Alsace wine is all white, right? Wrong!

When you consider the wines of Alsace, it’s probably fine, fragrant whites that come to mind. That’s understandable. The Alsace wine grower has six white grape varieties — Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Pinot Blanc and Sylvaner – to play with. Most growers make wine from all six, with multiple cuvées of each. But there’s… Continue reading Alsace wine is all white, right? Wrong!

Asparagus: white or green?

Even after 30 years living in the Upper Rhine region where white asparagus rules, I have to admit green asparagus is still the one that does it for me. I love everything about the green: its fresh colour, assertive flavour and crunchy texture. Best of all, unlike the white varieties, it doesn’t need peeling. All… Continue reading Asparagus: white or green?

Crazy about lovage

Lovage – Liebstöckel or Maggikraut in German, livèche or ache des montagnes in French – is a fragrant herb that takes me by surprise every spring. During the winter it goes doggo, dying back completely and disappearing almost without trace into the ground. Then in around March (in our climate), its serrated pale green leaves thrust… Continue reading Crazy about lovage

Three Kings in Lörrach

At a recent tasting over lunch in the cosy dining room of award-winning wine grower Hanspeter Ziereisen in Efringen-Kirchen (research – honest – for my upcoming wine travel piece for Decanter), the talk turned (as is its wont) to what’s cooking in this southwestern corner of Germany, close to the Swiss border. Between us we… Continue reading Three Kings in Lörrach

Why would anyone ever eat ANYTHING but tapas?

Love fleeing south at this time of year to feel the warm sun on our backs: we just returned from the best part of a week in Andalucia (Sevilla and Córdoba), neatly sandwiched between a weekend in Barcelona and another in Empordá. We didn’t do too much sunbathing (there’s always a risk for us northerners… Continue reading Why would anyone ever eat ANYTHING but tapas?

Real Mexican

Looking for great (read: authentic) Mexican food in the Basel region? Believe me, the best you’ll find is the kind you’ll make yourself – El Sol in deepest Allschwil and Scatola on Nadelberg in downtown Basel have the wherewithal, including terrific fresh corn tortillas that are about as far away from the dreaded Old El… Continue reading Real Mexican

Carnival ice cream sandwiches

Carnival is all around us – over in the Black Forest, they’ve already begun their Fasnet, while for many others, carnival will start next week with Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday. The week after, commencing at 4 a.m. on Monday 27 February, Basel will burst into a cacophony of pipes and drums (accompanied by burnt flour soup… Continue reading Carnival ice cream sandwiches