Saw these in a little shop in our village and immediately picked up a bundle without even looking at the price, which turned out to be around $7 with tax. “They make a perfect hostess gift,” the sales clerk said. “Maybe so,” I replied, “but these are for me.”
Okay, there’s one born every minute. I soaked two of these – they are made from the staves of used oak wine barrels – in water (the label suggested soaking them in wine as an alternative. Yeah, right) and put them on the charcoal grill when I made a flank steak for four out-of-town colleagues looking for a free meal. Have to say, I couldn’t taste the wine (in the meat at least). The oak, however, gave the meat an intense smokiness and everyone raved about the flavour. So, we decided to do our best to empty another barrel for future barbecues.