▪ Hibiscus Watermelon Superflower Tea
$10.25 for 36 tea bags; www.republicoftea.com
The taste of watermelon balances that of Nigerian hibiscus blossoms in this caffeine-free herbal tea. Apple, rose-hips, stevia and sweet blackberry leaves are also part of the lively mix. A dollar from the sale of each tin is donated to the global nonprofit Action Against Hunger, which is committed to ending food and water scarcity.
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▪ Consumer Wine Awards
$25 (if selected); April 11 at the McClellan Conference Center (5411 Luce Ave., Sacramento); www.consumerwineawards.com
April’s Consumer Wine Awards in Sacramento is a different kind of competition. The judges aren’t industry pros – they’re everyday folks who simply love wine. If this sounds interesting to you, check out its website and apply to taste and rank competing wines. Prospective evaluators will first take a test to determine their “vinotype,” or what types of wines and flavors they personally prefer. If selected, the consumer judge will then serve on panels that reflect his or her own personal taste. The winning wines can be sampled on June 6 at Grape Escape, the annual food and wine tasting held at Cesar Chavez Plaza.
▪ Gumption Woodchuck Hard Cider
$8.99 per six pack; ABV of 5.5 percent; www.woodchuck.com
Later this spring, Woodchuck crafters will be rolling out this new variety of cider made from fresh common eating apples and dry bittersweet cider apples. The resulting beverage offers a balanced, dynamic apple taste and a dry finish. The cider’s name comes from an observation made by 19th-century showman P.T. Barnum: “Everybody drank cider-spirits called ‘gumption.’ ” Look for it in the many beverage stores and local markets where other Woodchuck ciders are available.
▪ “Passion for Pizza”
$30; 300 pages; Agate Surrey; www.agatepublishing.com
New on the pizza front is the gorgeously photographed “Passion for Pizza: A Journey Through Thick and Thin to Find the Pizza Elite” by restaurateurs Craig Whitson and Tore Gjesteland. The first half of the book is a tour of great pizzerias in Italy and the U.S., with stops in Naples and San Francisco, where authors visit Tony Gemignani at his famous Tony’s Pizza Napoletana (Gemignani is also chef/owner of Sacramento’s Pizza Rock). The second half of the book takes home pizza-makers to school, showing techniques, exploring ingredients, and demystifying the magic combination of flour, tomatoes, cheese, olive oil, basil and cured meats.
▪ A&W Root Beer Licorice Twists
Around $2.50 for 5-ounce bag; available at local retailers.
Sacramentans have a special affinity for A&W Root Beer. After all, Roy Allen opened his first roadside drink stand in Lodi in 1919 before partnering with Frank Wright and setting up shops in Stockton, Sacramento and beyond. Almost a century later, this namesake licorice does a surprisingly good job replicating the herbal, spicy notes that make this creamy-sweet drink unique, while adding a splendid candy chew.
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