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Archive for the ‘Travelogues’ Category

Bees at their hiveSome weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend an introductory beekeeping class led by local beekeeper, Jean-Claude Bourrut. After a quick hop, skip and a jump (i.e. a T journey, a bus ride and a short walk), I found my way to his hives which are nestled between the Boston Nature Center and the Clark Cooper Community Gardens in Mattapan. (more…)

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VinItaly 2011

VinItaly 2011

After an exhilarating five days of intensive tasting in and just outside of Verona at VinItaly, VinNatur, and Vino Vino Vino, my palate has been reinvigorated and my “wine speak” in Italian has once again been thoroughly challenged and expanded.

VinItaly is Verona’s infamous wine expo that brings together over 4,000 producers in a cluster of twelve bustling, cavernous convention halls. Conversely, VinNatur and Vino Vino Vino are smaller, organic tastings that are held in historic sites outside of the city and exhibit less than 150 producers. I tasted recent vintages of some of my already established favorites and made some new discoveries along the way. (more…)

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This wine captures the essence of Summer and SeaWhen Valerie, Ihsan and I visited the Ameztoi Winery in October of last year, rosé season was months away. Now a cool but sunny April has arrived and with it has come our first shipment of Ameztoi Rubentis Rosado*.

Ameztoi is one among a cluster of wineries perched high in the hills of the Getaria province of Spain, overlooking the Atlantic ocean. On a clear day, you can see the city of San Sebastián from Ameztoi’s vineyards.

Ignacio Ameztoi is a 7th generation winemaker. He and his enormous German Shepherd gave us a personal tour of the family winery – a pretty building completely surrounded by grapevines with a stunning view of the Atlantic. Ameztoi’s vines are quite old, many 150 years or older. (more…)

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Landaff CreameryFellow monger, Erin, and I drove up to the Cellars at Jasper Hill before the holidays. The object of our journey: to pick up 40 wheels of Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, 20 wheels of Landaff cheese and a number of other Jasper Hill cheeses: Constant Bliss, Weybridge, Hartwell, Oma, Winnimere and Caspian. En route, we stopped to visit with the makers of Landaff cheese, Doug and Deb Erb in Landaff, New Hampshire. (more…)

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Farm sign at the Burgat's Alpage homeThe evening light was fading as we ascended the mountain up to the Burgats’ alpage home outside of Manigod. With every turn that the car made, the views got even more splendid. Darkening clouds provided a sense of atmosphere and the cool air was deliciously fresh. Pulling up to the Burgats’ farmhouse, the sun was just about to disappear and the warm, yellow glow from inside their home was a welcome sight. (more…)

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Emily recently traveled to Genova to learn how to glacée candied fruits and chestnuts with the Romanengo family. 

Pietro Romanengo fu StefanoI carefully fished the candied chestnut out of the pot of hot sugar syrup, watching its outer layer become glossy with white icing. Marcello leaned in to inspect my work.

“Bella,” he said. “Bella.”

I appreciated the encouragement. Marcello, who works for the Genovese confectioner Pietro Romanengo fu Stefano, has been making marrons glacés for 30 years. I had been in Italy learning this craft for just over a day—not even a blip when you consider that Romanengo has been in business for 230 years! (more…)

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Uplands' Pleasant Ridge Reserve and Edelweiss' Gouda & EmmentalerIn the first week of November, I traveled to Madison, Wisconsin for the Second Annual Wisconsin Cheese Festival. Retailers and cheesemakers from across the state massed at Monona Terrace, a convention center designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, perched on the edge of Lake Monona.

There were all sorts of tours, tastings and seminars on offer and it was hard to choose between them all but, in the end, I chose three. The first was a panel discussion entitled “The Art of Grass-based Cheeses.” Panelists included: Mike Gingrich from Uplands Cheese, Bert Paris of Edelweiss Graziers Co-Op and Bruce Workman of Edelweiss Creamery. We tasted through several cheese flights, including, Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Edelweiss Gouda and Emmentaler. We also tried two wonderful buttercream frostings (made with butter from grass-fed cows) and learned about rotational grazing methods. (more…)

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En route to ArboisDavid, Mary and I arrived in Geneva early on a crisp October morning and, after collecting our rental car, set off for the town of Arbois, crossing the border from Switzerland into France. It was a beautiful ride along steep, sinuous mountain roads. (more…)

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Ameixas d'Elvas plumsWhen is a plum not a plum? When it is a sugarplum or a plum pudding! Judging by the names of these traditional British Christmas treats, one would think that both include some quantity of plum. Not true! For centuries, the term ‘sugarplum’ has referred to any type of dried fruit, made into a small, vaguely plum-shaped sweet. During Victorian times, these sugary candies sometimes contained raisins or currants which were called plums.

(more…)

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Scenes in India

Staff members here at Formaggio Kitchen regularly travel the world to seek out the unique products that we carry. While our trips have tended to focus on Europe, my colleague Tim and I recently had the opportunity to travel to India (a first for both of us!).  We were able to make the trip thanks largely to a small business grant from British Airways that gave us 10 round-trip tickets for use this year.

The primary motivation for our trip was to visit tea country. Initially, we looked into visiting the region of Assam – flat and plains-like, it is well-known for its tea. However, eventually we decided to explore the region of Darjeeling – mountainous, cool and verdant, it is nestled in the skinny part of India that sits between Nepal and Bangladesh. (more…)

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