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(long) Florence Trip Report

You apparently know nothing about Wine Enthusiast.

about 9 hours ago
collioure in Italy

(long) Florence Trip Report

Wine Enthusiast, unlike Wine Spectator of yore, tastes blind and very expertly. I know firsthand; I tasted there for a couple of years - I wasn't quite good enough to stay on.

The key word was "knockout." I will like a wine rated 89, and I will like a 90 even better. That number translates to "outstanding."

FYI Felluga is generally credited with reviving Friuli winemaking. He and Mario Schiopetto are the names in that area. I’ve never tasted a bad drop from either of them.

I understand that Ruggero mostly serves a local clientele. Still not a reason to not offer better wines. Wine should not be an afterthought in a southern European restaurant; I fear that it is at Da Ruggero.

about 10 hours ago
collioure in Italy

Octopus that tastes like chicken

Neither had I.

about 12 hours ago
collioure in Italy

(long) Florence Trip Report

Thank you for one good reason many Italian restos may not be able to have top notch wines. I'm not sure that's a completely sufficient reason, and it’s hardly unique to Italy.

The better wines of a vineyard property are usually released later than the more basic wines they offer - often because they are aged longer in barrels. And unfortunately because restaurants everywhere do not have the capital to invest in aging wines, the best wines are often consumed "before their time."

A knockout wine for me would be any wine that gets a score of 90 or better in the Wine Enthusiast. http://buyingguide.winemag.com/catalo...

In Assisi we enjoyed a Dievole Novecento Riserva, for example. Few Italian whites require aging. For example, Livio Felluga Friulano 2013 for just 22€ was super. Both get scores of 90 at WE.

If one is going to sell wine, why so many average choices? With a little effort you can really please your customers.

And let us not let an established restaurant off the hook. If a restaurateur wants to, in time he can find some space nearby to store wines. You just need one little room.

about 12 hours ago
collioure in Italy

(long) Florence Trip Report

Thank you for such an excellent report. I was just at Da Ruggero myself and wanted to order the spaghetti alla carrettiere, but my stomach had been a little iffy in the AM.
Seemingly simple dishes like this and spaghetti alla rucola are unforgettable in my opinion, and somehow we can't duplicate them elsewhere.

I found that pork shop (arista - infused with rosemary, I believe) out of this world.

I said it on the way out in a nice way, I'll say it here, and I'll also say it on Trip Advisor.

A restaurant this good ought to have a few knockout wines for those of us who want to make the experience even more enjoyable.

And kudos to you for not trying to pile too many good things on top of one another.

On second thought how many gelaterias do you visit every day?

about 14 hours ago
collioure in Italy

Octopus that tastes like chicken

The right one!
This blog is about how octopus should taste, feel in the mouth and appear.

1 day ago
collioure in Italy

Octopus that tastes like chicken

?

2 days ago
collioure in Italy

Octopus that tastes like chicken

The photo and the destination are too close for comfort.
And we didn't go to the wrong restaurant.
I'm still baffled. The texture just was like chicken, not squid.

2 days ago
collioure in Italy

Octopus that tastes like chicken

Our last night in Italy we shared an octopus salad antipasto.
The octopus looked like the real thing, but it had the texture and taste of chicken, not of seafood that I know.

?????

Sep 15, 2014
collioure in Italy

71% of the French say they know nothing about wine

I'm a geek?
I thought I was a wine snob.
Hey, just back from Italy where a top drawer Chianti from Dievole (Novecentro) and old favorite Livio Felluga Friulano (formerly Tocai) catapulted two dinners into the stratosphere.

Sep 15, 2014
collioure in Wine

71% of the French say they know nothing about wine

Only 71% - I expect the true fgure is higher. Most French buy bag-in-box or the equivalent.

Sep 15, 2014
collioure in Wine

Top ten romantic foodie restaurants in Paris

Dining under the stars at Oustau de Baumanière in les Baux-de-Provence. Also at Villa Maria in Ravello, Italy.

The terrace at Hotellerie de Levernois outside Beaune, France.
La Capinera in Taormina, Sicily.
Feredina, Oia, Santorini

Sep 15, 2014
collioure in France

Florence-- your thoughts on our list...

The food and service at Da Ruggero were excellent, but dinner would have been better if this team offered some quality wine choices.

Sep 15, 2014
collioure in Italy

Honeymoon in Italy (Genoa, Cinque Terre, Bologna, Modena, Parma, Venice, Tuscany, and Florence)

Just back from Cinque Terre where we dined at Il Pirata and at Belforte in Vernazza. As Rick Steves notes, breakfast is kind of a joke in these parts.

Il Parata - there's nothing exceptional about the cuisine here. It's quite good and satisfying. The white wines were not interesting. So we ordered a light red which the owner wisely suggested over my first choice.

Belforte's most interesting dishes are for two. Maybe you can swing that on a honeymoon; I couldn't. Mostly seafood with some good white wines choices available - esp from Livio Felluga's prodigal son Marco. We had very good food. However, it can get rather windy and cool up on their terrace. In October you can probably eat inside.

In Florence we enjoyed excellent dinners at Da Ruggero - rather basic Tuscan cuisine excellently prepared, and at more inventive Belcore.

Happy Honeymoon

Sep 15, 2014
collioure in Italy

(for friday night) Pairing with Ottolenghi's Chicken with Hazelnuts, honey, safran (and rose water)

Taking note of the North African spicing, I'd prefer the Marsanne/Roussanne blend from right where I live.
Or a Pinot Gris from the opposite corner of France.

Aug 29, 2014
collioure in Wine

Favorite wine with lamb

Ribera del Duero for sure!
I have found so many good wines here in Roussillon now that I forget to go across the border for Ribero del Duero. That really is my favorite wine.

Aug 27, 2014
collioure in Wine

Which is more reliable: Michelin vs. San Pellegrino's Best Restaurants List

Gault et Millau is still reliable. I've been using it for 36 years and invariably wind up in the right restaurant for me.

Aug 24, 2014
collioure in France

Which is more reliable: Michelin vs. San Pellegrino's Best Restaurants List

The correct answer is Gault et Millau.

Next!

Aug 23, 2014
collioure in France

Favorite wine with lamb

Kerbuccio is one of the best reds from Roussillon. Just laid down a few bottles. 23€ here since I don't know when. Ch Saint-Roch recently acquired by Ch Lafage.

But the new appellation Maury sec did not exist in 2011. So I think this is still a Cotes-du-Roussillon Villages. 95 from Parker.

Syrah-Genache-Mourvèdre. No Carignan. Yes !!!!!!

Aug 23, 2014
collioure in Wine

Specialties from the Vaucluse (Avignon) part of Provence?

A devotee of modern cuisine and natural flavors I prefer the real thing and in PACA in prefer bouillabaisse. You can't get it anywhere else.

Aug 19, 2014
collioure in France

Two interests in Paris

Are you sure you want pigeon and not pigeonneau which translates to squab?

Aug 17, 2014
collioure in France

Specialties from the Vaucluse (Avignon) part of Provence?

In addition to tapenade and anchoiade

Pissaladière essentially onion-anchovy-black olive pizza
Brandade (de morue) is salt-cod pounded with cream, garlic and olive oil - I don't like it
Artichauts en barigoule - artichokes cooked in white wine with a chopped onion/mushroom/ham/parsley stuffing
Mesclun salade - salad of 13-14 fine lettuces/herbs with a garlicky vinaigrette
Pieds et paquets/tripes à la niçoise - sheep (feet and) tripe stuffed with a farce of garlic, parsley and pork fat
Rable de lapereau - back of young wild rabbit usually stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts
Gratin Provençale - alternating layers of tomato and potato (sometimes onion too) with herbs, garlic and olive oil
Ratatouille - chopped eggplant, zucchini, tomato, bell pepper, onion, garlic, herbs and olive oil. Hot or cold.
Soupe au pistou - minestrone-like vegetable soup flavored with pistou
Nougat - made from almonds, hazelnuts, honey, sugar and egg whites - is everywhere here during the Christmas season. Also found in desserts year-round. Similar to turrons from Spain.
Glace au miel or à la lavande - honey cream or lavender ice cream - sometimes both flavors ensemble
Tourte aux noix et au miel - walnut and honey pie
Calisson d'Aix - almond cookies flavored with melon or orange

Aug 17, 2014
collioure in France
1

Languedoc's Terrasses du Larzac region gains AOC status

One appellation of Languedoc that does interest me is Malepère. I have always enjoyed blends of Bordeaux and Mediterranean red grapes.

Aug 16, 2014
collioure in Wine

Languedoc's Terrasses du Larzac region gains AOC status

Jason, before my tastes gravitated toward less tannic wines, I bought some Corbières, but somehow I have not gotten into Languedoc wines. Instead I have focused on the improving vintners here in Roussillon.

Aug 16, 2014
collioure in Wine

Languedoc's Terrasses du Larzac region gains AOC status

And apparently the Syrah-Grenache-Mourvedre grapes grow well in these high altitude Cevennes vineyards. Some of these wines are presented at this year's fall supermarket sales at prices of 10-to-20 euros alongside a slug of Mediterranean red blends at much lower prices.

The appellation includes St. Saturnin and Montpeyroux.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrasse...

Aug 15, 2014
collioure in Wine

Wine vinegars

Just before I left for the USA I went up in the hills between Port-Vendres and Banyuls-sur-mer to the vinaigrerie la Guinelle.

I bought a bottle of vinegar de Banyuls for a gift but I also bought some Gewurztraminer vinegar, a new product there. I thought I might make the recipe for scallops with vinegar de Banyuls, only with the Gewurztraminer vinegar instead. The Gewurztraminer vinegar seems a bit strong. So I'm thinking of cutting it with some neutral vinegar.

Comments?

Aug 03, 2014
collioure in Wine

Two grocery items I cannot find in France

Well, I thought I was going to buy A-1 from Germany, but a couple of days after this discussion, I searched in the USA for the price and found large bottles occasionally on sale for less than $4.

So I waited until I saw the price myself on the supermarket shelves in the USA. Kraft has lowered the price, I believe. $5/15oz and there are generic alternatives for less.

So Amazon Germany will be an emergency source.
Thanks again.

Aug 03, 2014
collioure in France

Help with southern France Honeymoon next month

Hiely-Lucullus is an institution in downtown Avignon. Very good Provencal cuisine in an unpretentious atmosphere.

Yes, I know. I always recommend it here. I like dependable addresses.

Jul 26, 2014
collioure in France

French food - boring? Yes, according to the Daily Telegraph

I've had pretty tasty
Clafoutis aux cerises en crème d'amande façon Roger Vergé
Larme de chocolat aux griottines Michel Trama
and even more common desserts in France like Profiterolles, Paris-Brest and Napoleons

Jul 21, 2014
collioure in France

French food - boring? Yes, according to the Daily Telegraph

Since I haven't eaten in the UK in decades, I'll save my "impossible!" comment until after I visit London next spring.

However, we do not serve kidney pie, spotted d*ck or peach crumble here in France. We prefer dishes like mouclade, steak au poivre and tarte tatin.

Jul 20, 2014
collioure in France