July 7, 2022

June Juanico presented me to wine jelly about twenty years in the past after she changed into buddies with my mother. June is the creator of “Elvis: Within the Twilight of Reminiscence,” and she or he was once Elvis Presley’s female friend in 1955 and 1956. 

When my niece, Blakelyn, was once just a bit factor nonetheless in basic faculty, she and my mother beloved not anything greater than to pile up with popcorn and watch outdated motion pictures. From Shirley Temple to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, they watched just about each and every movie with music and dance from the Golden Age of cinema. Blakelyn was once enthralled no longer most effective by way of the films themselves but additionally with listening to mother recount all the behind-the-scenes, Hollywood tales that accompanied them.       

After they made it during the ’30s and ’40s, it was once time for Elvis and the musical motion pictures of the ’50s. Even such a lot of years after his dying and in spite of Blakelyn being most effective round 6- or 7 years-old on the time, The King’s air of mystery, attraction and ability moved her deeply. She was once right away obsessive about all issues Elvis, his song and his motion pictures. Her enthusiasm rekindled my mother’s prior Elvis-mania from her more youthful days, and thus was once born their quest to satisfy any final other people they might who had if truth be told recognized Elvis all the way through his lifetime. 

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Blakelyn and mother visited Elvis’ adolescence house in Tupelo, Omit., they usually additionally made a number of pilgrimages to Graceland Mansion in Tennessee. They controlled to satisfy a prepare dinner right here and a housekeeper there, each and every encouraging and satisfied to present an opinion about the place to move subsequent to satisfy someone else with a first-hand account of Elvis. 

The 2 struck gold after they discovered about Gulf Hills, a lodge constructed within the past due ’20s the place Elvis spent a great deal of time. Situated simply out of doors of Biloxi, Omit., in Ocean Springs, it was once infrequently an hour clear of the place they lived in Cell, Ala. They booked a commute for an extended weekend as temporarily as they might, understanding it was once almost in their very own yard.

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Thru analysis, success, choice and beauty, Blakelyn and mother discovered June nonetheless dwelling in her native land of Biloxi. Their quest got here to a detailed and a real friendship was once born. Greater than twenty years later, June and mother have remained excellent buddies into their 80’s.        

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It was once summertime when June excitedly presented to convey her do-it-yourself wine jelly together with her to what had develop into her common seek advice from to look my mother, who had not too long ago moved to Fairhope, Ala. When I used to be instructed about it, I believed she was once bringing “jelly” i.e. one thing like jam in a jar, indisputably a condiment. 

I quickly realized that it was once a dessert. June defined that lengthy sooner than the logo Jell-O was once a family staple, truffles produced from gelatin had been known as “jellies,” they usually had been reasonably elaborate, spectacular creations. Upon first listening to of it, I had by no means dreamed her jelly was once a dessert. Neatly, it was once love in the beginning chunk.  

Since tasting wine jelly for the primary time, I have made it the use of many several types of wine, from Madeira and sherry to all varieties of reds. It by no means disappoints; actually, I have by no means served it with out being requested for the recipe, which I admit is embarrassingly easy. It makes the very best “little one thing candy” to have at your yard barbeque, however it is similarly best possible dressed up for a much less informal affair. It rings a bell in my memory of that little black get dressed that hits in all of the proper puts: It appears unassuming at the hanger, however whilst you put it on, it is a stunner. 

I have by no means served it with out being requested for the recipe, which I admit is embarrassingly easy.

In step with the way you serve wine jelly, it may be informal and amusing like a wine lover’s model of a Jell-O shot, or you’ll get dressed it up in chic slices along berries and recent whipped cream. And since you’ll make it along with your selection of wine, you’ll pair it with nearly anything else. If you take a look at it, you’ll be able to perceive precisely how flexible it’s and spot simply what number of permutations are imaginable.

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This dessert will create reasonably the thrill, each actually and figuratively. First, you do not warmth the wine, so it does not lose any of its alcohol. 2d, as a result of it is so scrumptious and so other, it is going to in an instant take over all desk dialog with oohs and ahhs and loads of questions in regards to the recipe. It is laborious to imagine that most effective 4 substances can create the sort of marvel.

I want I may just say June and Elvis loved wine jelly in combination all the way through their romance again within the ’50s, however that is not the case so far as I do know. What I know is that each and every time I make this dessert, I bring to mind June and the thrill I had putting out together with her and my mother in Fairhope, giggling and taking note of their tales each and every time I crashed their “Women Night time In” events. They had been each of their 60’s at that second in time, which I used to assume was once outdated. Now, I will be able to see 60 alone horizon, and I do not believe it sounds so unhealthy. Age is just a quantity (so I have been instructed), however I wish to pack as a lot lifestyles into my years as imaginable. June indisputably has performed so.

Most likely as a result of wine jelly has its roots from the sort of bygone generation (the 1890’s) coupled with my very own reminiscences of consuming Jell-O as a kid, I develop into sentimental and mawkish after I make it. Most commonly, I am merely reminded of June. I used to be round her essentially the most when she was once in her 60’s and 70’s and nonetheless shining so brightly. The ones reminiscences strike a cord in me to rejoice lifestyles nowadays, to be open to creating new buddies, to snicker, to percentage and create reminiscences full of just right foods and drinks — on the subject of wine jelly, foods and drinks are one — and maximum of all to LOVE!


Gelatin/Gelatin change for vegans and vegetarians

Wine jelly can also be made the use of agar agar, a seaweed-based change for gelatin often utilized by vegans and vegetarians. Merely use the package deal instructions to resolve how a lot to make use of in keeping with the quantity of liquid within the recipe. 

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Complete disclosure, I have by no means used this substitution, however I’ve a chum who made it with agar agar, and it grew to become out simply high-quality.


Make a choice any wine you prefer, together with Madeira or sherry. Between the sugar/sweetener and the recent lemon juice, each and every batch you are making shall be scrumptious and distinctive.  


I desire less-sweet truffles, whilst others experience theirs extra candy. You’ll be able to simply regulate the sugar amount to what you assume is good. Style sooner than refrigerating and upload extra sugar or sugar change if desired. 

I select to make use of the granular model of the sugar alternative, Swerve, an erythritol sweetener. Regardless of having a chemical-sounding title, it is if truth be told manufactured from a naturally sweet-tasting fiber. Test it out if you are so vulnerable; it is used 1:1 to interchange sugar. 

Take into accout: You’ll be able to wish to be certain your sweetener of selection is dissolved. You do not need any grainy, undissolved sugar on this dessert.


Recipe: June’s Wine Jelly 

Cook dinner Time

5 mins, plus chilling


  1. In a small bowl, stir to mix the gelatin with chilly water. Permit to face 5 mins.

  2. Boil the water and pour over the sugar, stirring till absolutely dissolved.

  3. Upload the gelatin whilst the water remains to be scorching (however no longer boiling), stirring till dissolved.

  4. Upload the wine, then upload the lemon juice somewhat at a time. Style and upload extra lemon juice if desired.

  5. Pour into particular person bins or an ornamental bowl.

  6. Duvet and refrigerate till absolutely company and set — 2 hours to in a single day.

Upon serving, there is not anything incorrect with including somewhat of unpolluted whipped cream and/or berries for a fantastic presentation. 

Some like so as to add fruit to the combination sooner than refrigerating. Whilst that still works, I in most cases desire so as to add anything else additional as soon as it is plated, leaving the jelly merely as is.  

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