Friday, June 27, 2014

Comté All the Way

Young Comté wheels starting to age
Just spent four days in France devoted to cheese --- one cheese, in fact, Comté.

What a trip: In the Jura mountains of eastern France in alpine ski country, I met Norbert, a shepherd who takes care of heifers before they are ready to give birth; in the tiny village of Villette-les-Dole, I saw how dairy farmer Jean-Francois cares for the local Montbéliarde cows, providing them a natural, quality diet that produces the raw milk that, in turn, gives Comté so much of its flavor -- which runs from milky and relatively fresh to almost crunchy in texture and nutty in taste. Also visited fruitieres (cheesemakers) and affineurs (cheese-agers) to see firsthand how it's made from beginning to end.
The cheese is a natural partner to the idiosyncratic wines of the Jura region, but complement most any wines. Comté  (pronounced "con-tay") is a cheese made in the artisanal, authentic manner that so many consumers are seeking these days. Ask your cheesemonger for a taste!

Adorable Montbéliarde cows

Only high-quality Comté wheels carry this marker  

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Variety in Geneva

Geneva, Switzerland, is home to the second largest United Nations office in the world with 193 member nations. Maybe that's why I saw such a striking variety of restaurants within only a couple of blocks of my hotel (and Lake Geneva) there last week.
No, Switzerland is not all fondue and raclette. And Chasselas.
There was a Korean pub, an Indian restaurant, a cafeteria offering an "Orientale ambiance" and a cafe featuring organic and local foods.
K Pub, 8 Rue de la Navigation
Bollywood, Place de la Navigation 6, 1201 Geneva, Switzerland Add caption

Chez Leyla, 35 Rue des Pâquis, 1201 Geneva, Switzerland

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Vinexpo Asia-Pacific 2014

The listing of 1,300 exhibitors at Vinexpo Asia-Pacific  
I attended the three-day Vinexpo Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong May 27-29, the largest wine fair for the trade in Asia. It was a robust program of tastings, in-depth seminars and meetings between wine producers and Asian buyers designed to acquaint the Asian -- and especially the fast-growing Chinese -- market with wines from all over the world.   

The most extensive tasting of a mainland Chinese winery was a 10-year vertical of Grace Vineyard's "Chairman's Reserve." This is one of the best wineries in China and it was a privilege to taste the wines and to hear the articulate Judy Chan talk about her family's winery -- one of the first quality grape-wine producers in the country.  For more information on the meeting and what took place there, see my stories California Vintners Optimistic About Asian Market and Saint-Emilion Chateau Goes for the Gold.