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How to Buy, Prep and Cook Artichokes

By Emily Hankey, March 31, 2018  |  More Posts by Emily Hankey

RecipePan-Seared Baby Artichokes

Emily Hankey is our produce butcher at the fruit and vegetable prep station in New York City’s Bryant Park store. Emily learned her cutting edge knife skills at the French Culinary Institute.
We are getting to the height of artichoke season. These thistles — yes, artichokes are thistles! — are in season from March until May/June, although they can go all summer under the right circumstances. I know a lot of people are intimidated by artichokes, either because they can’t see what’s inside, under the leaves or because they’re not sure how to cook them. But with this guide and a little patience, you’ll be on your way to enjoying this spring treat, whether you steam, pan-sear or bake it.


While grocery shopping, you encounter a huge pile of gorgeous, in-season artichokes. Now what? I tend to look for larger, round artichokes with thick bottom stems. Make sure all the leaves are packed together and intact, with light green or purple and green leaves.


You can leave whole artichokes in the fridge up to three days. Each day, prune any shriveled leaves and trim the stem. 
But I’m usually so excited about artichokes that I immediately begin prepping them when I get home. Doing the prep work in advance can save you a lot of time when you are ready to cook. Trim the artichokes according to your recipe, then store them in acidulated water (a fancy name for water with lemon juice!) for up to two days — this keeps them from turning brown. Make sure you pat them dry with paper towels before cooking, especially if you’re using a dry-heat cooking method such as searing.


I begin by peeling the stem with a vegetable peeler, starting from the base of the artichoke and going down the stem. You don’t have to peel too much off, but do remove the outer layer because it may have small thorns. If the stem breaks, it’s okay, no worries! Artichokes are delicious no matter their appearance.
I peel back the bottommost layer of leaves to help expose the shape of the choke. Next, I take a serrated knife and cut off the top third at the very peak of the artichoke, where all the leaves come together. Then I snip the tops off each leaf. If you’re roasting or steaming your artichokes, then the work is done!
Check out our “How To Prepare Artichokes” video to see these step-by-step preparations and get steaming instructions too. 

How to “Turn” an Artichoke

If you’re going to shave artichoke hearts, then it’s time to turn. (You'll need to pull the outer leaves off before you get to this step.) Turning refers to the process of removing everything but the edible center of the artichoke, called the "heart." Hold the artichoke in your non-dominant hand — if you’re right handed, hold it in your left. Start by turning the artichoke towards you, using a paring knife to remove the leaves from the base. It’s kind of like the motion of peeling an apple with a knife.
If I’m frying my chokes, I stop when I start to see the tiny, tender leaves at the very center of the choke. I cut it in half lengthwise, and use a paring knife to cut out the tiny hairs in the center. I then rinse it under running water to make sure I don’t leave any hairs. Cut the chokes lengthwise in half again, and they’re ready to fry.
If I’m shaving my artichokes into salad, I cut the tender leaves straight off like a buzz cut. You’ll then want to slide the tip of your paring knife just under the base of the hairs to remove them, then rinse fully in water before cooking or storing in lemon water.

And Remember

Go slow, so you don’t cut yourself. You’re in charge, so don’t think you’re in a race against time. If you prepare your dish with love, everyone will be able to taste it!

Recipes to Try

In addition to Pan-Seared Baby Artichokes, one of my go-to recipes, here are four more I highly recommend.  
Categories: Food & Recipes

Add Some Culture to Your Cold One – How to Pair Beer with Cheese

By Cathy Strange, March 31, 2018  |  More Posts by Cathy Strange


Cathy Strange’s role as global specialty foods and cheese buyer for Whole Foods Market® puts her in the unique position of traveling the world to not only discover and encourage the world’s great cheesemakers, but also to help advance the artisanal food movement and investigate new food trends from around the world, one bite at a time.
Beer and cheese. If you haven’t tried them together before, you’re about to uncover a next level of snacking.

4 Reasons Why Beer Pairs Best with Cheese

  1. Beer’s effervescence makes an excellent foil for the creamy richness of most cheeses. The bubbles actually lift the cream off the tongue and refresh the palate.
  2. Bright refreshing notes in beer (think the fruit of an IPA or bite of a pilsner) complement and balance the salt in cheese.
  3. Unique yeast notes and hop styles found in beer celebrate and bring out cheese’s subtle notes and nuances.
  4. The bitter hops in beer add to the overall mouthfeel and accent flavors in aged cheeses.  



Suds and Curds: What Beers Go Best with What Cheeses

Just like cheeses, beer styles run the gamut of flavor profiles, textures and aromas. Here are some general pairing guidelines to get you started.

  • Fuller, darker beers (porters and stouts) do best with bold, flavorful cheeses – think blue or even Parmigiano Reggiano.
  • Lighter beers like pilsners and wheat beers love young, fresh cheeses. Chèvre and other fresh goat cheeses are a good choice here.
  • Belgian-style beers with their floral notes shine with mild, buttery Trappist-style cheeses or washed rind cheeses like Taleggio.
  • Sip an IPA or other hop-forward beer and then have a nibble of an aged cheddar. You will not regret it. Ever.
  • Having fondue or making your famous grilled cheese sandwich? Give a bitter beer a try. This is a classic case of finding balance: if the cheese takes you in one direction, pair with a beer that takes you the other.
All our specialty cheeses are made from the milk of animals not given added growth hormones (rBST/rBGH) — come check out our incredible selection. And remember — our Certified Cheese Professionals love talking pairing!
Categories: beer, Cheese

Try the Trend: Rosé Sangria

By Lindsay Robison, March 31, 2018  |  More Posts by Lindsay Robison

We turned to some of our favorite bloggers to uncover party-perfect Rosé sangria recipes. Mixing up a batch is an easy way to entertain because you can make it just before your guests arrive (wait to add the sparkling water or sparkling wine until it’s time to serve). It’s as beautiful to look at as it is fun to drink. Most start with Rosé and flavorful spring or summer fruit (fresh, frozen or puréed) and then may also include a touch of the following: liqueur, brandy, sugar and sparkling water or club soda. Easy, right? 
Better yet, a number of superb Rosés handpicked by our Master Sommelier and team are on sale from 4/4 – 5/29/18* and just right for sangria — like El Terrano Rosado and Camino Calixo Cava Brut Rosé. 
Raspberry Rosé Sangria
This straightforward recipe highlights fresh raspberries and lemon, with the option to punch up the berry flavor with a homemade raspberry simple syrup (yes, please!). Leslie Haasch, the blogger behind Stress Baking, offers handy tips to achieve the perfect sweetness level in her recipe, and she recommends trying a few batches if you have time before a big party. 
Rosé Sangria with Peaches
Already dreaming about summer’s stone fruits? Then earmark this recipe for peach season so you can enjoy peach two ways — fresh peaches and peach liqueur — paired with fresh strawberries. This sangria boasts great body with the addition of a fresh fruit purée. Tip: Look online for DIY peach liqueur recipes that don't use artificial flavors or colors.
Strawberry Plum Rosé Sangria 
This may be the crowning cocktail of summertime starring tart plums, sweet strawberries and fresh cherries. A splash of Chambord liqueur adds additional color and sweetness. 
Frozen Watermelon Rosé Sangria Slushies 
Frozen watermelon and raspberries make this way more exciting than the convenience store slushies of your youth (and the splash of vodka or tequila doesn’t hurt either). Honey and fresh lime brighten up this frozen crowd pleaser with refreshing simplicity. 
Pineapple Rosé Sangria
This tangy take on sangria from Julia Muller, the blogger and recipe developer behind The Roasted Root, lets pineapple shine two ways — with fresh chopped pineapple and pineapple juice. Toss in fresh whole berries for a refreshing, sweet springtime addition. 
*Valid 4/4 – 5/29/18. While supplies last. Not valid at Whole Foods Market 365™ stores. U.S. only. Wine sale prices not legally available in all stores. No rain checks. Cannot be combined with a case discount where prohibited by law. Must be 21. Please drink responsibly.
Categories: Trends & New Stuff, Beer & Wine

Packable Dishes for Spring Picnics

By Paula Forbes, March 31, 2018  |  More Posts by Paula Forbes


Recipe: Spring Chicken Salad

The first burst of green grass in the spring just begs for a picnic blanket. And thankfully, the season also brings bright, fresh flavors that inspire all kinds of picnic-worthy recipes. Of course, picnic food requires a slightly different strategy than other types of cooking — portability is key! Here are a few of our favorite spring picnic dishes. 
Spring Chicken Salad
This fresh, bright chicken salad is great tucked in bread for a sandwich or rolled up in lettuce leaves for a gluten-free wrap. It lends itself to adding other vegetables, including spring favorites like shaved carrot, sliced radishes or chopped asparagus. Just make sure you transport it in a cooler with ice to keep the meat at a safe temperature. Bonus? Animal Welfare Rated air-chilled whole chicken is on sale for $1.79/lb from 4/4 – 4/10. *
Strawberry Salsa
Strawberries are just sweet enough to balance the spice of jalapenos in this refreshing twist on salsa. This can be made a few hours before your picnic and works great with chips as a side, or as a condiment for grilled chicken, fish, burgers, sausages — you name it! Plus, 1-lb pkg of organic strawberries is on sale — get 2 for $7 from 4/4 - 4/10/18*.
Gouda Cheese Plate
A great cheese for spring is Klare Melk Truffle Gouda from Dutch Cheese Makers  especially when you pair it with honey and crackers. You can save $1 on this raw milk Gouda generously laced with aromatic, earthy truffles from 4/4 - 4/10/18*. 
Radicchio, Fennel and Pear Salad
This is a great end-of-winter, early-spring treat. To make it portable, combine all of the ingredients — except for the spring greens. Transport those separately, and combine everything when you get to your picnicking spot. That way the greens won’t wilt in the dressing before you’re ready to eat them. Save on organic Abate Fetel Pears —  $1.79/lb from 4/4 - 4/10/18*. 
Mango Upside-Down Cake
Upside down cakes are a great option for picnics. They’re sturdy enough to travel, and they’ve got their own topping baked in! This upside-down cake uses in-season mangoes and pairs them with coconut oil and milk for a slightly tropical flavor. Get Champagne Mangoes 5 for $5 from 4/4 - 4/10/18*.
Springtime Rosés
After all, you’re going to need to drink something, and what goes better with spring sunshine than a fun, fruity Rosé? Summer Water Rosé goes down just as easy in spring, and it has a screw top so there’s no need to bring a corkscrew. Or, if you’re in the mood for bubbles, try Camino Calixo Cava Brut Rosé. Find both of these and more rosé wines handpicked by our very own Master Sommelier on sale from 4/4 - 5/29/18**. Cheers!
*Valid 4/4 - 4/10/18. While supplies last. Not valid at Whole Foods Market 365™ stores. U.S. only. No rain checks. Excludes organic and cooked chicken and organic mangoes.
**Valid 4/4 - 5/29/18. While supplies last. U.S. only. No rain checks. Sale prices not legally available in all stores. Cannot be combined with a case discount where prohibited by law. Must be 21. Please drink responsibly.
Categories: Food & Recipes

Recommendations from a Rosé Nerd—Our Master Sommelier Picks 12 for Spring

By Devon Broglie, March 31, 2018  |  More Posts by Devon Broglie


Devon Broglie is a Master Sommelier (he knows a thing or two about wine), and a global beverage buyer at Whole Foods Market. Along with co-conspirator Doug Bell, he heads up the team that discovers and buys all the delicious wines you’ll find in Whole Foods Market wine departments across the country. His passion for wine is as infectious as his love for barbecue in his hometown of Austin, Texas.
A good Rosé is a beautiful thing. Especially in a chilled glass. You could focus on their fruity complexity, or you could get a head start on chilling your glass and discover how well Rosé pairs with anything and everything. Think last-minute picnics, golden-hour porch hangs or popping open a chilled can at an outdoor concert. If you're ready to start exploring the world of Rosé, it’s good to keep in mind that lighter colored Rosé often indicates a more delicate and silky texture with floral, dried fruit notes; hot pink means deeper, dense flavors, often with bright tart cherry notes.


All Rosé 20% Off, One Day Only*!

That’s right, all of them. May 25 is National Wine Day and our Master Sommelier couldn’t be more tickled pink.

The Sale and the Seal

When our team and I really love a wine, it gets the Sommelier Best in Class seal. All these Rosés on sale have the seal — it’s an amazing style of wine and I personally feel these selections represent some really great Rosés being produced around the world right now. Cheers!


Cava Brut Rosé
Penedés, Spain
A celebration in a glass! Zesty, citrusy, with strawberry and even some brioche flavors. Balanced with very fine bubbles. Loves food — perfect when you’re serving a little bit of everything from salads to meats.
Vinho Verde Rosé
Refreshing youthfulness from Portugal. Crisp raspberry and strawberry notes with the classic vinho verde spritz to tickle the senses.
Longares, Spain
Sipping this is like diving into a fresh bowl of red raspberries, strawberries and cherries. Super refreshing. Perfect accompaniment to back porches and summer picnics.
ZOE Rosé
Peleponnese, Greece
Vibrant with ripe cherry and rose petal aromas. The nice long finish leads to some attractive complexity. Think warm weather lounging, pasta with spicy red sauce or a delicate seafood dish.
Malbec-Syrah Rosé
Mendoza, Argentina
Intensely pink. Aromatics of forest strawberries and blackberries. Fresh, fruity flavors linger on the finish. Delicate and expressive. Perfect with spring or summer salads, cheese plates, tapenades and grilled fish.
Central Coast, California
More than a warm-weather Rosé, it’s a state of mind — every drop full of pink-tinted possibility. Perfectly crisp, lighthearted and destined for a good time. Lean and refreshing with strawberry, pink grapefruit and white peach notes. Yes to shellfish and sushi. (Two sizes. 750ml and 1.5L)
Loire Valley, France
Don’t be fooled by the clever packaging, this wine is well made and legitimately delicious. Fresh tart cherry and citrus aromas, juicy, spicy, herbal flavors and a dollop of whimsical irreverence make this wine as fun to drink as it is to talk about. (More to go around in this 1L bottle!)
IGP Île de Beauté
Corsica, France
Mango and minerality meet in this silky Rosé. Beautifully long finish punctuated by aromatic notes of passion fruit. Delicious with grilled fish, stuffed veggies or vegetable terrines with goat cheese.
Bordeaux Rosé
Bordeaux, France
Incredibly refreshing. A voluptuous fruit basket of aromas — strawberries, pears, nectarines and light tropical fruits. Light and crisp on the palate with notes of juicy cantaloupe and kiwi. So good on its own or with poultry and seafood.
Côtes de Provence
Côtes de Provence, France
Enticing aromas of fresh fruit and roses. Full and fresh mouthfeel. Lovely as an aperitif. Yes to any kind of salad and all spring finger foods. (Try either the 750ml or 1.5L size.)
Coteaux d’Aix en Provence
Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, France
Pale pink, fragrant, delicate. Abundant youthful fresh fruit notes — watermelon, strawberries, cherry blossom. Beautiful complexity supported by a mouthwatering acidity that bumps up the intensity. Awesome on its own or with scallops, sushi or gazpacho. (Two sizes here too. 750ml or 1.5L)
Provence, France
Excellent Rosé in a can! Abundant red fruit — strawberries and raspberries — with a great zingy mouthfeel. Vibrant, generous and nicely dry, it ends with a lovely full mineral-tinged finish. Enjoy it straight from the can — poolside afternoons and picnics will never be the same.

*Valid 5/25/18. While supplies last. No rain checks. Valid in US stores only. Not valid on wines by the glass. Sale prices not legally available in all stores.


Categories: Beer & Wine