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choco pannini appetizers


Giada's Chocolate Brie & Basil Panini Appetizers

Adapted to appetizer size from original recipe by Giada De Laurentiis.

For original Panini recipe click here.


1 Chuao Chinita Nibs Chocolate Bar (click here) or other quality dark chocolate

1 Sourdough baguette

Brie cheese

Fresh basil leaves

High quality olive oil

Makes around 12 to 16 appetizers


Looking for something delicious and unusual to surprise your party guests?  Try these bite size paninis that are full of flavor.

Grate the chocolate into large pieces (fine pieces will melt too quickly and be too messy), set aside.  Cut a large handful of basil into ribbons and set aside.  Slice the baguette on the diagonal to get longer pieces. Remove rind from Brie and slice to a generous thickness.

Assemble sandwich with brie, basil and chocolate shavings.  Brush each side with olive oil.  Grill on each side 1 to 2 minutes until contents are gooey in the middle and bread is golden on each side. It is OK if chocolate is still a bit crunchy.  Serve immediately.

This also works as an open face appetizer with one change.  Grill the bread then finish in the microwave for a few seconds if the contents have not completely melted.

salmon recipewc

Whisky Pairing


10 Year Old

or 12 Year Old

Our choice companion for this recipe is a single malt from the lowlands that has a fresh and citrusy palate.

This recipe pairs well with any whiskies having a lemony undercurrent.

It also works well with those malts exhibiting that seaside freshness. Look for our flavor bars of Fruit and Medicinal as a guide for other possible pairings.


Salmon Finger Sandwich Appetizers

Adapted from recipe at 

Use the best salmon or other smoked fish for this wonderfully simple appetizer.


10 oz whipped cream cheese (1 tub)

1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 package dark firm pumpernickel bread - try to find the large square versus appetizer size as it will be easier to spread. (usually found in deli section)

1/2 lb thinly sliced Scottish smoked salmon

1/2 cup salmon roe (2 oz)



Stir together cream cheese, zest, lemon juice, chives, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Let the flavors of the cheese blend for an hour or overnight.  Spread each slice of bread with cream cheese mixture and smooth out to the most level surface.  Top with a layer of smoked salmon and cut to fit the bread.  Repeat cream cheese layer.  At this point the open face sandwich can be stacked with plastic wrap between layers to chill until firm for about 1 hour or overnight.  Before serving, cut to desired size and top each piece the salmon roe.

Variations:  Try with other smoked fish, substitute appetizer rye bread or try dill in place of the chives.



Whisky Pairing

Auchentoshan 21 Year Old 

Hidden sweetness in  this wonderfully complex  "Lowlander" is brought out by the date flavor.  While the slight smokiness of the ham makes a great complement to this scotch. 

This appetizer might also be paired with other scotches that have the keywords "dried fruit" listed in their tasting notes.


Prosciutto Wrapped Dates

Adapted from recipe and reviews at


16 Large Medjool Dates

1/3 cup softened Cherve cheese

16 large basil leaves

Package of prosciutto


Remove pits from large Medjool dates.  Soften cream cheese slightly and pipe into dates.  Can be made up to this point and stored overnight.

Just before broiling, wrap each date with a large basil leaf held by wrapping a piece of prosciutto around the date with a slight overlap at the end.  Broil until cheese is bubbly for about 3 to 4 minutes.  Serve warm.

This recipe is also good when a sliver of toasted almond or a smoked almond is tucked inside the date.  You may also substitute herbed cheese for the Cherve, and parma ham for the prosciutto. These dates are best served warm but are also tasty at room temperature for more care free party preparation.




curry chicken wings2


Whisky Pairing

Glenfarclas 17 Year Old 

Peaches and apricots in a glass, this fruity yet full bodied and sophisticated Glenfarclas makes wonderful pairing with this easy to make appetizer. 





Apricot Chicken Drumettes

Makes 12 - 16 hors d'oeuvres.

4 lbs chicken drumettes

Peanut oil for browning 

2/3 cup apricot preserves

1 to 2 tbl of scotch you are pairing with

1 tsp curry

1/2 cup apricot preserves 



This recipe was designed so that most of the work can be done the day before serving.  Thaw and clean the frozen drumettes.  Brown them in peanut oil and place in oven proof dish. 

On the stove under low heat, mix together the preserves, curry and just enought scotch to slightly thin the mixure.  Pour sauce over the chicken drumettes and bake in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes turn over once at 10 minutes.  Cool and store in liquid overnight.  Don't be concerned about the unappetizing color at this point as you will fix that before serving.  This step helps the flavor develop overnight and makes party day preparation minimal.

Before you are ready to serve, pour off the exiting fatty liquid and heat additional apricot preserves only this time without any curry and adding less scotch to thin slightly but stay syrupy enough to act as a glaze.  Pour over chicken and broil until bubbly, heated through and beautifully browned in spots about 5 to 6 minutes per side.  Serve immediately.  Appetizers are shown here with a store bought quinoa salad to which I added bits of fresh apricots, green onions and toasted almonds slivers.