Posts from October 2009

The Hermit of Paradise Valley brings 'La Demarrante' to Life

If you check the map for Villeneuve Les Corbieres, you realize that Maxime Magnon picked an out of the way spot in Paradise Valley to bring 'La Demarrante' to life.

This Vin de Pays de la Vallee du Paradis is equal parts Carignan and Cinsault from what I gathered, harvested by hand. Maxime wants to keep it natural.


I don't know if many (or any) properties in the area do it any other way.

Rosemary George of Taste Languedoc described 'La Demarrante' (2008) as 'gouleyant' which could be translated as young, fresh, light, pleasant on the palate.

My first sip of it was at Chambers Street Wines tasting with Monsieur Kermit Lynch on October 30th.

Want to visit the winemaker and stay in the village, La Maison dans Villeneuve is your chance.

Egyptian Tablets from Italian Contingent, NY Chocolate Show, Part 2

Sometimes a thread finds you.

Call it 1001 Nights of Chocolate if you want.

After mentioning Camel Milk Chocolate, I discovered that Guido Gobino, one of the members from the Italian contingent at the 2009 New York Chocolate show has created Egyptian Tablets.


Made with cocoa from Java and Trinidad blended with Muscovado sugar, sea salt and Myrrh extract, it celebrates ancient Egypt in tune with the Ancient Egypt in Torino exhibit touring Japan.

It was first in Tokyo (August 1st – 4 October 2009) and then moved on to Sendai (24 October – 23 December 2009), Kobe (20 March – 30 May 2010) and Shinzuoka (12 June – 22 August 2010).

Will I have an historic meeting with this producer?

Bela Lugosi's Dead by Bauhaus, Songs for Halloween

I saw the band Bauhaus mentioned today and thought to myself, they produced Bela Lugosi's Dead, one of these must play songs for Halloween.


It was their first single (1979) and its cover might even give you ideas for an outfit if you have not made up your mind yet.

For good measure, I include the video with live version above.

30 years young, gosh!

Biodynamic Wines with Revolution on their Mind, Le Temps des Cerises

Since I saw theses French wines mentioned on a couple of sites, the Domaine name, Le Temps des Cerises is what stayed with me more than its biodynamic properties.

Alex Prufer named his property in Languedoc-Roussillon after Le Temps des Cerises, the song from La Commune de Paris, the revolutionary upheaval from the 19th Century.

Avanti popolo

His most recent creations are 2007 Vin de Table Fou du Roi (Grenache, Carignan, and Cinsault) and 2008 Vin de Table Avanti Popolo (Carignan).

Neither Le Fou at around $25 or Avanti about $16 have proletarian prices though.

Camel Milk Chocolate, Al Nassma from Dubai at NY Chocolate Show 2009 opening October 30

After finalizing the registration for my yearly pilgrimage to the New York Chocolate Show, 2009 will be my fourth visit, I checked the list of exhibitors to see which new names and countries were popping up.

I did not have to go further than the latter A to find out that both Dubai and Jordan are being represented.

From Dubai comes Al Nassma whose claim to fame is to bring us the "first and finest camel milk chocolate" (I quote).

What I know for sure is that it will be my first taste of anything made with camel milk.

In their introduction, we learn that Al Nassma is the name of a cool wind from the ocean that brings relief to the desert.
Camel milk is said to have healing powers.


In July 2009, The Telegraph UK wrote that the firm was "founded and owned by Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Al Nassma was formally established in October last year and aims to produce 100 tons of premium camels' milk chocolate a year" and that "all chocolates are produced without preservatives or chemical additives with a range of locally popular spices, nuts and honey".

They also note that the chocolates are produced in partnership with Autrian chocolatier Manner.

I will tell you after Sunday if it is a pleasant surprise.

Camels and Chocolate for NY Chocolate Show 2009, Part 1

Halloween 2009 in Tokyo, Party Animals List via Metropolis

They might not all be to your taste but Metropolis in Ghostly Grooves (October 22) offers the Party Animal best bets in Tokyo on October 31, for Halloween 2009.

For the creative souls or those with a costume designer as a friend they suggest Ageha which they say hosts Japan's biggest Halloween party with "a costume contest with prizes ranging from cash to a Playstation 3—but be warned, contestants must have original costumes (no store-bought outfits allowed!). DJs include Taku Takahashi (m-flo) and Dexpistols. Trick-and-treaters get in for just ¥2,000, but if you come in civvies you’ll have to pony up ¥4,000."

Expats from down under or those wishing to hang out with an English speaking crowd can join the Aussie Halloween Party at Bar Quest, more subdued than Ageha it seems, Belly Dance Show...

Daring, C'est Bon Plage, a French Cafe at the Tobacco and Salt Museum (masthead below) will treat you to a 'pink' drink if you wear pink only (not sure if that means shoes as well).


Halloween 2009 in Japan for Tokyo Thursdays # 111

Previously: Made in Japan, Marion Crepes in Kashiwa-shi, Crepes as Ice Cream Cones?

2007 Calaveras County River of Skulls, More Bones for Halloween and Wine 09

I complained yesterday that I could not find suitable options for Halloween and Wine 2009, until Australian/ Hungarian Skulls showed up on my radar.

While finishing my Art, Wine and Halloween piece on this Australian/Hungarian marriage, I noticed the River of Skulls Red thanks to The Passionate Foodie who was reviewing the 06 Vintage.

There is new blood since then. Twisted Oak Winery now released the 2007 Calaveras County River of Skulls (88% Monastrell, 12% Syrah) from the Dalton vineyard.


No inquisition connections that I know of.

I remember visiting a museum in Spain (Andalucia maybe) displaying artifacts from this area and it was not all sweet and sensible.

Winemaker suggested food pairings, lamb and risotto.

Halloween and Wine, Vintage 2009, Part 2

Italian Wines, Labels Made in New York, Calea and Tratturi

Browsing the shelves, I first noticed Calea 'Nero d'Avola' (07) so it's got to be Sicily a day or two later I saw Tratturi 'Primitivo' (08).

They are both in that $10 range and distributed by Polaner selections.

Going on a fact finding mission, I found out by way of Lovely Package (whose Calea picture I borrowed) that the labels for both wines were created by Louise Filli, a New York design firm doing a lot of work in the food and wine field.


They gave some patina to the names, roots that might not be there, du chien, like the girl next door looking like a million bucks in a snazzy outfit.

As for the wines, here's some background information from Polaner:

Calea (Sicily) first:

"An assemblage of Nero d’Avola drawn from the best Sicilian sub-zones, this presents the glories of Sicily’s best-known red wine grape in a pure and approachable form.

Calea’s sleek and modern package combines elements from Sicily’s rich architectural traditions, and colors that call to mind the bright sunlight and burnished earth of this ancient crossroads of the Mediterranean."

As for Tratturi (Puglia):

"Tratturi is the word for the ancient drovers trails in the countryside of Puglia that shepherds used in the old days to bring their flocks of sheep and other animals down from the mountains in autumn. This countryside of Puglia, specifically the subzone of Salento, is the source of this bold, spicy, and delicious Primitivo.

Primitivo is said be related to the Zinfandel grape which many old Italian immigrants planted in Northern California in the late 19th and early 20th century. The Tratturi label was inspired by the designs of Italy of this era. The background of the label is made up of Trulli houses, which dot the countryside in Pugia."

A job well done on both the design and the wine, good bang for your buck

I also like the motto on back label 'Open your mind and taste'


Gourmet Week-End in France, Journees Gourmandes, Vaison La Romaine, Oct 29-Nov 1

Dreaming of a gourmet week-end in France, if your schedule is flexible you might still be able to make it to the Journees Gourmandes (French only site) in Vaison La Romaine.

This foodie heaven takes its inspiration from markets of yesterday and traditional fall fairs.

From October 29 to November 1, 2009, the Journees Gourmandes bring together about 60 producers and exhibitors from France and other European countries selected for the authentic character of their offerings.


This year marks the 20th Edition of the event with the city of Martigny in the Lower Valais (Switzerland) as guest of honor.

Admission per person is 2,50 € (includes 1 glass of wine), Free for children under 16.

Besides the cooking demos by a number of chefs including Christophe Bonzi from Le Mesclun (pictured below) in neighboring town Seguret there are also activities for kids. On the first day they can learn how to make almond paste thanks to local bakers or the basic 'how to' make Comte cheese.


If you want to get up early on Saturday, October 31, Gilles Picard, a local guide, will take you hiking around town from 9AM to 12 Noon to learn about local plants and their use. Price is 10€but gives you Free access to the festival.

Also on Saturday, there will be a Free Wine Tasting of Vins Primeurs (10 AM to 1PM).

Now i feel like smelling romarin and thyme and a glass of Pastis.

Let me thank Debra Fioritto of Fabulous French Food for putting the Journees Gourmandes on my radar.