Champagne – losing its fizz? For years champagne ran the most sophisticated and effective public relations machine in the world of wine. Consumers were convinced that champagne and only champagne was the socially acceptable lubricant for celebrations and smart dinner parties.
Food 3.0: It’s Time For A Food Revolution: Picture this. You’re born into a family of immense wealth. The family business is one of the most well-liked and popular companies in America. You’re the heir to the throne. All you need to do is take the keys and you’ll enjoy unbounded success and admiration. You’d probably take that gig, right? You wouldn’t dedicate your life to helping people avoid the very thing your family is known for. That would be crazy.
The Next Great Age of Peruvian Cuisine: Trinidad Huamani and Francisco Quico are making an oven out of the earth. They collect stones and chunks of clay from the farmland around them, then form a small dome, held together by the shear force of gravity, with an opening on one side. Inside, they start a fire with eucalyptus, fava bean stems and leaves and they keep adding to the fire as the heat grows stronger. A small hole is added in the back to release some of the smoke. After thirty or so minutes, the walls on the inside of the oven become blackened. When the oven, called a huatía, is on the verge of collapse the tubers – ocas, mashuas, and different varieties of Andean potatoes that have just been harvested – are added into the oven and then they tear it apart with their hands, extinguishing the flame. They push the dirt and rocks inward, forming a small mound, and then poke at the pieces with pickaxes until it becomes tightly packed dirt. Pachamama (mother earth) and the potatoes have become one.
Europe’s surprising knife capital: Walking into one of the knife boutiques in the French town of Thiers was like walking into a watch store in Switzerland. There were so many dazzling choices: rare folding knives with real mammoth-tooth handles and hand-forged Damascus steel blades that sell for thousands of euros beside handsome pocket knives and hunting knives priced anywhere between €50 to €500. I was a kid in a candy store.
Sticky fingers: What customers steal from Toronto restaurants: There’s a word for people who steal things. They are called thieves. With all due respect to the person who steals a loaf of bread to feed their starving family – or the injunction against beginning a story with the lazy trope of a dictionary definition – it’s important to know what words mean. That’s because customers steal from restaurants every day – cutlery, glassware, jars of peppers, bottles of chili oil, handmade bowls, menus, toiletry, even paintings right off the wall – suggesting they don’t think of it as theft.
Claude Bosi at Bibendum: restaurant review: The best restaurants have a special, unforced ingredient. At Bibendum, it’s the sunlight. On a clear spring day, the vaulting first floor space with its stained-glass window of the Michelin Man in shades of sapphire feels like a room where only good things happen. Grand restaurants are an encouragement to the grandiose, so let’s try some of that: without Bibendum, many of London’s great restaurants simply wouldn’t exist.
My addresses: chef Raymond Blanc on Oxford: A 17th-century hotel, the Old Parsonage, in the heart of my home town, is a charming place for breakfast. University College, one of Oxford’s oldest seats, has been the landlord of the Old Parsonage for nearly six centuries. They do all the old favourites — full English, kippers, eggs any way — but I am happy with coffee and eggs and the papers in front of the fire.
Genoa Isn’t Rome or Florence. That’s Part of Its Charm: Why do so few people visit Genoa? I ask this question every time I visit the Italian city. Two summers ago, I heard one of the best answers from Mitchell Wolfson Jr., an American who moved to Genoa in 1968 and is the founder of the Wolfsoniana, a museum of decorative and propaganda arts in nearby Nervi.
Update: French Winemakers Weathering Worst Frost in 25 Years: Cold weather struck France’s young vine buds again this week, and Bordeaux is the latest region to suffer frost damage. Farther north, Burgundy and Champagne also weathered cold conditions and frost. Damage reports are incomplete so far, mainly because winegrowers have been busy preparing anti-frost measures.
Brussels city guide: what to see plus the best bars, hotels and restaurants: Living in Paris, I am used to getting a surprised look from French friends when I tell them I am off for a fun weekend in Brussels. For sure, this may not be a top-10 destination for sightseeing, though the monumental Grand Place, with its ornate guild houses and palaces, ranks alongside Venice’s Piazza San Marco as Europe’s most breathtaking square. But the Belgian capital is forever reinventing itself with hip new places to stay, restaurants, bars and nightlife, as well as shopping that spans designer fashion boutiques to vintage bargains at one of the great authentic flea markets on the Jeu de Balle square.