“I would take them all to my home and cook them a grand Perigord meal. We’d start with a soup made from a duck’s carcass. We’d then go on to an omelette au touffe with eggs from my own chickens and truffles from the hillside near our home. I would cook Aiguillette de canard, using a thin strip of meat just below the breast. I would cook it with mustard seeds and honey. I would add to that, pommes sarladaise, which are potatoes thinly sliced and cooked in duck fat, with garlic, parsley, and truffles. It would all be done in the Perigord style.
And the wines?
The white wine would be a Bergerac sec from Chateau Jaubertie. Then I would offer everyone a deeply robust 2005 Chateau de Tiregand. It’s made by a friend of mine in the village. Oh, and I’d also serve some foie gras. I would serve it with a glass of chilled sweet wine, Monbazillac from Chateau de Tirecul. It’s something akin to Sauternes. I would finish it off with some cheese, of course.” – from The Resistance Man by Martin Walker
“Cassoulet is the God of the Occitan cuisine. The Castelnaudary version is God the Father, the Carcassonne recipe is God the Son, and the Toulousain is the Holy Spirit.” – Prosper Montagné, Le Festin Occitan. 1929
“For dedicated gastronomes, northern Italy’s promise of Slow Food, long lunches, and bold red wines is too good to pass up.” – Travel & Leisure Magazine
The Cathedral of San Lorenzo
“The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you’re hungry again.” – George Miller, Director
“I love eggs. When it’s the season of truffles, scrambled eggs with truffles, and I’m happy. I’m smiling like that.” – Chef Éric Ripert, Le Bernardin, New York.
“For the present, I confine myself to the physical want of some good Montepulciano…this being a very favorite wine and habit having rendered the light and high flavored wines of a necessary of life with me. It was most superlatively good.” – President Thomas Jefferson
“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.” ― Federico Fellini
Piazza Santo Stefano, Bologna, Italy
“Bologna is the best city in Italy for food and has the least number of tourists. With its medieval beauty, it has it all.” – Mario Batali
Christmas Tree at the Chateau de Chenonceau
It was a sweltering hot July afternoon in 1945 when famous jazz vocalist Mel Tormé showed up for a writing session at the Toluca Lake house of his lyric partner Bob Wells. Mel let himself in and walked over to the piano. There, on the music board, was a pad of paper with four lines of a verse:
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir
And folks dressed up like Eskimos
When Wells walked in the room, dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, Tormé asked him about the little poem.
“It’s so damn hot today, I thought I’d write something to cool myself off,” Wells replied. “All I could think of was Christmas and cold weather.”
And that is “the rest of the story” behind one of America’s most loved contemporary Christmas hits, A Christmas Song. With this intro, I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and all of the best for 2018.
(This post was originally published in January 2017)
An amuse-bouche is served gratis and according to the chef’s selection alone. These, often accompanied by a complementing wine, are served both to prepare the guest for the meal and to offer a glimpse into the chef’s approach to the art of cuisine.