Posts from January 2011

A to Z of World Cuisines in London, From Bolivia to Cambodia

After pedaling his way to distant meals from New York to Rio and sharing the experience in The Hungry Cyclist, Tom Kevill-Davies has a new project in collaboration with Alastair Humphreys, a self described adventurer and author.

Tom stays closer to home with A to Z ('A World Tour of Food in London')...Denmark, Afghanistan, Cambodia are already on the menu.

Al and Tom's latest pick is Parrilladas del Sur, a Bolivian restaurant located at 186 Old Kent Road.

They ordered the lunch menu which they say includes soup, a main course, and a drink for £6...

Alastair gives us their choice of main dishes:

"Tom, as befits his alter ego, has chosen more boldly than me, plumping for tongue. I have gone for the sil pancho, an old and safe favourite from South America. It is a vast swathe of flank steak, the size of a small republic. It has been beaten thin, coated in breadcrumbs, and then fried. It lies resplendent, along with a couple of fried eggs, atop an Andean mountain of rice."

Food adventurers might be interested in the Bolivian beef tongue recipe they published.

London off the beaten path on a budget...

Ice Wine Baby, New York Ice Wine Festival 2011, February 5 in Fairport

If you are more into meeting the locals than celebrity wine events, have a liking for Ice Wines and their concentrated flavors, the New York Ice Wine Festival 2011 on February 5 in Fairport might be the place to be.

9 NY state wineries including the host Casa Larga will pour their nectar at the event.

They are:

Brotherhood, America’s Oldest Winery, Casa Larga, Fulkerson Winery, Heron Hill, Hunt Country Vineyards, Johnson Estate Winery, Leonard Oakes Estate Winery, Mazza-Chautauqua Cellars, Sheldrake Point Vineyard


I suggest you attend Cheese And Ice Wine … An Unexpected Delight (Times: 12:15pm – 12:45pm, 2:30pm – 3:00pm)...Program details:

"Learn about how most cheese’s richness begs for that crucial acidity found in a sweet Ice Wine. Cheeses are inherently savory and sometimes salty and when served with the sweetness of Ice wine, it creates a lovely balance"

Tickets are $40 in advance and $50 at the door.

Event runs from 12 PM to 6 PM.

Plum Jamming in New Zealand, From Garden Tree to Tartine in 1 Week-End

It takes a kind soul or a teaser to think of sharing their week-end project, Plum Jamming in New Zealand, while New York area is getting hit by one winter storm after another.


It brought a few rays of sun in a cold Sunday.

Juicy plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots spell summer and warm days to me.

I wondered where these plums were picked.

They came from photographer's garden in Wellington, then were turned into a jam (or a jelly). Bread was also homemade.


Without getting technical, I wondered what type of plums these were.

Possibly Black Doris, I was told.


Others lean towards Omegas...

100% Pure New Zealand notes that warmest months there are December, January and February...

Too bad January 31, 2011 is last day to purchase Air New Zealand special deal to New Zealand, RT for $899 from LA or Frisco.

Are you jamming anything today in the Southern Hemisphere.

Taste of summer

(* Photos by Francoise Padellec)

Crumbly and Comforting, Dean's of Scotland Oat Cookies

After shoveling snow on a cold winter day, nothing beats a warm cup of coffee and a few good cookies.

I rarely bake cookies so it was a good thing that I received samples of Dean's of Scotland Oat Cookies before the last big storm thanks to their US distributor.

I had to hide a few in a secret place otherwise the rest of the family might have devoured them before I had a chance to taste.

The legend goes that Helen Dean (below) started it all from her kitchen in Huntly, North East Scotland, back in 1975 with shortbread cookies.

Helen dean

I tasted two of their oat cookies, the Original and the Sultana & Heather Honey.

Call me a traditionalist. My vote goes to the plain Original one.

The crumbly, buttery taste is soothing, comforting.


My mother always had cookies around for when we came back from school. It was part of the day's rituals. Maybe I feel nostalgic for these moments.

It seems that Sultana, a white seedless grape, is a popular ingredient with British brands.

Demoiselles of Bordeaux Wine: Emilie Gervoson of Chateau Larrivet Haut Brion

Wine world  especially as far as winemakers are concerned used to be a male bastion.

In all wine regions, even though they are still a minority, women are taking charge. A few of them were part of the Bordeaux contingent at Soiree des Grands Crus in New York on January 27, 2011.

I talked with 2 young ladies, Emilie Gervoson, from a family owned property, the other, Anne Le Naour, in charge of winemaking for 4 estates owned by a financial institution.


Demoiselles of Bordeaux Wine, Part 1, Emilie Gervoson of Chateau Larrivet Haut-Brion

Q: Emily, how long has your family been involved with Chateau Larrivet Haut-Brion?

Chateau Larrivet's history goes back to the 1800's. My parents bought the property in 1987. They started with 18 hectares. Today it has grown to 72 ha. About 50 of them were replanted including 40 since 1990. 60 hectares are dedicated to reds and 12 to whites.  The age of the vines now averages 25 years for the reds and 20 for the white.

Q: With growing size of the vineyards, have changes been made to winery itself?

The chaix were expanded first in 1995-1996 and again in 2007. An event space was created with 2 rooms, one that can accommodate 50 people, a larger one with view on the vineyards  can host up to 300 guests and special events. Latest addition is a tasting room and shop opened to the public 6 days a week year round and Sundays in July and August. During summer months, on rainy Sundays, we are a prime destination for people vacationing in Arcachon.

Q: Did you study oenology?

Not at all, I went to business school in Paris and then worked in event management field until I turned 30. I felt like a change of life and joined my parents' endevour.

Q: Who handles the winemaking duties ?

My father has his say. Michel Rolland consults with us for the reds while whites are mostly maitre de chaix Patrick Meraz' s babies. Our general manager, Bruno Lemoine also takes part in the process.

Q: What changes has your arrival brought?

My influence is more on the communication and marketing side. My parents had a traditional Monday to Friday approach to work.  I convinced them to open to the public on week-ends without appointment.  I brought fresh touches to our image starting with a set of 3 business cards, a generic one, red lips for the red and a drop of wine for the whites. We also expanded our online presence. As far as wine goes, our Ateliers Primeurs (Primeurs workshops) early April, both in Bordeaux and Paris give attendees a chance to taste Primeurs side by side with Vintages. It has proved quite popular.


Q: Do you think that Bordeaux wines suffer from a stuffy image?

That perception is one you find abroad rather than in France.

Q: In past 10 years have any wines been added to your portfolio?

Yes, in 2004, my parents created a second label, Les Demoiselles, named after us daughters, a white and a red.

Q: Where is Chateau Larrivet most popular?

France still represents 40% of our sales  after that UK and northern Europe followed by China, Japan and the USA.


Q: What's your latest project?

I embarked on a study of people's reaction/ interaction with wine in various countries. I am trying to find out how a better understanding of local cultures can help us introduce ourselves better, anthropology meets marketing if you will.

Thank you Emilie.

Give us a few days before we serve Demoiselles of Bordeaux Wine, Part 2 with Anne Le Naour.

(* Photo of Emilie from program of Soiree des Grands Crus, other 2 by Philippe Roy)

Dinner at the Waldorf, All of Italy from Rabbit Lasagna to Almond Torta, Vino 2011

Large food and wine events are buzzing with activity. By the end of the day your batteries need re-fueling.

With that in mind, the organizers of Vino 2011 which for 3 days brought much of the Italian Wine World to New York, treated us on Tuesday, January 25 to dinner at the Waldorf Astoria preceded by a cocktail hour.


They made sure that the menu (pictured above) brought flavors from all of Italy. We started with Rabbit Lasagna and concluded the meal with Almond Torte.

Wines were plentiful as you can guess from forest of glasses on the table.


Last came Grappa.

And the band played on while we ate, jazz tunes and standards.


A great setting, good food and plenty of wine fueled the conversation at our table.

An evening to remember...

You won't find me in any of the pictures.

All photos are by Kerstin Rodgers aka Ms Marmite Lover, The English Can Cook, visiting from London. She was kind enough to join me...

Nana Soma on her Sao Paulo from Praca Benedito Calixto to Alto de Pinheiros

After 10 Do's and Don'ts first forray into Africa with Accra by Mac Jordan we cross the Atlantic and head to Brazil for first 10 Do's and Don'ts in South America thanks to Nana Soma. Amongst other things she blogs for Bag for Life whose models are inspired by recycling combined with images from Copacabana to the Atlantic Forest.

Here's Nana Soma's take on Sao Paulo.



1. Do go to the flea market at Praça Benedito Calixto on a Saturday morning. It’s a great program especially if you like objects from previous decades at special prices. Design, fashion and art shops are also located on both sides of this square, and the restaurant Consulado Mineiro serves the best food from Minas Gerais, a state close to São Paulo.

2. Do you feel like dancing? Voodoohop (below) is the hypest party nowadays! On the contrary of many expensive clubs around the city, this once a week party happens at any place around the old center of Sao Paulo and costs only 10 reais or, if you go by bike, it’s priceless.


3. Do eat the coxinha de frango (a Brazilian snack made of wheat flour and chicken) or the best ham sandwich of Sao Paulo at Estadão , a 24 hour bar.

4. Do well to go to Mercado Municipal , one of the most traditional gourmet points of the city and do eat the mortadela sandwich.

5. Do walk on Avenida Paulista , one of the most important postcards of the city. This great avenue has lots of must see and go places to spend the mornings or afternoons or even the nights. To name some of them: MASP (Sao Paulo Museum of Art); Casa das Rosas, a space where art exhibitions, small concerts, launch of books and a library take place; Conjunto Nacional, a commercial building which hosts, for examples, , one of the greatest bookstore of Brazil; Reserva Cultural, one of many cinemas located at this avenue and its surrondings; the building of FIESP/SESI, where art exhibitions and plays are for free; Parque do Triannon and, much more not only in this avenue but also in these streets, Rua Augusta, da Consolação, Bela Cintra, Haddock Lobo and Alameda Santos.


6. Do spend a day at Parque do Ibirapuera. Located in the urban area, there are many attractions in this famous park. Go for a walk or rent a bike; visit its museums, such as MAM (Museum of Modern Art), Museu Afro Brasil, Pavilhão da Bienal, OCA, among others, but check if exhibitions are taking place; do a picnic for lunch; visit the Japanese garden or the Planetarium and, end the day watching a concert at the Auditório Ibirapuera.


7. Go for a happy-hour with friends at Vila Madalena. This residential neighborhood is best known for its bars where music, food, drinks and flirts take place during the night between the young universitaries and professionals. And if you visit “Vila Madá” (as it’s called) during the daylight, you’ll find fashion, art and design studios and stores which worth the price.

8. Do go for a ride on a bike at Minhocão, an elevated expressway located near to Santa Cecília subway or at this address Avenida Amaral Gurgel on Sundays.

9. Do visit Vila Maria Zélia , the first workers' village in Brazil and today is a popular location for recordings of dramas, soap operas, advertisements and television news material for the reason of being a heavily wooded and quiet has its European architecture houses, warehouses and schools of the early twentieth century.

10. Do well to visit Pinacoteca do Estado , a museum where there are art exhibitions and a collection of national and international paintings. Go there on Saturdays so you don’t pay. Located next to Parque da Luz, there is a coffee house inside the museum where you can take your café or eat pão de queijo (a Brazilian cheese bread) at the outside tables which go to this park. The Museu da Língua Portuguesa (Museum of the Portuguese Language), the Estação da Luz, an old train station, the Sala São Paulo, a concert hall with one of the best acoustics in the world and Rua José Paulino, a street of popular and cheap clothes stores are the highlights near to Pinacoteca.


1. Don’t take the bus or the subway or taxi in the rush hour, especially between 5 – 8 pm. The traffic is just terrible!

2. Don’t miss out the SESC and CCSP (Cultural Center of Sao Paulo) programs which include many cultural events with popular prices.

3. Don’t keep your windows car open or your bag in the passenger seat of the car, there’s a great chance for thieves on a motorcycle to steal it.

4. Do never go to Rua 25 de março and Brás. Both places sell objects and clothing items for a cheap price, are ugly, full of salesclerk screaming in your ears and illegal sellers pushing their items to you on the streets and just impossible to walk.

5. Don’t contribute for the lack of education at the transit.

6. Don’t throw your garbage away on the streets. Otherwise, they will land into the rivers contributing for the caotic floods.

7. Don’t miss out the Mostra Internacional de Cinema (Internacional Film Festival).

8. Don’t arrive just in time at the theaters, you can miss the play.

9. Don’t pass through the city without visiting the MIS (Museum of Image and Sound), MuBE (Brazilian Museum of Sculpture) and Museu do Ipiranga, a museum with a great collection of objects, furmitures and artworks mostly related to the Independence of Brazil.

10. Don’t miss out the sunset at the end of an afternoon at Praça Por do Sol (below), a square located at theneighborhood of Alto de Pinheiros. Many people believe this is the best place to see this nature spectacle in Sao Paulo.


Tudo bem

You can keep up with Nana via For A Conscious Clothing, her bilingual (Portuguese, English) site.

(* Voodoohop image from Voodoohop site)

150 Years of Italian Unity in 2 Wine Bottles, No Small Feat

Italians are proud of their heritage.

The nation's contributions and creations have to cohabit with strong regional identities.


So it is no small feat for Vinitaly to have brought together 20 wine regions and their distinct varieties to blend in 2 wines, a white and a red celebrating 150 years of Italian unity.

They were introduced at Breakfast during Vino 2011 in New York on Tuesday, January 25, 2011.

Each wine includes 20 grape varieties:

For the red:

Valle d’Aosta: Petit rouge
Piemonte: Barbera
Lombardia: Croatina
Liguria: Rossese di Dolceacqua
Veneto: Raboso
Trentino Alto Adige: Teroldego
Friuli Venezia Giulia: Refosco dal peduncolo rosso
Emilia Romagna: Sangiovese
Toscana: Sangiovese
Lazio: Cesanese di Affile
Umbria: Sagrantino
Marche: Lacrima
Abruzzo: Montepulciano
Molise: Tintilia
Puglia: Negroamaro
Campania: Aglianico
Basilicata: Aglianico del Vulture
Calabria: Gaglioppo
Sicilia: Nero d’Avola
Sardegna: Carignano

For the white:

Valle d’Aosta: Priè blanc
Piemonte: Cortese
Liguria: Vermentino
Lombardia: Trebbiano di Lugana
Veneto: Garganega
Trentino Alto Adige: Weissburgunder
Friuli Venezia Giulia: Friulano
Emilia Romagna: Pignoletto
Toscana: Vernaccia di San Gimignano
Umbria: Grechetto
Lazio: Malvasia
Marche: Verdicchio
Abruzzo: Trebbiano
Molise: Falanghina
Puglia: Fiano
Campania: Fiano
Basilicata: Greco
Calabria: Greco bianco
Sicilia: Grillo
Sardegna: Vermentino

A very limited release, both wines will be gifted to dignitaries visiting Italy.

Pleasure in Your Glass, 'Kreutles' Gruner Veltliner by Peter Veyder – Malberg

Before heading to Soiree des Grands Crus, I stopped by IPO Wines offices in NY and find myself lucky that Katell was kind enough to offer me a taste of 'Kreutles' Gruner Veltliner (2008) by Peter Veyder – Malberg whose vineyards are in the warmest part of Wachau, Austria.

It's pure pleasure in your glass, good balance, low alcohol (12,5%).

The lighter, more subtle touch could be attributed to the fact that Peter picks grapes early. Property is not organic certified yet adopted natural practices.

Perfect bottle to pop open with friends.


Kreutles is the name of the vineyards with deep soils at the foot of the Loibenberg, producer informs us.

Wine retails for around $33.

In the US, his wines are imported by Circo Vino...

Bite A Strawberry Near You, Eat Local, Green Patriots Graphic Art Manifesto

It took Italian cheesemaker Naturalmente Lunigiana for me to discover Green Patriot Posters, a book, a movement, graphic art for a cause?

Simple messages like Bite a Strawberry Near You (above).

Pitch perfect as Valentine's Day is fast approaching.