CULINARY THRILL SEEKING — Crackers have their moment at this time of year and whole lot more

Published 7:29 am Monday, December 26, 2022

Culinary Thrill Seekers, we did it again. Hopefully we can all cherish the best of 2022, the highs and lows and flavors and all.

This week can be a bit of a quandary as we finish holiday cookie gifts and plan for New Year’s parties and resolutions.

There’s party food everywhere, and we’re planning to eat better “soon.”

Be healthy and remember to appreciate every small indulgence as we look forward to working toward our best eating and health practices.

Crackers have their moment at this time of year. I made a quickie version of bowties, bacon wrapped around wafers.

Bits of pepperoni on Ritz rounds went into the air fryer a bit and made my spirits bright.

I’m always mentioning my holiday fav of a can of smoked oysters folded into cream cheese. Use all that oil, too. This has been on my New Year’s list for decades.

Here are some holiday picks, with a reminder to use all your senses to enjoy your nibbles:

Ethereal Craft Chocolate – Speakeasy wedding parties and a chocolate café? That’s maybe not how Ethereal Craft Chocolate describes it all, but looks like Woodstock has another hit. I’m talking about Woodstock, Illinois, where you can subscribe to organic chocolate bars with cherry, fig and citrus from the Dominican Republic; fudge and malt notes from the Philippines; and some ganache from Uganda.

And I’d  have to be stopped if all their inclusion bars came at once. They include combos like scorpion pepper and pecan and almond and cocoa nibs. The bars I tried have such a different, grown-up mouth feel from off-the-shelf bars. Cool how it seems the whole world can get together about loving chocolate. Slow down and taste for mouthfeel, acidity, finish and more. Listen to your chocolate, makers suggest. Hear more at etherealconfections.com.

Catan Pisco – Honey, fruit and floral notes make up Catan Pisco, which is made of grapes but is said to be like if vodka and Tequila had a baby. Follow? Catalina of Chile will tell you more, like how she is from one of only two countries that can legally make pisco, at catanpisco.com.

There’s a kit you can get with The Pisco Girl coffee sugar with spices, a bottle of vanilla extract and a Catan jigger. Get some milk and cinnamon and brew up a batch of holiday heaven. Go warm or go cold but enjoy it with the gusto that Catalina would. The Spicy Saint calls for Catan Pisco with lime, simple syrup and cucumber while the Chilean Mule goes with ginger ale. I’m like, Catalina, I’ve never been to Chile, why have you been keeping this to yourself, but then again, now the sites tells you what you need to know.

Darragh Doiron is a Southeast Texas foodie wishing you the best of every bite of 2023. Reach her at darraghcastillo@icloud.com.