Sue Z.'s Finds: Brown Jug Spirits, 'Astonishing Apples', and More

Sue ZelicksonFall has hit full-force, and it’s time to appreciate all that Minnesota has to offer this season. The apple crop is fabulous this year, and local foodie Joan Donatelle’s new cookbook Astonishing Apples ( puts the fruit to perfect use. Try the Apple Almond Biscotti for a breakfast treat to dunk in your coffee, or the Apple Panna Cotta for an impressive dinner-party dessert. I plan to try the Ginger Curry Apple Turkey Bake even before Thanksgiving.

If you like Baileys Irish Cream, you’ll love the Brown Jug Spirits Bourbon Cream Liqueur ( that I tasted at Minnesota Monthly’s Fine Spirits Classic. It’s got a hint of maple that evokes autumn, and it’s perfect served on the rocks, in your coffee, or poured over ice cream. 

If you’re looking to take advantage of the gorgeous leaves by packing up a fall picnic, Kowalski’s ( just opened an amazing supermarket in Excelsior and it has all you need for a prepared gourmet feast. The meat and fish cases are a sight to behold, and the produce, bread, and cheese displays are as inviting as the irresistible pastry case. Don’t miss the Bel Gioioso burrata cheese with black truffles and the balsamic vinegar jelly—both divine in a salad with sliced tomatoes and fresh basil. Remember that most local farmers’ markets are open through October, so visit a new one to pick up the rest of your picnic staples before the season ends.

Illustration by James Kloiber

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Sue Zelickson (Sue Z.) is a James Beard Award-winning food media personality, philanthropist, and longtime contributor to Minnesota Monthly and WCCO radio. She has founded the Charlie Awards, the Women Who Really Cook networking organization for women in the local food industry, and the Kids Cafe at Perspectives, Inc., which improves access to nutritious meals for families in need. You can find her buzzing around from event to event throughout the Twin Cities, helping to raise funds for charitable organizations, including some she has had a hand in building.