Posts from March 2013

Year Number 9 of Serge the Concierge Starts on Easter Sunday 2013

I often let the mark of a new year starting for 'Serge the Concierge' pass me by.

Not in 2013.

Past 7 months have seen my writing slow down more because of an increased work load than a lack of interest (on my part) or topics.

All my pics 3993

This new vintage will be made of less words and more photos and I hope at least a video or two each month.

I also hope to reboot 10 Do's and Don'ts and a steady stream of interviews, some in video form.

Thanks all for reading

Happy Easter, Joyeuses Paques!

(* Photo take at Cite de l'Espace in Toulouse in August 2012, Galaxies, a Billion Light Years view-gives you sense of perspective)

Ante, Etna Upside Down, Aromatic Sicilian White Blend of Carricante, Minnella, Greganico

Giving a second (or third) look at wines that got my attention at Slow Wine Guide 2013 tasting in New York in January, I realized that a few whites from Sicily were amongst them and that I had failed to mention them.

Let me start with Ante 2010 from I Custodi delle vigne dell'Etna in Castiglione di Sicilia, mostly carricante (70%) with balance made of minnella and greganico, all native varieties, aromatic yet crisp, winemaker calls Ante the son of the volcano.

Next Bianco Pomice 2010 from Tenuta di Castellaro on slopes of Lipari in Aeolian islands whose wines all are named after stones.

The Pomice is 60% Malvasia delle Lipari and 30% Carricante with 10% balance from unnamed local varieties. Floral with good acidity, winemaker suggested clams, oysters and especially grilled sea scallops as perfect food companions.

A toast to Sicily's surprising whites

Slice That Steak, Tagliata with Green Tomatoes, Oregano and Mustard from 'Full of Flavor'

I first became aware of Maria Elia culinary talent thanks to her participation in Sani Gourmet festival in 2010 so i was delighted when Full of Flavor: 18 Ingredients...Endless Possibilities (Kyle Books USA, April 2013) landed in my mailbox.

Maria Elia turns these 18 ingredients into 100 plus recipes.

Each chapter opens up with a map of sort of options and attributes so you can create like a chef.

For example 'Oily Fish' she serves following facts and suggestions:

"Could be Mackerel that you can 'bring to life with tangy ginger, rice vinegar, rich sesame and salty soy sauce'. It is rich in Omega 3 and contains vitamins A, D and B12..."

First recipe I chose to share from Full of Flavor is an invitation to slice that steak.

Tagliata with Green Tomatoes, Oregano and Mustard 

This dish brings back fond memories of my time spent working in Tuscany. Tagliata literally means "to slice." In Tuscany, they usually make this with sirloin or tenderloin; personally, I think rib eye works just as well.

Serves 4

14oz green tomatoes (about 2 large), cores removed

3 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

sea salt

3 tsp chopped oregano leaves

pinch of crushed red pepper


2–4 tbsp demerara sugar, to taste

3 tbsp Savora mustard (if unavailable, use 11/2 tsp Dijon mustard)

1/4 cup white wine or cider vinegar

For the steaks

2 rib-eye steaks, about 10oz each and 3/4in thick

dash of olive oil

sea salt and black pepper

leaves of 1 sprig of rosemary, finely chopped

2 handfuls of arugula

shaved Parmesan (optional) 

Full of Flavour Tagliata

To prepare the tomatoes, slice them 1/2in thick. Gently heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, remove from heat, add the garlic, and allow to warm through. Return the pan to the heat and add the tomatoes. Season with sea salt and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for another 10–15 minutes, or until the tomatoes have softened but still hold their shape. They should be sweet, but slightly sour. You may need to do this in batches depending on how large your frying pan is.

To prepare the steaks, drizzle them with olive oil and mix together some salt, pepper, and the rosemary and rub over the meat.

Preheat a ridged grill pan and briskly sear the steaks on either side for 2–3 minutes for a medium-rare result. Set aside to rest before slicing.

To serve, place the tomatoes on either individual plates or a large serving dish. Toss the arugula with the olive oil and place on top of the tomatoes.

Slice the steak diagonally into 3/4in pieces and loosely arrange over the arugula. Serve immediately, with shaved Parmesan, if desired.

(* Recipe from 'Full of Flavor' by Maria Elia- published by Kyle Books USA, April 2013-  reproduced with permission- Photography by Jonathan Gregson)

Nest of Eggs Hatching Chocolates or is it Truffles for Easter at Paul A. Young, London

The nest of eggs full of chocolates (or is it truffles?) at Paul A. Young in London might not be the largest Easter treat you could think of yet I am sure its richness makes up for it.


If you are too far from London to get a hold of one of them, you can always start Easter sunday with 2 recipes by Paul A. Young, Venezuelan Chocolate Maple Pancakes or the Aztec Hot Chocolate both from Adventures in Chocolate (Kyle Books).


Double Chocolate Moonshine Cookie, Davey by Musette Bakery will Fuel Red Hook Crit Riders

Sports and baking are cited by Musette Bakery as their main sources of inspiration.

With their latest creation, Davey, double chocolate moonshine cookies made with Kings County Distillery 'Moonshine corn whiskey' go beyond health bars.


It will fuel Red Hook Criterium riders on March 30, 2013.

I discovered Musette Bakery while trying to find out what connects Chalet and cycling after receiving an invitation to attend launch party for Chalet Magazine inaugural issue, “New York - New York.” A magazine about cycling.

I personally associate the word Chalet with Ski not Cycling. Maybe it's just me.

Attending Chalet magazine launch party might be a way to find out.

White / Orange Rkatsiteli 'Lagvini', Organic Kveri Wine from Kakheti, Vegan and Vegetarian Friendly

Not content with managing a slew of projects from TV Show to Raw Fair (organic wine festival in London), master of wine Isabelle Legeron also known as That Crazy French Woman in past few months launched Lagvini, an organic Kveri wine made with organic Rkatsiteli grapes in Kakheti, eastern Georgia.


This white/orange wine is a collaboration between Isabelle and Eko Glonti.

Press release describes Rkasiteli 'Lagvini' as "a natural, orange wine, fermented and aged in a kvevri - traditional, Georgian clay pots buried deep underground. This ancient winemaking method, from 6000 BC, is the oldest in the world."

It is vegan and vegetarian friendly.

The Lagvaniri joint venture also offers a red wine, 2011 Saperavi "Gvino" (100% Saperavi)

Both wines are available through Dynamic Wines in the UK.

Chocolate Chicken Takes A Bath, Poule Mouillee from A La Mere de Famille, Paris

Would you trade a bagful of Peeps and other generic Easter candies for a chocolate chicken that takes a bath.

If you don't mind a late delivery, A La Mere de Famille, a unique Paris shop founded in 1761 has that very chocolate chicken in store with La Poule Mouillee, created by Julien Merceron for their Easter 2013 collection.

Not sure if 'label bleu' (blue label) is available only at Colette a store with more than fashion on its mind.

A giant version of the Poule Mouillee was in full display in Colette's window prior to an Easter egg hunt that A la Mere de Famille and Colette co-organized.

It took place in Jardin des Tuileries, in the afternoon of Wednesday, March 27.

(* Image of Poule Mouillee from A la Mere de Famille photo album on Facebook page)

Kerner, Lagrein, 20 Alto Adige Wineries April Visit to Denver, Washington D.C and New York, No Hay Bath

20 something Alto Adige wineries come to Denver (Monday 22), Washington D.C (Wednesday 24) and finally New York (Thursday 25) in April for Alto Adige Wines 'Discover Italian Wines at Their Peak' Grand Tasting Tour 2013.

Since it is a trade and media only event, it takes place in the afternoon. It remains to be seen whether my concierge work schedule will allow me to attend.


Winery Line Up in New York is:

Abbazia di Novacella
Cantina Andriano
Bolzano Winery
Cantina Valle Isarco
Kaltern Caldaro
Cortaccia Winery
Elena Walch
Erste + Neue
Franz Haas Winery
Tenuta Lentsch
Nals Margreid
Castel Sallegg
Cantina Produttori
San Michele Appiano
St. Pauls Winery
Cantina Terlano
Viticoltori Alto Adige
Peter Zemmer

I don't think a hay bath is part of the offerings.

I have to thank Ines Giovanett of Castelfeder, one of the wineries present, for sending me invitation to attend.

Among Castelfeder white wines is Kerner Lahn, 100 % Kerner (a cross between Trollinger and Riesling) produced in South Tyrol since 1970's.

If you are a red wine drinker, have you tried a Lagrein?

If I can make it to New York tasting, I will be happy to see Elena Walch and Peter Zemmer again.

Little Pick Me Up, Kentucky Bourbon Cake Recipe from 'Vintage Cakes'

As I do from time to time, I've been revisiting recipe requests i made over past 9 months.

Some titles like Vintage Cakes (Ten Speed Press, Summer 2012) by Julie Richardson, the head baker of Baker and Spice in Portland, Oregon deserve that I share a second helping.

Kentucky Bourbon Cake

10 to 12 servings

Bake time pan
40 to 45 minutes 10-cup fluted metal tube pan, greased

3 cups (12 ounces) sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter
11/2 cups (101/2 ounces) sugar
1/2 cup (33/4 ounces) firmly packed brown sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup bourbon
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (51/4 ounces) sugar
1/4 cup bourbon

Kentucky Cake

Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350F.

To make the cake, sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt in a bowl, then whisk the mixture by hand to ensure that the ingredients are well mixed.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. As you make the batter, stop the mixer frequently and scrape the paddle and the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Blend in the eggs one at a time.

Combine the bourbon and buttermilk in a small bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk-bourbon mixture in two parts, beginning and ending with the flour. After each addition, mix until just barely blended and stop and scrape the bowl. Stop the mixer before the last of the flour has been incorporated and complete the blending by hand with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly. Place the pan in the oven and bake until the cake is golden and springs back when touched, 40 to 45 minutes.

Make the glaze by combining the butter, sugar, and bourbon in a small saucepan over low heat just until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves, whisking to combine.

Remove the cake from the oven but leave it in the pan. Poke holes all over the top of the cake with a wooden skewer. Pour three-quarters of the glaze slowly over the cake, saving the remaining glaze. Allow the cake to cool for 30 minutes, then flip it out onto a serving plate so the glazed part is on the bottom.

Brush the top with the remaining glaze. If the glaze has thickened, rewarm it over low heat.

(* Reprinted with permission from Vintage Cakes: Timeless Cupcakes, Flips, Rolls, Layer, Angel, Snack, Chiffon and Icebox Cakes for Today’s Sweet Tooth by Julie Richardson, copyright © 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Photo credit: Erin Kunkel © 2012)

Passage Pavé, Rue du Jardinet Paris, Quiet Paved Street, Little Boutiques near Boulevard St Germain

My last day in France before returning to the USA last September was spent in Paris.

While walking around Paris, i caught sight of one of the Passages Pavés that you find here and there around the capital.

They are an oasis of peace a few steps away from the boulevards.

IMAG1029 (1)

This passage near Boulevard Saint-Germain (6eme Arrondissement) is i believe named Rue du Jardinet (Little Garden Street).

I did not indulge in any of the chocolates or pastries at Patisserie on right or a beer at Brasserie Relais de l'Odeon on left.