23 October 2010

Weekend Cooking: Witches, Wine, and a Giveaway

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.


Are you getting ready for Halloween? Witches and daemons and vampires, oh my! A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness is just what need to get you in the mood.

The novel is about a historian, who just happens to be a witch. Diana Bishop, however, is not at all interested in magic or nonhuman creatures. When she discovers a bewitched alchemical manuscript titled Ashmole 782 in the library stacks, she reshelves it and turns her back on it. Unfortunately, daemons, vampires, witches, and magic have not turned their back on her. With the help of geneticist-vampire Matthew Clairmont, will she be able to solve a mystery and recover an ancient treasure? (Viking, January 2011; ISBN-13: 9780670022410.)

So, what does this have to do with Weekend Cooking? Good question. It just so happens that author Deborah Harkness writes an award-winning wine blog called Good Wine Under $20. Just the name of her blog is enough to get my interest.

Harkness's blog has been recognized by major food and wine magazines and offers a wealth of information on vintages, grapes, food pairings, and recommendations. I discovered Good Wine Under $20 only this week, so I haven't fully explored all Harkness has to offer. Here is a sampling of what I found among recent posts: Weekend wines with recipe suggestions • Lessons in wine from France • Wine bought because of its name • Wine bought because of its label • Autumn whites and reds.

These are all fun and informative posts, and I'm happy to know I'm not the only one tempted by a good name or pretty label.

My own current favorite wine under $20 is a Feudo Arancio Nero D'Avola 2009. I was able to get a bottle for $9 at the Pennsylvania state store. We opened it and had it with pasta. It is dry, light, and goes down easy. I went back the next day to buy more but learned that it was sold out. I can get more Nero D'Avola next week, but it will no longer be on sale. She who hesitates is lost.

You might be curious about Deborah Harkness's wine suggestions for the type of creatures you might find around Halloween. Take a look:

I just love Harkness's style and sense of humor. If you're interested in winning a copy of her debut novel, A Discovery of Witches, plus a set of the buttons to show your allegiance to each of the magical species featured in the book, fill out the following form. I am really excited about this book and hope you are too.

The giveaway is open internationally. One lucky winner will receive the set of buttons right away and a finished copy of the book right after the new year, when it's available. You must fill out the form to enter. A winner will be picked on November 1 when I turn on my computer in the morning. (Add data will be discarded after the winner is chosen.)

For more on the book, visit the A Discovery of Witches website (warning: music plays automatically). Harkness has a Facebook page as well. And don't forget to explore Good Wine Under $20.


Zee 10/23/10, 6:16 AM  

This sounds like a fun book! Also thank you for making the giveaway international!

Beth 10/23/10, 8:17 AM  

I enjoy the good wines under $20 blog, because I'm always looking for a new wine to try!

Jenn's Bookshelves 10/23/10, 8:43 AM  

This book sounds right up my alley! Thanks for the heads up about her wine blog, too. I'm always looking for a good (cheap!) wine!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 10/23/10, 9:05 AM  

Ha! You know that I'm a firm believer in the books-wine combo :)

Thanks for letting us know about this debut author AND her wine blog

Jen - Devourer of Books 10/23/10, 9:33 AM  

The sales rep at GLIBA compared this book to THE HISTORIAN, so you know I grabbed a copy then! I'll have to check out her wine blog too, though. Maybe I can grab a bottle she recommends to drink while reading her huge book.

bermudaonion 10/23/10, 9:42 AM  

I don't buy much wine, but when I do, it's because of the label, so I'll have to check her site out.

Eleanor Brown 10/23/10, 10:03 AM  

I'm not a wine drinker, but Deb is so funny and sweet.

I'm itching to read A Discovery of Witches!

JoAnn 10/23/10, 11:41 AM  

I'm always looking for good wines under $20! Have bookmarked the blog - thanks.

Molly 10/23/10, 11:47 AM  

I actually LOVE wine but am hesitant to experiment because I just can't afford it. This blog is GREAT - and I plan to be a regular follower. Thanks so much for the introduction.

Sandy Nawrot 10/23/10, 11:53 AM  

Oooh I have to go check that out. Of course I have my own personal wine consultant and store owner (but he would like me to spend a little more than $20). I can't get over the idea of this lady writing a book about witches and being a wine expert! I love it!

Trish 10/23/10, 11:58 AM  

Great wine under $20--who doesn't want that? Glad you shared the link with us and a little information on A Discovery of Witches. Sounds like a perfect read for this time of year!

This is my first Weekend Cooking--have always wanted to participate but can never seem to get my act together. Thanks for hosting!

Robin McCormack 10/23/10, 12:47 PM  

Love wine, so will have to check out her site. Discovery of Witches sounds great. Adding it to my wish list.

heidenkind 10/23/10, 3:25 PM  

My current favorite wine under twenty dollars (actually, $20 is a lot for me to spend on wine--I keep it closer to $10) is Red Bicyclette chardonnay. LOVE it! There's also this generic red French table wine that's like $4. It is amazingly good and such a freaking bargain!

Peaceful Reader 10/23/10, 3:45 PM  

Oh, some of my favorite things rolled into one great post! The book and the wine blog sound great.

Julie P. 10/23/10, 8:32 PM  

Just went to a party and saw Zombie Zin! No idea how it tastes, but it was a cute hostess gift for a Halloween party.

fiction-books 10/24/10, 8:28 AM  

Hi Beth,

Both of us are wine drinkers, rather than beer or spirits.

Personally though I only drink white wine, can't stand the red stuff.

I like a nice dry white, such as Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay, although it does not have to be an expensive label for me.

I know the brands I like and tend to stick to those, definitely can't see the point in paying a high price, when on the whole I can't tell the difference.

I either like it, or I don't, regardless of the price.

Great subject this week by the way

Gwen@ChewDigestBooks.com 10/24/10, 1:14 PM  

Now I want wine. I am laughing over the wine bought because of its name, just like some of us pick books by the cover!

Heather 10/24/10, 3:13 PM  

What a wonderful post. Loved the video, I was roaring with laughter.

softdrink 10/24/10, 3:50 PM  

Okay, you mentioned something that I've always wondered about. You said you bought the wine at the state store. What are these state stores? Liquor stores? Can you still buy wine at the grocery store?

Peppermint Ph.D. 10/24/10, 4:13 PM  

Oh my! I can't wait to get my hands on this book!! May just have to push it to the top of the TBR pile! :)

Leslie @ Under My Apple Tree 10/25/10, 1:24 AM  

I'll be checking out the wine. And the book sounds great too!

No cooking for me this weekend. With the weather so nice I was cleaning up the garden.

Jane of Australia 10/25/10, 6:19 AM  

some food magic happened this weekend.

Jane of Australia

gnoegnoe 10/30/10, 8:51 AM  

Pssssst Beth! *whispers*

I've received a 40 GBP discount coupon of Amazon.co.uk that is eligible when you order for double the prize (79,95 GBP) and I'm not going to use it. Are you interested? It's valid for only 30 days!

You know where to find me...

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