Victor Churchill started the trend - Harris Farm Follows! Colin Fassnidge and Mike McEnearney Are long time addicts of these "Curious cuts" of Meat...
Update on July 4th: Anthony Puharich - the owner of Vic's Meat Marketdid a demo of these "Curious Cuts" at the SMH Growers Market in Pyrmont today, explaining how to use them, cook them and where they were from in the animal. Great tutorial. Here are some photos of this event. He also cooked some braised beef cheeks...Looked delicious
After promoting the "Imperfects Picks" for vegetables, Harris Farm now jumps on the band wagon of "head-to-tail" philosophy started here by Colin Fassnidge, the cheeky - some say feisty - Chef behind the success of 4 Fourteen in Surry Hills and Four in Hand in Paddington. Brisket, hanger, offals including ears & tail - a delicacy in Spain where they are reserved for the winning toreador - which are common in France's butcher shops and beyond, are becoming more popular in Australia, in part because of their cheaper price, but also because of their heightened taste.
Victor Churchill in Woollhara and Vic;s Meat Market at the Sydney Fish Market were also early promoters, as well as Mike McEnearney from Kitchen by Mike and James Viles from Biota Dining.
The good news, for me at least - is that one can now afford a "Bavette à l'échalote" and shared with friends and family a cut of meat which is rare but not dear here. In Europe, it is the opposite as price follows the rule "what is rare is dear", hence veal liver is almost beyond reach, but here it is -still - affordable. So, go and eat your hearty content of "Curious Cuts" or offals or other delicacies.
The new promo for "Curious Cuts" from Harris Farm Markets
And if you want to try my recipe for "Bavette ou Onglet à l'échalote", check my online recipe book!
PRINCE WINE STORE - SYDNEY
Almost 30 Pinot Noir were on offer to taste at my first event of the day. Knowing that I had a second one to go to, I was very selective in what I was going to taste... So here is my list:
Kooyong Pinot Noir 2012 - Having visited nearby Montalto on the Mornington Peninsula near Melbourne, I was curious to find out about this reputable wine, and I was not disappointed!
Moorooduc Estate Garden Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 - Also from the Mornington, this was the first wine I tasted, and certainly one of the most interesting of the lot. I liked its pepperiness!
Savaterre Pinot Noir 2012 - Beechworth Victoria - Cold climate Aussie Pinot noir at its best. Dark, meaty, ashen, smoky as Campbell Mattinson puts in. I couldn't say it better myself...
Tolpuddle Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013 - Tasmania - apparently we were in luck, as only 18 bottles of this vintage were left, and the best restaurants here were fighting for them. Very good indeed!
Martinborough Pinot Noir 2011- This winery had their first planting in 1980 and were the pioneers of Pinot Noir in Martinborough, and that's why they could claim the name for themselves!
This was one of my top three favourites this morning, almost as good as the French!
Copain Wendling Pinot Noir 2014 - The Russian River Valley, just north of San Francisco, produces some of my favourite West Coast wines in the US. I am more familiar with the Chardonnays,, but this was a good enough example of Pinot Noir produced near the coast in the Anderson Valley. Still young, it was a tad on the flat side, but I think it will develop over time.
From Burgundy, France
Joseph Voillot Volnay Vieilles Vignes 2012 - Neil Martin (from Robert Parker team) sums it up for me: "there is a sense of nonchalance and harmony towards the finish"... Exactly, like a long lunch!
Jean-Luc & Eric Burguet Vosne Romanée 2012 - just the name would give you a winegasm, but the liquid itself was quite on another level. Citing Antonoio Galloni here: "A model of pure sensuality and finesse, the 2012 is drop dead gorgeous from the very first taste". I told you so...love at first sight, to be shared with somebody very special indeed...Not cheap though!
Jane Eyre Gevrey Chambertin 2013 - only 900 bottles produced, so lucky us to taste it for free! Not the most expensive in the line-up though and very much worth the asking price!
A big thank you to Alex Wilcox and Jon Osbeiston and their suppliers for this great tasting!
BELLEVUE HILL BOTTLE SHOP
Almost 90 Pinot Noir from around the World were on offer to taste here, a very expensive exercise for the shop owner and his partners, but also very taxing on your humble blogger...So again I had to make drastic choices and concentrated on French and US west Coast, and was eventually coerced (gently...) into tasting the Oakridge 864 from Victoria. More on this latter...
From Burgundy, France
Clos de la Marjolaine - Savigny les Beaune 2010
Blagny 1er Cru 2010
Volnay 1er Cru 2010
Domaine Roy - Savigny les Beaune 2010
Pierre Janny Volnay 1er Cru - 2010
Maybe I was suffering Pinot Noir fatigue, but I found it very hard to find clear differences between these French Pinot Noir. Classic Bourgogne Pinots, all very good, but maybe too much by the book
Faiveley Mercurey Le Clos du Roy 2012 - In the words of The Drink Shop in the UK: On the nose, scents of small red fruits mix pleasantly with spicy and woody aromas, which come from the wine being raised traditionally in oak. This wine is very nicely balanced on the palate.
Its rich aromas blend marvelously with its tannins, giving a wine which is greedy and full of body.
Henri de Villamont - Bourgogne 2012 - probably the best value of the line-up, outstanding for only A$32.00
Lucien Muzard & Fils - Bourgogne 2012 - in the same vein at an amazing A$36.00
Parent Bourgogne 2011 - Excellent at A$48.00, amazing value as well
Can I risk to say that maybe 2011 and 2012 were better vintages than 2010?
From Languedoc, France
Le Fou (The Madman) 2013 - In my youth (!) the wines from Languedoc were primarily "Vins de table", but then over the last 25 years, there has been a conscious effort from the regional authorities to push the quality up, invite New World winemakers to try their luck there - including a few Aussies - and this wine is certainly a good example of the high quality Languedoc wines can command. Certainly more fruity and full than the Bourgogne wines, this was very drinkable indeed and at A$22.00 was one of the most affordable of the line-up. You would be mad not to try it!
From the US West Coast
Bliss 2010 - Mendocino - California - The name sums it perfectly...
Mouton Noir - Lieu Dit 2011 - Oregon - At A$68.00, this was an amazing choice. I have said way back that Oregon was the perfect place to grow wines that could compete with the best of France, and although general more expensive, this is a fine example of a well priced Pinot Noir
Underwood 2013 - Oregon - Very good example of entry level Pinot at A$28.00. will buy some!
A big thank you to Dan, Mickey an Calvin for organising such a great event!
This iconic "Grand Magasin", was originally started by the Cognacq-Jay family from very humble beginnings as a street merchant on the Pont-Neuf in a space left vacant by the demolition of a water pump named La Samaritaine, hence the later name of the business which started as "Au Petit Bénéfice". This "little benefice" ended up allowing the couple to buy the shop they were renting, then expand it by building the Art Nouveau metal structure designed by the Belgian architect Frantz Jourdain that has become the trademark look of the building. When they tried to expand again towards the Seine, the council didn't allow them to show the metal structure on the riverside and had to clad the building in stone to look more "Haussmannien"!. As history often does, the same type of problems has plagued the project of expansion and reconstruction this time on the Rivoli side of the site, as the new wave glass facade designed by the Japanese architecture studio Sanaa (Kosuzo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa) has just been finally approved this week after a protracted legal battle that lasted 3 years, hence the timing of this articleT. he business has been closed since 2005 and we can now expect its reopening circa 2018 if everything goes according to plan with a budget of 500 million euros, deemed to be exceeded due to the scale and complexity of the project.
These two aerial photos show the extent of the renovation of the Art Nouveau buildings on the Seine side (bottom photo) and the entirely new building with the glass cladding on the Rue de Rivoli side. 74% of the existing facade will be conserved and restored, with the programming of the buildings completely rethought and designed to include offices, a child-care centre, 96 social housing apartments, a hotel on the river side, and a shopping mall on the lower levels. It is to be noted that the Cognacq-Jay family had a long history of philanthropy and social conscience, and were good Samaritans, maybe another clue to the business name... The project is privately financed by LVMH who bought the site in 2008 and is expected to create 4400 jobs during construction and a more permanent workforce of 2600 on completion. LVMH is a driving force on the Paris architectural renewal with this project, one of the biggest in Europe and also with the recently opened Fondation Louis Vuitton designed by Frank Gehry to much acclaim.
It is, in my opinion, the best building that Gehry has produced so far..
And to finish this article on a bit of humour, and to back-up the famous slogan that you can find anything at La Samaritaine, here is an old commercial that illustrates just that back in 1970. Love it!
This was the last time we had a chance to spend time in Provence with my Mum and Dad, my sister, our children and our nephews. Dad passed away in November 2010 and we had to move Mum and Dad near my sister in Vendée soon after this trip as Dad could no longer show a brave face against his terminal illness and Mum couldn't cope anymore with his care.
We really enjoyed our time together and had a chance to take my sister away from her care duties for day trips here and there, as far as Grasse, or closer to Lourmarin, Gordes and Oppède-le-Vieux.
In many ways, our "Week in Provence" tour will be a pilgrimage but also a celebration of all the memories of Provence I have accumulated over some decades, including time with my maternal grandparents, my parents and my own family. Of all the places I have spent time in either to live or in vacation, this is probably still the place where I really feel connected with my ancestors.
It does help that the place is beautifully varied, home of some of the best cooking ingredients on the Planet, and of some of my favourite wines as well.
It will be a great privilege to be able to let you into my private world, visit markets and places I have known since childhood and share anecdotes that only a local can share with you. Being in a group of maximum 10 people will give us an intimacy prone to sharing not only good food and wine, but also some of the emotions which this place triggers in me and hopefully this will translate in a more profound experience for you as well.
We need a minimum of ten people to get the show on the road and we need to firm up our accommodation on July 27th at the very latest. If you are thinking of joining us, then click on the link below and we will send you the itinerary.
It will be much more than food and wine...Visiting beautiful villages as well as their artisans and artists will certainly be a highlight of the trip, so don't forget your credit card, you might need it...
So come and discover the hidden secrets of Provence with a local and we will blow your mind and your tastebuds, guaranteed! We can't wait to host you in our ancestral country...
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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