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Sweet Ideas for Al Fresco Entertaining

MISSION, KS -- (Marketwired) -- 07/14/14 -- (Family Features) You can heighten the fun of every outdoor gathering with the right nibbles, noshes and refreshments. A fruitful al fresco experience involves lively conversation with good friends, easy finger foods and tasty, versatile drinks that fit the laid-back atmosphere. For the hosts who long for a successful backyard bash, consider serving palate-pleasing Moscato. This deliciously sweet wine varietal has become very popular as its approachable flavor profile is a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

Mix it up with fun flavors
In addition to the classic peach taste of the Gallo Family Vineyards Original White Moscato, try the aromatic orange blossom notes of their Pink Moscato or the yummy red berry finish of their Red Moscato. Or, dust off your finest barware and make a splash by serving simple wine cocktails. Whether it's a refreshing spin on a classic, like the Moscato-lini below, or your own recipe, Moscato's fruit-forward flavors make it a great and unexpected base for cocktails.

Add a bit of flare
To keep outdoor gatherings exciting, Gallo Family Vineyards offers these refreshing tips:

  • Label your food offerings for guests in a fun way by cutting a slit in wine corks and inserting a small card.
  • Help guests cool down by serving sweet wine cocktails on ice.
  • Give your guests a fun way to keep track of their drinks by painting the bottom of wine glasses with chalkboard paint. Guests can use chalk to write their names and draw pictures.

For other ideas to make outdoor entertaining a hit, visit www.GalloFamily.com.

Moscato Meatball Skewers
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 32 meatballs
2         pounds bulk spicy Italian sausage
1/2       cup Gallo Family Vineyards Red Moscato
1         cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4       cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2       cup diced cucumber
1         lemon
1/4       cup cilantro, chopped
          Parmesan cheese, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In large bowl, stir together sausage and Moscato until combined. Using medium cookie scoop, form meatballs and place on baking sheet, evenly spaced. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until no longer pink.

Meanwhile, in small bowl stir together all other ingredients to create yogurt sauce.

Thread meatballs onto skewers and serve alongside yogurt sauce. Garnish with additional cilantro and grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Strawberry Pink Moscato Ice Pops
Prep time: 15 minutes (plus at least 10 hours to freeze)
Cook time: 1 minute
Servings: 16
Fruity layer:
1/2       cup sugar
1/2       cup water
1         pound ripe strawberries, hulled
1         pinch of fine sea salt
8         fluid ounces Gallo Family Pink Moscato
Creamy layer:
1         can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2     cups half and half
1         cup heavy cream
1         tablespoon orange blossom water
1         pinch of fine sea salt

To make fruity layer, combine sugar and water in small saucepan. Heat over low, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

Add cooled syrup, strawberries and salt to jar of blender and puree until almost smooth, leaving bit of texture. Stir in pink moscato.

To make creamy layer, place everything into a 4-cup capacity measuring cup with a spout and whisk together until well combined.

To freeze, fill ice pop molds about one-fifth of way with either mixture (layers can be any size or amount you choose). Put in freezer until first layer is set enough to hold another layer, 60-90 minutes. Store mixtures in fridge between layers.

Remove and fill another one-fifth with opposite mixture. Return to freezer until layer is set. Repeat until molds are filled to top, adding ice pop sticks in once third layer is added (adjust to type of ice pop mold).

After final layer is added, freeze at least another 6-8 hours before serving. To serve, run bottom of molds under hot water for few seconds, or until able to pull ice pop free from mold. (If using paper cup, just peel cup away.)

Note: If you don't want layers, whisk mixtures together. You can also make each layer into its own ice pop, if you choose.

Blackberry Moscato Bellini
Servings: 1
1/4       cup blackberries
1         tablespoon water
5         ounces chilled Gallo Family Vineyards Moscato
1         whole blackberry for garnish

Combine blackberries and water in blender and puree until smooth. Strain through fine-mesh strainer, discarding seeds and solids. Fill bottom of chilled Champagne coupe with blackberry puree. Top with Moscato and garnish with fresh blackberry.

Moscato Moscow Mule
Servings: 1
4         ounces ginger beer
3         ounces Gallo Family Vineyards Moscato
1         ounce lime juice
1         lime wheel
1         mint sprig for garnish

Pour ginger beer, Moscato and lime juice into ice-filled copper mug. Garnish with lime wheel and mint sprig.

Moscato Mango Mojito
Servings: 1
1         lime, cut into eighths
5         leaves basil, plus more for garnish
1/2       teaspoon demerara sugar
1 1/4     ounces Gallo Family Vineyards Moscato
1         ounce white rum
1 1/4     ounces mango puree or mango nectar

Muddle lime, basil leaves, and sugar in bottom of cocktail shaker. Fill with ice; add Moscato, white rum and mango nectar. Shake and strain into ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with basil sprig.

Food Pairing Notes
Moscato is more than just a dessert wine. It tastes great with a variety of food and particularly helps balance out spicy dishes that heat up the night. No matter what cuisine you're cooking up, a chilled glass of Gallo Family Vineyards Moscato and the pairing guide below are the perfect combination to elevate your outdoor engagements.

  • White Moscato: The honey notes are a perfect match for grilled seafood, such as shrimp or trout.
  • Pink Moscato: Great paired with spicy Asian or Mexican dishes, and complements everyday desserts.
  • Red Moscato: This refreshing red is served cold. Try it with light cheeses and juicy burgers.

About Family Features Editorial Syndicate
This and other food and lifestyle content can be found at www.editors.familyfeatures.com. Family Features is a leading provider of free food and lifestyle content for use in print and online publications. Register with no obligation to access a variety of formatted and unformatted features, accompanying photos, and automatically updating Web content solutions.

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