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.
What happened to days 2 and 3 you may be asking and indeed that’s what I’m asking myself. We swept through Eastern Washington as fast as a tornado, barely pausing to sleep, never mind write.
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.
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.
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 . . .
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.
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.
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)
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last post (for the moment) from Paris! A quick run-down of the most interesting food and wine ideas I picked up for those of you who haven’t time to read the full reviews:Sardines - cheap, sustainable - this summer’s must-eat fish, it seems. Grilled (Le Temps au Temps), served with red peppers and black-eye beans (La Gazzetta) served whole in a tin with seaweed butter (Cristal de Sel)
Even if you’re the most enthusiastic gourmet you can’t eat in 3 star restaurants all the time. And for most of us the prices of Paris’s top restaurants simply put them out of reach. Here are four very varied alternatives, discovered by my husband, an assiduous researcher into places that are off the beaten track, which we ate in with great pleasure last week
I’m embarrassed to admit that until last week I’d never been to Beaujolais - it was the one French wine region that had passed me by. I’d heard it was attractive and even on a bleak early March day it was - the famous villages are clustered improbably closely together in the middle of pretty, rolling countryside, spiked by soaring church towers.
For many foodies, Italy is way up there on the must-visit list. Not only are there world-class restaurants in all the big towns, even the smallest villages boast places where the chefs (who are often self-taught) take pride in bringing out the best in the ingredients they work with.