Nutella to go
Nutella, the European hazelnut and cocoa spread, had gone forever without launching spinoffs. Now comes Nutella & Go!, a small two-compartment 1.8-ounce plastic tub. On one side are a dozen or so little (3-inch) breadstick dippers, weighing about half an ounce total; the other compartment contains the Nutella, presumably for dipping when you're on the run and can't stop to spread it on bread or crackers.
On the plus side, fresh goat cheese is easy to produce on small farms, making it a darling of the local-food movement. On the minus side, some people don't like the slightly chalky texture and astringent flavor.
The trick to substituting any ingredient is to aim for a similar texture. Obvious-ly, the flavor will be different, but you want something that has a similar feel in a recipe. So cream cheese is a little too dense to be a good stand-in for fresh goat cheese.
A better substitute is boursin, available in tubs in the cheese section of most supermarket delis. It's a mixture of cream cheese and butter, so it has a lighter, fluffier texture.
Wine of the Week
2010 Fattoria Selvapiana Chianti Rufina
Region: Chianti Rufina
Price: $15 to $20
Style: Easy drinking and earthy
What it goes with: Pasta dishes, grilled meats, roast chicken
The Chianti region is large, and while the wines from the central Classico part of it are the best known, for price and quality look to the lesser-known Chianti Rufina, a small area in the northeastern corner of Chianti proper. Selvapiana is one of the best estates in Rufina, turning out first-rate Sangiovese-based reds.
A deep ruby in color, the 2010 Selvapiana tastes of bright cherries and plums, but a touch of earth gives it some weight. A great everyday Chianti.