About a week ago, I attended the annual Wine Writers’ Symposium, based at the splendid Meadowood Resort on Silverado Trail. Increasingly, the Symposium has also shared facilities with the CIA, just across the valley floor in St. Helena. Now, as you may already know…..Napa Valley wine, at its most scale-tipping typical…..is not exactly my cup of tea. So I didn’t go into this thing expecting any wine revelations. I also thought I knew what to expect Symposium-wise, having spoken there four years ago. But lots of things rocked my world during this most enjoyable visit. Here are the five most interesting and relatable things I took away from my week in Napa Valley:
This sweet-and-wonderful side dish is based on the awesome carrot soufflé that used to be made at Willy Ray’s, in Beaumont, Texas. It is lots of fun to make yourself.
Unfortunately, I don’t pass through Germany’s Pfalz region too often (it’s a lusty wine-growing area that I love, just to the east of France’s Alsace). But, when I do get there, the top of my gastronomic list is the uber-hearty local specialty of saumagen (pronounced ZOW-mahg-en). Yup. “Sau” means pig (as in sow), and “magen” means stomach. So what we have here, mein freund, is a stuffed pig’s stomach!
This recipe from It’s All American Food perfectly expresses the theme of the book: validating the culinary changes wrought in America by immigrants who, for various reasons, had to change their cuisine once they got here. If you treat this food with love…you’ll love it!
As you may know, I’ve just returned from an amazing winter trip. Three weeks in Europe—from a balmy wine-tasting on the banks of the Bosporus, to a week of Languedoc vineyarding in the south of France, to luscious Chenin Blanc discoveries in the Loire Valley, to a wild snow-covered jaunt through five German wine regions—ending with a supra-luxe gastro-weekend in Paris. The good life, for sure.