Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire, It’s A Wonderful Life

by Paige Donner

Few things say Winter Holidays like the appetizing aroma of roasting chestnuts on an open fire.

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Local Food And Wine - roasted chestnuts

I remember, several years ago now, as I walked into the Tuileries from the Place de la Concorde entrance, buying a cone of still-hot roasted chestnuts from one of the street vendors who post themselves out front there just as the leaves start to turn golden, orange and brown.  The warm nuts were enough to abate my hunger for the afternoon and provide a good base for a wine tasting of reds.

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Some Autumns I am tempted to gather up some of the millions of chestnuts that fall haphazardly from the trees all around Paris – throughout all of France, actually – and try to roast them myself or figure out how to cook them to add to roasted chestnut stuffing. Or perhaps even make that favorite of delicacies, sugar-glazed chestnuts. But I still haven’t found the courage to do this. Or perhaps it’s just a question of finding the recipe or the proper cooking equipment. One day…

It is usually about now, too, when the crispness of the air starts to get downright cold that California Dreamin’ descends upon me and stays rooted until, oh, about May of the next year.

local food and wine - la quinta poolIf any of you feel the same, here is a good getaway excuse…

And, honestly now, how many of you actually knew that this is where Frank Capra wrote It’s A Wonderful Life ?!

“Chestnuts & Capra” package which features guest room accommodations, dinner for two at acclaimed Morgan’s in the desert, breakfast for two at TWENTY6 and the ultimate pre-dinner perk – roasted chestnuts and cocktails (including the George Bailey, Mary Bailey and Poinsettia) for two.

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Every Friday evening, visit the lobby for fresh roasted chestnuts

“It’s a Wonderful Life”
This famed holiday movie was written at La Quinta Resort – and is honored every year. Watch the silent version as it is projected on the Fiesta Wall.

Fudge Demonstration in Lollipops
Morgan’s famous Pastry Chef Patrick demonstrates how to create home-made fudge

Holiday Movie Showing
Enjoy a classic holiday movie in the movie theatre located behind the Main Pool.

The only question that remains is, do roasted chestnuts taste as good under the warm California December sunshine as they do in the Tuileries in a Paris Autumn?

Here’s their contact info anyway: La Quinta Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort – a quintessential desert gem sporting five iconic golf courses, 41 pools and enough Hollywood nostalgia to make a scriptwriter spin.

@LocalFoodWine

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♥Chérie Du Vin

Summer Champagne Sippers by Paige Donner

It’s summertime and it’s time for champagne sipping.  Ok, well, it’s always time for champagne sipping…

Listen to Paige’s interview here on the Overseas Radio Network to hear some great Champagne Tips (Hint: #Lallier, #Lanson, Jacques de France) as well as get some delicious ideas for French rosé wines + food pairings.

Long version 45 minutes includes Paris travel and dining out tips for Girl’s Guide To Paris.  Short version is all about the champagne…

Happy Summering!

 

@LocalFoodANDWine

 

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♥Chérie Du Vin

Brunello di Montalcino – Mocali – 2007

Tuscany Food And Wine - localfoodandwine.wordpress.com

Like any good California girl, I love me some Sangiovese. So when I was able to get my hands recently on a bottle of the stuff from the Old World, my lips were smacking and my fingers trembling as we uncorked the bottle.

Garnet Hued * Vanilla * Spice * Red Berries

Hint of Earthiness

Balanced power between Tannins and Acidity

Tuscany Food And Wine - localfoodandwine.wordpress.com

Wine Spectator’s Notes On Brunello di Montalcino Vintages

  • 2008 91 A cool growing season with rain at harvest; those who waited produced aromatic, balances and elegant wines. Drink or Hold.
  • 2007 93 Hotter and riper than 2006; fruit-forward, rich and elegant, offering immediate charm and softer textures. Drink or Hold.
  • 2006 95 Complex powerful wines that impress with ripe yet fresh fruit, firm, dense structures and fine balance. Hold.

Excerpt from Wine Spectator June 30, 2013

Sangiovese is virtually synonymous with Tuscany and is the most widely planted grape variety in Italy. Brunello, a synonym for Sangiovese Grosso, or "fat Sangiovese," gets its name from the big ripe grapes that are produced from these vines in the prestige appellation (Brunello di Montalcino DOCG) of Montalcino, a classic hilltop village surrounded by slopes just 30km. south of Siena in Tuscany, Italy.

Mocali is owned by the Ciacci family and overseen by enologist Tiziano Ciacci. Their soils are mostly Galestro and Alberese that enrich the ground with mineral salts. Their Brunello di Montalcino wine – in fact all Brunello di Montalicino wines – are made exclusively with Sangiovese Grosso grapes.

Tuscany Food And Wine - localfoodandwine.wordpress.comTuscany Food And Wine - localfoodandwine.wordpress.com

This DOCG shares the top spot only with Vino Nobile de Montepulciano. Though winemaking in the region is recorded from as far back as the 14th century, the wines we associate today with this very first Italian DOCG emerged in the 1870s. It’s largely credited to the efforts of the esteemed winemaking family of Biondi-Santi, namely Ferruccio,who decided to implement a revolutionary technique (for his day) of making his Montalcino wines – vinify his Sangiovese grapes separately from the other varieties. (At the time in Tuscany all grapes were fermented together – even the reds with the whites.) As he implemented this and a few other techniques, the resulting wines gained a reputation of being livelier and fruitier than other wines.

In July 1980 the appellation was formalized as Italy’s first DOCG alongside Piedmont’s Barolo. It is mostly small farmers and family estates who produce this exquisite red wine today and number approximately 200, up from just 11 producers in the 60′s. One of the DOCG requirements is that vineyards are not planted above 600m sea level. Brunello must be aged at least 4 years and for the riserva distinction, a minimum of 5 years aging is required. More INFO at Tuscany Taste.

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♥Chérie Du Vin

Tuscany Food & Wine app by Acqua Panna

by Paige Donner

Ahhh… summer is at long last nearly here. Dream vacation destinations are beginning to dance through our heads like sugar plum fairies in wispy toutous as the languid summer months of promised sunshine begin to magically reveal themselves before us.

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Tuscany. Tuscany, the land of Chianti and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Tuscany, where cold-pressed virgin olive oils beckon as seductively as do its wines and terroir.

Dream vacations, can, however, at times, be more effort than joy, a corelation thoroughly dependent on planning and resources. So if this is your first Tuscan Escape, not to worry. The region’s wine producers and local government tourism agencies have gotten together to form a welcoming platform called Tuscan Taste.

Tuscan Taste is a series of outreach events and organized hospitality platforms to make your visit to and exploration of Tuscany as effortless as it is enjoyable. The brand was developed in collaboration with the region’s main wine Consorzi to communicate the Tuscan values of quality, beauty, sustainability, taste and tradition.

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Why a butterfly: Tuscany springs from the map to become a butterfly. A messenger to the world, heralding the quality of Tuscan wines. Heralding the traditions of a glorious region, and of a culture of winemaking built up

through the centuries. A culture that, right here in Tuscany, has created some of the very best wines in the world. One butterfly, ten, a hundred, even more – as many as there are Tuscan wines. Butterflies fluttering

their wings to take the message of Tuscan wines to the world, and to new and exalted heights.

For the billion and a half of us on the planet right now who are SmartPhone oriented, especially when we travel, we have this fabulous new Tuscany Food & Wine app by Acqua Panna at our fingertips as of this Spring.

The app is offered free for iOS devices and in addition to offering things to do and see – nature, art, history – in the region, it also features mouthwatering pictures and descriptions of local foods, cuisine, dishes, restaurants, and, of course, wines and wonderful wine pairings.

Wines are especially highlighted in the Tuscany Food & Wine app where it features a guide to the many local wineries as well as detailed descriptions of the wines’ composition such as alcohol percentage, grapes used and where you can find the wineries for a cellar visit and tasting.

The GPS enabled "Around Me" feature spotlights the restaurants, sites, wineries and other points of interest within a few kilometers of your current location. For those who want to immerse themselves in the languid deliciousness that is the Tuscan Summer, there is even a glossary included on the app that explains the various abbreviations denoting the artisanal Italian local food products and wines which helps you to understand their exact origin and stamp of quality.

OK, then. All set? The app is available for download at:

http://bit.ly/tuscanyapp

Long considered the best still mineral water for enhancing all the nuances of wine and food, thanks to its smooth, elegant taste, Acqua Panna represents all the power of nature in the heart of the Tuscan Apennines, with 1300 hectares of natural preserve, a unique aquifer, and a long history of culture, passion and love for the environment.

Acqua Panna
http://www.acquapanna.com
www.facebook.com/acquapanna

About Toscana Promozione
Toscana Promozione is the Economic Promotion Agency of Tuscany, established in 2000 by the local government. Thanks to a network of professional associations, institutions, enterprises, universities and research centers, Toscana Promozione is, today, a concrete platform for overseas enterprises interested in doing business in or with Tuscany.

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♥Chérie Du Vin

Sirius XM Satellite’s Green Is Good Radio Features Paige Donner, Founder Local Food And Wine

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Paige Donner, journalist, blogger, eco-activist, actor/filmmaker and more, returns to the show from Paris to discuss her passion for local food and wine. Donner became more interested in the marriage of regional wines and local food when she was in British Columbia to cover the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Three and a half years later, her Local Food and Wine media platform and blog has spanned the globe, covering the world’s great winemaking and local food producing regions. As her knowledge of the globe’s wine regions grew, so too did her concern for how climate change could potentially impact viticultural areas.

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Paige Donner

Founder, Local Food And Wine

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“Wine grapes have long been recognized by scientists as being the most sensitive agricultural crop in terms of climate change,” Donner reveals. “What you see happening in wine regions [could preview] what is coming down the pike for other agricultural regions.”

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♥Chérie Du Vin

Yountville Summer Events

Meet the Winemaker Reception

Come meet Cloudburst’s winemaker, Will Berliner from Margaret River, Australia for a complimentary tasting at Lucy Bar. This event will take place TONIGHT, May 16, from 5 to 6:30 pm. In town for two weeks only, Mr. Berliner will be pouring his Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. With biodynamic practices integrated into both wines, they are quickly becoming all the rage on the New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco food scene. This exclusive engagement will be complimented with savory bites prepared by Lucy’s executive chef, Victor Scargle.

Contact Lucy to make your reservations at (707) 204-6030 or www.bardessono.com/restaurant_bar.

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Spring Wine Dinners at Bouchon

Bouchon invites you to experience two exclusive epicurean events this Memorial Day weekend. Join Bouchon under the stars in their beautiful courtyard Thursday, May 23rd as they welcome Samuel Guibert of Mas de Daumas Gassac. Known as the “grand cru” of the Langueduc, Mas de Daumas Gassac features organic wines full of elegance, finesse and structure – the perfect pair for Bouchon’s cuisine! $175 per person plus tax & service. Then on Sunday, May 26th they welcome 13th generation winemaker and Master Distiller, Marko Karakasevic of Charbay Distillery. Marko will be pairing artisanal cocktails with Chef’s special menu while sharing the stories of his family’s craft. $150.00 plus tax & service. Both dinners start at 7:30 pm and seating is limited. For reservations please call (707) 944-8037

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RockNapa Concert in July

RockNapa 2013 will take place at the historic Charles Krug Winery on July 18th and 19th. The series will offer a festival atmosphere on the winery’s Great Lawn and a VIP Experience in the beautifully restored 100 year old Carriage House, featuring some of Napa Valley’s premium wineries.

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♥Chérie Du Vin

Terroirs et Talents Champagne 2013


All photos by Paige Donner c. 2013 – See FULL SLIDESHOW HERE

It’s hard knowing that I’m the envy of all my wine enthusiast friends and colleagues Stateside and in Canada. My only response is, It’s a tough job [continually tasting great grower champagnes] but somebody’s got to do it… ; )

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♥Chérie Du Vin