Travel

Hotel TerraVina: what it's like staying with the World's Best Sommelier

Hotel TerraVina: what it's like staying with the World's Best Sommelier

You might think an establishment run by the world’s best sommelier would be intimidating. After all if anyone knows what wine to choose and the right way to serve it it would be Gerard Basset, who scooped the title back in April (right). But happily Basset is a modest man who puts the comfort of his customers above any desire to flaunt his credentials.

Vive les guingettes!

Vive les guingettes!

An admirable website, Matching Food and Wine, but a bit short on singalongs. Could we begin by joining in lustily, therefore, altogether now...

Gorgeous green Oregon

Gorgeous green Oregon

If I had to live anywhere in the US it would be Oregon. Admittedly the last couple of days have been unbelievably beautiful but I think it’s more that it’s comfortingly familiar - with green rolling hills and woods and flower-strewn hedgerows. Very much like Burgundy, the spiritual home of most Oregonian winemakers.

What the IPNC is really like

What the IPNC is really like

So the International Pinot Noir Celebration aka IPNC has pretty well been and gone apart from today’s brunch and it’s fair to say it’s very different from what I expected.

On the road in the Pacific North West: Day 1

On the road in the Pacific North West: Day 1

For the next 10 days I’m going to be visiting the vineyards of Oregon and Washington State so the site will turn into more of a blog. Our first day yesterday included lunch at Chateau Ste Michelle, by far Washington’s largest wine producer.

What makes Korean food distinctive

What makes Korean food distinctive

The first thing everyone asked me when I got back from Korea was what does the food taste like? Unless you live in London, or New Malden in Surrey, which, rather randomly, boasts the UK’s biggest concentration of Korean restaurants, then you probably won’t be familiar with Korean food.

New York dining adventures

It’s pretty likely, I’d have thought, that anyone logging onto this site enjoys spending the odd evening at a restaurant. Those of us who live in London – or even visit London on an occasional basis – are well aware that we Brits have privileged access to one of the most diverse and high-powered dining scenes in the world. Arguably, the only city that can match it – possibly even exceed it – in terms of its restaurant culture is New York.

Food and wine pairing in Provence

I’d forgotten quite how enchanting Provence is, particularly at this time of year. I’ve got so used to sturdily proclaiming that the Languedoc is every bit as beautiful (as well as a great deal cheaper!) that I’d overlooked Provence’s particular charm. How it can seduce you and suspend all critical faculties so if the following observations are a bit less incisive than usual you’ll have to forgive me . . .

Walking through Beaujolais

Perhaps you've heard of this summer's requisite summer holiday? The "staycation," a clumsy if apposite description of holidays spent at home, thus summing up the prevailing mood of impecunity. Farewell conspicuous consumption, hello stomping through mud. If you're revisiting some of life's simpler pleasures, but have jettisoned the idea of staying at home I'd highly recommend signing up for a vineyard walk in France. Deploy a bit of ingenuity and you can avoid the extortionate fees 'wine travel' companies charge for a swanky gourmand holiday - after all, it's perfectly possible to be frugal and still have fun.

Enoteca Pinchiorri: far from a credit crunch lunch

I wouldn’t say that it’s been a lifelong mission to come here, but it’s certainly been on the list ever since it won its third Michelin star in 2004. Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence is one of Italy’s most revered restaurants – most expensive, too, many will grumble. But don’t let that deter you. Just to get it out of the way though, yes, Enoteca Pinchiorri is hideously expensive - our bill for four came to 500 per head with wine. Get over it – or don’t go.

Eating out tips for Toronto

Eating out tips for Toronto

I really didn’t have much idea what to expect of Toronto. I knew it was ridiculously cold in winter and that it was hard to buy liquor (not a good combination) and that you could eat pretty good ethnic food, especially Japanese. But nothing quite prepared me for the range and scope of the city’s 5000+ restaurants. Here’s where I managed to get to in the 4 days I was there (thanks to taking in more than one venue at every possible opportunity)

Steak and Malbec Part I

I’m in Argentina for the next few days taking part in the Masters of Food and Wine, a glitzy showcase for the Argentinian wine industry. Today we’re in Buenos Aires, tomorrow we fly to Mendoza for two days of tastings and dinners. None of which is exactly conduicive to thoughtful reporting so forgive me if some of the next few days posts are written more in the style of a blog

Which restaurants will survive in 2009?

Slightly off-topic but as a long-standing food and drink writer I thought you might be interested to read my thoughts on the type of restaurants that I believe will survive the current recession

China's glitzy new gastronomy

China's glitzy new gastronomy

In the second of his features on his recent trip to China, food writer and restaurant guide inspector Stuart Walton examines the burgeoning restaurant scene in Beijing and Shanghai

A perfect romantic hideaway in an unlikely location

A perfect romantic hideaway in an unlikely location

The more you travel, the more you eat out, the harder it becomes finding a place that is really special. It’s not just about how much money you spend though these places rarely come cheap. A great location helps, as does good service but the single most important factor, I’ve come to the conclusion, is that the people who are running the place are hands on.

Where to eat in and around Agde

Where to eat in and around Agde

There was a time when the best place to eat in Agde or its seaside satellite Grau d'Agde which lie between Montpellier and Ste on the Languedoc coast was the Michelin-starred La Tamarissire. After that closed two to three years ago it left a bit of a gastronomic black hole but a couple of new places have sprung up which have serious gastronomic ambitions.

Food and wine matching in Hawke's Bay

Food and wine matching in Hawke's Bay

Hawke’s Bay is a sunny, coastal province, situated in the east of New Zealand’s North Island. The region is gaining repute as a wine and food locale that marries delicious regional cuisine with a diversity of exceptional wines. Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s second largest producer of wine, after the South Island’s Marlborough region, known around the world for its herbaceous, tropical Sauvignon Blancs.

Venice restaurants: Eating off the beaten track

Venice restaurants: Eating off the beaten track

If you want to get away from your fellow tourists in Venice - and who doesn’t? - here are five very different restaurants to try. Three of them are on the Giudecca - one of the best places for avoiding the hoardes, especially at the weekend.

Venice restaurants - the big hitters

Eating out in Venice is not cheap, as we’ve discovered, but there are ways of mitigating the cost (essential if you’re spending a fortnight in the city!) Here are five of the more classic Venetian restaurants we’ve been to. Some less expensive and off the beaten track options over the next few days.

Never miss a post!

My latest book

Wine Lover's KitchenWine Lover's Kitchen
About FionaAbout FionaEvents and appearancesEvents and appearancesWork with meWork with me
Loading