewery focused in on making this beer their main priority for the time being.
Today, Saranac Brewery has a plethora of beverages showcasing their name. Blueberry Blonde Ale and S’more Lager are perfect for the essence of summertime. While Pale Ale and Adirondack Lager are two of the company’s year-round staples.
Popular Brews: Saranac Pale Ale, Blueberry Blonde Ale, Adirondack Lager
Stony Creek Brewery – Branford, CT
The pride of Branford, CT, Stony Creek Brewery was rebranded by co-founder Ed Crowley in 2015. Prior to the rebranding, Stony Creek was a small-scale contract-produced craft brand, mainly known for their IPAs named after Connecticut’s two area codes, 203 and 860. Stony Creek became much bigger after their rebrand, and they opened up their first brewery right along the Branford River.
The brewery’s 30,000 square foot size makes it the second largest brewing facility and taproom in the state of Connecticut. One of its unique features is a 2,500 square foot tasting room with 23-ounce glass mugs hanging on the wall behind the bar as part of the brewery’s Mug Club. The “Mug Club” is a way of giving back to devoted customers by giving them “their own little piece of the creek,” according to Ed Crowley Jr!
Popular Brews: Big Cranky Double IPA, Cranky IPA, Stony Joe Mocha Stout
Magic Hat Brewing Company – Burlington, Vermont
Stirring up some mysterious concoctions in the heart of South Burlington, Vermont, Magic Hat is a well-known local brewer. They refer to their brews as elixirs, and their most popular potion is #9. It’s not quite a pale ale, but it runs across your tongue with notes of fruit and floral hop bitterness, bringing an unusual and curious palate. As they say at Magic Hat, #9 asks more questions than it answers. You’ll just have to see for yourself.
Popular Brews: #9, Elder Betty, Circus Boy
Frog Alley Brewing – Schenectady, NY
Frog Alley Brewing is just a short trip down the road from our Schenectady headquarters. As the city’s newest brewing powerhouse, Frog Alley is the key piece of the new Mill Artisan District. This downtown revitalization effort through intriguing new, hip food and drink spots hopes to bring more craft beer lovers and foodies back to the area.
Frog Alley founder JT Pollard put together two of the best brewing minds he could find in Rich Michaels and Drew Schmidt. Michaels and Schmidt used their expertise and years of experience to build Frog Alley’s refreshing, star-powered roster of brews. Included in this list is Mohop #5, a tasty New England IPA with Mosaic hops, featuring notes of mango, stone fruit, and a concoction of more earthy and tropical tones. They also provide Skull Frog, a loud DIPA that is certainly not shy with the Chinook, Columbus, and Simcoe hops.
Popular Brews: Mohop #5, Skull Frog Double IPA, Re4resh IPA
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The Rise of Avocados
Until recently, the avocado was fairly unknown, met with tons of questions and not enough answers. Now it’s eaten every day across the county in a plethora of different ways. So how did the avocado become so mainstream? On this National Avocado Day, we decided to look back at the avocado and how it became the superfood sensation that it is today.
The rise of the avocado took quite the marketing effort. Consumers weren’t always familiar with the fruit and the best ways to enjoy it. Part of this was because it wasn’t always known as an avocado. At first, they were given the Spanish name “Ahuacate,” derived from Aztec origins, but that wasn’t the easiest to pronounce. They were also called the “Alligator Pear” because of their bumpy, olive-colored skin. However, that name was both unappealing and misleading, given the many differences between pears and avocados. Finally, in 1915 a group of farmers put their heads together and came up with a new name: the avocado.
By the time the 1980s came around, U.S. dietary guidelines recommended a low-fat diet. Continuing into the 90s, the trend was tough on the avocado industry, despite their efforts to educate the public on the health benefits of avocados. Of course, up until that point, avocado producers had not done much to educate the public on how to eat an avocado, nor did they promote them in the context of Latin American cuisine where these fruits shine. Therefore, folks had no idea how or where to add avocado.
Finally, in the 90s, the California Avocado Commission hired Hill & Knowlton a public relations firm who introduced “Mr. Ripe Guy” a mascot used to educate and promote all things avocados. Mr. Ripe Guy got the ball rolling on what turned into an all-out campaign to promote these superfruits. Hill & Knowlton worked to showcase avocados on the ultimate stage, the super bowl, getting big time NFL stars to share their favorite recipes, and market guacamole to fans around the country.
Avocado sales quickly skyrocketed with its crop value spiked by nearly 70%, turning the avocado from an anomaly to a household grocery item. Now guacamole is one of the go-to Super Bowl Sunday snacks. Today, avocados are featured in endless amounts of recipes and people pay extra to have some avocado thrown in their salad, added on their sandwich, or even spread on their toast.
For some awesome avocado recipes and inspiration check out our website. Don’t forget to stop by your local Price Chopper & Market 32 or shop with us online for all your National Avocado Day needs. It’s time to celebrate the emergence of this awesome superfruit!
home.grown. Corn: How Sweet It Is!
Sweet corn is a seasonal treasure. It’s one of our favorites to enjoy all summer long, especially in peak growing season here in the Northeast! We’re proud to source sweet corn locally when the season rolls in, but did you know that this crop takes a sourcing journey all the way up East Coast each year, before our region’s annual bounty hits?
Warmer weather typically hits our region in full force by mid-May, and the people of the Northeast hit their backyards. Early in what we like to call “grilling season,” we’re usually tapping into Florida’s sweet corn season, as our Northeast farmer’s plant, water and tend to their fields.
By June, the summer season is officially setting in. Around here, the weather heats up, the sun stays out and our sweet corn starts to come a bit closer. We move our map pin from Florida to Georgia and begin bringing in Georgia-grown sweet corn for a while. Northeastern cornstalks have sprouted by the end of the month, in preparation for harvest in a few weeks. We can hardly wait.
Weather factors heavily into almost all of the crops we source locally each year, and sweet corn is no exception. While we prepare for the mid-July checkered flag on our beloved local sweet corn, we source our corn in parts of North Carolina and Delaware, where local corn season has set in. It’s delicious, as was the Floridian and Georgian corn, but we’re chomping at the bit for corn from our backyard!
Sometime between mid and late July each year, our favorite point in the local agriculture season hits: sweet corn season. Our Produce teammates smile from ear to ear, pun intended, as crates from friends like Shaul Farms in Fultonham, New York, Paul Mazza Farms in Colchester, Vermont, and more start to arrive. This amazing season seems to go by in the blink of an eye, much like the holidays do, and typically lasts until mid-September. Our local farmers deliver consistently during this time, and we can’t get enough!