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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Some interesting food books

THE CULINARIAN; a kitchen desk reference (John Wiley & Sons, 2011,
66 pages, ISBN 978-0-470-5542-1, $19.99 US paper covers) is  y Barbara
Ann Kipfer, a professional lexicographer. She's created many reference
books dealing with words. Here she takes on food. According to the
Introduction, "The book has one main alphabetical section peppered with
informational lists and sidebars, as well as factual matter in the
front and indexes in the back." It opens with measurements,
conversions, food grades and classes. Each entry on food has some
explication of varieties, selection, purchase storage, basic preps,
seasoning, cooking problems and solutions. It is a fairly complete book
in its 600 or so pages.
Audience and level of use: curious food lovers
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: pears ripen better in the
presence of apples.
The downside to this book: it will be well-used, so don't break the
The upside to this book: there is more here than just food words –
there are also food histories, lists, trivia, and little known facts.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.
4. LA TARTINE GOURMANDE; recipes for an inspired life. (Roost Books,
2011; distr. Random House of Canada, 314 pages, ISBN 978-1-59030-762-5,
$35US hard covers) is by Beatrice Peltre, creator of weblog. She's also a free-lance food writer,
stylist and photographer, working in and around Boston. So she did
almost everything in the book: food writing, food styling and food
photography. There's log rolling from David Lebovitz, Clotilde
Dusoulier, and Dorie Greenspan. There are about 100 recipes, mostly
inspired by her French roots. Other preps come from Denmark, New
Zealand, and Boston. She's also slightly gluten-intolerant, so most of
the baked goods here have gluten-free flours. She's careful to explain
all of this and to list her organic flours. Every prep comes with a
memoir-like anecdote, so it is a bit of a personal book. After a
kitchen primer, the arrangement is by course (breakfast, lunch, dinner,
and dessert). Preparations have their ingredients listed in mainly
avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: casual cooks.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: cold honeydew and cucumber
soup; omelet wraps with nori and crunchy veggies; cumin and parsley-
flavored cheese gougeres; white lentil soup with chorizo and poached
eggs; lavender ile flottantes.
The downside to this book: with a personal 100 recipes, it might be
best to view the book before buying. Check out her website first.
The upside to this book: gluten-free recipes, plus excellent
Quality/Price Rating: 87.

5. A COUNTRY COOK'S KITCHEN; time-tested kitchen skills (Rizzoli, 2012;
distr. Random House of Canada, 192 pages, ISBN 978-0-8478-3839-4, $35
US hard covers) is by Alison Walker, food and drink editor of Country
Living magazine in the UK. It's being co-published in the UK by Aurum
Press. The publisher says that it has "simple recipes for making
breads, cheese, jams, preserves, cured meats, and more." The book
certainly seems to touch all the farmhouse basics for using and
preserving the bounty of summer. It's a lot of work though, doing
things such as churning your own butter, making cheese, baking during
the summer, salting and smoking meats, and filling a pantry with little
jars of condiments. After all, it was once a full-time job to be a
farmwife. But, you do not have to do it all. There's a stronger
tradition in the UK about curing and potting meats, and even making
your own liqueurs and infusions (alcohol was higher taxes in the UK).
For every major technique, such as cold smoking, she'll lay out a
description, cover the ingredients and equipment, and then give a bit
of technique – all illustrated, of course. There are also some useful
addresses, albeit American. Preparations have their ingredients listed
in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric
Audience and level of use: home cooks.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: flowerpot rolls; gingerbread
loaf; red onion marmalade; pear and pumpkin chutney; lemon barley
water; dry-cured smoked organic bacon.
The downside to this book: slight British orientation
The upside to this book: good techniques and photos, wide-range of
products covered.
Quality/Price Rating: 84.

6. HOW TO GROW FOOD; a step-by-step guide to growing all kinds of
fruits, vegetables, herbs, salads and more (Firefly, 2011, 256 pages,
ISBN 978-1-55407-806-6, $28.95 CAD hard covers) is by Richard
Gianfrancesco, who is a plant scientist who has co-ordinated hundreds
of garden plant tests and trials, which have been published in
magazines and online. The book has been co-published in the UK by
Quarto Here he appeals to those who want to "eat local", whether from
their window box or from a large backyard (maybe as much as one-third
of the North American population?). He has some good principles about
organic gardening, soil management, composting, weeds and pests,
pruning, growing from seed, buying plants, and growing in containers.
In fact, his title should really be "How to Grow Real Food". The main
section is a plant-by-plant analysis for growing. He begins with
veggies and salads (potato, sweet potato, onion, lettuces, herbs, etc.
– about 64 in all), continuing with 22 fruits and three nuts. At the
end are some ideas on preserving the crop (jams, jellies, pickles,
chutneys, drying, and freezing). There's also a sowing summary, a crop
selection summary, and a list of hardiness zones. Preparations have
their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements,
but there is no table of equivalents.
Audience and level of use: home gardeners who want to grow their own
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: before you go on vacation,
make sure you pick off every bean you can find – the plant will carry
on producing beans while you are gone.
The downside to this book: most of the typeface was a shade too small.
The upside to this book: there is a good explanation on how to use the
book, at the front.
Quality/Price Rating: 86.
7. 5 EASY STEPS TO HEALTHY COOKING; 500 recipes for lifelong wellness
(Robert Rose, 2012, 544 pages, IBN 978-0-7788-0296-9, $24.95 US paper
covers) is by Camilla V. Saulsbury, a recipe developer who has won
several cooking competitions and has appeared in the media. Here she
takes a holistic and flexible approach. Her five steps are to eat:
fresh foods; mostly veggies and fruits; healthy fats and proteins;
superfoods (nutrient-dense foods); and whole grains. And this is all
easy enough to do, guaranteed to promote a healthier lifestyle. And
maybe lose weight and effect a few cures along the way (but no promises
with these). Along the way she tells us the most and the least
pesticide-contaminated fruits and vegetables in North America. There's
a nutrient table for each recipe, and plenty of tips and advice.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and
avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents.
Audience and level of use: flexitarians; cooks looking for a lot of
recipes in one book.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: easy raisin rye bread;
gluten-free flax muffins; stir-fried pork and peppers with buckwheat
noodles; quick quinoa stir-fry with veggies; summer vegetable orzo
soup; chicken with cherry tomato and avocado salsa.
The downside to this book: some menu ideas would have been appreciated.
The upside to this book: there are a few gluten-free recipes, but maybe
she needed more.
Quality/Price Rating: 86.
8. GROW COOK EAT; a food lover's guide to vegetable gardening,
including 50 recipes, plus harvesting and storage tips (Sasquatch
Books, 2012; distr. Random House Canada, 294 pages, ISBN 978-1-57061-
731-7, $29.95 US paper covers) is by Willi Galloway, former editor at
Organic Gardening now blogging ( and providing radio
commentary out of Portland and Seattle. She's got 50 guides to herbs,
greens, legumes, squash, cabbage, roots and bulbs, warm season veggies,
and fruit – with one food prep for each. A lot of the book (with
exceptions) is based on West Coast gardening. So for each she has
descriptive notes on planting, growing, harvesting, storing, and
cooking ideas. There are photos of both the plant and the finished food
plate. Arugula, for example, has a salad with blue cheese, dates and
hot bacon dressing. There's a resources list, primarily American.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements,
but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: home gardeners and cooks
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: steak sandwiches with
gorgonzola chive sauce; pot stickers with Asian greens; mixed melons in
lemon verbena syrup.
The downside to this book: many preps are just grilled or dried
The upside to this book: a good collection of gardening ideas plus
Quality/Price Rating: 83.

9. EAT RAW, EAT WELL; 400 raw, vegan & gluten-free recipes (Robert
Rose, 2012, 384 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-0295-2, $24.95 US paper covers)
is by Douglas McNish, who is now a Certified Red Seal Professional
Vegan Chef. He's also a cooking teacher and raw-food consultant. "A raw
food diet contains whole, unprocessed fruits and vegetables, nuts and
seeds and select legumes and grains that have not been heated past 48
degrees centigrade." When food is heated past 41 degrees centigrade,
enzymes begin to break down. McNish explains the advantages of a raw
foods diet, transitioning, organic produce, and various techniques such
as sprouting, dehydrating, marinating, and juicing. His arrangement is
by course, from breakfast (with smoothies and other juices) to dips and
salads and soups, the main, and the side dishes plus desserts. There's
a mound of material here, including tips and advice in every recipe.
His online resources list includes US, Canada, UK, and Australia.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and
avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents.
Audience and level of use: raw food lovers; transitioning eaters.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: morning energy bars; spicy
orange and ginger sesame watercress; cake batter smoothie; tomatillo
and chia seed salsa; moussaka.
The downside to this book: a series of menus might have been useful,
just to keep some nutritional balance to the meal.
The upside to this book: gluten-free preps.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.

10. WHATEVER HAPPENED TO SUNDAY DINNER? A year of Italian menus with
250 recipes that celebrate family (Sterling Epicure, 2012, 322 pages,
ISBN 978-1-4027-8482-8, $24.95 US hard covers) is by Lisa Caponigri,
who had her Sicilian nonna guide her through all the Italian preps.
Here are 52 menus, with no repeats, for each Sunday of the year. You
can either repeat the sequence in a year, or do a mix and match
routine. Favourite dishes from all regions are here, although there is
no real attempt to keep all the dishes from one region within the same
meal. One northern Italian menu has Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardia,
Tuscany, and Sicilia at one sitting. There is a combination of family
Sicilian recipes intermingled with Italian classics. The menus are in
Italian style: antipasto, primo (usually pasta), secondo (main), just
one contorni (side), and a dessert. Each menu is numbered, but nothing
is tied into seasons or holidays. Menu 51, next to Christmas, has
breadsticks with herbs and prosciutto, spinach lasagna, braciole, baked
cipolline, and chestnuts with cream. There's some family memoir
material and a scattering of colour photos. Both Italian and English
recipe titles are used, although only English titles (with Italian in
brackets) are indexed. Preparations have their ingredients listed in
avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: basic home cooks
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: pollo cacciatore; pepperoni
ripieni; manzo marinato; carne in sugo di pomodori; spiedino di arista
con pane,
The downside to this book: no regional character, but there could have
been an index to this feature. No seasonal approach either (again, an
index here would have been useful).
The upside to this book: there is an index to secondo and primo dishes,
as well as pasta, antipasti, and contorni.
Quality/Price Rating: 85.
11. WASHINGTON FOOD ARTSANS; farm stories and chef recipes (Sasquatch
Books, 2012; distr. Random House Canada, 206 pages, ISBN 978-1-57061-
660-0, $35 US hard covers) is by Leora Bloom, once a pastry chef and
bakery owner in Washington state, and now a freelance writer. It's
another book in a burgeoning series about local food workers throughout
North America, produced by different publishers and writers. There have
been many on California and Canada, Maine, the Deep South. In fact,
this is a quickly trending food idea for publications. Here Bloom
details veggies, animal products, fruit, foraged foods, and wine.
There's a listing of 52 preps by course, sourced by chef (with a
restaurant listing at the back). This is followed by details about 17
artisans and recipes. This collection of photo essays works well, and
gives enough details and addresses for each food producer. Preparations
have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is
no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: Washington state lovers, followers of local
food artisans and locavores.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: albacore with lentils and
cumin-onion jam; farro risotto with morels; bruschetta of goat brie and
tomato jam; blackened oysters with chipotle aioli and pico de gallo.
The downside to this book: some people may not like the excessive
quantity of photographs, to the detriment of more space for artisans.
The upside to this book: a good contribution to locavore artisans.
Quality/Price Rating: 86.

12. WILLIAMS-SONOMA SALAD OF THE DAY; 365 recipes for every day of the
year (Weldon-Owen, 2012; distr. Simon & Schuster, 304 pages, ISBN 978-
1-61628-212-7, $34.95 US hard covers) is by Georgeanne Brennan, a food
author who has written many books for Williams-Sonoma. Here she
assembles a large variety of salads, arranged by the calendar. These
are light or heavy, main or luncheon meals, depending on what can be
added. There are opening pages for each month, with a listing of the
salad for each day. Of course, one doesn't have to follow along
completely. January 19 has cannellini bean salad with tuna and grilled
radicchio, February 19 has cannellini bean, fennel & shrimp salad,
March 19 has chicken & orzo salad, and April 19 has bulgur salad with
lemons, peas and mint. Preparations have their ingredients listed in
both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of
metric equivalents. In addition to the recipe index, there is also an
index to salads by type (bean, grain, egg, fruit, greens, meat,
poultry, pasta, seafood).
Audience and level of use: salad lovers, those looking for variety in
their salads.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: see above.
The downside to this book: there is plenty of white space, so the font
could have had a larger typeface.
The upside to this book: each prep has good sidebar advice.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
restaurant fare, and home coking from small towns, big cities, and
country villages across the British Isles. (Harvard Common Press, 2012,
214 pages, ISBN 978-1-55832-413-8, $24.95 US hard covers) is by Brian
Yarvin, a food and travel writer-photographer with four previous
cookbooks. He has been concentrating on Great Britain's cooks and food
purveyors for about two decades. He has found about 100 straightforward
recipes with about 200 of his own photos. Most of these preps are
updated classics that you could logically find in North American
gastropubs and British-style pubs. It's arranged by meal or course,
beginning with the "full breakfast" and moving on to sandwiches and
small plates, soups, mains, curries, side dishes, savoury pies, and
sweets. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois
measurements, but there is a table of metric equivalents. Here is even
a glossary of British food terms.
Audience and level of use: travelers to the UK, gastro pub lovers.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: chicken and leek casserole;
cream of watercress soup; Scotch oatmeal soup; Cornish steak pasty;
Welsh rarebit.
The downside to this book: there is enough white space that more
recipes could have been incorporated.
The upside to this book: good leading and typefaces, larger print
Quality/Price Rating: 86.
14. SAUSAGES; a country-by-country photographic guide with recipes (DK
Books, 2012, 224 pages, ISBN 978-0-7566-8983-4, $22 US hard covers) is
by Nichola Flecher, with recipes from Caroline Bretherton. It's a
descriptive guide to about 300 sausages from around the world, with a
short finishing chapter on how to make your own chorizo, blood sausage,
fresh sausage, scalded sausage, and cooked sausage. There's a brief
primer-history, followed by the grand tour through Teutonic Europe (of
course), the Mediterranean countries, Africa, the Americas, and Asia
(with Australia and New Zealand). For each country, there is a listing
of the major sausages, with a photo for each, a textual description,
the type of meat used, the type of sausage, its size, and something
about the seasoning. One of my faves is the droewors from South Africa,
a dry beef or ostrich sausage with little fat. The last quarter of the
book has the recipes, almost 50 of them and almost all the "classics".
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements,
but there is no table of metric equivalents. There is also a glossary
and a source list.
Audience and level of use: sausage lovers, food reference libraries.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: lamb sausage kebabs with
tzatziki dip; pea and sausage soup; game sausages and celery root
gratin with braised red cabbage; cocido; choucroute garnie; fabada.
The downside to this book: I'd still would have liked more detail and
history about some of the more important sausages.
The upside to this book: recipes are nicely laid out, with sausage
alternatives suggested.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.

May 2 - Mark Anthony Brands media open house

The Date and Time:  Wednesday, May 2, 2012   6Pm to 9PM

The Event: Mark Anthony Brands Media Open House

The Venue: corporate Ontario offices, Dufferin and King Streets

The Target Audience: wine media and bloggers

The Availability/Catalogue: this was a selection of wines from their principals, everything was available.

The Quote/Background: The occasion was the launch of Mark Anthony's new quarters. There was some special beer from BC that was not available for sale in Ontario, but was offered for tasting. The Stanley Park Noble Pilsner and Stanley Park Amber 1897 are top-rated brews.

The Wines: I did not try every wine. Prices are retail.


**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Rodney Strong Rockaway Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Alexander Valley Sonoma, future Vintages

-Lanson Black Label Brut Champagne NV, $49.85

-Nederburg Sauvignon Blanc 2011 South Africa, $10.95


***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (8890 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Post Scriptum de Chryseia 2009 Douro, $34.95 future Vintages

-Domini Veneti San Rocco Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2005, $85 est. – one of a five pack from different areas

-Terlato Galaxy 2008

-Mission Hill Five Vineyards Rose 2011 Okanagan, $15 Vintages

-Mission Hill Five Vineyards Chardonnay 2010 Okanagan, $15.95 coming soon

-Mission Hill SLC Syrah 2009 Okanagan, $36

-Mike Weir Chardonnay 2010 Niagara, $14.95 Vintages

-Santa Rita Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Chile, $13.95

-Calvet Saint-Emilion 2009, $18.95

-Latour Chardonnay 2010 Burgundy, $16.45

-Henkell Trocken Rose NV Germany, $13.65

-Nederburg Paarl Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 South Africa, $10.95

-Rodney Strong Russian River Pinot Noir 2009, $24.95 Vintages Essentials

-Rodney Strong Sonoma County Chardonnay 2009, $19.95 Vintages soon


*** GOOD -- Three Stars (8587 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Mike Weir Cabernet/Merlot 2010 Niagara, $16.95 Vintages

-Calvet Medoc 2009, $13.95

-Latour Pinot Noir 2009 Burgundy, $18.95

-Henkell Trocken NV Germany, $13.65


The Food: food came from Twin Elements Catering – cheese platter with dried fruit, pork belly apps, pea shooters, nuts and popcorn, handcut potato chips, shrimp, fruits and chocolates, and more.

The Downside: there was a nice crowd, but some tables and chairs interfered with the traffic flow of people, drinks and waiters.

The Upside: a chance to taste the beers (at the end) and the Lanson (at the beginning).

The Contact Person:

The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 90.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


EAST MEETS WEST; traditional and contemporary Asian dishes from
acclaimed Vancouver restaurants (Douglas & McIntyre, 2012, 218 pages,
ISBN 978-1-55365-863-4, $29.95 CDN soft covers) has been pulled
together by Stephanie Yuen, a food journalist (CBC, Edible Canada,
etc.) and Asian food blogger ( In February 2010,
Conde Nast Traveler magazine said that Vancouver was home to the best
Chinese food in the world. Hmmmm, that sounds like a book to me!! And
here it is, part of what is now an annual restaurant recipe cookbook
from D & M Publishing. Here are over 400 Chinese restaurants in Metro
Vancouver, plus more "Asian" places with cuisines from Japan, Korea,
Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and India. This book is a
compilation of these distinctive dishes made from Pacific Northwest
local ingredients framed on Asian influences and techniques. There are
88 signature recipes here, all sourced by chef and restaurant,
uniformly described and home-tested. The arrangement is from soup to
desserts. There is also an extensive resources food and equipment list,
but it is all local to the Vancouver area. Preps include tilapia and
daikon and pepper soup (from Allen Liu of Kirin Restaurant), warm
jellyfish and chicken salad (Michael Zhou of Terracotta Restaurant),
mung bean pancakes (Bob Chung of Buk Jang Do Ga), and lemon gras lamb
chops (Kim Thai of Coast Plaza Hotel). Preparations have their
ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table
of metric equivalents. But a really nifty book.  Quality/price rating:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing
Creator of Canada's award-winning wine satire site at 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 since 1994. My 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.
TOP VALUE WHITE WINES under $20 or so.
1. Finca Sophenia Reserve Viognier 2011 Mendoza: more citric and appley
than most viognier, 12% ABV, better with seafood and fish. +278267,
$16.95, QPR: 89.
2. Chateau Vignol Blanc 2010 Entre-Deux-Mers: satisfyingly friendly
food wine in zesty savvy mode, 12.5% ABV. +108522, $13.95, QPR: 89.
TOP VALUE RED WINES under $20 or so.
1. Ironstone Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 California: good value in a
California cabby, ready now, 13.5% ABV. +537597, $17.95, QPR: 90.
2. La Posta Pizzella Family Vineyard Malbec 2009 Uco Mendoza: god
Malbec intensity and MVC, twist top, 13.5% ABV. +166298, $15.95, QPR:
3. Trivento Coleccion Fincas No. 2 Syrah 2007 Mendoza: juicy lucy, sip
or food, 14% ABV. Value. +269217, $16.95, QPR: 89.
4. Urraca Malbec 2008 Mendoza: good aging, 14.8% ABV blockbuster,
plumy, a big wine. +214379, $19.5, QPR: 89.
5. Small Gully Formula Robert's Shiraz 2006 South Australia: deep, dark
and delicious, well-aged, 15.9% over-the-top, but not a hot finish.
+142935, $19.95, PR: 90.
6. Les Hauts de Montfort Les Megalithes 2009 Minervois Unfiltered a
hidden gem, old grenache vines, ark fruit, 14.5% ABV needs food.
+279554, 13.95, QPR: 91.
7. Mas D'Auzieres Sympathie Pour Les Stones 2009 Coteaux du Languedoc:
I could make a crack about "Sympathy for the Devil" by the Rolling
Stones, since the Stones own a piece of South of France around the
corner. But I won't. It's 14% ABV syrah, with mocha and dark fruit
tones, long finish. +277046, $19.95, QPR: 90.
8. Umani Ronchi Montipagano Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2010: dark fruit,
light tang on the finish, 13% ABV, organic. +134585, $13.95, QPR: 89.
9. Di Majo Norante Ramitello 2009 Biferno Rosso Molise: 13.5% ABV, a
whopper of a wine that needs time. +973214, $15.95, QPR: 89.
10. Travaglini Nebbiolo 2010 Coste della Sesia Piedmont: juicy nebbiolo
flavours, aged 10 months in oak, 13% ABV. Value for nebbiolo lovers.
+30353, $17.95, QPR: 89.
11. Baglio di Pianetto Nero d'Avola 2009 IGT Sicilia: rich, ripe, over-
the-top dark fruit, 13.5% ABV. Sipper or food. +207423, $14.95, QPR:
12. Vicchiomaggio Agostino Petri Chianti Classico Riserva 2008: good
value but needs more time. Fruit and finishing acid are there. 14% ABV.
+993360, $19.5, QPR: 89.
13. Azul Portugal Reserva 2007 VR Alentejano: off-dry on the palate,
North American appeal, 13.5% ABV. +276238, $15.95, QPR: 89.
14. Cunha Martins Reserva 2008 Dao: fatty + smokey = BBQ. 13% ABV.
+276188, $14.95, QPR: 89.
15. Monte Vilar Reserva 2008 VR Alentejano: soft. 14% ABV, North
American appeal like the Azul above. +276105, $15.95, QPR: 89.
16. Bod. Altanza Lealtanza Reserva 2005 Rioja: well-priced, MVC for a
Rioja, 13.5% BV, but still needs another year or so. +276097, $19.95,
QPR: 90.
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. Cave Spring CSV Riesling 2008 VQA Beamsville Bench, +566026, $29.95
2. Closson Chase K.J.Watson Vineyard Chardonnay 2009 VQA Niagara River
Unfiltered, +230912, $34.95.
3. Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay 2009 Edna Valley, +17988, $25.95.
4. Robert Mondavi To Kalon Estate Reserve Fume Blanc 2009 Napa,
+147488, $44.95.
5. Domaine Pabiot Les Vieilles Terres Pouilly-Fume 2010, +65979,
6. Folie a Deux Zinfandel 2008 Amador, +147231, $24.95.
7. Rubicon Estate Cask Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Rutherford Napa, +29553,
8. Chateau Pipeau 2008 St-Emilion Grand Cru, +138131, $29.
9. Chateau Tire Pe La Cote 2008 Bordeaux, +137364, $25.
10. Domaine des Tilleuls Clos Village Gevrey-Chambertin 2009, +264994,
11. Antinori Pian Delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino 2006, +651141,
12. Castello di Ama Chianti Classico 2007, +39768, $33.95.
13. Ruffino Ducale Oro Chianti Classico Riserva 2006, +353201, $43.95.
14. Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva 2001 Rioja, +976811, $29.95.

Monday, May 21, 2012

May 1: Hobbs & Co Portfolio tasting

The Date and Time:  Tuesday, May 1, 2012   12:30 Pm to 4 PM

The Event: Hobbs & Co Portfolio Tasting

The Venue: Berkeley Church

The Target Audience:  wine trade

The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are available through consignment, private order, Vintages, etc. The catalogue had detailed tasting notes, variety information, and prices.

The Quote/Background: Anna Hobbs told me, "I made this terrine." It had a good solid yummy taste and consistency. It went very well with the sample of Chateau Lyonnat 1970 Lussac Saint-Emilion [en magnum, no longer available anywhere}, the treat for the day.

The Wines: I did not taste every wine. Prices are retail.


**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Sideroad Twenty Reserve Chardonnay 2008, $19.99

-Quails' Gate Stewart Family Chardonnay 2010 Okanagan, $32.99

-Quails' Gate Merlot 2008 Okanagan, $24.95 Vintages Sept/12

-Plume Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Napa, $34.99

-Gauchezco Oro 2008 Mendoza [Malbec], $49.99 est.

-Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle Grand Cru Classe 2005 Bordeaux, $90.99 est.

-Stroppiana Barolo Gabutti Bussia 2005 Piedmont, $66.99

-Paul Cluver Chardonnay 2010 Elgin Valley South Africa, $27.99 Vintages June 9

-La Crusset Le Bella Fernanda 2010 Rioja [white], $25.99 est.


***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (8890 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Sideroad Twenty Red Tractor Reserve Merlot 2009, $18.99

-Sideroad Twenty Meritage 2008, $22.99

-Coffin Ridge L'Acadie Blanc 2011, $23.50

-Daniel Nestor Match Point Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Niagara, $12.99

-Tantalus Old Vines Riesling Okanagan 2008, $45.99

-Quails' Gate Chenin 2011 Okanagan, $19.99

-Quails' Gate Chardonnay 2009 Okanagan, $19.99

-Quails' Gate Stewart Family Reserve Pinot 2009 Okanagan, $44.99

-Chateau Diana Black Oak Chardonnay 2010 Lodi, $16.50

-Gauchezco Torrontes 2011 Mendoza, $19.99 est.

-Gauchezco Malbec Rose 2011 Mendoza, $19.99 est.

-Clairault Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Margaret River, $28.99

-Valle Andino Carmenere Reserva Especiale 2010 Chile, $19.50

-Chateau Gaudrelle Vouvray Brut 2009 Loire, $26.50 est.

-Le Plan Classic White 2011 Cotes du Rhone, $16.50 est. organic

-Domaine Sainte Rose Le Marin Blanc 2011 Languedoc, $22.50

-Domaine Lafond Tavel Rose 2010, $22.99 est.

-Chateau Bellegrave Medoc 2009, $19.99

-Chateau Lyonnat 2008 Lussac Saint-Emilion, $29.95 Vintages

-Domaine de Bachellery Futs de Chene Grenache 2007, $17.50 est.

-Salcheto Rosso di Montepulciano 2010 Tuscany, $21.99

-Salcheto Salco Vino Nobile 2006 Tuscany, $74.99

-Alpha Zeta Amarone 2008 Veneto, $51.50

-Herdade Sao Miguel Ciconia 2010 Alentejano, $15.95 Vintages

-Herdade Sao Miguel Montinho Reserve 2010 Alentejano, $17.95 Vintages

-Franschhoek Sauvignon Blanc 2011 South Africa, $15.50

-Hartenberg Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Stellenbosch, $34.50

-Contreras Ruiz Vina Barredero 2011 Condado de Huelva Spain, $15.99

-La Crusset 6 Sombreros 2005 Rioja, $36.99 est.

-La Crusset 6 Sombreros Collecion 2004 Rioja.


*** GOOD -- Three Stars (8587 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Sideroad Twenty Red Tractor Riesling Gewurz 2010, $12.99

-Coffin Ridge Marquette 2010 Grey County, $25.50

-Coffin Ridge Resurrection Rose 2010 Grey County, $21.50

-Coopers Hawk Chardonnay Musque 2011 LENS, $17.50

-Coopers Hawk Riesling 2011 LENS, $14.95

-Coopers Hawk Gewurztraminer 2011 LENS, $25.50

-Coopers Hawk Pinot Noir 2009 LENS, $19.95

-Coopers Hawk Rose LENS, 16.50

-Coopers Hawk Cabernet Franc 2010 LENS, $21.50

-Featherstone Black Sheep Riesling 2011 20 Mile Bench, $18.55

-Featherstone Estate Bottled Rose 2011 20 Mile Bench, $16.60

-Featherstone Cabernet Franc 2010 20 Mile Bench, $19.76

-Tantalus Riesling 2010 Okanagan, $34.99

-Tantalus Pinot Noir 2010 Okanagan, $45.99

-Quails' Gate Rose 2011 Okanagan, $17.95

-Quails' Gate Pinot Noir 2009 Okanagan, $26.99

-Chateau Diana Le Baron Ranch Chardonnay 2010 Lodi, $24.65

-Chateau Diana Black Oak Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Lodi, $16.50

-Gauchezco Malbec 2009 Mendoza, $20.99

-Gauchezco Plata 2009 Mendoza [Malbec], $31.99 est.

-Campbells Shiraz Durif 2010 Victoria, $19.95 Vintages

-Valle Andino Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2010 Chile, $15.99

-Chateau Gaudrelle Touraine Brut Rose NV Loire, $25.50 est.

-Chateau Gaudrelle Vouvray Sec Tendre 2010 Loire, $25.50

-Terriors Originels Macon Charnay Tradition 2009, $15.95 Vintages Aug 4

-Gilbert Picq Chablis Premier Cr Vaucoupin 2010, $39.99

-Chateau Recougne Blanc Bordeaux 2010, $16.99 est.

-Chateau Lyonnat 2008 Lussac Saint-Emilion, $26.99 est.

-Le Plan GT-G Grand Terrior Grenache 2010, $29.99 est.

-Salcheto Vino Nobile Annata 2007 Tuscany, $35.99

-Tinpot Hut Pinot Gris 2011 Marlborough, $21.50


The Food: The Hobbs' Family Terrine, Black River Cheeses, other cheeses, biscuits and breads,

The Contact Person:

The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 89.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

* DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH! * -- Brunello di Montalcino (UC Pr.)

1. BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO; understanding and appreciating one of
Italy's greatest wines (University of California Pr., 2012, 300 pages,
ISBN  978-0-520-6564-6, $39.5 US hard covers) is by Kerin O'Keefe who
writes about Italian wine for Decanter and The World of Fine Wine.
Previously, she had written "Franco Biondi Santi; the gentleman of
Brunello".  It's in two large parts – the basics of the region and the
grape, the birth (1865 at Greppo by Santi), and how the control came
about, the scandal of 2008 regarding over-cropping and blending, the
development of Rosso as a quicker maturing wine. The second part
concentrates on the 60 or so leading producers by the six subzones,
with names and addresses, websites, phone numbers, etc. A third,
smaller, part features other wines of the region and local cuisine
(with a description of typical dishes). There is also a vintage guide,
some fact sheets ("Brunello at a glance"), glossary, and a
Audience and level of use: wine lovers, especially Brunello fans.
Some interesting or unusual facts: Brunello estates are tiny – 22% have
less than 1 hectare of vines, 29% have between 1 and 3 hectares.
The downside to this book: Rosso di Montalcino (scattered through the
book) was not indexed.
The upside to this book: a good example of a single (and singular)
region book.
Quality/Price Rating: 91.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Other Interesting Cookbooks and Drinkbooks

HOT & CHEESY (John Wiley & Sons, 2012, 404 pages, ISBN 978-0-470-
61535-5, $22.99 US paper covers) is by Clifford A. Wright, an award-
winning author of twelve other cookbooks. He's a multiple Beard winner.
Here he has collected 250 international and global preps covering a
full range of fritters, pastries, casseroles, pastas, sandwiches,
pizzas, breads – just about all foods one can top, stuff or sprinkle
with cheese. In most cases, he tries to match the most appropriate
cheese with the requirement, such as Bell pepper or poblano chili
strips in cheese (use either a four-cheese blend from the book or fresh
cheeses). There's the usual primer on how to choose and store cheeses,
and how to cook with them. Obviously, the cheese must be melt able or
grated first, and the flavours appropriate. Arrangement is by course or
product, beginning with soups and sauces and progressing through
crepes, pies, tarts, Italian and Mexican dishes, eggs, rice, veggies,
meat and seafood, concluding with sweets. Preparations have their
ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table
of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: home cooks, cheese lovers.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: cheese and potato cigars;
calzones; brioche pork and cheese sandwich; perciatelli with three
cheeses; stuffed veal chops; baked lamb with cheese; haddock and
cheddar casserole; crab au gratin; cheese kolache.
The downside to this book: it would have been nice to have some non-
gluten alternatives.
The upside to this book: there is no logrolling on the cover, which is
good…Wright can sell himself.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.

4. THE PHILOSOPHY OF FOOD (University of California Press, 2012, 312
pages, ISBN 978-0-520-26934-7, $27.95 US soft covers) has been edited
by David M. Kaplan, a philosophy professor at the University of North
Texas. It is a diverse collection of essays ruminating on themes about
thinking responsibly about what and how we consume food. The papers
reflect the editor's introduction in which he proposes how "food" fits
into s viable study pattern: metaphysics of food, epistemology,
aesthetics, ethics, technology, and politics. The first two chapters
(of 16) examine the social role of eating. The next three talk about
aesthetics, the taste of food, and food as art. The following three
comment on ethics, morality and politics of food. After this come three
chapters on vegetarianism and ethics of animals used in food
production. There are also sections on aquaculture, agriculture and
food technologies. There are plenty of end notes and bibliographies,
the list of contributors and their stations, and – ta da – an index to
the whole collection. This feature rarely happens. Along the way the
book covers (spread over a few essays) slow food, sustainability, food
safety, table manners, trade, veganism, supermarkets, and other topics
(check the index). What can I say? "Something to chew on"? "Food for
thought"? Quality/Price Rating: 91.
5. TALES FROM AN OENOPHILE; fables, adventures & misconceptions
(Friesen Press, 2011, 156 pages, ISBN 978-1-77067-313-7 $16.95 soft
covers, also available as an ebook for $7.99, both versions at is by Richard Best,
also known as The Frugal Oenophile specializing in modestly-priced
wines. He's a good colleague of mine in the Wine Writers' Circle of
Canada (I'm also mentioned in the Acknowledgments) – those are my
conflicts of interest here. Borrowing a leaf from George Bernard Shaw,
Best has produced a didactic work about wine by using a novel approach:
the novel. There is not really much of a plot, but that's the book's
only weakness. It might have helped to move the story along is there
was more tension, such as a wine cellar collapsing on the principals,
or a vicious winemaker's dog attacking somebody, or a corked wine
killing off half the townfolks. Possibly even a fight at the cash
register over the last bottles of a precious wine. But then, that's
just me. I doubt that they'll make a movie or Broadway musical out of
it, but it might make a good "reality" television show. Essentially, it
is the story of a knowledgeable wine writer and his neighbours (a young
couple) exploring the world of wine through dialogue. Best covers the
basic wine styles, visiting wineries, training a nose and palate for
tasting wines, doing a wine show, talking to a winemaker, exploring a
seasoned wine cellar, and preparing for a party by matching wines with
the foods. Each chapter ends with some wine notes or technical data.
There's an appendix with such items as how to prepare wine aroma
samples on your own and how to build a wine knowledge library with
reference books and newsletters (but nothing from the Internet). Well-
worth a look and read.
Audience and level of use: beginning wine lovers
Some interesting or unusual facts: Basically comprehensive shopping
lists, wine encyclopedias attempt to include every wine imaginable,
along with some coverage of region and wineries.
The downside to this book: more tension is needed for this "show me"
The upside to this book: a nice novel approach by a best writer.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
6. NOTES FROM A MAINE KITCHEN; seasonally inspired recipes (Down East
Books, 201; distr. by Nimbus, 196 pages, ISBN 978-0-89272-917-3, $27.95
US hard covers) is by Kathy Gunst who has been nominated for several
IACP and Beard Awards. She's written 14 cookbooks and has contributed
to a variety of the top food magazines in the US. Here, she has essays
for each month of the year, exploring and explaining the Maine food
landscape for that time period. Each is followed by several preps
incorporating seasonal ingredients or themes, about a half-dozen or so
for each month. She covers farmers' markets, sugar shacks, lobster
trapping, ramp hunting, parsnip harvests, and more. In January, it is
smelts, August is for lobsters, September is preserving, and October is
mushroom hunting. There is a nifty section on 18 menus, with pag
references to the recipes. Preparations have their ingredients listed
in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric
Audience and level of use: Maine or New England food lovers
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: maple cheesecake with maple-
ginger crust; ramp puree and ramp butter; sauteed sea scallops with
ramp puree; grilled harpooned swordfish with olive-lemon scallion
topping; herb and feta corn fritters; roasted wild-mushroom soup.
The downside to this book: the Resources section is all New England,
but then this is a regional cookbook.
The upside to this book: the Menus.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.

7. WAFFLES (Weldon Owen, 2011; distr. Simon & Schuster, 96 pages, ISBN
978-1-61628-205-3, $19.5 US hard covers) is by Tara Duggan, a Beard
Award winning food journalist and cookbook author. Here she covers over
40 sweet and savoury preps. Her emphasis is on versatility of the
waffle, which is a good thing since you must invest in some kind of
single purpose machine (which she covers, including an egg waffler).
It's an open and shut book with the usual batters and spreads, arranged
by course (breakfasts, brunches, lunch, diner, desserts). It'll make a
good gift book. No gluten-free recipes. Preparations have their
ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but
there is no table of equivalents.
Audience and level of use: beginners, home cooks.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: fresh corn, goat cheese, and
roasted pepper waffles; sourdough waffle BLTs; chicken and waffles with
pan gravy; three-cheese waffle sticks; potato waffles with applesauce.
The downside to this book: no gluten-free recipes
The upside to this book: really sharp photography.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
8. 200 SALADS (Gibbs Smith, 2012; distr. Raincoast, 208 pages, ISBN
978-1-4536-2468-4, $12.99 US spiral bound) is by Melissa Barlow and
Stephanie Ashcraft. It's a basic book with no illustrations but with a
detailed index and useful spiral binding. There are both sweet (fruit,
desserts) and savoury (leaves, pasta, BBQ, main courses) with a chapter
on dressings. There are service notes, such as serving 6 or more.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements,
but there is a table of metric equivalents on the inside back cover.
Audience and level of use: beginner.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: marinated beef salad; fruit
and nut chicken salad; sunshine salad; cashew bow-tie pasta; summer
zucchini salad.
The downside to this book: nothing, really – there are enough ideas
here for a couple of years of no repeats.
The upside to this book: spiral-binding makes it a snap to search
around or look at recipes.
Quality/Price Rating: 85.

9. IN PURSUIT OF GARLIC; an intimate look at the divinely odorous bulb
(Greystone Books, 2012, 202 pages, ISBN 978-1-55365-601-2, $19.95 CAN
paper covers) is by Liz Primeau, a well-established gardening writer
and the founding editor of Canadian Gardening magazine. It is a good
handbook, well-framed with judiciously chosen facts and anecdotes and a
smattering of recipes (there's also a separate recipe index). Log
rolling comes from Mark Cullen and John Bishop. She explores garlic
through history, art, medicine, science, and food. There is even some
contemporary material on the current status of Chinese-imported garlic.
There's a chapter on garlic festivals, and one on a garlic primer (at
the back). Sources are also indicated. And while there is a list of
recommended reading, she also cites (but does not source) Les Blank's
documentary film "Garlic is As Good as Ten Mothers" which currently
only exists as an out-of-print VHS tape – I wish she told me where to
find it, for I have not seen it since its release around 1980.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements,
but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: garlic lovers
Some interesting or unusual facts: Roman soldiers were issued several
cloves of garlic daily and told to chew on them for resistance to
The downside to this book: I would have liked more material, a longer
The upside to this book:  separate recipe index.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.

10. FARMSTAND FAVORITES: GARLIC; over 75 farm fresh recipes
(Hatherleigh Press, 2012; distr. Random House of Canada, 99 pages, ISBN
978-1-57826-405-6, $9.50 US soft covers) comes from a series created to
buying local and fresh. So far the series has dealt with apples,
pumpkin, and berries (among other titles). It is a basic collection of
preps, covering all courses including breakfast. Some of the recipes
come from garlic festivals or organic suppliers: these are all sourced.
It's an ideal accompaniment to Primeau's book (above) since it only has
three pages dealing with garlic primer material. There's enough to get
you started, even a recipe for pickled garlic – to handle any surplus
that you might have. Unfortunately, there is no index, the book must be
thumbed through. Preparations have their ingredients listed in
avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: beginners
Some interesting or unusual recipes: pesto minestrone; lemon bulgur and
chickpea pilaf; turkey apple gyros; Moroccan lentil salad; artichoke
The downside to this book: no index.
The upside to this book: pickled garlic and roasted garlic recipes to
handle any surplus you might have.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.