Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Weekly Pairing

We had the blues for the past two weeks, but this week we've got the greens. One of the superstars of the Green Mountain State is Tarentaise from Spring Brook Farm in Reading, Vermont. Spring Brook Farm Tarentaise won 1st place for Open Category Cow's Milk Cheeses (aged 60 days or more) in the farmstead cheese category a few weeks ago at ACS.

Please go to their website and read about the program that's helping kids get in touch with the land and their food. Learning lessons that can be taught in the classroom, but stay with you longer and mean more after "doing" instead of just reading.

Although made from the milk of the Jersey cow, this cheese is inspired by the traditional cheese of the French Alps. Complex rich, nutty, acidic and reminiscent of the pastures, this farmstead cheese has a lingering finish that changes in each wheel with the seasons.

Wine this week is 2007 Saladini Pilastri Rosso Piceno from Le Marche, Italy (SE of Tuscany). It is made from a traditional blend of Sangiovese and Montepulciano. The grapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks and then aged in oak.

Earthy mushroom, ripe cherry, pepper and nutmeg are all well-represented in this classic and traditional blend wine from Italy.

Come and join us at our Lakeview Location this coming Saturday for another installment in our ongoing "Meet the Maker" series. This time it's the wonderful people of McKinley Springs from Washington State.

From 4pm-6pm you'll have the great opportunity to meet one of our favorite producers try some lovely wines, and ask them questions about grapes, vintage, soil, or anything else that you'd like an expert opinion on.

Come join us!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

How the new state taxes affect our shelves, and our customers

As you may know, some of the taxes for food and drink in IL recently changed. These changes do affect some of the products that we carry, and we wanted to let you know how the change may affect you.

On September 1, the State of Illinois redefined the term “candy” as it applies to state taxes. Any item containing a mix of chocolate, fruit and/or nuts is now defined as “candy.” These items used to be taxed at the food rate of 2.25%; the state now requires that they be taxed at the general merchandise rate of 10.25%. In addition to the new definition of “candy”, the state now defines any beverage containing added sweeteners as a “soft drink”, subject to the 13.25% tax on those beverages.

The new taxes on wine and spirits are being levied at the distributor level. The wine tax is negligible, and Pastoral is absorbing that cost as a courtesy to our loyal wine buyers. However, the tax on spirits is much greater, and as a result, Pastoral may eventually be forced to change pricing on gin, vodka and other craft spirits.