Is the Auberge de l’Ill Over the Hill?

Plenty of people in Alsace – myself included – have a sort of emotional investment in the Auberge de l’Ill. It’s there, within easy reach, for when we feel a birthday or an anniversary celebration coming on, or just for a classy, companionable lunch. It’s a bit like having a much-loved Granny nearby. She lives… Continue reading Is the Auberge de l’Ill Over the Hill?

Time to Make Sloe Gin

The sloe (Prunus spinosa) is a prickly beast. In order to brave the dangers of picking its bloomy fruit, it helps to understand the wonders of sloe gin. Faithfully brewed in the pantries of English country houses since Victorian times, this wonderful drink (known in our family, and doubtless many others, as ‘sluggins’) is a… Continue reading Time to Make Sloe Gin

Présentation et Dégustation de Grands Crus, Château de Kientzheim, Alsace

Every year in early November, CIVA (Alsace’s professional wine association) invites the region’s winegrowers to present their Grand Cru wines at the Château de Kientzheim near Colmar. If you’re anywhere in the neighbourhood today, don’t miss this great opportunity to taste Grand Cru wines from the length and breadth of the Route des Vins and… Continue reading Présentation et Dégustation de Grands Crus, Château de Kientzheim, Alsace

A Magnum Opus from Restaurant Bareiss, Baiersbronn, Germany

An astonishing tome just landed with a thud on my desk: it’s an elegant, linen-bound, limited edition of Claus-Peter Lumpp’s lavishly illustrated book about his fabled 3-star cuisine at the Restaurant Bareiss. It’s not the kind of book you can snuggle up with in bed (unless you banish any sleeping partners), or one to take… Continue reading A Magnum Opus from Restaurant Bareiss, Baiersbronn, Germany

Finger Food for Parties and Potlucks

Okay, brace yourselves, the holiday season is almost upon us! This morning’s workshop featured a range of stuff which will be nice for parties at home, and/or portable enough to take along to potlucks. First we had a fragrant, Thai-inspired soup (hardly finger food, I agree, but serve it in chic little coffee cups and… Continue reading Finger Food for Parties and Potlucks

Cheese: Slices of Swiss Culture is launched

On Saturday night, 200+ people helped to give my latest book, Cheese: Slices of Swiss Culture a mighty push down the gangway of the Bider & Tanner bookshop in central Basel. Corks popped, cheese was sampled in prodigious quantities, the books were flying off my table and if I didn’t get writer’s cramp, I certainly… Continue reading Cheese: Slices of Swiss Culture is launched

Another Bull’s Eye for Fritz Wassmer’s Spätburgunder

Fritz Wassmer has done it again! Last year he took the over-£10 Pinot Noir Regional Trophy in the Decanter World Wine Awards with his Spätburgunder XXL 2007. This year his 2009 walked off with the International Trophy. The tasting notes evoke ‘raspberries, wild herbs, sweet spices – fragrant and luscious with a crisp but soft… Continue reading Another Bull’s Eye for Fritz Wassmer’s Spätburgunder