COOL STUFF DU JOUR.
If you're a wine collector, "The Wine Lover's Guide to Auctions: The Art & Science of Buying and Selling Wines," by Ursula Hermacinski (Square One Publishers; $17.95) might be worth a quick read. Designed to assist buyers and sellers, the author and auctioneer, a St. Helena resident, shares a glimpse of an insider's view of the wine-auction world, along with information on how to maximize potential for success and how to interpret a wine auction catalog. She aims to remove the mystery of such auctions by explaining how they work. In the resources section, you'll find a list of auction houses along with periodicals, Web sites, online wine auctions and more.
COLORFUL BROWNIE MIX
For more colorful and fun baked goods that will be especially appealing to kids at a party, Pillsbury has introduced Funfetti Premium Brownie Mix, Traditional Fudge with Candy Coated Chocolate Chips (19.4-ounce box for $2.19) and Funfetti Chocolate Fudge Frosting with Candy Bits (15.6-ounce plastic container for $1.69). Look for them at supermarkets, or use the product locator at www.pillsburybaking.com.
Grey Poupon (a Kraft Foods brand) offers new specialty mustards that are non-Dijon based -- Harvest Coarse Ground, Hearty Spicy Brown and Savory Honey. The Coarse Ground flavor won a gold medal in the coarse-grained category at this year's Napa Valley Mustard Festival. Look for jars at $2.89 each in supermarkets.
If you're a fan of caprese or other salads using sliced, fresh mozzarella, pick up the new Mario Batali Mozzarella Slicer. It has a notched center to stabilize the cheese round and stainless steel wires to slice through soft cheese without compacting it. It comes with nonskid feet and is dishwasher safe. $24.95 at Sur La Table stores. www.surlatable.com. (800) 243-0852.
(1 -- color) no caption (book: "The Wine Lover's Guide to Auctions: The Art & Science of Buying and Selling Wines")
(2 -- color) no caption (mustard)
(3 -- color) no caption (Pillsbury's Funfetti Brownie Mix)
(4 -- color) no caption (Mario Batali Mozzarella Slicer)