Rihanna is back in her home country of Barbados for one of her favorite events of the year: Crop Over Festival. After showing off her new turquoise hair over the weekend, the 29-year-old singer touched down on the Caribbean island to participate in the annual Kadooment parade, and we have a feeling all eyes were on her. Prior to hitting the streets, Rihanna left very little to the imagination when she modeled her sexy festival outfit, which consisted of a jewel-encrusted bikini and a colorful set of feathered wings, on Instagram. The Crop Over Festival is one of the biggest events in Barbados and marks the end of a successful sugar cane harvest. It’s also a well-deserved break for Rihanna, who recently wrapped up the press tour for her new film, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
Typically this column is one and done when it comes to reviews. Even when I keep subscribing to a service, a single review tends to be sufficient. But Bright Cellars has given me a reason to revisit, offering review boxes along with fresh discounts for Pajiba readers. So, I threw a wine and cheese reception for friends to see how the delectable deliveries fared in a group setting.
Last fall, I taste tested the wine subscription service Bright Cellars. Then a few months later, their cheese-centered sister service. Both times, I’d had high hopes of running a group taste test, inviting friends over to share in the goodies. But yeah. Instead, I ended up kicking into the wines and cheeses on my own over late night wind-downs, and fancy self-made treats.
To be honest, I regret nothing. Still, THIS time, my friends and I would eat, drink, and be merry on wines and cheeses specifically picked for this purpose.
How It Works
You can get a full rundown of how each works on the links above to past reviews. Succinctly, both Bright Cellars and Tasting Board have palate quizzes that get a sense for what your tastes are, and what kind of experience you want from this box. They’re fun to take, and take just a few minutes.
It’s two separate quizzes. I took both, and got results of wines and cheeses that were meant to be just for my preferences. Note: there was no apparent option to connect results so that cheeses would pair with wines, specifically.
How It’s Changed
Their cheese subscription service has been revamped, offering a larger selection of cheeses, and boasting the new name: Tasting Board. Meanwhile Bright Cellars has expanded its shipping access, so now to 46 states across the country—including New York and Massachusetts—can get in on the wine and fun.
How It Went
The boxes arrived in two separate shipments. The wines were carefully insulated to prevent any damage to the glass bottles. The cheese came in a refrigerated box with a still cold ice pack that kept them fresh.
I planned a party for a sunny Sunday afternoon, and invited nine people over. Now, no. I did not expect four bottles of wine and four blocks of cheese to satisfy all these people, but they were a key part of our summer spread, which also boasted the cookies I made from the Box2Bake delivery.
I used the descriptor cards that came with the cheeses as guide posts for my friends. And everyone was mightily impressed with my hostess flourishes. The wine had no such cards, so the whites were chilled in a cooler, and the red rested on the table, awaiting guests.
Mojave Rain: Red Blend 2015
My Take: I have a preference for whites, but once more said I’d be open to try a red. The lone red I received is a blend and beaut! It’s got a bold smell that made my taste buds water before it hit my lips. You taste the warm fruitiness of the berries, and then it finishes dry and sophisticated. Ahead of the party, I paired it with Havarti. They played delightfully together.
Party Take: The red was gone so fast I lost track of it! A friend who prefers her wines drier marveled that I’d found a red both she and I could enjoy.
Emmi Roth: Havarti
My Take: Creamy and a bit sour, this is a cheese to savor. I took a bite and like a fancy chocolate, I let it melt slowly, softly in my mouth. It’s got a bite of earthiness that paired really beautifully with a glass of the Red Blend.
Party Take: I served it with rosemary crackers, which was a big hit. We ripped through this cheese so fast there were no leftovers to try out its other serving suggestions. C’est la vie!
White Willow: Chardonnay 2016
My Take: This is light, bright white! Semi-sweet and grassy, I can see it paired with a rich cheese sauce. It’s also pretty stellar paired with a sunny day and a cheese plate. But this here is why I always like to read about the wine. On my own, I wouldn’t have picked out the fruits mentioned above. I’d be like, «Yeah. It tastes like fruit!» With the help of expectations, I can absolutely make out the pineapple and mango scents. And then the sip is a dance with the peach, lemon, and a splash of coconut on the finish.
Party Take: This was a big hit, and the first white to run out. Because it wasn’t super sweet, it was very refreshing on what turned out to be a HOT day.
LaClare Farms: Goat’s Milk Cheddar
My Take: It’s tasty, but really not that distinctive from the white cheddar I can buy for $ 3 a block at the grocery store. It may very well be that I don’t have a developed enough palate to distinguishe the delicate differences between the two. For me, this one was underwhelming.
Party Take: I wasn’t alone. This cheese went largely untouched. At the end of the party, I had a pile of it that had sweated and grown a bit stale. It got pitched.
Forty Winks: Sauvignon Blanc 2015
My Take: This was my personal favorite. Bright and sweet, I poured myself several glasses over the course of the party, and paired it with every cheese on the board as well as a charcuterie tray I’d made up, and some scallion pancakes. I’m sure a purist would sniff at my brazen clashes here. But Forty Winks with its bite of green apple and chipper sweetness was a delight with every sip, and every collision of flavors.
Party Take: Those who could get it out of my hands to pour a glass for themselves echoed my praise, if not my greedy enthusiasm.
Sartori Reserve: Citrus Ginger Bellavitano
My Take: Asian influences in a cheese? You know I’m game! I know this combination may be a bit eyebrow raising, but it’s downright delicious, exploding with flavor.
Party Take: This was the favorite of the cheese board by far, as I had to most often refresh it. My friends read the card, marveled at the description, and then couldn’t get enough. This paired especially well with the sesame pancakes I’d made (hot off the skillet) for the occasion.
Porta D’Oro: Sauvignon Blanc 2015
My Take: Frankly, I was a bit disappointed I got two of the same kind of wine in one box. There’s a world of whites out there! And with Sauvignon Blancs in the mix, one was going to be the lesser. This was fine, but not as fun or flavorful as the Forty Winks. I wish I’d gotten something more adventurous instead.
Party Take: It was popular enough to be guzzled down by the end of the day!
Marieke: Honey Clover Gouda
My Take: It also pairs great with a garbage day, or any day. Curious about what a honey clover gouda would taste like, I sliced of a small sliver before the party. Like days before. And I can’t speak to how well this one might melt, but it melted my resolve. At the end of each day, I’d wind down by slicing myself off a more and more generous sliver. It’s pungent, earthy, herbacious, and a bit sweet. The flavor fills your mouth and lingers on your fingers, which I couldn’t help but sniff and savor. I love a smoky gouda, but this raw and bold cheese is even better. This was my absolute favorite, and that my friends got to try any of it at all means I deserve a damn medal for loyalty.
Party Take: A lot of «ooos» and «ahhs» burst forth as people tried this unique cheese. Still, I feel like I’m the only one who truly appreciated it.
Conclusion: Bright Cellars and Tasting Board are terrific services. If you don’t think the monthly subscription suits your needs (it’s a lot of wine and cheese to get that frequently), you can email the concierge team to arrange delivery for every two or three months. Or you can do what I do, and place an order whenever a party season is coming on, like summer for picnics, or the holidays for elegant nights in with friends.
Of all the subscription services I’ve tried, Bright Cellars and Tasting Board remain among my favorites. It makes trying new flavors easy and accessing affordable wine you’ll actually like way less intimidating. Plus, once you’re on the mailing list you’ll get frequent offers for discounted bottles.
Do both. You deserve it.
Check out Subscription Addiction reviews for Level Up, Stitch Fix, Try The World, Darby Smart, Treatsie, Chococurb, Loot Crate, Candy Club, Blue Apron, Bright Cellars, Julep, Bright Cellars Cheese, CauseBox, and Box2Bake. In the comments, tell us which subscription service you’d like to see reviewed next.
Here’s the trailer for Bright, Netflix’s attempt to corner the blockbuster market in your living room. The film stars Will Smith, Joel Edgerton (he’s the Orc), Noomi Rapace, Ike Barinholtz, and Margaret Cho, among others. It comes from David Ayer, who has made some really good movies (End of Watch) and some not so good movie, like Suicide Squad. And oh yeah: Max Landis got paid $ 3 million to write it. Based on the the trailer? The writing is not so good.
But, you can watch it on your phone on opening day! That’s December 22nd, by the way. And chances are, you will, whether it’s good or not, because Netflix has got us by our respective genitalia. Plus, it might be good. Or it might be bad in a way that we can all make fun of on Twitter while we’re watching it!
Anyway, here’s the trailer. As you can see, a lot of the $ 90 million budget clearly went to craft services.
I repeat: "THIS IS LIKE A NUKE-U-LAR BOMB THAT GRANTS WISHES" is an actual line of dialogue in Bright's trailer, oh God oh God oh God.
— Rebecca Pahle (@RebeccaPahle) July 20, 2017
If you love wine, but don’t know much about it, Bright Cellars is an ideal subscription service. They offer a sweet and simple quiz, then send you four bottles picked precisely for your tastes. And now, they’ve applied this same concept and Bright Points algorithm to the cheeses you could pair with your picks. Selecting from over 900 different cheeses, Bright Cellars promises you something special for your cheese board.
Now, I’m the kind of girl who can sit down with a block of cheddar, perfectly content. But I’m also the girl that will knock people down in her haste to get to the fancy cheese board at any given posh event. (I’m also known to put together a mean platter of my own.) So, I was absolutely giddy over this offer.
How It Works
As illustrated by this screengrab of Bright Cellar’s website, all you need to do is fill out a brief survey that maps your flavor profile, approve the four cheeses selected especially for you, and pony up $ 55. The questions on the survey include «How do you like your coffee?» and how you prefer to eat cheese (at a wine tasting? with friends? with a book?), and how adventurous you’re willing to be with your options.
I chose the «surprise me» option. From there, I was promised four cheeses that boasted Bright Points scores of 91 to 97, the higher the number the more confident Bright Cellars is that I’ll go gaga for that cheese.
How It Went
Clock Shadow Creamery: Quark
The highest point value went to the quark, which is a fluffy cheese that’s mild and slightly sweet. I followed the first serving suggestion, and paired it with some fresh berries and a drizzle of honey.
It was delightful, and allowed me to feel quite fancy. It’s also good with crackers, and easy to eat with a spoon straight out of its resealable bowl.
Armada: Sublime Lime Cheddar
Look. I love me some cheddar, but I raised an eyebrow over throwing citrus in the mix. Yet this cheese—with the lowest compatibility score—was the first one I cut through. It’s got a nice bite, and the lime twist made it a zesty ingredient for a wide array of recipes. I did eat some slivers night cheese style. But others I added to Western Omelettes, tacos, and sandwiches. It gave each one a little bit of zing. This is the most versatile of the bunch.
Caerphilly: Misty Isles
A bit creamy and a bit crumbly, a bit savory and a bit sweet, this Welsh cheese has found its way into my soups, pastas, scrambled eggs, and salads. I’m not fancy enough to attempt a souffle. But its texture allows it to mellow nicely into just about any hot dish. It gives food a bit of body, and a soft savoriness. Surprisingly versatile, it also pairs lovely with crackers and a white wine. (Admittedly, I generally prefer a white wine with all things.)
Marieke Gouda: Truffle
Brick Original: Bon Bree
For reasons unknown, the promised truffle-flavored gouda was not in my Bright Cellars box. Which I was admittedly relieved over, because I’m of the opinion «truffle» is overrated and needs to stop being on every french fry and kernel of popcorn in NYC. Anyhow, in this gouda’s place was a curious bree. Per the card that accompanied it:
This cheese has been a long time coming: resurfacing after almost 30 years, this cheese has made a comeback and is known for its firm texture, creamy taste, and quality production. A pure natural cheese with no preservatives or food coloring, no artificial flavoring and a simple, flavorful dashing of salt, this cheese with quickly become a staple of your cheese board. This cheese is perfect melted over corned beef and with a glass of pinot noir.
That’s actually a solid description of this delightful and bold bree. Instead of the suggested corned beef pairing, I’ve been pairing it with salami on sandwiches, and letting slices melt into sauces. It’s a bit salty and a sliver of sour, bringing a sophisticated flavor across the (cheese) board.
This is a must for any cheese-lover. While the price is high, the cheese you get isn’t the kind you’re likely to find outside of a specialty shop, so it’s worth the splurge. Plus, Bright Cellars’ Bright Points system promises you’ll be pleased with their personalized picks. I was positively delighted with mine. And if you’re not, contact customer service for a free substitute!
Sending four cheeses each month, Bright Cellars delivers a lavish amount. So it’s not something I’d recommend on the regular. But for «treat yourself» moments and holiday gatherings, this is an ideal subscription service that’ll add some panache to your snacking and poshness to your platters. It’d also make a unique and appreciated gift for the cheese lover in your life.
Check out Subscription Addiction reviews for Level Up, Stitch Fix, Try The World, Darby Smart, Treatsie, Chococurb, Loot Crate, Candy Club, Blue Apron, Bright Cellars, and Julep. In the comments, tell us which subscription service you’d like to see reviewed next.
Katy Perry shone bright at the iHeartRadio Music Awards in LA on Sunday. The «Chained to the Rhythm» singer stunned in a white and gold strapless jumpsuit, which paired perfectly with her new blonde pixie cut. Katy’s fun outing marks her first appearance since her split from Orlando Bloom. After a little over a year of dating, the two called it quits in late February, and the duo’s reps released a joint statement that said they would be «taking respectful, loving space at this time.» A couple days later, Katy addressed the split via Twitter, urging «a new way of thinking» and insisting that «no one’s a victim or a villain.» Orlando has yet to comment on the matter, but he was spotted chatting up women on the beach over the weekend.
If, like me, you skipped the Academy Awards to play Batman: Arkham Asylum again, you probably missed the trailer for Netflix’s newest movie. It is called Bright and it reunites David Ayer and Will Smith (from the now Oscar-winning Suicide Squad) in a movie written by Max Landis.
So what is this movie about? Well, you can’t tell from the trailer but…
Set in an alternate present-day where humans, orcs, elves, and fairies have been co-existing since the beginning of time. Bright is genre-bending action movie that follows two cops from very different backgrounds. Ward (Will Smith) and Jakoby (Joel Edgerton), embark on a routine patrol night and encounter a darkness that will ultimately alter the future and their world as they know it. Bright is available only on Netflix this December. Bright is directed by David Ayer (Training Day, End of Watch, Suicide Squad) stars Will Smith (Men in Black), Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby), Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Lucy Fry (11.22.63), Edgar Ramirez (Hands of Stone, Zero Dark Thirty), Margaret Cho (Drop Dead Diva), and Ike Barinholtz (Suicide Squad). The movie is written by Max Landis (Chronicle) and produced by Ayer, Eric Newman (Narcos) and Bryan Unkeless (The Hunger Games). The Netflix Original Film will launch globally this December.
Donald Trump is not a very bright man. He doesn’t read. He has very little understanding the Constitution, and though he is President of the United States, he doesn’t have a firm grasp — or even a loose grasp — on basic economic principles. For instance, we learned — thanks to more White House leaks — that Donald Trump called his, uh, National Security Advisor, General Flynn, at 3 a.m. the other night to ask him if a strong dollar is good for the economy or is a weak dollar good?
Flynn — who is a GENERAL, and not an economist — told Trump that perhaps he should ask someone else, like maybe his Treasury Secretary. Trump was displeased with Flynn’s answer.
Trump is not a smart man. In fact, Elliot Cohen — a senior State Department official under President George W. Bush — thinks that Trump is «not a mentally healthy president.» That’s a nice way of saying: He’s an idiot. An idiot who wanders through the White House alone at night, in his bathrobe, brooding and tweeting angrily.
Probably the biggest tell that a dumb person is dumb is when he insists he is smart. A smart person doesn’t have to tell you he’s smart. He’s just smart. A dumb person tries to convince you of the opposite. That’s what Donald Trump tried to do this morning when explaining to the Sheriff’s system the court system’s ruling on his travel ban. He has no fucking clue what the judges are saying.
And that’s why, sometimes, when CNN quotes Donald Trump directly, it sounds like an insult:
Trump: "I was a good student. I understand things. I comprehend very well, better than I think almost anybody" https://t.co/3kEbadOAaP
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 8, 2017
Jump ahead to the 1:41 mark on this video and listen to Donald Trump try to explain the Boston ruling on the travel ban, and watch his little brain try to unsuccessfully process what he is reading. He has no fucking clue.
President Trump: "If you're a good student in high school or a bad student," you can understand the travel ban https://t.co/3a3I2XK2RK
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 8, 2017
Oh man: The President of the United States couldn’t pass a GED exam.
Adam Driver went from quirky Girls actor to Hollywood superstar practically overnight in late 2015 when he played Kylo Ren, the villain at the heart of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. While we imagine being on the set of any Star Wars film would be an incredible experience, Adam had the special pleasure of working with the late Carrie Fisher, who returned to reprise her iconic role as Princess Leia. Adam opened up about the tremendous loss of Carrie while appearing on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Thursday night. «As you can tell from meeting her, she burned very bright, and had such a great, very generous energy,» he said. «For that suddenly not to be on set, and we’re talking about it and all publicity, or just in life when you see her at a Star Wars event . . . to have her character — not just her character in the movie, but her character missing from that very small unit — is a tragedy.» Watch him talk more about her at the 6:36 mark.