Peru: A Gourmet Guide

As incredible as the history and the land of Peru is, it’s the biodiversity that makes Peruvian cuisine so extraordinary. One visit to a local market in Lima, the “gastronomy capital of the Americas,” reveals a proliferation of produce from this, the most bio-diverse country in the world. There’s a myriad of potatoes, corn and beans, fruits that look like props from a science fiction movie and a cornucopia of powerful indigenous ingredients like coca, maca, quinoa and kiwicha—which NASA uses for astronaut meals. Continue reading “Peru: A Gourmet Guide”

Taste of Honey

Cleopatra laid back on her divan after a luxurious milk and honey bath, sipped her honey tea and contemplated the mysteries of nature. The birds. The bees. How honey could make her skin feel so soft and her food so delicious. In fact the queen of the hive was held in such high esteem that the honeybee was chosen as a royal symbol in ancient Egypt. Napoleon also chose the honeybee to adorn his personal crest, and like the honeybee he buzzed from one nubile flower to another. Continue reading “Taste of Honey”

Thai Me Up

Wats up? We marvel at the intricate detail of Thai craftsmanship, but more breathtaking is climbing to the top of Wat Arun, looking out at the bustling cityscape, and then looking down again at the steps. Not for the faint of heart, if the opulent temples don’t impress you, the vertigo certainly will. While a city tour of temples and the golden reclining Buddha is extraordinary, in Bangkok the time to eat is always “now” and, like a field of dreams, if we are hungry, food will come. Continue reading “Thai Me Up”

Bon Appetweet?

I’m at a restaurant. Around the table no one speaks. Guests are tilted toward their smart phones diligently tweeting variations of, “I’m here.” Next to me a food photographer positions the entrée for his shot. “Can you tell me what this is?” he asks. My phone is pinging. I’ve been hyperlinked. Do I respond with something #clever? Re-tweeting a message is like re-steeping a teabag; there is a degeneration of value. What is actually being communicated? Really important information? To whom? “Information is thought to create communication,” wrote French sociologist Jean Baudrillard, but, “where we think that information produces meaning, the opposite occurs.” We intellectually atrophy by reducing de-contextualized thought bubbles into 140 characters or less. It’s reminiscent of Marshall McLuhan’s Guttenberg Galaxy, in which successive mass media inventions affect our social organization, and re-invent how we interact with each other or, in this case, the anti-social impact of social media on how we dine. Continue reading “Bon Appetweet?”

Vinegar That Tastes Like Wine

In Modena, searching out the best Balsamic, which sells on Amazon for $650 a bottle, I was expecting to arrive at a sterile factory. To my surprise, we visit a farm, with a few weathered barn-board buildings. We walk across the farmyard, avoiding contact with the region’s national birds, peacocks, pecking in the patches of grass. I don’t know the temperament of peacocks and I certainly don’t want to interrupt them at feeding time. We head for a two-story, weather-beaten wooden barn and climb up a staircase to the second floor of this shabby building. Continue reading “Vinegar That Tastes Like Wine”

Pisco Sour

Pisco is a brandy, or aguardiente, originally distilled from white muscat grapes in the area around Pisco, Peru. First cultivated in the sixteenth century by Spanish settlers in South America, it was named for the conical pottery in which it was originally produced–as well as for the name of its town of origin. (The right to produce and promote pisco has been a source of tension, debate, and both national and international legal action between Peru and Chile as both claim ownership of the “Pisco” denomination. However the original Pisco Trail is situated along a 1300km stretch of Peruvian coastline, where the vast production of pure Pisco is produced. It was first introduced to North America during the California gold rush.
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Red Lake: Northern Exposure

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” — Henry David Thoreau

Canada is a wild country. I want to detach from the matrix and reconnect to something real, so I head north. And yet, whenever I’ve said, “I’m going up north for the weekend,” I’ve still been very much in the south. Continue reading “Red Lake: Northern Exposure”

Cocoa Nib Crusted Pork Tenderloin

To convey the versatility of their chocolate, Green & Black’s sought Chef Lora Kirk of famed Toronto restaurant, Ruby Watchco. Kirk’s original recipes include Cocoa Nib Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Green & Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate & Red Wine Jus. Tender, succulent pork tenderloin with red wine jus is gently seared, and crusted in Green & Black’s Organic Dark 70% Chocolate. The sweet notes of the pork marry with the bitter chocolate in culinary matrimony, as does the texture of the cocoa-y crust with juicy pork. Continue reading “Cocoa Nib Crusted Pork Tenderloin”

Check Maté

In homes across Argentina, the first offering to guests is: “Shall we drink a maté?” There is a romantic ritual to yerba maté (pronounced jair-va mah-tay). You can drink it on your own at home or at the office, and many drink it for breakfast, but when you are sharing a maté with a friend, it is an intimate experience. Continue reading “Check Maté”