Bard Summerscape 2014
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Archive for the ‘Food & Drink’ Category

Thumbnail : A Wine Tasting With Tom Meadowcroft

A Wine Tasting With Tom Meadowcroft

The seductive and sometimes confusing kaleidoscope of colorful labels on the shelves of wine shops (or on view at online websites) often obscures, to lift some words from an old song, the long and winding road that gets that bottle from the grapevine to you. The physical aspects of the vineyard, weather throughout the growing […]

Thumbnail : With summer gone…Lagrein, Madiran, Garnacha, Cabernet…Chinon!

With summer gone…Lagrein, Madiran, Garnacha, Cabernet…Chinon!

With summer fading into the past, one compensation for earlier nightfalls and chillier water temperatures that limit swims to only intensely sunny midday outings is the pumped-up output happily spilling out of the vegetable garden. The squash vines have wound out into improbable places, and, if one pokes around under those umbrella-like leaves, there are […]

Thumbnail : A Plea to Wine Lovers

A Plea to Wine Lovers

Pessimist by nature that I am, my fears about the state of the wine universe were revived by two incidents within the space of one week. When the check engine light came on on a Thursday afternoon, I called my excellent and innovative car mechanic, who has the additional distinction of being a dedicated wine […]

Thumbnail : In certain regions some wines are famous, while others are ignored…

In certain regions some wines are famous, while others are ignored…

It’s always gratifying to have one’s theories confirmed and that’s what happened when I ran into a friend who belongs to an exclusive wine tasting group (at least I think it’s exclusive because no matter how many times I’ve hinted, I’ve never been invited). Once a month this group gets together, one person prepares dinner […]

Thumbnail : Some Italian Wines You Should Know

Some Italian Wines You Should Know

Looking at the Leonard Freed photographs of Italy on these pages prompted me to think about the tradition, artistry, romance and chaos of Italian wines. Italy is reputed to have the highest count of indigenous grapes of any country—estimates of upwards of two thousand—and quite a few wines are imported here that are undeservedly overlooked. […]

Thumbnail : Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque 2004

Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque 2004

“see how it quivers and whispers in the glass” —George Farquhar Those clever English playwrights of the 1600s were, apparently, keenly attuned to the allures of champagne in all of its aspects. Movement and sound, after all, add sensory dimensions to champagne that other wines don’t have, another reason for our fascination with it. That […]

Thumbnail : Some Roman Restaurants, a Thanksgiving Visit to the Eternal City

Some Roman Restaurants, a Thanksgiving Visit to the Eternal City

All serious visitors to Rome have a place that they always considered their personal find, but whose existence is inevitably revealed to the world at large, with a resulting change in ambience. Mine is Ristorante Pietro Valentini, just a few steps from the Hotel Portoghesi, where I have often stayed. This is the classic establishment of its sort – family run, and exactly seven tables in the place. But what set Pietro’s apart has always been the quality of the food and the supreme friendliness of Simona, the daughter-in-law of the family, who manages the room. Since the last time I was there the Internet had taken up the restaurant, and indeed some things were different on this trip. An American couple sent there by the concierge at the Excelsior sat in front of me. That did not bother me as much as the absence of two rituals that opened a meal at Pietro’s…

Thumbnail : Festive Cooking: the Search for Authentic British Lasagne

Festive Cooking: the Search for Authentic British Lasagne

On this ship I am Cook. Hence my activities on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter are customarily pretty well established. I may experiment with the stuffing, or we may find some exciting novelty, like Holy Smokes’ fabulous smoked turkeys, but that doesn’t bring any major variation in the drill. I’ve even grown more efficient over the years, so that’s it’s not particularly laborious anymore. In parallel with these prescribed actions, my mind spends Thanksgiving in a mildly crazed reverie of a nostalgic or wistful bent—at least it has been so since 2004, when, as I was readying to make my initial attack on the bird, the telephone rang, with a journalist at the other end, who asked if I would answer a few questions about an elementary school classmate of mine who was in the political spotlight at the time. The journalist seemed personable and serious, and I found myself happy to talk to him, the cordless phone cradled on my shoulder, as I seasoned the turkey and put it in the oven. He’d spoken to a good many others—school friends I remembered, others I’d forgotten…teachers as well, including our inspiring Latin teacher, Joe Agnelli, who helped set me off on a long voyage in Classical waters, the ancient world—the other hemisphere of history. The family thought I was crazy to talk on the phone like that, but there seemed no reason not to, as long as I had the use of my hands.

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