I had the great good fortune in March of touring Hong Kong for almost a week, led by people who really know the city—and, most important, people who were entirely willing to believe me when I said I wanted to eat like a Cantonese person! Usually, my hosts anywhere will say “yes” to the local question—and then proceed to serve me the things they think “Americans” will like. Not these Hong Kong guys!
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!
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.
SPECIAL REPORT: GETAWAY DAY—TODAY—PARIS TO NEW YORK
It has been a long, hard road trip—Turkey, France, Germany. But in a few months you will see the fruits in the form of breathtaking wines at good prices that I dug out and slurped up. One interesting note from Sunday lunch, yesterday, in Paris: On this trip everyone is telling me how popular “le hamburger” is, in France!
It was one of the most spectacular wine invitations of my life—and it turned out to be one of the most spectacular wine parties as well. I left New York this Monday for Istanbul, a guest of Dom Pérignon champagne. Why? Because they are launching just now a much-awaited wine—their “dark jewel,” as they call it—the 2002 Dom Pérignon Rosé. Both the wine and the city, the French say, are “rich and vivacious, mineral and sensual, ample and precise, inviting and mysterious…one legend calls for another.”