My thoughts and experiences on food and wine and other things

Archive for the ‘Cutting Edge’ Category

C’est la Rentree

In Blablabla, Cutting Edge, Food, Travel, Uncategorized, Wine on October 23, 2012 at 00:27

“C’est la rentree” was started and planned to be “pressed” early September,

for some reason, it has never left my desktop but as a “work in construction”,

It has been  since , not neglected but rather left aside, brewing  or stewing slowly, thus until today’s “Eureka!”

Seeing this “Art Piece” on the shelves of one of our reliable stores , the one you would entrust with the health of your wallet , I knew I had hit the jackpot of all blogs , revering any unnacessible and palatable shenanigan.

If there was a top ten list of all rare and estrange items I have had on my own discovery “channel” this far , although I was kind of expecting it at some point in my life , this one would most definitely top it up.

Because , by respect for my other work sourced way past today’s event and already imprinted into this page, in straight line as per awaiting their turn  , I have decided entertaining you until the very bottom of this A4 draft , prior , at last , and revealing this “monster” of our ages (21st Century) before you…

Letting myself being carried by the nonetheless dramatic notes of “Cannon and Guigue for 3 Violins” , having had all summer gorging my nostrils with the warmth of the grapes harshly battered by the sunrays in the Bordeaux region , the taste of its beverage still rolling in my mouthful leaving its tannin opening to my sense before flowing down my throat now providing me with the refreshing sensation “enivrante”, leaving “Twitts” and “Like” buttons far from view, not denying their useful and entertaining use, but as we would all agree with, there is a time for everything…

I could now easily speak of something new, as for example of something named “An Yanshi’s” or the most expensive tea in the world.

It is produced from organic Panda fertilizer (dung).

Having reached sky high prices, this original tea has indeed created quiet a bit of a stir in the Szechuan county of China where it is being produced.

As tea’s are being considered , treated and venered as equaly as us French do respect our wines , having rare and delicate leafs/picks , “Milesime” and rarities , it is easy for one imagining how a cup of ancient beverage may alleviate one’s pocket.

–     The next chapter will have us all try , despite the wave of campaign against Palm Oil used in so many of our much loved childhood products, everyone of us wishing alternative may be found so to keep our “traditions” if I may call them so , alive  , what we may all remember as spread.

Guiding you through my thoughts and “knowledge” of this discovery about the finger “dipping, although never experienced, I am quiet surprised such idea has not seen our cupboards rather 30 years ago when WE  had (as children that is) all excuses/reason, deep cleaning the side of each and everyone pot of chocolate paste without even feeling guilty, just a touch naughty, forgetting it’s politically incorrect list of ingredients.

Nevertheless the idea probably leaves many of us with a glinch of a smile , getting the idea passing through their front head , for being caught looking at it twice

“Kase Stifte” is a set of three large “pencils” shaped pieces of parmesan, yes the cheese that is , each and everyone of them having its own individual colour/flavor. (Truffle,Chilly & Pesto)

“Cheesy” I realise but , can someone guess how to consume it……..that is right , pure genius is here seen in my view ……shaving its tip with the help of a pencil sharpener!?

As the winter season has knocked on our doors in a very harsh way that is , we may only praise the comfort found into one of the great and numerous warmer dishes of the season often found in a cup or bowl , smelling earthy and gorged with the addition of a smoked meat or even fish , waiting patiently for the spring to return so to try this appealing “Carrot Tartare” as per demonstrated.

Again another bright approach , making a vegetarian dish as elaborated in its “construction” and thought given , with the outmost certainty of an added extra flavor due to its originality….. I cannot wait not forcing myself to try…

Now, as we are approaching the closure of my “today’s exhuberating and fun sharing of thoughts and discovery” I am about posting a picture without any comment so to “accompagne”

Having refered to earlier in my introduction, I am still left perplex as to ways or what sort of thought , as they are currently numerous, I shall share with you….

I’d rather leave you to it while I slowly step backward, generously bowing as per a theatrical entrance, hereby exit as per an escape, polite , usually excited for taking every opportunity in practicing the craft of writing , hereby leaving me with a tiny bit of shame for what we may have come to….

Est-ce la fin ?


Bag for “Life” !

In Blablabla, Cutting Edge, Food, Travel on January 27, 2012 at 23:23

Entitled “Eco Cooker with bags of potential”………. is a report , not an article.

Not one I wrote nor witnessed but One I read , One I felt and long (enough) thought about.

Named the “Wonderbag” , this kitchen utensil build and created by Sarah Collins , is formed around hundreds of balls of recycled polystyrene and will allow oneself bringing a stew to boiling point before wrapping it with the “device” or insulated “bag” that will permit the aliment a continuous slow cooking without the need of any further gas or electricity use….. that’s right , imagine?!

£5 , that is all it cost.

Not a mere saving on any energy bills , thus of course without the mention of the care and love , provided in all parallel to the sweetest mother of them all ……. Mother nature.

(risky , I know , I may from now be deprived from all my favourite dishes every other opportunity I may visit my family , but I am prepared placing such highly “essential need” that my love for my mother’s food consumption is to me , aside……… hoping that in return , her maternal love for her very hungry and gourmand son will have been forgiven , “pardoned”)

Dramatic ?

Cryptic ?

I do not care , no one touches Planet Earth!

And of course as my thoughtful mind does usually takes me to places where only questions are asked , this strange but wonderful land of “why’s” and “how’s” , sunshine and rain , melodies and cranky noises , I do not see “me” without alternative requesting reply from this invisible force , this stranger of a man on bicycle , running errand in my cranial box … whoops, slippery around here , where am I going with this ?!

I’d rather ask you … where are we heading , are we , are you adapting to these changes?

Could this same love for food amongst other , be at the origin of our need of nowadays playing catch up with nature  ?)

Taking its origin from our ancestor cooking in the ground method , it has not only created over 8000 jobs in South Africa alone but is supported by the UN , Unilever and ……….. no other than Microsoft.

Originally created for the southern continent , demand has made it available in the Uk ,  Asia and South America

Facts are , that (Wonderbag) it has already found home in 150 000 household in Africa alone , wishing not only to expand , but to also reach record sales of up to 100 millions by the year 2015….

And by 2020 ? Everyone on the planet should and WILL use one!

Lets give it the “thumb” (coup de pouce), shall we?!

Something for the Week-End ,Take “2

In Blablabla, Cutting Edge, Food, Travel on December 9, 2011 at 13:03

“La Papillotheque”, as Guy Savoy has described his feelings anchored within him , having had a gardener for father and a mother knowing how to combine the result of this great skill and making good use of it by taking care in a good fashion way that is , of preparing and cooking  the abundance of the subtiles ingredients harvested in the family garden through the year , is something we could all easily feel related to.

I know that too well myself having had the chance to witness the growing of the “Endive” , slowly popping through the cool sand (helping the leafs keeping tight instead of opening up) that was there , in a corner of the cellar , held by large planks of wood , forming this frame containing the pale coloured bulbs (Leaf Chicory) , all in this “dark room” as per avoiding any chance for chlorophyl developing , refraining them from turning green as any type of leafy vegetable would .

The discovery of this growing method is known to have been discovered in the late 17th Century , for me it was more like 1975 (ish)

But , why am I telling you this , is it this sudden urge (again) , having collected a few ideas and photos taken along the way , put together making my inner thoughts bubbling as a Marmite of good stock embauming the kitchen , clearly showing that life is taking place within these walls and that love is being spread by ways of nourishing one appetite ?

Yes , simply as it sounds , this goes all the way since my first , not attempt but blab” that took me on a journey since this day of summer 2010.

As a contrast to the direction my thought above are going towards to , as opposite to my deeply rooted love for my “Classic” training , thus coming way back from the time I grew up , the food I was used to taste and see stewing gently , smelling its variant of flavors while passing below the kitchen window of my Grand-Mother’s house , all this thinking it was playtime.

I believe in a fun kind of way , that I was groomed , shaped into nowadays “myself” , loving … I mean really loving having the ability to turn back the clock and enjoy all these wonderful moments engraved forever  (please do not take me wrong as no pretention is allowed hereby that would therefore be tarnishing my thinking), and then being able to switch back and forth , bringing (after discovering myself) items I am finding exceptional for some, intriguing for others , but nevertheless interesting in all kind of ways and if I may stress , I am finding this ability so rewarding I am considering myself to be lucky having this in me.

In 2010 (ish) a Japanese firm created a Chocolate Sparkling Water. Heston Blumenthal and the alike have all extracted and created similar concoctions out of what we all know very well (I have much faith in you), as bars of chocolate of different origins , so to please the palates.

Our mind being now set to accept all chocolate tasting food items coming as creamy and rich whether under the form of a “Moelleux” or “Pot” , “Brulee” or “Panacota” , running and oozing out of a hard shell spreading onto one’s plate , sexy and masculine , though very much-loved by all genders , right? a warm and cosy cup of deliciously thick milky drink …etc , is now being tricked into accepting this texture rather lacking “un je ne sais quoi”, flowing so rapidly but surprisingly pushing us on our back heels , bringing all kind of words into our vocal cords , not shying away but rather screaming out for this surprisingly chocolaty drink , sounding more like “Wow” and “Yum” …. I dare you!

My play with contrasts has yet not been totally exhausted , “Que Neni”  in fact it is now taking me , taking you , to the high-end of the of Chilean cooking  , brushing closely with nature in this nonetheless ecological baking , grilling method.

Sun Rays generated oven reflected onto mirrors so to provide sufficient energy to cook , (slowly I leave it to you ), bake , grill and fry a variety of traditional , simple and modest , but cooked dishes , are being used in this part of the world and somehow are making the talk for some , on our part of the world.

Their originality having brought them to the social media mainstream we nowadays browse on a not so ecological electricity powered battery computers ourselves. Ahem,ahem!

(although Apple vision of the Macbook , was made by living space for thoughts around more ecological encasing …etc , that is a fact!)

Our planet population’s recently reached 7Billion inhabitant.

That is 7 millions of millions of persons

We are prone to expect , see and learn on a daily basis , not only what our neighbor way of thinking is (are) but also to accept the way they would call “Happy Cooking”, why not enjoying it.

Eau de Burton

In Blablabla, Cutting Edge, Food on November 14, 2011 at 22:29

Because of the way we eat , our food chain supply and every envy and desire to discover more and more , creating new ways and methods of cooking along with the ingredients coming always accompanied by new techniques …etc we may only praise and welcome ideas and newcomers on our kitchen cupboard shelving and therefore our table.

At least I do , but as you are probably starting to know my little habits of being not only nosy (in a kind sweet way that is) , taking quick shots (pictures not the drinks) everywhere I go , being a little curious , envious and showing and speaking my interest , sometimes  perhaps having a good listener in front of me , “blabbing” about the reason my belly is a little rounder than any average grown up 6”1 male chef that has spent his years in a warm kitchen , and just about to go for another round of great cooking , tasting and yumming around , all this while everyone else is busy counting , adding but most of the time substracting…..

I am not sorry for loving my work , even though being a romantic in front of a stove may get you hurt.

No no not at all , please do not mistake me , my fingers may bear a few small cuts scars ,  these appearing only once a good hint of holiday , sunburn coming brushing my skin , and while enjoying however simple my pleasure are , slowly reminding me it was not only not just an easy road but also well worth it.

Nevermind the cryptic here , my mind speaking may only be confusion to many of you.

Having had for reading recently only some silly comedian playing poker with his own life as if riding a high-octane motorcycle not wearing any helmet , I feel this silliness staining on me , in a good way , as per providing me the little “less seriously” bit that I had missing for so long.

My food having been my remedy , providing me as for some using shopping therapy or else , the calm and ground I feel comfortable not only talking about but also living , breathing and cooking most of the time.

As per the starting of my wordings today , I wanted to lead you toward a special day I have and am happy to say , lived and experienced.

Do not ask me why , the simple truth is that as a great believer of large and small things , I have entered the Waitrose School of cooking off Finchley Road North London , with a little apprehension.

Although I really love using a few only of the Sosa product range , I was on this specific day about to assist to a talk from its creator himself.

This little “BIG” man if I may say , full of curiosity and thoughts flying above him as per an “aura”, talks and thinks through , for chefs , pastry chefs and all kind of food creators.

Having studied philosophy , therefore equipped with a background of great and voluptuous love for answers  (and all ways of search for it) Chixo Sosa , believes that his product nonetheless have created a hype , therefore damaging the image being tried hereby ( I would only say that all great ideas having caused controversy have proved to be worth it….so all the best Mr Sosa , you are doing just fine ).

I am not a skeptical , please do not take me wrong but I have to mention this man has gone under my skin.

Although my classical background reminds me and pulls me backward every now and then I have very strong attraction for one or two of his new upcoming product as I believe that now the range has just reached the 2500 products.

Bless him as one would say hereby in my neighborhood , they do still fabricate the original Torrons Artesan and Panetone as did their ancestors.

What does that tell you?!

My Love , whether for Traditional or Upcoming but None Without the Other

In Blablabla, Cutting Edge, Food, Travel, Uncategorized on July 20, 2011 at 09:41

Have you ever found yourself walking through the lemon groves of Menton or scrolling between the perfect lines of Jasmine covering the mounts and hills of Grasse, all taken great care of so for their precious essence to be extracted as if by miracle to provide tiny amount of the well sought after basis of many great perfumers favored ingredients belonging to a long family of nose specialists , ending being adoringly placed onto ones thin long and delicate neck or in a more mechanical way, being sprayed in micro particles as if to change ones identity making her not only the most desirable perfume carrier beside being ravishing , but by also spreading its joy , sharing its richness and deepest secret to anyone lucky and coming close enough so to have a taste of its aroma.

As juicy peaches, watermelon gorged with the summer sweetness , plump apricots , green and velvety fresh almonds shells protecting the delicate milky nut that will with the right amount of time and attended care and process become the thin toasted slices or nibbed kernels found sprinkled over our Paris-Brest so to give crunch to the creamy praline “Diplomate” are all on display on our kitchens table as if they were an “offrande” to the gods, an enjoyment of the rich summer season we must certainly all celebrate with trumpets and tambourines with feasts around Barbecues all with a good chance of ending with dripping Ice-Cream cones , crisp and delicate , crumbling under the bite, because there is no time given for soaking the waffle , there is only one summer per calendar year.

I want Acacia flowers dipped in fluffy batter before being fried, covered with a cloud of icing sugar so for to give it the largest bite that only a certain joy may provide me with , which is in its turn only felt and generously given by the soft smell of sweetness

I want to walk through the early markets found along the coasts , eyes wide shut being able to describe my whereabouts just by its odora , nectarines to my right , morning baked fougasse to my left and coming rapidly to my senses are the fresh goat milk faisselles still hanging in their basket , they are coming fast running towards me , I see and imagine them spread on a slice of crisp bread still warm from the baking stone or covered with a spoon of lavender honey , the lot being sprinkled with shredded “tartuffon”

What does really matters in our life? It is to serve alongside and in harmony with ourselves, our colleagues ,our families…..our elders…. We all have the opportunity of doing what is right , it is our choice and if taken it is a great path to follow, although it is not a gift everyone has. Cutting corners is like messing around with a recipe , dropping down on the cooking time, reducing its ingredients list so to reduce its cost and therefore , often by altering its final result.

People are the same, you take their juice away, what drives them , reduce them to fabricate, robotise them , automate them, and the result will be obvious, not only on our plates but also the service provided will be affected to the point that all love found prior to the crisis will have vanished , like evaporated into thin air no essence recuperator may catch its gist, not even a glimpse.

Good old recipes are the key to success while new waves of cooking methods are flooding our tables bringing along flavors and techniques never thought before, nor sampled nor tasted.

But , Is the result as often as we would want it to be such a victory on cooking? Are these methods the cooking of tomorrow?

Love is not to be found in kitchens as much but is more to be written about and read in cookery blogs  and other social media platforms, that said , nevertheless  it is spreading its wings more than anything else. Not that it is easier but it is a way of expression so natural , something that affects us all so closely as our memories always enclose a special moment where for example the Christmas cookies or the easter Flan” in the shape of a lamb (loudly announcing spring) are being reminded in our long list of lost memories.

It is those traditions that makes us what we are, what we believe in and more than anything else who we are!

For me it has always been doing good and the road that taking these methods  has incurred me has not always been smooth and easy nor without mistakes nor without falling  from time to time, but going back up and bouncing has always helped me understanding this to be the only solution , the perpetual movement of positiveness like good vs evil, light vs darkness.

Negativity is to life what a virus is to flesh, what tyranny is to the people.

Food and culture has indeed helped us getting closer, spreading and sharing our thoughts also have helped understanding each other, creating, building and making use of one another skills, ingredients and recipes sometimes perhaps sacred.

It seems we are far from having seen it all, is that a bad thing? Bring it on I say to that, we may only make our judgment then. This comment is according to human being creativity’s bringing us edgy and various products on daily basis like the “bacon toothpaste”  mentioned earlier or the boomerang wok….created so we just have to seat down and relax instead of collecting baby corn and sprouts from our kitchen floor.

Thanks to our geniuses working overnight, sipping pops from plastic straws , elbow on their computer station , munching on a high energy chocolate bar , but from whom an ingenious idea will always sprout  and affect us.

There is one inconvenient though, classical thoughts are being lost on the way …….?Not so fast . one may say as to my great pleasure I have a few months back discovered like many of us that Grant Achatz from Alinea , Chicago in the Us is reviving the great spirit, having first hunted down a Duck Press so to now orchestrate the Paris 1906 Dinners with all classical dishes from our master Georges August Escoffier.

What a joy, an example for the so many youngsters in our industry who are blinded by the Extremely Modern approach so many kitchen have now adopted as per their daily routines, dropping all foundations and basics skills any good chef would need in his tool box now taken for granted.

Foam of this , emulsion of that , liquid nitrogen clouds elevating most dishes as if  compulsory ingredient to any recipe …..etc

I then ask : Where are the long and slowly bubbling away stock with their reductions of port and paysanne of carrots and shallots with crushed peppercorn ,where is the beautifully crafted bouquet garni usually found alongside, where are the crushed crayfish carcasses roasting , being flambéed with that splash of cognac known for making the difference , I ask ?……instead, hand blenders and siphon are being the tools replacing our “old school” favourite items, “etamine” and “saucieres” and our delicious accompaniments are now emulsions and dried freeze yoghurt and jellied fruit juices. Fresh and lovely flavour though….but often , when not done properly , are to be discovered with a structure or aftertaste leaving us questioning the origin or freshness of what is to be found in our plate providing us instantly with the conclusion that it is at heavy cost to the industry.  But worth it!  I am now saying so as contradictory as it may sound to your ear but as this exercise may only pushes us to question ourselves and therefore always re-elevating basic knowledges left by our ancestors founding our today industry , society , we may want only to improve and seek its perfection.

I am surely not the only one saying  “Merci Mr Achatz”  as my thoughts are so definitely genuine that I have now the sudden feeling I have finally met my God….well, one of them.

From Nose to Fin

In Cutting Edge, Food, Uncategorized on April 29, 2011 at 16:10

In our industry , what are competitions , medals & titles for if not to feed ones ego to the limit of  seeing above the first human touch that is normally taking place in a kitchen, running through and rolling like notes on a solfege scale with sometimes the laughter of children in a Circus spectacle and at other times with the intense and seriousness of a service made and focused as dignitaries are about to sit down , adding a name to our Curriculum.

As the atmosphere allows only the sharpest knife cutting through its most thick and dense duvet , only the most loving and dedicated chef will end on his/her knees, begging for more of this food to be allowed for him to produce, having dropped the idea of making himself a name as his love for our nature food store spoils him every days with her complex generosity and gorgeous array and variety of flowers , fruits and vegetable, coffees and spices , fish and games (birds & venisons), thank you mother Earth therefore giving him no sufficient reason for approaching his duties as a battle field.

Working with food and not feeling close to it would otherwise be identical as ones first morning brush of his teeth with the “Bacon Toothpaste”, I can see the “Grimace” from here made by your 43 facial muscles contracted , giving you instant added 10 years ageing , perhaps also felt when trying out its “app” the floss of the same flavour…not to mention the scented candle , yes bacon also that is…..which I am today refraining myself from displaying as it seems my wall to be overtaken by crispy slices of pork cuts, in all shapes and forms that is.

I know my wordings may at times be sounding cryptic but how would you then describe the Heart Salt Shaker pictured below ? Clever, harsh, realistic and educatif, of bad taste even? It is a little as an “Aigre Doux” sauce would taste like, tangy, zesty but with a passion behind , once tasted ,  its sweetness would make your taste bud asking for more, unfortunately this would have  again a contradiction, it would perhaps not only give you goodness but also a little of diabetes and/or cholesterol would come along , as if part of the ingredient list belonging to the recipe , unfortunately as the defended fruit it would have it’s after taste , but do we care , ahem….yes we  do

While we are at it , Yuck! is a little book of no-nonsense , ideas have been recolted from various costumes across the globe representing many odd eaten items such as frogs legs in France which may seem strange to all apart to us the “Froggies” , or Natto , a fermented “sticky” soy beans dish eaten in Japan chasing away many of the ones whom dared ordering a bowl of it and giving up before tucking into its unappetising stringy texture. Fish Maw soup which is a speciality in the city of Malacca in Malaysia (fish maw being the sac found in the belly which by regulated  control is allowing the fish to submerge itself …etc).

The product(s) of the month if I had to bring some before you, would have to be in the first place , the “Delo”

These little capsules are to be screwed atop of a bottle of water , whether it is mineral, spring or tap ,these will instantly flavour your drinks a practical and fabulous idea, to be t(e)asted though but until then we’ll have a look at the Tipsy Wine Testing Glass by Alvaro Uribe ,

original and not so away from a real purpose, giving one a good run for its nose along with cutting edge design in a simple way not seen previously.

So is the “Nordic-egg-waffle” , made from a pan named similarly , we all know very well that shape and different cutting giving twist or rounder taste in the food that we eat.

They are looking scrummy aren’t they?!

I think of these “bubble” waffles arranged as an army of Quail eggs battalion ready for a sprinkle of celery salt, instead it is light and cloudy icing sugar that will come and cover their delicate crisp outer shell, spoons of whipped and rich chestnut cream taking us back , way back, to those delicious moment of spoilness taken on a warm seaside ,hair in the wind as the Mediterranee’s sending us her salty smell with mixed mistral and tramontane , odour of peach and melon coming from the markets , claiming and standing ground in a “ferocious” way that says “au vent”. However you don’t hear their message, you want it all just as it is , without having to fight for it as you are you too an element of this beautiful painting.

Food , Design…..and Other Scrummy Bits

In Blablabla, Cutting Edge, Food, Uncategorized on January 14, 2011 at 11:40

It is certainly Lenotre chocolate that is leading the section “design” in the world of woaow chocolate bars, I know we are far off the Milka bars sprinkled with Hazelnuts and Raisins, having a Blue Swiss cow fronting its advertising campaign (please do not take me wrong as I am certainly not having a go at this brand nor at Lindt for being classic in their chocolate wrapper ) I am hereby elevating the “Bubbles” above pictured as you might have guessed, they are imaginative, elegant , round and without a doubt  Yummy enough to make you miss part of the movie you might be watching at the time of scrumming, why? well, just because these 125gr , 70% Dark Chocolate “Bubbles” are filled with a Praline and caramelised Hazelnut ganache…….see for yourself, we are not so far from our original favourite taste and love for the crunch of the sugar-coated nut crackling in our mouth while a delicious chocolate melt tempering on your tongue, leaving you in extase and groaning of pleasure , you don’t even care disturbing others at the cinema. You are eating Lenotre chocolate “Bubble Bar”.

I just simply do not understand why it isn’t more advertised, such as this code-named cube “L7g” (7gr of Pure Pleasure above) perhaps we as consumer should all receive a “Bubble Bar” through our letter box, imagine the impact on our lives, this could change our concept on morals and other issues and make human kind become good to one another. So, while I am waiting patiently in front of my porch for the postman to make his first move in changing the world by chocolate love spreading , I will be writing about it until perhaps I am being heard, like a prayer, waiting for a miracle…That is the advantage of being a “Romantic” rather than a “Sceptical”, you believe in good things!

We have seen the Corn , Agave , Molasse , Mapple Syrup, now we may also try and use the syrup made from this tuber original from the Andes Mountains in South America, I name the Yacon Plant or Yacon Syrup. It is known for its properties having only few calories and low content sugar so may be consumed by people suffering from Diabetes and other digestive disorders. In Brazil, its leafs are dried then used as Tea.

Rapadura is a sugar-cane juice also originally found in the South American Continent in countries such as Brazil, Ecuador or in the Costa Rica region. It is reduced , formed or let set into large bricks that are then shaved when needed and used as one might imagine, into a very large variety of recipe…It is without a doubt of rather healthier status than refined sugar and found at much lower price so very popular with locals.

It has however created controversy when a German company did register the name as a trade mark , making the people of Brazil rather unhappy about the matter and still until this day, fighting through the legal system to restore what in France since the 15th Century have regulated following the first AOC appellation of the Roquefort cheese via a Parliament Decree . Nowadays, AOC , AOP (protegee) are certificates in place and managed by INAO (Institut national des appellations d’origine) , depending from the Ministry of Agriculture and are here to protect the quality of products and their provenance as well as from fraud and any other industrial “malvenance”.

We (our ancestors) have created such “shields” , set up on the basis of protecting the hard labour provided to obtain what we may now consume as great or fine wine for example , poultry with a name and quality attached , beef with an origin and guaranteed of free from any chemicals and other growth accelerating supplements , but it is for us to and this by unifying our efforts ,to keep on with the constant improvement of relations , protection and education that we may want to keep in the near or far future, the tradition and quality, in our plate and the  mouths of our children and grand children’s.

Allons “les” Enfants….

In Cutting Edge, Food on December 4, 2010 at 12:20

It has been almost two week now since I last reported any culinary temptations or adventure …. and since I last put my thoughts into words about my fantasm and pleasures found into my food and the very and various other bits around it, water has indeed run under the bridges as one might say . Nevertheless, my mind has indeed never been so focused and as to how things may be implemented, for education for example ,in passing on knowledge and sharing experiences to the following pair of hands and legs that will run in the kitchens, sometimes without knowing where to start, but with perseverance and tennacity will end up cooking meals for your delights and who knows, hopefully “emoustille” you papilles and take you away for a little while, sometimes for longer , with the pleasure of a warm chocolate fondant for example with its unctuous Rose petal Ice cream melting over might get you to see places normally reserved for children’s only. I love going there, don’t you?!

So …. we have got to try this!

The teaching of certain skills and traditions nowadays touches us all, as we all have or had a grand-mother or parent in our life that has been preparing for us what is now the biggest part of our childhood memories , I name for a few examples ……. Grossmutty’s grated apple pie topped with caramelised meringue and the  “Breddele” (Schwo, Gschpritz,Nuss…depending or your county of origin…..for me it has been Alsace, and always will….) or the special flavour coming out of the kitchen when during the traditional Sunday roast , the potatoes were found “rissolling” on the wooden fire cast iron stove ,with  them , bubbling away, a few cloves of fresh garlic in their husk and herbs found here and there  at the bottom of each row of the vegetables  garden at the back of the house. All would be put into good use, in their own time, according to season and making sure a rather clever turn and rotation of the soil  was taken into consideration before every ‘Ensemencement” (seeding) …..potatoes one year, spinach rows the next, haricots and courgettes , endives and lettuces such as escaroles or batavia, with of course, once prepared and seen at the table, it would be deliciously dressed with the regional (Alsace) vinegar, le Vinaigre de Melfor.

A spirit vinegar made with honey and infused plants that is smooth and mellow, not sharp but round , all this made from a secret recipe since 1922  .

A diner for the 4th chapter of the Disciples d’Escoffier took place at the world-renowned club of Anton Mosiman’s and we have seen the intronisation of some great chefs and people that wake and keep the industry in such a way that tradition and “coutumes” are represented by the ceremony that took place for the occasion. Amongst them Brian Turner, Bruno Loubet and Pascal Aussignac. Not only the venue was subliminal but all attending guests were here to see, witness and participate to such a historical moment as indeed and again the respect of tradition was felt  , shaking you like an eruption of mix and match feelings and emotions all stronger than any busy kitchen service. For me it is simply the long line of hard-working individuals that reunite from time to time, around the table of course, without any prejudice, all equals , just like the great slogan that comes with our national flag “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite”. The support that impregnate you and buzz around like a discontinue courant is of such intensity that you feel amongst your beloved one within the very first step into the evening. It is not a world apart, soft light,  bubbles exploding around and making your ears crack with pleasure, it is exactly on the same level, as I said, continue , refreshing as it is comforting, that somewhere, out there, a light is shinning over it all ,over us all, just as to remind all that our purpose is not being unrecognised ….keeping an eye and focus on with the hard work is the key.

Last week, French food or its gastronomic habits to make a right fuss around its meals was “Rewarded or rather Honoured” by being declared world heritage by Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). We may thanks gracefully our President for his campaigning into the recognition of the “Art de la Table” that has been with us , in our moeurs and daily living habits, for centuries,  and wish that perhaps more and more may from now be done and helped with so this will not have been proved in vain, but will rather help the present and future generations in the industry and amongst the families keeping up with recipes, local products and any other means anyhow related to our “Bonne Table”.

Le plaisir de la table est de tout les ages, de toutes les conditions, de tous les pays, et de tout les jours: il peut s’associer a tous les plaisirs et reste le dernier pour nous consoler de leur perte . Brillat-Savarin “Aphorisme”


In Cutting Edge, Food, Travel on October 19, 2010 at 19:34

Bless you , one might say!
I did not sneeze…..Please all my Spanish friends forgive my humour , my approach so indelicate for using the name of such a grandiose product and making it a mockery!

A mockery ? and is aged way over a 1000 years old ?

That’s right ,  “EL MIL DEL POAIG” is an extra virgin olive oil recolted from millennial olive trees that have been cultivated for centuries on the hill tops alongside the river EBRO in the Northern Spain.

Amongst 24  municipalities , Catalunia, Valencia and Aragon have formed the “Associacio Territori Del Senia” which is aimed to protect and promote the millennial trees and its heritage.

Harrods in London is selling exclusively the Designed by Cul De Sac (a Spanish Designer) 500ml bottle  with a tag price of £120….making it the most expensive Olive Oil at just over £220/Litre.

Don’t we just love homemade vinaigrette?!

Whif VS Oup’s……

In Cutting Edge on September 20, 2010 at 14:34

Le Whif…..New concept introduced by Thierry Marx.I feel a few words need to be said on this new little toy/taster as I have tried it after finding out about it a few months ago. The concept , the idea….is interresting indeed. A new way of taking your chocolate (Chocolate,Raspberry, Mint,Coffee) fix without the calories so for you ladies, the feeling of being naughty without the self concious bitter feeling you are facing on daily basis…

It is small, compact and the design is ‘Cute’. Although the explanations leaves you perplex and does not explain how to avoid inhaling a dose of very fine cocoa powder without coughing yourself .

Not to be taken with moderation but for every one out there willing to give it a try…..

You might as well consider trying out ‘Oup’s’, the new concept of Olivier Nasti (Alcoholic this one) which is made on a base of unfermented pure grape juice with an added fruit alcohol  (Ginger, Raspberry, Plum…) Yum ….and  Hic!

Oup’s is light and fruity and may be consumed as an aperitif or digestif…Which one is your favourite?

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