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Chocolate, Pumpkin & Cocoa Recipes for Halloween

October 31, 2014 by  

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chocolate Chocolate is deeply embedded into Saint Lucia’s culinary culture. It’s said that ancient Aztecs and Mayas were the first to grow cacao, touted as “The Food of the Gods“; however, when Spaniard explorers went to Mesoamerica they brought the cacao back to Spain, where it spread through Europe. The British held control over Saint Lucia for different periods of time throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, bringing with them cacao in 1660. Saint Lucia’s hot yet wet climate paired with its soil rich in nutrients allowed the cacao to prosper, and today you’ll find chocolate plantations all over the island. While there’s really no bad time to savor chocolate, Halloween is especially perfect. Chocoholics seeking a cocoa-infused menu for this year’s holiday will be inspired by recipes that incorporate chocolate into both sweet and savory dishes. Saint Lucian-born Chef Nina Compton, also a “Top Chef New Orleans” alum, has created a menu of chocolate recipes that are not only fun and delicious, but highlight Saint Lucia’s most notable food. Says Chef Compton, “Cacao has been cultivated on Saint Lucia for hundreds of years. It is one of the island’s most notable foods and…

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Behind the Scenes at the Graindorge Cheese Farm in Livarot France

October 31, 2014 by  

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On the outskirts of a rural town called Livarot France in southern Normandy lies Le Village Fromagerie or otherwise known as Graindorge. What you’ll find at this charming cheese farm is a wealth of knowledge about cheese making, as well as a delightful array of cheese to taste. The Graindorge cheese dairy includes the following cheese offerings, some more known than others: Livarot, Pont l’Eveque, Camembert of Normandy and Neufchatel. Before you taste however, you’re taken through an educational tour of the facility, which shows you exactly how the cheese is made, walking you through the process step-by-step. The dairy prepares its PDO cheese from milk from grass-fed Norman dairy herds. They encourage dairy farmers to breed mainly Norman cows because of the simple fact that Norman cows are known for their quality in making and maturing PDO cheese in Normandy and to keep a well-adapted breed in the area it belongs to. Makes sense! They grass feed their cattle and barely add many supplements to their meals because they feel it is more natural for the animals. The Graindorge dairy farm collects milk from 160…

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Devocion, An Innovative Nueva Colombian Approach to Coffee

October 31, 2014 by  

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  coffee-beansBoutique Colombian coffee company, Devocion (an innovative Nueva Colombian approach to coffee) arrives in the United States for the first time this month with opening of a 3,600-square foot roasting facility and “Botica del Cafe”, 69 Grand Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. Devocion journeys deep into Colombia’s most isolated, unspoiled and dangerous regions seeking out a diverse selection of beans. These journeys have led to longterm relationships with local farmers — micro-farms and small producers. Devocion then takes those beans and roasts them to exacting specifications in their local cafés. Now there’ll be a chance to try their coffee outside Colombia.


The Madison Bacon Festival Takes Place on November 1

October 30, 2014 by  

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  bacon_blue-ribbon-festivalMeet Wisconsin’s largest bacon showcase with bacon lectures, bacon-inspired dishes, bacon competitions, a bacon queen contest, live entertainment and bacon fellowship — all taking place between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. November 1, 2014. The first Madison Bacon Festival, a Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival event, takes place in the Alliant Energy Center, Madison, Wisconsin. If you’re really “into” bacon, consider entering one of these: the Wisconsin Bacon Royalty Contest and a Bacon Eating Competition. And, mark your calendars for the big one: January 31, 2015, in the Iowa Events Center, Des Moines, Iowa. The Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, founded in Iowa in 2001, is a multi-city fest designed to improve enjoyment of all things bacon.


10 Haunted New York City Pubs To Visit On Halloween

October 29, 2014 by  

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Halloween is nearly here, the time for all things haunted and ghostly!  We’re delighted to welcome NYC’s resident ghost guru, Gordon Linzner, who shared a round-up of haunted pubs perfect for kicking back with a pumpkin ale this month (or anytime!), in the company of past New York souls.  Goosebumps, anyone? Ear Inn 326 Spring Street Built as a private home in 1817, became a saloon in 1890. Haunted in particular by Mickey, a sailor who was killed by a car just outside the bar. He likes to pinch the bottoms of female patrons and staff, drain cell phone batteries, and sometimes play with fire. Landmark Tavern 626 11th Avenue Opened in 1868, it is haunted by several ghosts, most notably a Confederate veteran who was stabbed in a fight and crawled upstairs to die in a bathtub. The tub remains in the upstairs bathroom. An Irish immigrant girl who died of cholera wanders the third floor. This was a favorite location of the actor George Raft, who some patrons have also claimed to see. The White Horse 567 Hudson Street A favorite tavern of the poet Dylan Thomas, who allegedly drank himself to…

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Discovering the Best of French Calvados in Normandy

October 28, 2014 by  

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If you haven’t been to Normandy in France, then perhaps you haven’t heard of or tasted Calvados, which is a specialty in the region. The taste reminds me of a cross between a brandy and a bourbon, except that it is made from apples. As they say at the Calvados Boulard distillery I visited this past fall, “from the apple to the cider, from the brandy to the Calvados, to the pleasure of tasting….” And…tasting we did. We started with a little Calvados education of course. Below is a sampling of what we tasted at their distillery: Boulard Calvados Pays d’Auge VSOP - toasted apple, but a little harsh on the palette, at least for me. It is the youngest one of their batch (4-8 years) and is often served with a soda water. The color is a gold amber and its nose is rich fruity nose with a light woody touch, toasted nut notes and hint of brioche. The taste is well balanced harmony between vanilla, wood and ripe apple compote purée due to…

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Le Chasse Maree, an Authentic Brittany Experience at Auray’s Port

October 28, 2014 by  

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Unlike further north on most menus in Normandy where calvados is the order of the day, the menu at Le Chasse Maree, a restaurant on the port in Brittany’s Auray is a sheer seafood delight. For drinks, the menu had the traditional Kir of course as you’ll find pretty much anywhere in France, but also rum orange drinks, mojitos, martinis, pina coladas, punch planners, whiskey and local ciders. Ciders are common throughout France and Brittany is no different. I am told the Brittans love their beer much more than their wine, which isn’t surprising given its Britagne influence. While seafood is the order of the day, they had a variety of meat dishes on the menu as well. Unlike most other restaurants I have tried in France (bear in mind that I haven’t visited the Riveria now in many years, so this comment excludes the south), the menu selection overall was generally much lighter, with seafood as it’s core.  Sure they had foie gras on the menu as well as duck, however appetizers included seared salmon and scallops for appetizers as well as 6, 9

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Dining at ESTER, the Best New Restaurant in Sydney

October 26, 2014 by  

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On my journey to find the national dish of Australia, I headed off to Sydney and ended up having dinner at ESTER. At his very new and very hot Chippendale diner, former Billy Kwong head chef Mat Lindsay has little more than a combi-oven, a Thermomix blender and a vacuum sealer by way of high-tech tools. The beating heart of Ester is a massive wood-fired oven. They have recently been awarded Two Hats and were named Best New Restaurant in Sydney. Dining with friends Rob and Vicky, Mike and Sue, Howard and Shelley, this is what we were indulged with… esta (1) Raw Kingfish, Mandarin and Nori – simply sublime esta (2) Lobster Sausage Sanga (an Australian Slang word for sandwich!) esta (3) Octopus, Nduja, Ink. Nduja is typically made with parts of the pig such as the shoulder, belly and jowl, as well as tripe, roasted peppers and a mixture of spices esta (4) Prawns, Brown Butter and Capers – unbelievable combination and have already tried it at Londolozi! esta (5) Greens, Fermented Chili and Garlic. Whole Fennel, Leeks…

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