Posts from October 2011

Ready to Pop a Few Corks for Champagne Day 2011 on Friday, October 28?

If anyone needed a reason to drink Champagne and share their choice and impressions with the world, Champagne Day 2011 on October 28 does just that.

Born on the web, Champagne Day invites you to join in:

"All you have to do to participate is get some champagne, which incidentally only comes from the Champagne region of France, in your glass on October 28, 2011. Share your photos, tasting notes, experiences or videos on any social media site, and be sure to add the #ChampagneDay hash tag.

You'll be able to search what other wine lovers are sharing by searching posts using tools like Tweetdeck, Google, or to name a few.  This is a global event set to run 24 hours in order to give everyone time to share a glass when it makes sense in their time zone.

Want to organize your own get together or find out where the action is?  Use  to add yours to the map.

Date and time:

Friday, October 28th  2011 12:01 am to 12pm PST. We have chosen to make this a 24-hour event so that our friends from around the globe can participate."

Champagne day
Since having wine and food with friends is social by nature, popping a few corks with fellow wine lovers on Champagne Day 2011 makes more sense than a solitary tasting shared with cyber friends.

Events like this also gives us a chance to show our commitment to protect wine place and origin.

Thanks to Benoit of Champagne Tarlant for bringing this to my attention. His sister Melanie is involved with the French leg of the event.

Benoit mentions in Vendredi c'est Champagne Day that if you happen to be in Reims, Le Bocal will host a Champagne Party starting at 8 pm with shellfish and Champagne on the menu.

(* Vendredi c'est Champagne Day as well as the rest of Champagne Tarlant blog is in French only)

14th NY Chocolate Show, Newcomers include Prestat, Vincent Guerlais, November 10-13

I stopped counting how many editions of the NY Chocolate Show I have attended.

Will 2011 mark my 6th or 7th visit?

As the show is little more than 2 weeks away, I scrolled the exhibitors list to see which new names popped up.

Amongst the newcomers (unless I missed them in previous shows), I noticed a UK presence with Prestat. They call Choxi the new big thing in chocolate.

I did not have the time to visit Vincent Guerlais boutique during my brief visite to Nantes early September. The presence of self-described 'agitateur de papilles' in New York will hopefully make up for it. I hope I can sample their 'Pate a Tartiner' (pictured below).

Pate a tartiner

The 14th NY Chocolate Show plants its tent at Metropolitan Pavillion from November 10 to November 13.

Tickets are available online...

Pour Bourgueil in Your Glass for Dinner, Les Castines 2009, Red Wine

How wrong can you go when you see a Loire Valley wine priced under $10 (before tax) at a local store?

You pick a couple bottles.

With Les Castines (2009) you get a red 100% Cabernet Franc grown on clay and limestone soil with dark  fruits flavors and a well rounded personality.

Enjoy with venisson, meats straight off the grill and cheese like Reblochon.


Another thing Loire Valley wines have going for them is their low alcohol level, in this case 12,5%

Try Les Castines if you see it gracing the shelves of your local shop.


FAS makes Amazonian Forest worth more Standing than Cut, Google Documents

Sustainable agriculture, eco-tourism are words bandied around by many players around the world.

When you scratch the surface, there is a lot of green wash going on.

In Brazil, FAS (Fundacao Amazonas Sustentavel) is putting its money where its mouth is by helping communities build businesses from the ground up that will help support them while protecting their surroundings.

They will surely get a boost in awareness, fundraising and the interest of travelers once Google Street View starts broadcasting images of the area.

Health and education facilities are part of the project as illustrated by facility below in Tumbira, one of five.


You can get an idea of what's going on thanks to the Voices from the Forest videos.

'Making the forest worth more standing than cut' for Green Day # 198

Previously: Carbon Emissions 10 Times Higher for Air Freight than Sea Freight plus Trailer


(* Photo from FAS website)

Sweden Calling, Lingonberry Cheesecake Recipe from Traditional Swedish Cooking

Swedish cuisine had a seat at the table during Nordic Feed event I attended late August in Copenhagen.

It was not represented on my ever expanding bookshelves until I was the lucky recipent of Traditional Swedish Cooking (Skyhorse Publishing, October 22, 2011) by Caroline Hofberg.

I will not try to highlight the differences between Swedish cooking and that of its Scandinavian neighbors. I am still getting my feet wet regarding this region of the world.

In her introduction, Caroline Hofberg credits her grandmother's cookbooks as an inspiration instarting this project.

Like her Danish neighbors, she writes that she 'is concerned with how to preserve our traditional Swedish food culture while alllowing it to develop with the exoric influences that our current times give us access to.'

Her book offers numerous 'herrings' variations including buckling recipes, for example Aquavit herring with root vegetables.

The photos illustrating Traditional Swedish Cooking don't limit themselves to food, they show its scenery from flowers to sea, its people. They give you a real feel for the place, illuminating the subject.

Choosing a couple recipes to share was a challenge as I liked many of them.

What could be more part of Nordic food than lingonberries?

Here's a slice of Traditional Swedish Cookbook.


To me, lingonberries and cinnamon are typical fall and winter flavors, but they go well together any time of the year. I like to use lingonberries and lingonberry jam when baking, because the berries have a refreshing and moderately sweet taste.

Serves 8–10

8.8 oz. graham crackers
7 tbsp. melted butter
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

3 eggs
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
7 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup crème fraîche
2 tsp. vanilla sugar
1/3 cup lingonberry jam

1 gelatin leaf
1/3 cup of concentrated lingonberry juice (You can also use concentrated cranberry juice.)
1/3 cup lingonberry jam

Lingonberry Cheesecake (2)

- Crumble biscuits in a food processor.Add the melted butter and cinnamon and mix into a crumbly mass. Press the dough into a baking pan with removable bottom, 10 inches in diameter. Let it stand in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Prebake the piecrust in the middle of the oven for about

- Beat eggs and sugar until fluffy.Whisk in the remaining ingredients.

- Pour filling into the pie shell and bake on the middle rack of the oven, about 35 minutes. The filling should have gelled somewhat but still be a little loose in the middle.The filling will firm up even more once it cools off. Let the pie cool.

- Soak the gelatin leaf in cold water for about 5 minutes. Heat the lingonberry drink and remove the pan from the heat. Remove the gelatin leaf from cold water and allow it to slowly melt in the lingonberry drink. Let the gel cool in the fridge until it has a suitable consistency that can be spooned over the pie.

- Spread a thin layer of jam over the pie and carefully spoon the gel over it. Cover the pie and store it in the refrigerator, preferably overnight.

(* Lingonberry Cheesecake recipe from Traditional Swedish Cooking by Caroline Hofberg- Skyhorse Publishing, October 22, 2011- reproduced by permission of the publisher, all rights reserved)

Comforting Sweet Potato and Cumin Soup with Feta Yogurt from Soup Glorious Soup

It's not cold yet as we are reaching the end of October, mornings are getting a tad chilly.

Soup is the perfect dish to warm up one's body and soul.

Annie Bell reminds us with Soup Glorious Soup (Kyle Books, US edition, October 2011) that soup is one of these dishes that can be enjoyed throughout the day, as an appetizer, as a main dish.

I previously shared her Portuguese Fish Stew, today I chose her Sweet potato and cumin soup with feta yogurt as a second excerpt from Soup Glorious Soup.

Sweet potato and cumin soup with feta yogurt

Sweet potatoes are fabulous soup material, in fact I think this is my favorite way of serving them. Like parsnips and carrots, the result is thick and comforting. All three vegetables can be approached in a similar manner, so if you have a particular preference for one it may translate well in this recipe – they all marry well with spices and salty cheeses. Here it’s the orange-fleshed potatoes you want.

Serves 6

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

1 heaping teaspoon ground cumin

a pinch of dried red pepper flakes

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced

5 cups chicken or vegetable stock

sea salt

3 ounces feta, crumbled

5 ounces Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (optional), to serve

Sweet potato cumin

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until soft and glossy, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, cumin and red pepper flakes and cook for a minute longer. Add the sweet potato, and continue to cook for another couple of minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in the stock and season with salt, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, by which time the potato should be very tender. Puree the soup in batches in the blender. Return it to the saucepan and season with a little more salt, if necessary.

Combine the feta and yogurt in a bowl and dollop a spoonful on top of each bowl of soup. Scatter a teaspoon of chopped sun-dried tomatoes on top, if using.

(* Recipe from Soup Glorious Soup by Annie Bell published by Kyle Books, U.S edition, October 2011, reproduced by permission, all rights reserved. Photo by Richard Jung).

Gluten Free Lemon Wasabi Sauce from Rothschild Farm, 2 Jars for the Taking

All that stands between an OK dish and something that transports you can be down to small things.

Seasoning or the sauce you pick maybe?

Fancy a gluten free addition to your pantry, we have 2 jars of Gluten Free Lemon Wasabi Sauce from Robert Rothschild Farm for the taking.

Lemon wasabi
What do you need to do in order to win?

Offer 2 dishes/ foods for which this sauce is perfect companion.

Use the comments to share your ideas or e-mail us at info [at] njconcierges [dot] com

All entries must be received by 8 PM (US Eastern) on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

We have 2 jars for the taking (one per person).

Winners will be picked on the basis of best suggestions.

This contest is opened to US readers only.

4 Decades of Photography Covered in An Evening with Daido Moriyama, Japan Society, NY, November 3

With paid work intruding on my writing schedule, I guess I will have to have a few rapid fire pieces ready to be loaded.

The Japan Society in New York served me with a perfect fit for this week's Tokyo Thursdays with their lecture An Evening with Daido Moriyama on November 3.

Self portrait

What's in it for you?

"For over four decades, Daido Moriyama has been publishing and exhibiting his photographs, producing a prolific body of work that includes over 300 monographs. In this special program, Moriyama and Christopher Phillips, Curator, International Center of Photography, discuss Moriyama's varied photographic projects, including photo books, recent photography and early projects, namely the series 71 New York and the 1974 performance PRINTING SHOW.

This program is presented in conjunction with a re-staging of PRINTING SHOW at Aperture Foundation (Nov. 4-5)."


$14/$10 Japan Society members, seniors & students

Photograph as memory for Tokyo Thursdays # 209

Previously: Mountain Yam Shitake Recipe, Taste of Japan from Salsas of the World Cookbook


(* Illustration: Self-Portrait (detail) by Daido Moriyama © 2011. Courtesy of the photographer, from program page, all rights reserved)

Fuller's ESB from Chiswick, What French Guy from NJ Drinks after 2 Wine Tastings

On Wednesday after Protect Wine Place and Origin event I walked a few blocks to NY tasting of Vinitaly Tour 2011.

Both offered interesting finds and some unusual grapes.

My palate was wine tired though by the end of the day and before catching the train back home I made a quick stop at Whole Foods to pick coffee and a beer for dinner.

Making a snap decision, I grabbed a bottle of Fuller's ESB straight from Chiswick, London.

Fuller's esb

It quenched my thirst.

What the French Guy from New Jersey drinks after 2 wine tastings.

Protect Wine Place and Origin, From Champagne to Jerez and Sonoma, 15 Signatures

Couples from time to time re-affirm their commitment.

Originally signed on July 26, 2005 The Joint Declaration to Protect Wine Place & Origin and 15 regions now support the endeavor.

Their aim is simple, reaffirm the importance of terroir, respect the identity of each region an offer wine consumers the world assurance that when they buy a wine labelled Champagne it does come from the Champagne region and a Red Burgundy is not a jug wine.

It is not a European centric initiative, a number of American wine regions have joined the effort.

15 members so far are: 

Champagne, France; Chianti Classico, Italy; Jerez, Spain; Long Island, New York; Napa Valley, California; Oregon state; Paso Robles, California; Porto, Portugal; Rioja, Spain; Sonoma County, California; Tokaj, Hungary; Victoria, Australia; Walla Walla Valley, Washington; Washington state; and Western Australia

Many of them where present at Craft in New York on October 19, 2011 to re-affirm their commitment to protect wine place and origin.

Morning work delayed my arrival so I missed the speeches. I did have a chance to taste a number of wines and found time to speak with a number of producers and evangelists.

I will share that part in a separate piece.

An open letter calling for respect of wine origins received support of following chefs ans sommeliers:

Thomas Keller from Per Se and the French Laundry; Ferran Adrià from El Bulli; Daniel Boulud from Daniel; Alexandre Ferrand from Alain Ducasse; Wolfgang Puck from Wolfgang Puck Restaurants; Antoine Hernandez from Joël Robuchon; Michel Richard from Citronelle; José Andrés from Jaleo and minibar; Pontus Elofsson from Noma; Charlie Palmer from Charlie Palmer

Chefs, wine shops, sommeliers, importers and others involved in the wine trade who want to see Truth in Labeling applied to wine can Sign Up and help promote this global effort.