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Sunday, March 1, 2015

GOOD FOOD AND DRINK BOOKS

3.GATHERINGS; bringing people together with food (Whitecap, 2014, 318 pages, ISBN 978-1-77050-226-0, $34.95 CAN paper covers) is by Jan Scott (former event planner) and Julie Van Rosendaal (cookbook author). Currently, both are heavily involved in family nutrition writing, appearing in the national media and in Toronto and Calgary respectively. Here the idea is the family table to sit around and eat. The range is from casual weeknights to special occasions and weekends, with the emphasis always being "gathering". There's material on party planning and catering your own event. The arrangement is by occasion:weekend brunch, showers, pie party, pantry party, birthday party, BBQ, pizza party, snow day, plus a dozen more. Many recipes can be interchangeable if you dig around. The 100 preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements.
Audience and level of use: families
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: simple French onion soup; no bake chocolate pots de crème; sticky cocktail meatballs; browned butter brownies; cracker-coated chicken strips.
The downside to this book: the typeface for the ingredients is very faint and can be hard to read.
The upside to this book: there is a menu and ideas for a book club gathering.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
 
 
 
4.WINTER GRILLING (Whitecap, 2013, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-77050-249-9, $29.95 CAN hard covers) is by Tom Heinzle, an Austrian grill specialist. Here he expounds on winter BBQ, which features such as boar, hare, turkey and duck. There are also recipes for seasonal sides and desserts. It is a basic book, but you don't need to freeze while grilling outside. Just grill some other time. There are 46 preps plus six more desserts (grilled apples, figs). Winter equipment is explained. There is NO index (a major fault) but the preps are listed in a table of contents, and have titles such as "beer-can duck", "wintry spare ribs", "chicken with hay", and "lamb shoulder" which are self-explanatory. It is an interesting book, but also with too many photographs. Heinzle concludes with a glossary. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements.
Audience and level of use: BBQ fanatics
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: bacon-wrapped cheese cubes; lebkuchen with bacon and chili; smoked trout fillets with smoked mushrooms and habaneros; roe deer shoulder in bread; venison with root veggies.
The downside to this book: no index, too many photos
The upside to this book: good idea for a book
Quality/Price Rating: 85.
 
 
 
 
5.SHEET PAN SUPPERS (Workman Publishing, 2014, 296 pages, ISBN 978-0-7611-7842-3, $15.95 US paper covers) is by Molly Gilbert, cooking instructor and recipe tester for Saveur. Her idea is a spin-off of the one-pot. Here, it is the sheet pan and the oven. She's got 120 recipes for complete meals, snacks, brunch and dessert. Just choose one method: roasting, broiling or baking. They all intensity flavours. She's got a sheet pan primer
for foil, parchment paper, and oven knowledge. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: those looking for quick and easy new treatments.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: Thai green curry eggplant boats with tofu; pecan fried fish with tartar sauce; baked turkey meatballs and slow-roasted tomatoes; fresh tomato bruschetta; thinnest brownies; cannoli roulade; raspberry and white chocolate scones.
The downside to this book: some of the preps are standard issue roasts and bake, so nothing really new here.
The upside to this book: good idea for another cooking technique, and best when coupled with a slow cooker and/or blender for those cooks who appreciate "one" item to clean up.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
 
 
6.THE DASH DIET YOUNGER YOU (Grand Central Life & Style, 2014, 252 pages, ISBN 978-1-4555-5454-6, $26 US hard covers) is by Marla Heller, RD and a clinical instructor in nutrition at University of Illinois, She has authored many DASH diet books; this is her latest. The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) has been recognized as the best diet overall by several reputable sources, but it might be stretching it a bit to say (as the publisher does on the front cover) "shed 20 years and pounds in just 10 weeks". I can see the pounds, I cannot see reversing the aging process. DASH is still a good diet although here it seems to have moved on from its "hypertension" roots. There's an emphasis on colour on the plate, eliminating sugars, eating more plant-based foods, doing a detox, and avoiding agribusiness and pharmacy. It is all good healthy food in this book, along with menus for several different time frames. She concludes with many charts, including a useful food serving tracker, a Body Mass Index chart, and details on calcium-rich, potassium-rich, and magnesium-rich foods. Eat as much of these as you can/
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are conversion tables of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: those looking for a relatively safe diet.
Some interesting recipes: carnitas; quick steak and vegetable soup; stir-fried beef with spinach and noodles; peach and balsamic glazed pork chops; mango walnut salad; salade nicoise; spiced roasted chickpeas.
The downside to this book: it is hard to give out anti-aging advice.
The upside to this book: the food trackers and the advice.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
 
 
7.THE PLAN COOKBOOK (Grand Central Life & Style, 2014, 214 pages, ISBN 978-1-4555-5653-3, $26 US hard covers) is by Lyn-Genet Recitas who wrote the bestseller, The Plan. It is an anti-inflammatory nutritional protocol. Some material from the first book is necessarily repeated here, but I should think that you would not need both books. If you are indeed interested in The Plan, then this is the book, with all of its recipes. The Plan seems to have helped people lose weight fast and forever by discovering which food work for their unique body chemistry. Her preps are supposed to boost your energy and cut inflammation, as well as make you lose weigh. It is a lifestyle change. Preps cover all meals, from breakfast through salads, soups, sides, apps, sauces, dressings, mains, and desserts. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: those searching for anti-inflammation diets and lifestyle changes.
Some interesting or unusual recipes: vegan cream of mushroom soup; duck breast tacos; whipped coconut cream; venison medallions in apple bourbon sauce; mini lamb meatballs; steak fajitas.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
 
 
8.HAND MADE BAKING (Chronicle Books, 2014, 207 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-1230-5, $29.95 US hard covers) is by Kamran Siddiqi, a food writer and recipe developer. Here he's got an eclectic collection of some 55 preps, ranging from classics (cream scones and brioche) to some innovatives (pistachio polvorones). He's got a lot of fun and ease in his style, great for young people, to provide enthusiasm and confidence. He begins with breakfast goodies, moves through pies and lunches, and then tackles cookies and the tea times, ending with cakes and breads/biscuits. As a true baker, his recipes are scaled with metric and avoirdupois measurements.
Audience and level of use: beginners, millennials
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: blondies; New York bagels; Nutella shortbread sandwich cookies; Caribbean princess cake; baklava; butterfly cookies (i.e. palmieres); strawberry crumble; chocolate Swiss roll; apple harvest loaf cake.
The downside to this book: too wide-ranging a collection.
The upside to this book: good warmth and many variations
Quality/Price Rating: 86.
 
 
 
9.PUCKER (Whitecap, 2014, 214 pages, ISBN 978-1-77050-227-7, $29.95 CAN paper covers) is by Gwendolyn Richards, food writer (Calgary Herald) and blogger. It's a book meant for those who love the sour taste of citric acid through lemons, limes, grapefruits, and some sub-varieties such as Meyer lemons and key limes. She covers the sour (pucker) side, leaving alone pomelos, citrons, kumquats, oranges, tangerines, mandarins, and sevilles. She's got a hefty section on drinks and apps, followed by soups, sides, mains, desserts, and breakfasts. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. About 92 recipes all told, most of them illustrated with colour closeups.
Audience and level of use: beginner to intermediate.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: veal scaloppine limone; lemon drop martini; glazed lemon-raspberry drop scones; citric-braised pork shoulder tacos; tarte au citron;  banh mi burgers with spicy limo mayo; earl grey cupcakes with lemon butter cream.
The downside to this book: I was disappointed that only one recipe used orange juice and  only one used orange blossom water.
The upside to this book: great photographs.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
 
 
10.QUENCH (Roost Books, 2014, 204 pages, ISBN 978-=1-61180-128-6, $24.95 US hard covers) is by Ashley English, who has written several food books (A Year of Pies, Handmade Gatherings, Keeping Bees among others). Here she concentrates on thirst-quenching drinks, with 100 recipes for natural sodas, fruit nectars, tisanes, shrubs, kombucha, bitters, liqueurs, wines infused liquors, party punches, and more. As the subtitle indicates, these are "handcrafted beverages to satisfy every taste and occasion". Her book is about evenly divided between soft drinks and hard drinks. The soft drinks are either invigorating or comforting in style. The hard drinks can be festive, warming or spirited. That's how she's got them arranged, with detailed indexing at the back. Her gin toddy calls for ginger tea; my gin toddy just calls for hot water and bitters. There are enough variations throughout the book to satisfy all. Wine is pretty well limited to seasonal sangrias, mulled wines, and "vin maison". All the preps here can be labeled "social drinks" and should have instant appeal for parties or crowds. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: those looking for something different; millennials
Some interesting or unusual recipes: wineberry wine; dandelion and honeysuckle wine; vin de noix; basil vodka; pear bitters; vanilla milkshake; root beer; rose and cardamom soda; rhubarb bitters.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Event: Tasting and pairing of Burnt Ship Bay LCBO wines.

The Date and Time: Thursday, February 12, 2015  4PM to 6PM
The Event: Tasting and pairing of Burnt Ship Bay LCBO wines.
The Venue: Hockey Hall of Fame Theatre
The Target Audience: wine opinion makers and writers
The Availability/Catalogue: both wines are on the General List; as well we also tasted a Vidal Icewine (Silver medal at Decanter Asia Wine Awards) but not their Chardonnay table wine (limited quantities).
The Quote/Background: Front and centre were Fred DiProfio (winemaker), Lou Puglisi (grape grower and co-owner), and Marcel Morgenstern (co-owner). The winery is a virtual winery in partnership with Puglisi (Pondview winery owner) and DiProfio (Pondview winemaker), using Pondview grapes but made in different styles. There was a presentation at this Toronto launch and then the food pairing began. There were four tidbits created by Marigold & Onions Catering, with two suggested for the white wine and two for the red (although we could try a mix and match). Burnt Ship Bay has already signed up the Hockey Hall of Fame as a provider of house wines.
The Wines:
-Burnt Ship Bay Pinot Grigio 2013 VQA NOTL, +404939, $14.95 – think peaches and lemons and apples, with some serious tones on the mid-palate. Commingling is back, with citric undertones. Prize winner from All Canadians and Intervin. Twist top, 12.5% ABV. (88)
-Burnt Ship Bay Cabernet Merlot 2013 VQA NOTL, +404947, $14.95 – with grapes from its sister winery Pondview (and the same winemaker), this wine has ripe berries (black and red) in overdrive, in a sort-of classic California version of a Bordeaux-like blend. 13.5% ABV, twist top. (88)
The Food: both wines went very well with food, in fact they improved. With the Pinot Grigio was suggested a "Chinese firecracker" (spiced duck, vermicelli, sesame hoisin, mango slaw in coconut crepes). It may have been Chinese, but it needed a punch up in spicing; it was not a firecracker (as in explosion. More successful was the maritime knuckle sandwich of lobster and shrimp, citrus aioli, and green mango served in a bread bun as a small lobster roll. With the Cabernet Merlot, we had a sun-dried tomato crostini with tenderloin of beef, green pea pesto, and garlic artichoke cream. Also, we had steak and eggs (mini potato roesti with rare beef steak slice, fried quail egg and hollandaise drizzle). This latter was my fave of the day, and it also went well with the Pinot Grigio. There was also a platter of international gourmet cheeses.
The Downside: it was a bitterly cold day (so what else was new)
The Upside: a chance to engage with some real food pairing.
The Contact Person: kreid@enterprisecanada.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 91.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! *

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SUGARS & SWEETENERS (The Experiment, 2014, 280 pages, ISBN 978-1-61519-216-8, $16.95 US paper covers) is by Alan Barclay (consulting dietician for diabetes), Philippa Sandall (a nutrition editor) and Claudia Schwide-Slavin (an RD specializing in diabetes education). There are 185 entries, with products from acesulfame potassium to yacon syrup, arranged in dictionary format with material on history, taste, use, nutrition, and scientific data for each. There's a primer on using the book and on the Glycemic Index; as well, there is a discussion on health matters, such as added sugars = added calories, special diets, and labeling issues. Of great interest is the chapter on "test kitchen" wherein two recipes are used to substitute a variety of sugars and sweeteners, with cosmic results: vanilla butter cookie, and blueberry bran muffin. They use rice syrup, agave nectar, honey, stevia-erythritol blend, Demerara sugar, coconut sugar, and xylitol. Both the cookie and the muffin were compared and contrasted with the various sugars as to taste, texture, appearance, finish, calories. At the end there is an appendix of brand names of high-intensity, non-nutritive sweeteners. The book will answer important questions, such as which sweeteners perform well in baking, will the kids notice if there are sugar substitutes, and which are best for dieting or blood sugar.
Audience and level of use: libraries, those looking for sweeteners beyond sucrose.
Some interesting or unusual facts: From a taste note on stevia – "then came the follow-up – a lingering, very sweet, slightly bitter aftertaste on the tongue and the front palate. You could not really identify the vanilla or butter flavours – the whole point of making a vanilla butter cookie."
Quality/Price Rating: 90.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

* DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH! *

1.THE WHISKY CABINET (Whitecap, 2014, 188 pages, ISBN 978-1-77050-237-6, $24.95 CAN soft covers) is by Mark Bylok, a whisky consultant and drinks writer. It is a basic tour through Scotland, Ireland, US, Canada, Japan and some emerging areas. He's got reviews of types and styles plus individual labels and distilleries. He also has a useful chapter on how to get the most from one's whisky drinking experience. As he says, you cannot rush the aging process. He also says that blind tasting is the key and that there's no perfect answer to "what's better?". For the US he covers 10 distilleries, including Maker's Mark (my fave) and Woodford Reserve. In Canada, Glenora stands out. The bulk of the book is, of course, Scotland, with 32 or so distilleries specially profiled, including my fave Talisker.
Audience and level of use: whisky lovers, reference libraries.
The downside to this book: his style does not lend itself to more directory-dictionary type data.
The upside to this book: over 100 brands are reviewed, with many more recommended.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Sunday, February 22, 2015

* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! :Food in Time and Place

FOOD IN TIME AND PLACE (University of California Press, 2014, 395 pages, ISBN 978-0-520-28358-9, $49.95 US paper covers) is from the American Historical Association. It is a companion to food history, a set of essays on diverse topics to accompany senior level college lectures or academic research in food history. It also serves as a great introduction to the foods of the world as written by some of the best scholars. It is a survey on the state of historical research on food, endorsed by the AHA, and gives us a topically broad understanding of food cultures through history: the Mediterranean, medieval societies, the haute cuisine of France, colonization and immigration, restaurants, cookbooks, homogeneity, and popular culture. By committing to this project, the AHA has outed food history as a bona fide research subject worthy of academic study.
Audience and level of use: anyone interested in the role of food in history, culture or politics.
Some interesting or unusual facts: the Columbian food Exchange (mainly livestock for plants) dramatically affected food cultures and greatly enhanced population growth.
The downside to this book: pricey, even in paper covers.
The upside to this book: it is a gateway to further food resources
Quality/Price Rating: 90.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Thursday, February 19, 2015

WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR FEBRUARY 21, 2015

WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR  FEBRUARY 21, 2015
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com.
Creator of Canada's award-winning wine satire site at http://fauxvoixvincuisine.blogspot.com. My Internet compendium
"Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net" is a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, at www.deantudor.com since 1994. My LCBO tastings are based on MVC (Modal Varietal Character); ratings are QPR (Quality-to-Price Ratio). Prices are LCBO retail. Only my top rated wines are here. NOTE: The LCBO does NOT put out all of the wines of the release for wine writers or product consultants. Corked wines are not normally available for a re-tasting.
 
NOTE: It is getting more difficult to endorse wines under $20 for the simple reason that the LCBO does not release many of them into the Vintages program, ones that can be deemed to be worthy of your consideration. So I will now just ADD some "under $25" suggestions, along with point values.
 
====?>>> ** BEST WINE VALUE OF THE RELEASE *UNDER* $20
 
Chateau des Charmes Old Vines Riesling 2012 Estate Bottled, +277228, $16.95: Made from vines largely planted in 1978, now a mature vineyard. 12.5% ABV. Succulence like you would not believe at this price level, but off-dry Alsatian character (citric tones, spices), with now two years plus of aging. A beaut. Twist top. Gold Medalist in Ontario Wine Awards and National Wine Awards in 2014. QPR: 92.
 
TOP VALUE WHITE WINES under $25:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Ridge Road Riesling 2013 VQA Niagara, +346858, $15.95: an interesting and intense Mosel style Riesling wine at 10% ABV, off-dry, refreshing, twist top. QPR: 89.
2.Wither Hills Rarangi Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Marlborough, +288134, $21.95. QPR: 90.
3.Tabali reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Limari, +662999, $14.95: Limari is turning into my fave source for savvy wines. This one is nifty and zesty, 13.5% ABV. Best with food. QPR: 89.
4.Jean Biecher & Fils Reserve Riesling 2012 Alsace, +403105, $14.95: hard to find a reserve level Alsatian riesling at this price point, 12% ABV, and twist top too. It's an affordable "classic" style pre-climate change wine. QPR: 90.
5.Gayda Viognier 2013 IGP Pays d'Oc, +395129, $13.95: youthful and useful with nuances of orchard fruit and spicy nuts. Could go either way with or without food. Versatile. 12.5% ABV, twist top. QPR: 89.
 
TOP VALUE RED WINES under $25:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Vistalba Corte C Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon 2012  Lujan de Cuyo Mendoza, +398818, $14.95: Very useful red fruit and chocolate inspired wine at this price point, 14% ABV, cork finish. QPR: 88.
2.Bleasdale Mulberry Tree Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Langhorne Creek, +661892, $17.95: very much a cabby, MVC all the way, twist top, 13.5% ABV. Well-developed and fruity. QPR: 88.
3.Gerard Bertrand Saint Chinian Syrah/Mourvedre 2011, +370247, $18.95: good fruity flavours, with oak, anise, smoke tones. 13.5% ABV, cork finish. QPR: 89.
4.Remo Farina Montecorna Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2012, +56267, $19.95: the LCBO Ripasso of the the Month. QPR: 89.
5.Quinta de Porrais Parcelas 2010 Douro, +397422, $14.95: quite a bargain, well-priced overwhelming easy-to-drink, 13% ABV. It's got just about everything, and can be enhanced by aging. Give it a longevity shot. QPR: 89.
6.Quinta do Mondego 2009 Dao, +399766, $19.95: powerhouse delivery, nicely aged but still needs time. Based on four grapes: the TN/TR/Jaen and Afro. 13.5% ABV. Impressive for its fruity depth and lingering character. QPR: 89.
 
**** HALF-BOTTLE ALERT: Rutherford Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Napa, +191700, $13.95 for 375mL.
 
VALUE: "RESTAURANT READY" or "BRING YOUR OWN WINE BOTTLE" over $25 RETAIL
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Restaurants should consider offering these FINE VALUE wines at a $10 markup over retail; the wines are READY to enjoy right NOW. Consumers should buy these wines to bring to restaurants with corkage programs.
 
1.Thirty Bench Small Lot Chardonnay 2012 VQA Beamsville Bench Niagara, +203703, $30.
2.Cave des Grands Crus Blancs Pouilly-Fuisse 2013, +404582, $26.95.
3.Stonestreet Monument Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Alexander Valley Sonoma County, +285098, $52.95.
4.Leasingham Winemakers Selection Bin 61 Shiraz 2012 Clare Valley, +448241, $25.95.
5.Yangarra Shiraz 2012 McLaren Vale, +911974, $32.95.
6.Chateau Peyrabon 2010 Haut-Medoc, +336925, $29.95.
7.Aurelio Settimo Barolo 2010, +291559, $49.95.
8.Giribaldi Barbaresco 2006, +101147, $32.95.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Event: Simply Italian Americas Tour 2015: Miami and Toronto

The Date and Time: Monday, February 9, 2015  2PM to 6PM
The Event: Simply Italian Americas Tour 2015: Miami and Toronto
The Venue: AGO
The Target Audience: wine agents and restaurants
The Availability/Catalogue: some wineries had already signed up agents in Ontario. All the wines were listed in the large catalogue, although some wines were only available to the Miami show.
The Quote/Background: the wines were mostly affordable young wines from Piedmont, Lombardy, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Apulia and Alto Adige. About 35 wineries were presenting some 100 or so wines.
The Wines: I did not taste all the wines. Many prices were vague, and were in Euros ranging from 2 to 5 or so. Some prices were unknown.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Castelfeder Raif Sauvignon 2013 Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT
-Cantina del Castello Cariniga Soave Classico 2011
-Cantina del Castello Spumante Brut Soave Classico
-Tenuta Roveglia Filo d'Arianna Late Harvest 2012 Lugana
-Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta Extra Brut 2005  $50   Wine Moves
-Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta Saten Brut 2005 Museum Release $60   Wine Moves
-Colline di Sopra Lara 2012 Toscana Rosso [organic]
-Antiche Terre Venete Amarone 2011 Amarone della Valpolicella
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Castello di Roncade Bianco Arnassa Chardonnay 2013 Venezia
-Castello di Roncade Villa Giustinian 2011 Rosso Veneto IGT [Bordeaux-like blend]
-Domus Vini Ca' delle Rose Pinot Chardonnay Brut 2014 IGP Delle Venezie
-Raphael Dal Bo Selezione Organic Prosecco DOC Extra Dry
-Raphael Dal Bo Selezione Organic Sparkling Rose Extra Dry
-Villa Mattielli Campolungo 2013 Soave Classico
-Cantina Sociale Sampietrana Tacco Barocco 2013 Chardonnay Salento IGP
-Castelfeder Burgum Novum Chardonnay 2011 Alto Adige
-Tenute Tomasella Rigole Brut Spumante 2013
-Tenute Tomasella Cabernet Franc 2013 Friuli Grave
-Vendrame Vignis del Doge Chardonnay 2013 IGT Venezia Giulia
-Azienda Agricola Gorgo Monte Maggiore 2012 Bardolino Superiore
-Cantina del Castello Soave Classico 2013
-Cantina del Castello Amarone 2009
-Tenuta Roveglia Lugana Brut
-Tenuta Roveglia Ca' d'Oro Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Garda
-Azienda Judeka Syrah 2013 Terre Siciliane IGP
-Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta Brut NV  $35 – 40   Wine Moves
-Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta Demi Sec NV  $35   Wine Moves
-I feudi di Romans Alfiere Rosso Merlot 2010 Friuli Isonzo
-Colle Manora Mimosa 2013 Monferrato Bianco
-Colle Manora Manora 2012 Barbera d'Asti Superiore
-La Collina dei Ciliegi Il Lugana 2013 Lugana
-Cantina di Verona Tesauro 2012 Recioto della Valpolicella
-Cantina di Verona Podere Poiano 2011 Amarone della Valpolicella
-Fongaro Grancuvee Brut Monti Lessini Durello
-Il Botolo Chardonnay 2013 Piemonte
-Il Botolo Nizza Barbera d'Asti Superiore 2011
-Antiche Terre Venete Valpolicella Ripasso 2012
 
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Raphael Dal Bo Frizzante Sparkling White Wine
-Villa Mattielli 2013 Soave Classico
-Viticoltori Friulani La Delizia Chardonnay 2013 Friuli Grave
-Viticoltori Friulani La Delizia Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Friuili Grave
-Tenute Tomasella Friulano 2013 Friuli Grave
-Vendrame Vignis del Doge Pinot Grigio 2013 IGT delle Venezia
-Cantina del Castello Ripasso 2010 Valpolicella Superiore
-Azienda Judeka Solitario Spumante di Zibibbo Extra Dry
-Ricci Curbastro Curtefranca Bianco 2013
-I feudi di Romans Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Friuli Isonzo
-Colle Manora Pais 2013 Barbera del Monferrato
-Colle Manora Ray 2012 Monferrato Rosso
-La Collina dei Ciliegi L'Amarone 2010 Amarone della Valpolicella
-Cantina di Verona Terre di Verona 2013 Chardonnay IGT
-Il Botolo Barbera d'Asti 2011 Superiore
-Antiche Terre Venete Solo Passione 2012 Rosso Veronese IGT
 
The Food: we had a variety of international cheeses and some brioche sandwiches with Italian flavours.
The Downside: I had to skip the three seminars as I was on some deadlines.
The Upside: I tasted a lot of useful wines.
The Contact Person: p.titone@ice.it
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 85.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

* DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH! : Tasting Whiskey

1.TASTING WHISKEY (Storey Publishing, 2014, 256 pages, ISBN 978-1-61212-301-1, $18.95 US paper covers) is by Lew Bryson, managing editor and feature writer for Whisky Advocate. It is a general all-purpose introduction to the rising tide of brown spirits now embracing and encompassing North America. More and more artisanal distilleries are making small-batch whiskeys, including rye, bourbon, and scotch. Sub-varieties in this insider's view cover those spirits of Tennessee, Ireland, Japan and Canada. The opening chapters roam through fermentation and distillation, styles, regions (with a chapter on Canada), craft whiskey, "dilution" (a great name for water and ice and cocktails), food pairing, collecting whiskey, and some resources plus a glossary. Bryson, who used to be a librarian, carefully marshals and presents his facts and figures, with graphs, maps, and photos. For example, in the Canadian chapter, he's got a flavour profile for various brands, tours of wineries with personal comments, sharp looking photos of the Distillery District and Glenora, and commentary on tax structures. The cocktail section deftly covers the basics of Manhattans, Old Fashioned, Whisky Sours, Highballs, etc. Collecting whiskey is for the rich, as are whiskey travel trails.
Audience and level of use: those interested in learning about whiskeys in general.
Some interesting or unusual facts: until 2011, Canadian whisky was the largest whisky category in the US. Even now, though, it took the combined bourbon and Tennessee whiskey to move past Canada. So Canada is still #1 if you separate bourbon from the pack. By using neutral American ingredients up to 9.09% of the final exported blend, Canadian whisky gets a tax break in the US. That's why it is cheaper there.
The downside to this book: there's a wealth of material in here that needs to be digested – so take your time.
The upside to this book: I can only quote a log roller – "I shouldn't say this is the only whiskey book you need, but it probably is" (C.K. Cowdery)
Quality/Price Rating: 90.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Monday, February 9, 2015

* THE REISSUES, THE REPRINTS, AND THE NEWER EDITIONS...

 
...all reflect a boom in the cookbook publishing business. A paperback reprint will lower the cost to the purchaser, and also give a publisher a chance to correct egregious errors or add a postscript. Some will reissue a book in paper covers with a new layout or photos. Others will rearrange existing material to present it as more informative text while keeping the focus tight. Some magazines will reissue popular or classic recipes in an "easy" format. Here are some recent "re-editions"...
 
 
22.VINE LINES (Wine Appreciation Guild, 2007; distr. Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 96 pages, ISBN 978-1-891267-93-2, $14.95 US hard covers) is by Judy Valon with illustrations by Roger Roberts. It is a "cheery and humourous exploration of wine terminology". It's got wine information and quotes. With its pictures, it deals with serving wine, sparkling wines, red wines, white wines, fortified wines, and faulty wines, ending with some of the more common wine tasting terms (and a brief description for each). The illustrations (bacon wine, for example) are hilarious. A fun book. Quality/price rating: 87.
 
 
23.MAKING SENSE OF WINE TASTING. 5th ed. (Wine Appreciation Guild, 2010; distr. Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 174 pages, ISBN 978-1-891267-03-1, $34.95 CAN paper covers0 is by Alan Young. It was originally published in 1986, and this is now its fifth edition. It's a basic book that is frequently reissued for demand sake, and it has been described as the ultimate wine tasting book, "elucidating all sorts of grey areas" (Sutcliffe).He covers sight, smell, taste, and touch in a humourous way, along with practical exercises. This new edition has been updated by Diane Spencer Hume. Topics covered include: quality, sight, glassware, smell, taste, touch, and judging wine. This is a first rate book, good value for sommeliers or any wine education class. Quality/price rating: 89.
 
 
24.THE UNIVERSITY WINE COURSE. 3rd ed. (Wine Appreciation Guild, 2009; distr. Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 426 pages, ISBN 978-0-932664-69-3, $49 CAN soft covers) is by Marian W. Baldy, a microbiologist-geneticist who has been teaching wine appreciation courses since 1972. Her husband is a viticulturist and professor of agriculture also at Cal State along with Ms. Baldy. This book is based on her notes, and was first issued in 1993. This is a wine appreciation text with a self-tutorial. It is a little formal, but it has  a strong academic and scientific basis, nicely organized. You can get a 12 week college level course out of it. It's a standard work that has been used for many years at many colleges or many wine appreciation classes. It pretty well covers everything: sensory evaluation, white wine production, red wine, sparklers, dessert wines, fortified wines, viticulture, varietals, chemistry, tasting at home (do it yourself) with lots of tables and forms. An extremely useful book for the wine lover who wants to know more. Quality/price rating: 90.
 
 
25.MY LITTLE FRENCH KITCHEN (Chronicle Books, 2013, 2014, 288 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-3507-6, $35 US hard covers) is by Rachel Khoo who wrote The Little Paris Kitchen book and hosted the TV show of the same name. This book extends the range to the rest of France, into the regions. It was originally published in the UK in 2013. She's got a 100 or so preps "from the mountains to the market squares and shores of France". There are dozens of her hand drawings and many photographs. It is arranged by region: Brittany, Bordeaux, Basque, Provence, Lyon, and Alsace. Try tian provencal, goat cheese-strawberry-cucumber mille-feuilles, sticky cassis pork ribs with mint and fava bean couscous, or some French savoury pintxos (tapas). She's got some good regional descriptions of local cuisines, but too many photos of herself (selfies?). Preparations have their ingredients listed in some metric but mainly avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
 
 
 
26.THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO SOUTH AFRICAN WINES. 2nd ed. (Cheviot Publishing, 2009; distr. Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 256 pages, ISBN 978-0-98027423-3, $39.95 CAN softbound) is by Elmari Swart, a winery owner and author of wine books about South Africa. It was originally published in 2006. It's a strong mix of "terroir and travel", allowing you to discover many things for yourself along various wine trails. There are travel tips, what to see, some GPS pointers, plus recommendations for food and accommodations. Mostly there is material on the better known wineries and information about grape varieties and tasting notes. Things have changed greatly (for the better) in the Cape since 1994 when Mandela was freed and trade sanctions lifted. An excellent book package. Quality/price rating: 88.
 
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Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR FEBRUARY 7, 2015

WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR FEBRUARY 7, 2015
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By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com.
Creator of Canada's award-winning wine satire site at http://fauxvoixvincuisine.blogspot.com. My Internet compendium
"Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net" is a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, at www.deantudor.com since 1994. My LCBO tastings are based on MVC (Modal Varietal Character); ratings are QPR (Quality-to-Price Ratio). Prices are LCBO retail. Only my top rated wines are here. NOTE: The LCBO does NOT put out all of the wines of the release for wine writers or product consultants. Corked wines are not normally available for a re-tasting.
 
NOTE: It is getting more difficult to endorse wines under $20 for the simple reason that the LCBO does not release many of them into the Vintages program, ones that can be deemed to be worthy of your consideration. So I will now just ADD some "under $25" suggestions, along with point values.
 
 
====?>>> ** BEST WINE VALUE OF THE RELEASE *UNDER* $20
 
Domaine de Rochebin Chardonnay Macon-Aze 2013, +156943, $16.95: very well-priced for a basic French chardonnay from 40 year old vines. Typical orchard fruit and citric tones, with enough finishing acid for first course foods rather than as a sipper. 12.5% ABV, cork closure. QPR: 90.
 
TOP VALUE WHITE WINES under $25:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Susana Balbo Signature Barrel Fermented Torrontes 2014 Uco Valley Mendoza, +384339, $17.95: this is an interesting spin on torrontes. Not only is there 3 months in medium toast French oak for BF, but the sweetness level has been dropped. There are many baking and meringue notes here for complexity. QPR: 89.
2.Eradus Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Awatere Valley Marlborough, +225557, $18.95: yes, it's time for the Eradus annual swing through Ontario, with its zesty over-the-top green notes, 13.5% ABV, twist top. QPR: 89.
3.Stephane Berg Gewurztraminer 2012 Alsace, +390674, $16.95: delicious typicity for gewurz, 13% ABV, cork closure, Gold Medalist, and useful price. QPR: 89.
4.Wolfberger Signature Riesling 2013 Alsace, +398164, $16.95: solid riesling complexity that is bone dry (almost a rarity in Alsace these days), 12.5% ABV, cork closure. Gold Medalist. QPR: 89.
5.Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt RK Riesling 2008 Mosel, +733295, $15.95: another well-priced wine with typical Mosel softness, acidity, orchard fruit and some Euro complexity. Drier than expected from the LCBO's rating of (M), which to me indicates a higher acid level, great for a first course or as a sipper. Twist top, 9.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
 
TOP VALUE RED WINES under $25:
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1.Porcupine Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 WO Coastal Region, +146894, $16.95: good cabby flavours of black fruit, twist top, 14.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
2.Chateau des Antonins 2010 Bordeaux Superieur, +404269, $14.95: hard to believe the price on this wine, so that promotes it as great value for its toast and roast tones, black fruit, and more. 13% ABV. QPR: 89.
3.Resta Salice Salentino 2011 Puglia, +324731, $15.95: another good value winner from the negroamaro grape, 13.5% ABV. Pruney and black fruit notes, mushroom and forest floor. Best with food, long length and enjoyable. QPR: 89.
4.Lacrimus Crianza 2009 Rioja, +359968, $17.95: appears to have had dynamite ratings from Decanter magazine. Indeed, a rustic-rural style with fennel tones and red fruit, smoke from 14 months in new oak barrels. From high vineyards, 85% tempranillo. QPR: 89.
5.Vinas Elias Mora Tinta de Toro 2011 Toro, +209650, $17.95: comes in at a whopping 15% ABV and unfiltered. Serve at the end of the mains/cheeses as a palate cleanser. Both red and dark fruit in evidence. QPR: 89.
 
VALUE: "RESTAURANT READY" or "BRING YOUR OWN WINE BOTTLE" over $25
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Restaurants should consider offering these FINE VALUE wines at a $10 markup over retail; the wines are READY to enjoy right NOW. Consumers should buy these wines to bring to restaurants with corkage programs.
 
1.Simonsig Chenin Avec Chene Chenin Blanc 2012 WO Stellenbosch, +282772, $25.95 retail.
2.Domaine Jean-Marc Morey Chassagne-Montrachet Les Caillerets 1er Cru 2011, +205955, $85.95.
3.Concha y Toro Terrunyo Peumo Vineyard Block 27 Carmenere 2011 Cachapoal Valley, +562892, $29.95.
4.Chateau La Bienfaisance 2008 Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, +403451, $31.95.
5.Les Grandes Serres La Cour des Papes Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2011, $651661, $44.95.
6.Beni di Batasiolo Riserva Barolo 2006, +330704, $39.95
7.Marchesi di Barolo Barbaresco 2011, +155408, $29.95.
8.Pinyolet Seleccion 2010 DO Montsant Spain, +338897, $26.95.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Monday, February 2, 2015

* THE RESTAURANT/CELEBRITY COOKBOOK...

 
 
...is one of the hottest trends in cookbooks. Actually, they've been around for many years, but never in such proliferation. They are automatic best sellers, since the book can be flogged at the restaurant or TV show and since the chef ends up being a celebrity somewhere, doing guest cooking or catering or even turning up on the Food Network. Most of these books will certainly appeal to fans of the chef and/or the restaurant and/or the media personality. Many of the recipes in these books actually come off the menus of the restaurants involved. Occasionally, there will be, in these books, special notes or preps, or recipes for items no longer on the menu. Stories or anecdotes will be related to the history of a dish. But because most of these books are American, they use only US volume measurements for the ingredients; sometimes there is a table of metric equivalents, but more often there is not. I'll try to point this out. The usual shtick is "favourite recipes made easy for everyday cooks". There is also PR copy on "demystifying ethnic ingredients". PR bumpf also includes much use of the magic phrase "mouth-watering recipes" as if that is what it takes to sell such a book. I keep hearing from readers, users, and other food writers that some restaurant recipes (not necessarily from these books) don't seem to work at home, but how could that be? The books all claim to be kitchen tested for the home, and many books identify the food researcher by name. Most books are loaded with tips, techniques, and advice, as well as gregarious stories about life in the restaurant world. Photos abound, usually of the chef bounding about. The celebrity books, with well-known chefs or entertainers, seem to have too much self-involvement and ego. And, of course, there are a lot of food photo shots, verging on gastroporn. There are endorsements from other celebrities in magnificent cases of logrolling. If resources are cited, they are usually American mail order firms, with websites. Some companies, though, will ship around the world, so don't ignore them altogether. Here's a rundown on the latest crop of such books –
 
 
12.ANNE BYRN SAVES THE DAY! COOKBOOK (Workman Publishing, 2014, 360 pages, ISBN 978-0-7611-7610-7, $18.965 US paper covers) is by, well, Anne Byrn, an extremely popular writer on food with a Doctor series and extensive TV promotion. Here are 125 "guaranteed-to-please" go-to recipes to rescue any occasion. These are also her top picks for food anytime and anywhere, such as bacon and cheddar torte, stuffed peppers, shrimp and cheese grits, sweet and sour brisket. They can all be done in about a half an hour or so. But of course they only work if you have the ingredients at hand. Shrimp and grits may be hard to come by in Canadian homes, but they are standard in Nashville where she lives. All courses are covered, and it is loaded with tips. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are conversion tables. Quality/price rating: 85.
 
13.THE NORTH AMERICAN WHISKEY GUIDE FROM BEHIND THE BAR (Page Street, 2014, 192 pages, ISBN 978-1-62414-076-1, $21.99 US hard covers) is by Chad Berkey and Jeremy LeBlanc. Berkey is head bartender at Aero Club Bar in San Diego (with over 900 different whiskies); Jeremy LeBlanc bartends at Parq in San Diego, and has authored Best Craft Cocktails. The brown spirits category has soared lately, and this is but one of the latest score of books on whiskies. Here are 250 reviews of American and Canadian whiskeys from real bartenders, and provides expert guidance. There are also 30 cocktail recipes. Covered are bourbons, ryes, American malts, Canadian and Tennessee whiskey, blends, and cigar pairing. Each has a descriptive summary, a fun fact, directory type data (variety/style/barrel-type/age/origin/ABV/price), and some related bottles to enjoy. There is also a bottle photo shot and some comments from local bartenders. The type size is very tiny, so a lot is packed in. Not for reading in a dimly lit bar...Cocktails have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements. Quality/price rating: 88.
 
 
14.TAMALES (Ten Speed Press, 2014, 139 pages, ISBN 978-1-60774-596-9, $18.99 US hard covers) is by Alice Guadalupe Tapp, co-owner of Tamara's Tamales in Los Angeles (Marina del Rey area). They have been in business for about two decades, and always feature some 30 different kinds of tamales, In 2002 she authored Tamales 101. The current batch here are from her restaurant, and are arranged by shape or course: inside-out tamales, meat tamales, nose-to-tail tamales, vegetarian and vegan tamales, and dessert tamales. So long as you stick with masa then the tamale will be gluten-free (just watch out for outside thickeners). She opens with a huge section on sauces and salsas, followed by tamale wrapping styles in the assembly (all illustrated with line drawings). Try her tuna inside-out tamale or the ratatouille inside-out. The nose-to-tail section includes beef cheeks, pork blood tamales, bone marrow, pigtail, lamb head, tongue – a generous selection of the more offal cuts. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are conversion tables. Quality/price rating: 89.
 
 
15.IKARIA (Rodale, 2014, 306 pages, ISBN 978-1-62336-295-9, $35 US hard covers) is by Diane Kochilas, an NYC chef (Molyvos) with a TV cooking show, a cooking school on Ikaria, and an IACP award winning cookbook author of some 18 titles. Ikaria is an island where longevity rules. Her book is part cookbook, part travelogue, with photos, preps, interviews with locals, and reasons why people live so long (there's a 101-year-old weaver who cooks combinations of herbs). Kocilas covers breads, savoury pies, bean dishes, and seafood (which is remarkable). Arrangement is by course (mezedes, salads, soups, savoury pies, veggies, legumes, pasta/rice, seafood, some meat, and desserts. She's also got a resources list and a bibliography. Preparations have their ingredients listed mostly in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
 
 
16.INSIDE THE TEST KITCHEN (Clarkson Potter, 2014, 256 pages, ISBN 978-0-385-34455-5, $35 US hard covers) is by Tyler Florence, a Food Network chef, author of twelve books, product designer, and the chef-owner of Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco and El Paseo in Mill Valley, California. He also produces wines, and will open the Tyler Florence Test Kitchen, a culinary laboratory, think tank, and event space, in late 2014. This book is part of that Test Kitchen experience. He has 120 recipes which he claims are "perfected" – but first he gives us the testing portion for each prep. His chapters include BBQ, meatloaf, fresh cheeses, chicken, eggs, baking mixes, pasta, pork chops, pork carnitas tacos, potatoes. risotto and veggies. For each he starts with the process and the basics, and then discusses the "failures" or the wannabes he creates. He's pushing the envelope here, with onion rings and French fries, a stretchy cheese for mac and cheese, and new tricks for everything. There are a lot of photos with handwritten notes (which also intermittently appear as pop ups). A good book for the millennials since it attracts ADHD. This could be a fun book. Preparations have their ingredients listed in American avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
 
 
17.PRUNE (Random House, 2014, 568 pages, ISBN 978-0-8129-9409-4, $45 US hard covers) is by Gabrielle Hamilton, chef-owner of Prune in NYC and author of Blood, Bones and Butter. She's a Beard Award winner and a major food writer. The book is a history of her restaurant since it opened in 1999, beginning with the first prep (canned sardines with triscuits) in her first chapter (bar snacks). Other chapters cover small plates at dinner, mains, vegetable sides, desserts, lunches, brunches, cocktails and family meals. The book also comes complete with more photographs than you could ever think possible, driving up the weight. She's got pop up written comments everywhere, plus hand-written recipe titles. Generous typeface size and white space plus leading adds to its appeal for those older folks who can lift the book. Otherwise, a cookbook stand is needed. She concludes with a forbidden list of foods for family meals (mostly because of the expense), and an employee manifest going back to 1999. Preparations have their ingredients listed in American avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
 
 
18.THE MEAT HOOK MEAT BOOK (Artisan, 2014, 312 pages, ISBN 978-1-57965-527-3, $37.50 US hard covers) is by Tom Mylan, executive chef and co-owner of The Meat Hook (2009) in Brooklyn. He concentrates on sustainable local meats. His book is a good guide to naturally grown meat, a cookbook, an instruction manual, and a butchering handbook. The least expensive form of meat acquisition is to buy large unbutchered pieces of meat from a local farm or butcher shop. You don't need to buy a side, and you can start with small animals such as lamb (as we do). You get the meat you want, and with a few simple cuts you can break down some elements into stew, ground, chops, small roasts, etc. We usually get one lamb a year, quartered, and then break it down ourselves. The same with chicken. Mylan has about 67 recipes arranged by animal beginning with beef (first hundred pages), then pork, lamb, sausage, chicken, turkey, duck, and rabbit. His primer deals with cooking styles (grill, roast, braise, smoke, fry, sous-vide) plus bones and fat. He's even got a section on pasture breeds for beef, lamb, and pigs, followed by a resources list for further reading and supplies. Try cumin lamb stir-fry, lamb belly pancetta, meat hook chili, or scrapple. Lots of instructional photos and drawings of techniques makes this book a worthwhile purchase for the meat eater. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
 
 
19.BAR TARTINE (Chronicle Books, 2014, 368 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-2646-3, $40 US hard covers) is by Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns, co-chefs of the eponymous restaurant that is a sister to Tartine Bakery. It is a record of their restaurant involvement from their arrival in mid-February 2011 through February 2014 when they turned in the manuscript after three years. So it has everything in it: experiments, frustrations, memoir stories, successes, and recipes. Part one is devoted to techniques in how they do things: drying assorted herbs, alliums, peppers, spice mixes, fruits and meats; dairy; sprouting and soaking; oils and animal fats; vinegars,; pickles and preserves; syrups and beverages; and stocks. Part two are the preps, arranged by soups, salads, mains, and sweets. Gorgeous photos, large typeface, and sufficient white space for reading and viewing. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 89.
 
 
20.THE PIZZA BIBLE (Ten Speed Press, 2014, 312 pages, ISBN 978-1-60774-605-8, $29.99 US hard covers) is by Tony Gemignani, chef-owner of seven restaurants, mainly in San Francisco. He's been making pizza for over two decades, and is 11-time World Pizza Champ. He's assisted here by Susie Heller and Steve Siegelman. He describes the book as a collection of the world's fave pizza styles, from Neapolitasn, deep-dish, wood-fired, Sicilian, calzones and focaccia to New York, New Haven, Detroit – and more! There's almost 100 recipes here, divided by region or style. First up is regional American (Chicago, Sicilian, California, Napoletana) followed by regional Italian (Lucca, Rimini, Calabrese, and others) and pizzas found in Barcelona, Munich, Dublin, Paris and Greece. There's a separate chapter on grilled pizza, another on wrapped and rolled, and then focaccia and bread. He's got baker's percentages charts and conversion charts: everything here is scaled. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements. Try his version of the New York-New Jersey tomato sauce, Italian beef, guanciale and quail egg, or margherita extra. Quality/price rating: 89.
 
 
 
21.IT AIN'T SAUCE, IT'S GRAVY (Alfred A. Knopf, 2014, 178 pages, ISBN 978-0-385-34989-5, $27.95 US hard covers) is by Steve Martorano, a real  celebrity – he owns five Cafe Martoranos in Florida, Las Vegas, and Atlantic City, he owns a wine label, a line of pasta sauces, and a line of clothing. He even had a TV show. His log rollers (at least 10) include actors and NFL quarterbacks. He began by selling sandwiches made in his mother's basement. It is a book with preps about macaroni, home-style cheesesteaks, meatballs, and "how food saved my life". Michael Rubino is the focusing food writer. The 78 preps come from the restaurant, and include arugula watermelon salad, grilled octopus, stuffed hot peppers, bucatini carbonara, and pork chop martorano. A good read, and nicely laid out with large typeface and white space. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com