This IS Gramma’s jelly but with a twist!
Every Christmas my family looks forward to the homemade edible gifts from my mother-in-law, aka “Gramma” as my daughters refer to her. Gramma makes some of the best candies and pastries in Florida. Our box of delectable edibles was extra special for me in 2006…. inside was a jar of Spicy Red Wine Jelly. Curious and intrigued, I opened it immediately, spread some cream cheese on a cracker, dropped a dollop of jelly on top and…..the jar of was empty within a couple of hours. A few weeks later gramma gave us the recipe, hand-written on scratch paper and she casually mentioned that the recipe was from the 1960s. Say what? It was then that I knew I had to try my hand at making wine jelly.
In my twenties I was a bartender at some of the swankiest restaurants in Fort Lauderdale so I will not bat an eye at a cocktail challenge, including free pouring to the exact ounce, but the kitchen was a different story. Back then the best I could do in the kitchen was follow a recipe step by step and hope for the best. With that said, try to imagine my horror when I saw the tools needed to make jelly! They looked like surgical tools to me! With the help of my superhero husband, Tommy, who is a great cook, we made our first batch of homemade jelly from wine. Several batches later I started to experiment with various fruit, spice, wine combinations and the results were amazing. Why stop there? I then put my bar tending skills to use and started turning cocktails into jams and jelly to add to my collection. I spent the next few years researching jelly-making techniques and making my own recipes to give as gifts.
As my recipes became more complex and friends and family were requesting jar after jar I realized it was time to take wine jelly to the public. That meant I had to take that 1960-something recipe and make it new in order to comply with today’s safe commercial canning. Well, much to my surprise that meant a whole new world of tools like PH tester and refractometer but I won’t bore you with those details. The first jar of Soirée Wine Jelly was sold in 2011, in Tarpon Springs, Florida.
To this day I love to experiment with new flavor combinations. As I continue crafting new flavors of jelly I am fully committed to bringing you the latest trends in the industry.