Category Archives: food and Wine

Some Second Thoughts about the Natural Wine Movement

This might get your attention (from Opinionated about Dining)

… if people like to feel as if they are having sex with a corpse while drinking a bottle of wine, well more power to them.




Fetch me the Falanghina!

My wine drinking tends to follow certain  patterns. Certain times of the year, for example, bring out my desire for certain types of wine.

But I will break the pattern this autumn. I will break it because of a single paragraph that I read this morning.  Here it is

My wedding was a casual one—50 or so friends and family gathered at a farm along the Maine coast. Still, it took weeks of planning. There were the strings of lights that my soon-to-be wife, Christina, and I hung from the rafters of the old barn. There were the wildflowers we picked and arranged for each table. There were the mini lobster rolls and hot-smoked whole salmon and crackly porchetta on the menu that I’d spent weeks planning with chef Melissa Kelly from nearby Primo restaurant. And there were the five cases of Falanghina white wine and the A-ha–heavy playlist that I’d stressed over (to keep my Norwegian bride happy, of course). But after all that, it was the handle of Wild Turkey 101 whiskey that stole the show.

Forget the Wild Turkey! Falanghina? It is a varietal that I do not know.  I discovered more from Victoria Moore at The Guardian

(ia Collina Falanghina 2009 ) offers a gentle, neroli-scented, mouthful of summer that’s ridiculously easy to drink and is equally comfortable simply sluicing off the frustrations of the day as accompanying fish straight off the barbecue. Think whole sea bream with its skin crisped in salt and olive oil. Think crab toasts. Think red mullet with braised fennel.

And that is the least notable of the 3 falanghina’s that she recommends!

It is no longer summer here in Tartu. The autumn rains have come along with cooler weather. The little birds in my garden  are getting ready for winter. Never mind! I am going to find a case of summer sunshine!

Fetch me the Falanghina! More on this adventure later!

Eric Asimov has written about falanghina. His favorites

… the simpler $17 2013 Beneventano Falanghina from Vesevo was our favorite: savory, resonant and refreshing with great minerality. It was also our best value. We also very much liked the 2013 Falanghina del Sannio from Mastroberardino, a wine with intensity and staying power that belied its pale color. It’s worth remembering that Mastroberardino was the pioneering winery in Campania that worked to preserve and promote the region’s indigenous grapes decades before anyone else was paying attention.

This tidbit from the article also got my attention

I have long believed (falanghina) to be a source of highly pleasant wines with lively acidity and intriguing floral and mineral flavors. It can be a great value on restaurant wine lists. Maybe it doesn’t have the potential of fiano, another ancient grape of Campania, to make wines of depth, complexity and finesse. Nonetheless, what it does do, I’ve thought, it does well.

Finao? Another varietal that I must try!

what is Tortél Dóls?

Good question.

It’s the archetypal dish of Colorno: a ravioli that contains a unique, bittersweet stuffing. Tradition says that the dish is said to have originated at around the time of the early 19th century. Napoleon’s second wife, the Duchess of Parma, Empress Marie-Louise of France, was said to provide the boatmen of Sacca di Colorno with this very dish (essentially sweet tortelli).

It looks like this

Image result for Tortél Dóls

Too bad! We just missed the Great Gala of Tortél Dóls.!

Perhaps next year?


Crimes Against Noodles!

What could go wrong with noodles? Plenty! Here is an example

The whole point of a bowl of noodle soup in an Asian country is that it’s one of the least expensive, most filling meals you can buy. Taiwan’s Niu Ba Ba, nevertheless, has a version that will run you a cool $325 USD. The dish, dubbed the Presidential Beef Noodle Soup, contains prime beef cuts imported from the US and Australia and a blend of six meticulously tended broths. While it does technically sound very delicious, we don’t know a soul who would shell out that kind of dough for a dish best enjoyed at a roadside stand or hawker market.

And there is more  Check it out!

A Refresher on Quenelles

Apparently Senator Joe Manchin could use some assistance when it comes to quenelles. Food Republic reports

It’s not just kids who can be persuaded with ice cream. Last Tuesday, Senator Joe “Ice Cream Egg” Manchin (D-WV) was particularly wowed by a dessert served at the White House. The dinner was attended by democratic senators as part of a renewed effort by President Trump to gain wider support for his domestic agenda. Manchin appeared on several talk shows the following morning, including CBS This Morning, where host Norah O’Donnell asked if he had “one scoop or two scoops of ice cream.” He had one, and it blew his mind. “I wondered why I was getting an egg with my dessert,” he said, with the endearing whimsy of a kid on Christmas morning.

Of course, it was an ice cream quenelle — ice cream formed into the shape of an egg. This is an extension of the original idea of quenelles. Originally, they were made with fish. From Wikipedia

There are many ways to prepare quenelles de brochet, but most recipes first prepare a panade, essentially a thick white sauce, then combine the panade with fish, and put the mixture through a sieve such as a tamis, yielding a forcemeat. The quenelles are shaped from the forcemeat and then poached. They may be served sauced and grilled, or with a variety of sauces.[3] Pike has tasty flesh but many small bones, and passing it through a tamis is an expedient way of removing them.

The end product comes out like this

Image result for Lyon quenelle

Looking for quenelle paradise? Lyons is the place for you! NYT reported back in 1991

The best way to experience what quenelles are, as distinct from what they are not, is to eat them in a Lyons restaurant that specializes in traditional Lyonnais cooking, because the dish really has no close equivalent in the cuisine of other countries or even of other French cities. The person who first created it presumably gathered ingredients that were local and plentiful, and turned them into a work of art.

Most important among these ingredients were pike from nearby ponds and streams, often from the Dombes, the watery lands to the northeast of Lyons; eggs from the poultry-raising region of Bresse to the north, and butter and cream from the dairylands adjacent to the city in several directions. Freshwater crayfish, an essential ingredient of quenelles with Nantua sauce (a Lyonnais specialty even though it is named for a town 60 miles away) were also readily available.

This is the place you want to go – La Mere Brazier Shall we meet for lunch?

Image result for La Mere Brazier Lyons