Friday, January 2, 2009

A Taste of Texas

Most of my couples host out-of-town guests at their weddings – from across the country and around the world. And when travel-weary guests arrive, nothing conveys a warm Texas welcome like a basket overflowing with the most delicious delicacies the Lone Star State has to offer. From sweet bites for snacking to sophisticated fare that will please even the pickiest palate, all the makings for a perfect do-it-yourself gift are right here in your own back yard. Below are some of my favorite local food finds - pick a few or gather them all to help make your event a memorable Texas experience!

Dublin Dr. Pepper: Invented in Waco in 1885, Dr. Pepper has since become one of the most popular soft drinks in the world. Most folks have tried the mass-market version by now, but few can say they’ve tasted good old-fashioned Dublin Dr. Pepper. Named for the home of the world’s oldest Dr. Pepper bottling plant, this sippable treat is made with real sugar, just as it was over 100 years ago. Dublin Dr. Pepper is only available in a limited area, and we’re lucky to have a handy supply at Central Market stores here in the Metroplex.

Pecans: The pecan is the official state tree of Texas, and the nuts it bears are our unofficial favorite snack food. If you're lucky enough to have a pecan tree at home, by all means take advantage of your crop when it comes to gifting. Those without a back yard hookup need look no further than the Texas Pecan Company. They’ve been serving the Metroplex for over 25 years, offering everything from plain pecan halves to tempting pralines to rich chocolate covered pecans. Order online or visit their factory store in Dallas (see website for details).

Wine: With over 150 wineries in Texas, there are no shortage of selections when it comes to great wine. At As you wish…, we love Llano Estacado's Chenin Blanc and Signature Melange. Both award-winning wines are widely available and deliciously affordable!

Bottled Water: Texas Crystal Water is one of our most refreshing local favorites. Bottled from an aquifer in Central Texas, it’s available online and at area Central Market stores. The company even offers custom labeling – perfect for weddings!

Popcorn: Dallas-based Popcorn Texas is a division of Yo Pop Etc., a family owned and operated gourmet popcorn company. With over 25 flavors to choose from, you’re sure to find a favorite. We love both Jalepeno and Ranch! Order Popcorn Texas products online or visit their location on Midway Road.

Mozzarella Company Cheeses: Paula Lambert’s Mozzarella Company is a gourmet gem that’s been supplying Dallas residents and many of the area’s finest restaurants with top-quality handmade cheese since 1982. The company's rich, creamy namesake is as popular as ever, and a wide menu of additional varieties are available to satisfy any craving. Caciotta, Crescenza and Feta are just a few of our favorites. You can find Mozzarella Company cheeses at many local retailers including Central Market, Tom Thumb and Whole Foods.

Shiner Beer: Straight from the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas comes the Lone Star State’s best-loved brew! Why not share this one-of-a-kind find with your out-of-town guests? Shiner Bock’s rich, full-bodied, distinctively smooth flavor is perfection on a warm summer day. Find it for under $8 at most liquor and grocery stores, along with Shiner Blonde, Shiner Light and the rest of the Shiner lineup.

Chips and Salsa: There’s no shortage of Texas-made salsas, but we’ve narrowed the field to just two of our favorite chip-toppers today. Texas-Texas Premium Salsas come in nine delicious varieties, from basic Mild to Peach Pecan. We recommend ordering online, and they are well worth the wait! Another option when seeking out salsa is visiting a family-owned Mexican restaurant, such as Desperados, many of which offer pre-packaged hot stuff for take-home snacking. Pair your salsa with blue corn chips for a true Tex-Mex treat!

I hope you have a delicious time exploring all of these local food favorites! The items on this list can be used to fill welcome baskets or to create individual favors for your guests. Enjoy!

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