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It’s been a rough couple of years, but we have something to look forward to now that it’s 2022. Girl Scout Cookie season officially kicks off this week!

Not only that, there’s a new cookie in the lineup and I got a sneak taste before these babies were released to the public.

Here’s how it all went down.

Several months back I received a VIP invitation to attend a wine pairing reception one evening on Charleston’s West Side. That in itself would have been awesome enough, but this particular event was pairing wines with (wait for it) Girl Scout Cookies.

Let me get this straight, I said. You want me to come sample every variety of Girl Scout Cookie while sipping wine with each bite? Am I being punked? Where’s the Candid Camera?

But the event was real, and every bit as awesome as it sounds.

For a glorious hour at the Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council offices on Virginia Street West, a few dozen of us mingled while munching on fruit, veggies, cheese and crackers, then diving right into endless platters of cookies flanked by cups of red and white wine for the taking.

There was an appropriately named white Jellybean chardonnay that paired well with the Trefoils, Lemon-Ups, S’mores and Samoas, plus a red Jellybean cabernet that accompanied the Tagalongs, Do-Si-Dos, Thin Mints and Toffee-tastics.

This year’s new cookie, interestingly enough, paired well with both wines. Inspired by a Girl Scout’s sense of learning and discovery, the new Adventurefuls are an indulgent brownie-inspired cookie with a caramel-flavored creme center and a hint of sea salt.

Guests were asked to vote for their favorite pairing and all eyes were on The Food Guy when I cast the last vote of the night. Oh, the pressure!

Although the deep ruby cabernet paired really well with the rich peanut-buttery Tagalongs and Do-Si-Dos, the chardonnay’s pineapple notes were a slam dunk teamed up with the chocolate-coconut dream that is the Samoa.

Which also happens to be the best Girl Scout Cookie on the planet, if you ask me.

The highlight of the night, however, came as I was leaving and Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council CEO Beth Casey gave me several boxes of cookies to take home, along with the recipes I’m sharing with you this week.

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“I thought you might be able to use a bunch of our cookies in some of these fun recipes,” she said. “Or, you know, you can just eat them all like a normal person.”

I laughed all the way to the car, opening a box of Samoas on the way.

Be on the lookout for a Girl Scout or Girl Scout Cookie sale near you in the coming weeks, or follow updates on www.bdgsc.org. How fun would it be to host your own cookie-wine pairing at home?

Or, as Beth says, just eat the cookies like a normal person.

•••

Last week’s announcement that The Barge Restaurant was going up for auction this month created quite a flurry of activity from readers — many reminiscing about good times and food there, with others proposing their own ideas for what (and where) the vessel should be in its next life.

Spoiler alert: a cool restaurant docked at or near downtown Charleston’s Haddad Riverfront Park was the clear favorite.

I also heard from one of The Barge’s current owners, who said she hopes the restaurant lands in good hands.

“Dear Mr. Keith, my name is Adolfina [Fifi] Wolfe,” she wrote. “My three children and I inherited The Barge restaurant following my husband’s death in 2015.”

She described how Josh Wolfe made an attempt to reopen it, but struggled due to the challenges associated with running a restaurant at the level of quality The Barge was known for.

“I have relocated to Durham, NC, but have continued to follow your articles in the Gazette,” she continued. “After a few previous attempts to sell The Barge, we are now proceeding with a public auction scheduled for Jan. 13, 2022, at 12 noon. I am reaching out to see if you would be willing to include this information in one of your upcoming articles.”

I told her I was already on the case and asked her to keep me in the loop on the auction’s outcome.

Fingers and toes crossed that it’s a good one.

Steven Keith is a food writer

and restaurant critic known as “The Food Guy.” He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or wvfoodguy@aol.com. Follow @wvfoodguy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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