reign of terroir

It is terroir week; a week for industry professionals to join us in the classroom for an intensive module on the concept of terroir-winemaking: the interactions of the vine with climate, soil, water, nitrogen, rootstocks, etc. and their impact on our ability to make good wine.

I took this sole picture of Green Park in London, and felt it summed up enough.

I took one picture of Green Park, and felt it summed up London terroir fairly well.

I, holy terroir of a student that I am, decide to take off to the UK for a day to participate in the Davy‘s portfolio tastings. Davy’s Wine Merchants are a family-owned, fifth generation, importer/distributor/wine bar and wine shop group based in London. I’ve mentioned them briefly before: I’m connected through a good friend who works there (also responsible for my initial introduction to the Becker wines from the last post), and have had the opportunity to meet with several of the producers in Europe with whom they work. As I’m busy pouring wines (mostly for other people, even!), I somehow manage to pass the entire day without taking a single photo of the event. Instead, I’ll take this opportunity to dig up stories and tasting memories about the wines in their native habitats; isn’t that the essence of terroir, after all? Read More

is this the real life or is this just flan-tasy?

Egg, milk, sugar and vanilla mix. Sugar gets caramelized. Done but no taste testing until Thanksgiving!

The main reason I decided to live in an apartment in downtown Bordeaux was to have a kitchen with an oven. It has served me well so far – some nice dinners including Canadian Thanksgiving last month. This week my kitchen has been invaded by a classmate intent on proving that the fourth time is the charm when it comes to making flan and making dessert for our class’ upcoming American Thanksgiving celebration. As I have never made this particular dessert, I’ve been quick to offer up use of my kitchen (key ingredient to a successful flan) so I can hopefully learn a few culinary tricks.

Earlier this year in the Talenti gelato factory, I spent about one minute learning how to scrape the pods out of vanilla beans (more to prove a point about efficiency than anything else). That minute has actually paid off as I find myself dutifully splitting and scraping vanilla beans for the pot.  At first it seems a bit of a wild-mousse chase: my kitchen does not seem to have any measuring cups, and translating the recipe from Dutch to English, volume to weight, imperial to metric, while re-engineering it to consume exactly all the ingredients that were purchased (cooking with the very practical Dutch has its own particular eccentricities: we’re literally pudding all our eggs in one basket) but we manage to create something (two somethings, in fact) that pass the elaborate jiggle, colour, and density tests created by my fellow flantrepreneur.

Some people might say it passes custard; I wouldn’t be one of them… (I mean, it’s a pretty weak joke; that would be quite off-pudding, wouldn’t it?)

Ok, ok, no more jokes!!

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