Thursday, October 30, 2014

Planes, Boats and Trains

In the past year I've had the opportunity to experience and analyze the selection, service and tasting of wines aboard different conveyances. For wines that fly, see my story on how wine professionals work with airlines, including Cathay Pacific Airways, to provide appropriate bottles for the shake, rattle and roll of air travel posted on Wine-Searcher.

On a quieter note, a Viking River Cruise along Germany's Rhine River last December visiting Christmas Markets was another opportunity to journey from one place to another while relaxing and enjoying quality wine, food and service. Viking smartly highlights the wines of the regions it travels in -- easy to do when you are in one of the world's great wine regions with arguably the world's most noble white wine (Riesling). On that 8-day journey, I enjoyed a 2012 Horst Sauer Silvaner, a 2012 Dr. L Riesling from Winery Dr. Loosen and a 2012 Riesling from Winery Johannes Ohlig. But with a mostly American and Canadian customer base, Viking also serves wines that might be less exotic and more comfortable -- Chardonnay, Soave, Chianti and Cabernet Sauvignon. For a bigger picture of the cruise aboard the Viking Jarl, see my travel companion's story on the travel web site What a Trip.

Now, what about trains? I've always wanted to travel on Canada's Rocky Mountaineer, where its "GoldLeaf Service" transports you through the beauty of British Columbia and the Canadian Rockies, with local fare and delicate Okanagan Valley wines. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Book Review: French Bistro

"If there's one thing I love more than anything, it's food that is tied to a beautiful feeling." That's the opening line in the new cookbook, French Bistro, by Maria Zihammou, and it's an apt starting point because the photographs, hand-written notes, recipes and entertaining tips do create a "beautiful feeling" in the reader. French bistro food is, obviously, the subject of many, many books, but if you are looking for a new book that conveys the full sensory experience of enjoying what this culinary culture has to offer, it's a good choice. With recipes from A to D (appetizers to desserts), and easy-to-follow recipes for such classics as pâté, steamed mussels, onion tarts, and one-pot chicken dishes, French Bistro could well transport you to, well, a sublime French-bistro-sort-of-feeling.

A copy was provided me by Skyhorse Publishing. Would I buy it at $17.95? If I'd never been to France and was curious about the overall experience of dining there, or if I wanted to reproduce dishes I'd eaten there, yes. It's a lovely introduction.