Category Archives: farm to table

These Days, The Wine Buzz is All About Relatinships

Robert Parker used to be the main dude in the wine trade. Wine makers hoped that he would give them high numerical points when he sipped their new offerings. If he did, they could sell at high prices. If he did not, they were behind the eight ball.

But things have changed. Or should I say, things are changing. These days, the wine trade is being disrupted by a wave of new wineries that are making “natural wine”. These wines have different taste profiles. Profiles that Parker wouldn’t recognize.

And these new producers are being championed by a new generation of wine experts. These are people who venture out to all sorts of new places to find natural wine producers, and bring their products home.

In the US, the means that the District of Columbia has a competitive advantage when it comes to this new dimension of the wine trade. Why?

In all 50 states, bars and restaurants are required to buy from a licensed distributor, who buys from an importer, who buys from a producer—a system that incentivizes distributors to only purchase well-known wines they’re sure they can sell. But D.C. isn’t a state, so (a restaurant or bar) can bypass the distributor and buy directly from the small, independent winemakers (it) wants to highlight.

To do that, the restaurant needs a flesh and blood person who goes out to find this stuff. Enter Maria Bastasch – wine director of Maydan — a great DC restaurant.

This is a fun story! And it is the type of story we will see a lot more of in the next years.



In Normandy, Cows are Kings!

I knew that there was something special about Normandy dairy, but I didn’t know much about it.

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Dave Lebovitz has corrected that shortcoming for me.

Dave writes about his trip to Normandy — getting into the details of production of Normandy camenbert, creme fraiche,  and butter.

This is one reason why I want to include a jaunt through Normandy in my fantasy expedition from London to Paris through Cornwall and Normandy!

looking for Natural Wine in London? Here are Your Best Bets!

I see the natural wine movement as part of a larger movement where folks demand more fresh food – call it farm to table, if you will.. Fewer chemicals. Fewer additives.More relationships with local purveyors and growers.More interesting flavors. More open talk about what goes into our bodies.

So there you are in London. You are craving natural wine. Where do you go? Have no fear! Here are 5 picks that will serve you well!

I would go for

The Laughing Heart
277 Hackney Rd, London, E2 8NA

Part off-license, part wine bar and part restaurant – Charlie Mellor’s Laughing Heart on Hackney Road is a low-lit sexy late-night hangout with a spectacular list of small wine producers that changes by the minute. Chef Tom Anglesea’s British-meets-Far East menu is the perfect accoutrement, with dishes such as the Bonito Crudo and Nam Jim and Sichuan Crème Brûlée.


BTW, if you are in London this weekend, there is a lot going on — including this rather unusual food event

FOOD FESTIVAL: Tuck into all manner of grub inside the Tower of London moat. A food festival pops up in the erstwhile waterway, with artisan traders selling everything from cheese to gin. Street food stalls sell nosh to tuck into then and there, and celebrity chefs cook up a storm in the demo kitchen. Look our for beefeaters actually eating beef too. Tower of London, included in admission, 13-15 September

Something Cool is Brewing in San Juan

From BA

Hope tastes like plantains and pernil. Two years after Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit Puerto Rico, rebuilding efforts have led to an increased emphasis on sustainable farming, breaking up the colonial legacy of industrialized agriculture and reliance on imported food while also doubling down on native ingredients. Now local farmers enjoy steady business from seasonally minded chefs pushing the culinary heritage of cocina criolla. Both farmers and chefs are powered by a resilient spirit that can be witnessed in real time, as La Placita de Santurce is packed once more with dancers balancing flaky empanadillas and Medalla beer. At these upstart and legacy spots, the food of Puerto Rico has never felt more Puerto Rican.

Kelly Mariani and the Art of Making things Easier

Life is hard enough. So, you might ask, why do we make it more so?

But we do. We do it by striving for things that have little actual value. Things that seem worth having, but in fact are only valuable in our dreams.

I was reminded of this by an article about Kelly Mariani. Kelly runs the kitchen in her family’s Scribe Winery in Somona. And this sentence about Kelly got me going

Best of all, she made (her cooking) look easy. Unlike chefs who want to be known for their “restaurant food,” Kelly Mariani cooks the way all of us should, and also the way we could.

Here is Kelly

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Here is the result of her work

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And this

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And this

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And this

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Check out the article. It is a fun read over coffee!

Rosé from Txakolina?

One can be mistaken for thinking that only the Provence region makes rosé. Not true by a long shot. These great summer wines come from all over the place. And one of those places is Basque Country. Eric Asimo writes

Ameztoi is from Basque Country in northern Spain, which has no rosé tradition. Ameztoi started making this wine in the last 10 years or so, and it has proved to be highly popular in the United States.

It is from the Txakolina region.

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It is light — and I think worth a try.  You might even consider visiting to check out the people who make the wine!

Cellar Tours can do this for you as part of their Basque Country Food an Wine Tour

Northern Spain Gastronomy offers a tour as well (I guarantee you that this name will grate on the nerves of the Basque who do not like to be thought of as “northern Spain”)

you might also check out Basque Tours

What do you think?