All in Food and Drink

Castellet This is somewhat out of character for this blog, but I wanted to point anyone who might care to a restaurant in the tiny medieval town of Le Castellet in Provence should you happen to be in this splendid part of France.


La Farigoule is tucked away behind a small church in the centre of the feudal village which film aficiandos will know as the setting for Marcel Pagnol's "The Baker's Wife" starring Raimu. It serves typical provencal dishes that are simple, aromatic and flawlessly prepared. I had Les petits farcis provencaux et leur bouillon au basilic to start, Le magret de canard grillé et sa palette de garnitures, sauce vin rouge as my main course and La crème brulée à l'amandine et sa glace au nougat . The table in this picture is the one my colleagues and I from other WPP companies occupied last night.


Dinner In New York was solved by Epicurious, the website that catalogues the recipes and recommendations of Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazines. I took its advice and went to one of the designated "hot spots" -- The Modern -- which is housed in the Museum of Modern Art on 53rd Street. The main dining room wasn't open (closed Sundays), but The Bar Room was jumping and, besides being an attractive post-modern venue, the food was delicious. I had braised octopus with potato salad to start; duck confit (which those who read my post on my dreadful experience with duck at a St. John's, Nfld. restaurant will know I adore) with lyonnaise potatoes and frisee (yes I know it has an accent, but I can't find it in blogger) salad; and, for dessert, truly creamy vanilla and coffee ice cream. With a glass of red from the South of France, and a bottle of eau gaseuse, c'etait un bon fin de la journee. (Again, how do you do the accents?)
I saw the movie Sideways not long ago . . . a fun movie with a lousy point of view on wine. Not only did it do a disservice to some of the better wines that come out of California (by focusing only on the pleasures of fine Pinot Noir), but it also made light of Merlot an essential part of red Bordeaux -- the king of wines.

Now take Cabernet Sauvignon, the summit of grapedom (not a word, I know, but it should be). It produces wines with a deep ruby colour that taste deliciously full-bodied, more vigorous than any Pinot I've had. Yes, I know Cabernet can have the aromas of blackberry or cassis, although my nose is not sufficiently developed to find them on most occasions. But I can tell what I am tasting when it's in my mouth because of its rich texture, smoky flavour and lingering after-taste. (I guess I should call it "finish"). The Castle Rock Winery in California has a grand 2002 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon which I had in my home town at a fine restaurant called JOV. One I have had from South Africa called Riverstone from the Merwida vineyards is not quite as fine, but certainly cheaper.

Cabernet Sauvignon is also the body of red Bordeaux. But all the major chateaux in Bordeaux mix in a little Merlot to soften the extreme edges of the wine, to add a little nuance. Without Merlot, we wouldn't have Chateau Latour, which I can't afford anyway. But we also wouldn't have a hundred other red wines from Bordeaux that bring pleasure to quiet moments or big steaks. So shame on you Sideways . . . On second thought, maybe I should be thankful because at least you didn't contribute to driving up the price.