Posts from June 2008

Rosé Number 2: Cotes du Ventoux « Cuvée Juliette » 2007

Cote du Ventoux might bring to mind the Tour de France and the climb up Mont Ventoux.
Today we pay attention instead to a Rosé from the area « Cuvée Juliette » 2007 from La Ferme Saint-Pierre.

If I got my facts right it is made of 2 thirds Grenache, one third Carignane and takes a walk on the dry side.
The small domaine of La Ferme Saint Pierre in the small village of Flassan is run by Paul Vendran (pictured below) and his family since 1990  with minimal use of chemicals and great detail.

Vendranventoux

Hammock Wines in the UK suggests it is perfect as an aperitif or a great companion for salads, spicy food, white meats and strawberries.

Retails for around $15 in the US.

A great Rosé number 2

Previously: Don't Blush! A Real Rosé from Chinon, Domaine Fabrice Gasnier


Edible Estates turns Front Lawns into Food for Thought

That perfect manicured lawn in front of many homes requires a lot of work, pesticides and water.
This home green is one of the thirstiest things besides corn.
A fellow named Fritz Haeg turns front yards into Edible Estates .
He came to my attention thank to Turf Wars (by Simon Busch, FT Week End).
It starts with a humorous quote from Stan Cox, one of the participants in the project:

"Say, your yard’s looking mighty fine lately, Jim,” Stan Cox imagines commenting to a neighbour. “Everything OK with your wife?” The amount of energy devoted to lawn care in the US, he believes, is frequently in inverse proportion to the amount devoted to the bedroom."

The article also mentions Michael Pollan from his book In Defense of Food as saying that "lawns have “as much to do with gardening as floor waxing or road-paving. Gardening [is] a subtle process of give and take with the landscape.” Lawns, he says, are “nature under culture’s boot”. When Pollan mowed his own he “ruled a totalitarian landscape”. “Lawns,” he concludes, “are a form of television.

A book Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn (Metropolis Books, cover is my illustration) documents the project which is not merely planting fruits and vegetables in front of your house but arranging the plots in a way that both makes sense and is visually appealing.

Edible_cover

In Turning lawns into salad bars, Andrea F. Spiegel (Baltimore Sun) showcases one of the participants, Clarence Ridgley "whose red brick and clapboard home is now behind fruit trees, tomato cages, berry bushes and vegetables".

Makes you stand out from the crowd and in these days of high food prices might help your budget, good for the Consumed to Thrifty.

Outdoors for Green Day #32

Related: Basa, Dab or Vietnamese Clams, Sustainable Fish from A to Z


Send your Name to the Moon as 'Serge the Concierge' just did...Thanks Nasa

Climb aboard the Lunar Renaissance Orbiter and Send Your Name to the Moon on the historic mission bringing NASA back to the moon.
It does not cost a penny all you have to do is sign up by June 27 and you are in as we just did for Serge the Concierge.

To give credit where it belongs "The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is built and managed by NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center for NASA. “Send Your Name to the Moon” is a partnership with NASA, the LRO Project, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and the Planetary Society"


Serving Wine from the Right and Smelly Armpits?

We do many things out of habit without thinking of the reasons behind why we do it?
When wine is ordered in a restaurant for example, we go through a whole ritual of showing the bottle and its label.
What matters most is that the right wine and vintage are served.
Smelling the cork does not serve any purpose as far as I know.
As for serving wine from the right, is it so that customers do not get elbowed by the sommelier or the server?
Has it got anything to do with smelly armpits.
Would strong fragrances worn by the person offering the wine be a bigger distraction to appreciating the wine fully than body odor?
I could not find any definitive answer on the origins of the etiquette of wine service.
The basics are covered by David Gaier in Ordering and Serving Wine: A Tutorial.
If you have any answers with history to match them, do share them.

Will a consumer brand come up with a deodorant that puts an end to smelly armpits yet offers a neutral scent?
Can you imagine a commercial to illustrate it?

Recent Wine Blurbs: Wine with your Own Stamp made in New York City: City Winery


Rude Customers (Paris Hilton Syndrome)...Fire Them?

We all experience moments of frustration when standing in line waiting for our turn.
Some of us jump to the head of the line thinking we are better or more important than others.
We want to be served first.
People have to drop everything in order to cater to us this very minute.
It can turn into an adult version of the 'schoolyard bully'.
Should businesses (and fellow clients-shoppers) tolerate such behavior or just fire rude customers?

In Rude Customers, The Paris Hilton Syndrome we are reminded of a cardinal rule In the corporate environment, it is a mortal sin to answer rudeness with rudeness.
Using rudeness to address such behavior might add fuel to the fire I have to say and give it legitimacy.

I did work years ago for a restaurateur who faced with loud and obnoxious complaints by a customer over the meal served asked him to leave and never come back.

It is posited in not so polite fashion in Two Phrases That Destroyed American Culture on Violent Acres that two pillars of modern customer service are responsible for this state of affair. One is ‘The Customer is Always Right’, the second is 'You have to earn my respect'. Why not treat others like we would like to be treated, she offers and also suggests that we stop looking the other way when customers-clients behave badly.

Seth Godin in The Customer is Always Right reminds us of the unwritten rule 3 on Stew Leonard's famous granite rock: If the customer is wrong, they're not your customer any more.

His solution: "Fire them. Politely decline to do business with them. Refer them to your arch competitors. Take them off the mailing list. Don't make promises you can't keep, don't be rude, just move on."

Minding my manners on Monday Work Etiquette #43

Previously: Make your voice heard...We Think and Mass Creativity


Food Nostalgia costs $10 with 'Caprice des Dieux'... Say Cheese!

While food shopping this afternoon, I have to admit that I had a bit of a sticker shock after I noticed Caprice des Dieux (Caprice of the Gods) in the Cheese Display.
I felt a pang of nostalgia as it was one of my mother's picks when I was growing up in France.
That was until I noticed the price: $9.99.
I ended up leaving the memories behind even though a Caprice is an impulsive decision.
Another Consumed to Thrifty moment when I fell victim to both food price inflation and the weak dollar.

I learned from Caprice des Dieux official site (French only) that we share the same birth year.

Caprice_des_dieux

On the original packaging, the Greek Gods of Sky and Sea, Zeus and Poseidon stood on each side of 'Caprice', the God of Cheese...For many years now they have been replaced by angels.

Oh!Well, maybe I will wait until I visit France to taste it again.

On Food, Wine and being Sensible: Will downturn bring an Appetite for Virtual/ Fictional Restaurants?


Help Flooded Farmers in Iowa via Edible San Francisco or Farm Aid

After the flood in the Midwest land and crops were decimated.
Want to show your support for farmers whose livelihood is on the line, there are at least 2 ways to do it.
If you read Edible San Francisco, subscribe to the magazine between now and July 1st, 2008 ($36 for 6 Issues) and 100 % of the money will go to the Iowa Farm Aid Fund. I borrowed their illustration for this piece.

Esffarmaid1

The other option is to contribute through Farm Aid Iowa Family Farm Disaster Fund. You can donate as little as $35 and as much as $1000.

What led me to write this you might ask?

It all started with reading Global Gluttons, a review by Bonnie Powell of the book Hungry City (for the FT).
I then had to check her 'food politics' site The Ethicurean (the road to 'Chew the Right Thing')where the fundraiser was mentioned.

Now you know the long and winding road to Iowa.

Getting back to Hungry City, the book not to confuse with Hungry City (the guides to dining out), a couple of striking facts, Carolyn Steel (the author) notes are that  cities cover just 2% of the world's surface, but consume 75% of the world's resource and that 100 years ago, the average Brit ate 25kg of meat each year - now it's 80kg (and for Americans, 124kg).

Imagine where we will soon stand now that a good chunk of the Chinese and Indian population wants to fill their plates with the same treats that we use and abuse...

So if you have a few dollars to spare, donate!

Recent food bites: At 'Grand Fooding 2008' in Paris , Chefs Offer Culinary Delights


At 'Grand Fooding 2008' in Paris , Chefs Offer Culinary Delights on June 22nd

On Sunday, June 22nd, Chefs leave their usual haunts and set their tent on the esplanade of the Bibliotheque Nationale de France in Paris.
They will offer their culinary delights to a salivating crowd for Le Grand Fooding 2008, not La Grande Bouffe.

Grand_fooding

I would be happy to try the lamb with peppers and onions and an asian twist by Davide Barilone of Il Vino, Langoustines from Le Guilvinec in my native Brittany plus a Donburi création par Hisayuki Takeuchi of Kaseiki which calls itself the best sushi place in Paris.

On the sweet side: 10.000 Punk Ice Cream Cones (Ice Cream with Beet and Sesame props) by Marc Bretillot, culinary designer.

Drink wise, William Ledeuil of Ze Kitchen Galerie will serve "Mon Ricard mangue de rien", the Anis based liquor gets a makeover with mango, green apple, curcuma, ginger and lemon.

More down to earth wine producers from Anjou will be on hand to serve their Cabernet.

Also present, Gelinaz! called the most Rock'n Roll European Chefs Collective, not sure what they will come up with...

All that for only 5 Euros...a steal, if you can still get a ticket.

Wish I was there!

The Paris event is one of the 6 Sunday stops on this year's map which marks the 6th Edition of Le Grand Fooding.

Still to come are Nice on June 29 and Lyon on July 6th.

Thanks to Charlotte for providing me with all these details in no time.


Wine under $150 or Wine under $10 (and in between)

With the weak dollar and transportation costs skyrocketing it is getting harder to find $10 and under wines.

Here are a few options for the Consumed to Thrifty.

In Good Imported Wines Under $10, Roxanne Webber (Chow) offers ways to as she puts it 'save money and drink well'. Of the 10, the only one that I tried (and recommend) is the Las Rocas, Garnacha.

Dr Vino offered 9 Wines under $10 about a year ago. I had 2 of his picks Bodegas las Hormigas, Colonia las Liebres, Bonarda (Argentina) and Castaño, Hécula, monastrell, Yecla (Spain).

Harriett Ryan drafted her own Top Ten Wines Under $10 in April 2008 for Mainstreet. She might have gone a little too low price wise and selection wise. I will let you be the judge.

Gary of Wine Library TV searched for Wines Under $10 that Bring the Thunder (in February).

Of the red table wines I can still find in that price bracket, I would suggest the Heartland Stickleback Red Blend (around $9). It was also chosen by A Wine A Week and again our friend Gary.

A lesser known yet great one is La Friande 'Cotes Du Rhone' 2006 (Domaine Jaume).

Being the Agent Provocateur, Mike Steinberger (Slate) shares some Exceptional bottles for less than 150 bucks amongst them.

Other choices: Under the Tuscan Skies: Red Wines: The Blend of Poggiotondo and Dao not Douro, Duque De Viseu Tinto (Red) 2002, No Fado for WBW#38


Light my Fire: La Trobada on the Canigou, June 22-23 (Feux de la St Jean)

The first day of Summer is celebrated around France with the Feux de la St Jean (Bonfires of St Jean).

One event I was not aware of until today is La Trobada Del Canigo...
Many people from around Catalonia meet atop the summit of Canigou in the Pyrenees, each person bringing their own stack of wood to contribute to the bonfire.

On June 22nd, "troops of walkers and representatives of villages and towns throughout Catalonia, meet up on the Plateau des Cortalets, where they set up tents and prepare for a sleepless night! The ultimate goal of the Trobada is to get up to the peak at 2,784m high, with bunches of wood to contribute to the huge bonfire prepared on the summit. This gathering is known as the "Trobada" (a catalan word meaning "meeting" or "reunion")", then "At midnight a flaming torch, kept throughout the year at the Castillet in Perpignan, is carried to the top of the mountain the and used to light a bonfire which can be seen all over the Conflent. The next day, relay runners carry the "flamme du Canigou" down onto the plain to all the villages they pass through on the way to Perpignan and in the evening, these flames light the "Focs de la Sant Joan" or "Feux de la Saint Jean", fires that have been prepared in towns and villages all over the region".

I gathered all these details thanks to Les Feux de la Saint-Jean & La Trobada du Canigou (on Anglophone Direct).

The Feux de la St Jean site gives some historical and cultural background on the Canigou celebration.
They also contributed the video above on Daily Motion.

I know that similar celebrations take place in Brazil.

Are any other countries following this tradition?

Related: A ride on the 'Little Yellow Train' (in the Pyrenees Mountains)