November 28, 2015

LUCCA - A Corner of Tuscany Where OLIVE OIL Is a Deeper Green

The old farmhouse and barn of Colle di Bordocheo, dating from 1800, have been converted into modest apartments for guests with views spanning the acres of olive groves.

Beyond the medieval brick walls that enclose the Tuscan city of  Lucca, the rolling rural hills are blanketed with acres of silver-leaved olive trees.

The arrival of late autumn here signals the season of the olive harvest, as it has since the 1300s... 

The oil of Lucca grassy, herbaceous, with notes of artichoke and a peppery finish is  among the most prized in Italy...

This year’s warm, dry summer and the plentiful  harvest that followed were cause for relief and celebration...


November 26, 2015

AGLIANICOS - Wine School

It is perhaps  Italy's least-known grape...

Aglianico...  has gained the attention of the world only in recent decades as Italy began to realize the great and generous resource it had in its  indigenous grapes...

In Campania, the greatest aglianicos come from the volcanic hills of Taurasi... These wines are dense, tannic and concentrated...

The aglianicos of Taburno - just north of Taurasi - can be gruff and unforgiving in their early years as well.

But the aglianicos from the wider region of Irpinia -in eastern Campania-... are a little more approachable and easygoing in their early years...

NewYorkTimes/Eric Asimov

November 19, 2015

Gaston ACURIO Opens Restaurant In PARIS

Gastón Acurio, star de la cuisine péruvienne.

Aux dernières nouvelles, Manko ouvrira mi-décembre à Paris.

Le premier restaurant français de  Gastón Acurio - star de la cuisine péruvienne - au 15, avenue Montaigne...

November 12, 2015

VENICE - Three Cool Cafes With Great COFFEE—and No Hype

Gran Caffè Quadri - Venice.:
Gran Caffè Quadri - Venice.

Venetians have been partial to their daily caffeine fix since the first coffee houses made their appearance... during the 1600s...

By the late 18th century, coffee drinking had become so fashionable that Venice could boast 208 coffee houses...

Torrefazione Cannaregio resmi:
Torrefazione Cannaregio resmi

Italy is well known for its coffee, but the whole scene has been changing and we had to step up our game...,” says one of the two remaining artisanal roasters in Venice.

As a result, there has been a shift away from blends containing a high percentage of  robusta coffee... nevertheless  responsible  for yielding the rich, unctuous  crema on top of  classic Italian espresso.

If you think coffee should leave you with an  aftertaste of dark chocolate... here are three cool places in Venice for real Italian coffee without the hype...


Caffe del Doge Rosso:

November 10, 2015

The Ethical BUTCHER of PARIS Brings his Beef to TOKYO

Hugo Desnoyer - Parisian Butcher now in Tokyo:

Hugo Desnoyer

Being a  butcher  is hardly a glamorous job in any country — unless you are  Hugo Desnoyer...  No ordinary meat merchant, his business in Paris counts numerous Michelin-starred chefs among its customers...

Now he has opened a shop  in Tokyo... his first move outside of France.

It is a retail store with a “meat bar” tasting counter and a second-floor  sit-down  restaurant, all serving premium beef that he air-freights from France...

November 06, 2015

BREAD Is Broken

Stephen Jones, director of the Bread Lab, at the Washington State University campus in Mount Vernon, Wash.CreditIan C. Bates for The New York Times

Industrial production  destroyed  both the taste  and  the nutritional  value of wheat.

That is the power of industrial agriculture... It has so thoroughly expunged genuine whole-wheat flour from our diet that most of us do not even notice its absence...

One scientist believes he can undo the damage...

Our job at the Bread Lab is not to get all religious on 100-percent whole wheat.’’ Then he caught himself. ‘‘Although,’’ he continued in a quieter voice, ‘‘I guess we do.’’...


November 02, 2015

ITALY - Coasting into Euphoria

Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy:
Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy

Charming vistas and idyllic villages of Italy's  Ligurian  coast fuel an indecent obsession...

As our coach winds its way around the coast, also known as the Italian Riviera...  we pass Genoa... and drive through neighbouring  Rapallo  before...  seeing Santa Margherita' pretty harbour floating in front of our flight-blurred eyes, like a vision from an old impressionist masterpiece.

It is love at first sight - an idyllic seaside city, bathed in sunshine  and nestled beneath lush, green  hills dotted with perfect  villas in muted colours...

NewZealandHerald/ Carol Smith

October 30, 2015

Jeong KWAN - KOREA - the Philosopher Chef

Pickled lotus root, sea trumpet and white radish, prepared by the nun Jeong Kwan.
CreditJackie Nickerson

The most exquisite  food  in the world - say many celebrated chefs - is being made not in Copenhagen or New York...
but in a   remote  temple complex south of Seoul  by  a 59-year-old Buddhist nun...

And this seems like the most  Zen idea of all... 
that one of the world’s  greatest  chefs can often be found mapping out her meals  in silence and  solitude...  plucking mint leaves in a garden that feels far... far away from  anything resembling  preening egos and  gastronomic luxury...

October 29, 2015

Three WINES from GEORGIA - A Country with an 8,000-year Wine History

Many oenophiles aren't even aware that wine is made in  Georgia  - the country, not the state - but -  for experts -  it's an  exciting  region  that is well worth exploring.

Georgia is said to be one of the world's oldest wine regions, having been producing for 8,000 years.

"Georgians do not make wine. They give birth to the wine. A wine is like a person. It is born, lives and dies".

Wines are made by crushing the grapes and fermenting the liquid, skins, pips and stalks in beeswax-lined clay pots called  qvevri,  which range from 400 to 2,000 litres in capacity and, when full, are buried in the ground.

The most popular white variety... is rkatsiteli - meaning "red stem"... Kisi... has come back from near extinction...

The entire wine making process takes place within the Qvevri:
The entire wine making process takes place within the Qvevri

October 27, 2015

Chef Magnus NILSSON Preserving Nordic Cuisine - Exclusive Interview -

Magnus Nilsson in the Faroe Islands, whose culinary culture he explores in a new collection of recipes, "The Nordic Cookbook." Credit

Magnus Nilsson discusses the importance of documenting uncensored culinary culture, why he refuses to give more interviews — and Tinder.

In “The Nordic Cookbook” - released Stateside today - Nilsson endeavors to document the 700 recipes he believes  define  - and can preserve - modern Nordic culinary culture.

We can theorize how people ate in the old days, but we can’t recreate it, so it’s important to document and keep the transfer of food knowledge going,” Nilsson says.

He believes this transfer has been most seamless in the Faroe Islands...  and the most traditional of the Nordic countries that span from Greenland to Finland.

He also knows that with tradition comes controversy, and trusts the reader to decide whether certain recipes are worth cooking - or preserving -.

One example is pilot whale - which is legally hunted in the Faroe Islands - even though it’s gone from necessary dietary staple...  And while Nilsson’s publisher didn’t oppose such recipes’ inclusion in the book, Nilsson had to fight to include photos of the animals’ slaughter.

I think very few people are going to cook those recipes — but they’re necessary to understanding the culture, and I fought very hard to include those pictures of bloody whales to the point I would not submit the book if I didn’t get them in, because I don’t think it’s right to censor culture,says Nilsson. 

I could have made the book look like a fairy-tale version of Nordic cooking, but what point would that be?”