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Rosé: A Wine for All Seasons, Finally Getting Some Respect

Photo: mrsraggle, Flickr. 
 

By Ron Blumenfeld

During the summer, wine drinkers are drawn to crisp, refreshing white wines, while avoiding the hearty reds that help fortify us against the winter cold.

A rigidly seasonal approach to wine drinking is in my opinion a mistake. Meanwhile, though, there’s another option—rosé. The once-disparaged wine has been steadily gaining respectability as a summertime choice. But it’s also a good wine to drink any time of the year.

Rosé is typically made by limiting the contact of red grape skins to fermenting wine. It’s the skins that are largely responsible for imparting tannins and color to reds. When making rose, the outer layer is removed relatively early in the fermentation process. It’s the winemaker who decides when that will be, which in turn depends on the desired style and the grape(s) that are used.

Rosé surfaced in the U.S. in the 1960’s with imports such as Mateus and Lancer’s and domestic brands like Sutter Home. Cloyingly sweet and flabby, that first glass of White Zinfandel can nevertheless lead drinkers to more sophisticated Burgundies and Barolos.

Today, Americans have discovered that rosés can be serious yet charming. What’s more, the blush-colored wines range from mineral-crisp quaffing varieties to bold, fruity ones that blur the line between rosé and standard red wine. Southern France turns out great rosés, with the Tavel appellation arguably setting the gold standard.

Some wine stores carry 100 or more rosés over during the summer. Rely on the staff to guide you, and try out a few different styles. Two favorites of mine are Wolffer Estates from Long Island and Bagnol Cassis from Provence. Wolffer Estates makes a copper-colored rosé with subtle and delightful red fruit flavors. Bagnol Cassis from Provence, a pricy but elegant dry rosé, is great on its own or with seafood or light meats—even in winter.

Ron Blumenfeld is part owner of French vineyard Domaine des Bories.

 

 

 

 

 

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Running with Knives: How Not to Greet the Knife Grinder’s Truck

Knives by by sfllaw via flickr.

Tired of sawing through onions and watching your garlic hop around the counter? All it takes is $15 for the itinerant knife grinder, Mike Palotta, to sharpen three of your very dullest chef’s knives.

Except don’t wrap your knives in a flimsy dish towel (sorry, that’s the way my mom did it) and run down the steps, then gallop down the street, to catch up with Mike’s roving green knife grinding truck. Read more on West Side Rag about how Mike is still plying his trade after more than half a century.

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Want Customers for Your New Food Business? Site Links Food Entrepreneurs with Buyers

Photo: BookofCooks.

Friends have told me that my cakes and cookies are pretty terrific. So let’s say that I’ve decided to try to cash in on my baking hobby. Do I really want to go to the bother and expense of setting up an elaborate web site to launch my fledgling effort? The answer is, not if I can avoid it.

But let’s say I want to stick my toe in the water as a food entrepreneur. BookofCooks, an Etsy-like site that allows budding caterers, personal chefs and food sellers to peddle their wares, lets you do just that. Though BookofCooks, which launched in October after a two years in beta, is still sparsely populated, it takes only a few minutes to set up a storefront. You upload a picture of your product, a pitch and contact information, and presto, you’re in business.

That’s what Jacy Cakes of New York, specializing in custom wedding and other special occasion cakes, did. The baker set up a digital shop and promoted it with an arresting come-on: designer shoes made entirely of sugar.

Who’s on BookofCooks? Caterers and personal chefs, as well as aspiring bakers and cooks who are eager to sell you their wares.

So far roughly 2,000 storefronts have been erected and several hundred transactions have been logged on BookofCooks, says site co-founder Julian Mellicovsky. For your digital shop, you can chose the free option or one of two paid premium plans which come with some additional features. The aim is to help you sell products to people in your local area.

For purchasers, the proposition isn’t entirely clear. Why would I buy, cupcakes from some random Manhattan or Brooklyn baker, when I’m tripping over established cupcakeries everywhere I turn? If I’m in the market for a personal chef—Wow, that sounds like a lovely idea!—I’m going to want to get personal references, not just pick someone totally at random off a website.

Still, if you’re catering an event or looking for someone to cook dinners for you on a regular basis, the site’s meant as a first point of contact for locating nearby talent, says Mellicovsky, who may soon add personal testimonials to lend additional credibility to vendors posting on the site.

You can search by city and type of food. Each storefront provides a description of services offered, contact information and a link to each seller’s web site for more details on products and prices. Merchants check off whether they deliver or are willing to cook at your home.

The question is, are customers looking for a Yellow Pages of local food talent? BookofCooks is hoping they’ll be fine with what boils down to little more than an online bake sale.

 

 

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Food and Things Changes Course

Happy New Year to all! Yes, I know Food and Things hasn’t been too active lately.  But now I’m back and I’ve decided to change the blog’s focus.  West Side Rag is covering the Upper West Side, including the food scene brilliantly. (I’m one of its columnists.)  So it’s time to move on and cover the wider world of food–everything from culinary travel, to events, to recipes, to new blogs, apps and cookbooks.

So that means I’ll be writing about food adventures around New York—and around the country. I’ll cover food stall finds in Flushing, Queens and fried chicken joints in Memphis. Chef Renee Marton’s recipes will continue to appear on Food and Things. Plus, I’ll be posting about my own cooking adventures, mishaps, stumbles and all.

As always, I welcome your comments and feedback. For a daily dose of Food and Things, follow me on Twitter @foodandthings.com.

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Where to Go on the Upper West Side for Latkes

When Hanukkah rolls around, even non-cooks are expected to haul out the frying pan and whip up a batch of potato latkes for the gang. After all, isn’t the annual pancake-making ritual part of what makes Hanukkah so special?

But even enthusiastic home cooks can grow weary of the eight-night-long grating, chopping and frying marathon. So this year, think about letting someone else—namely a restaurant chef—do the work for you. Continue reading here.

Got fear of frying? This video will make it all better:

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