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Mangoes have dazzled palates across the globe for centuries with their aroma, taste, texture, and seemingly endless shapes, sizes, and colors. In Miami alone there are over 250 varieties. Miami-based writer, critic, poet and educator Jen Karetnick is the award-winning author of nine books, including three this year alone: the recently published book Mango and two volumes  Prayer of Confession and Brie Season about to be released.
Jen’s nickname, Mango Mama, could not be more appropriate! Jen lives on the last acre of a historic mango plantation with her husband, two children; three dogs; four cats; and fourteen mango trees!  By the time July comes around, Jen uses mangoes in the most unexpected ways, in just about everything, cocktails, smoothies, savory and sweet dishes.
Along with her own recipes which she has developed over the years, the book Mango features recipes from a group of Jen’s buddies who happen to be Miami's most celebrated chefs.
From smoothies to cocktails, from mango blintzes to jerked grouper with mango-fig chutney, and mangozpacho (mango-infused gazpacho)--this book is  the ultimate book on Mango. It is delightfully written, based on serious research and highlights  all those chefs and mixologists who are striving to use our local products in their cuisines.
Click here for Jen’s recipe for frozen mango sangría, or “Mangría,”

Recently Carole and I participated in Tasting in the Dark, at Smith & Wollensky on South Beach, Florida. a blind tasting of wines led by Henry “Hoby” Wedler. The Sonoma County native, a UC Davis graduate student in organic chemistry, wine aficionado, and legally blind since birth, opened our senses to new heights.

Blind tasting’ , the literal term, usually refers to hiding the identity of wines and being essentially “blind” to the appearance of wines during sensory examination, and then revealing information like varietal, blend, region and producer once the tasting is complete.  It is practiced during wine competitions. 

But movie director and wine maker Francis Ford Coppola has taken blind tasting to another level for guests at his Geyserville winery. He proposed that the lead host should, in fact, be blind and that participants be blindfolded during the tasting, temporarily removing their sense of sight.

This is how  the program Tasting in the Dark began in April 2011.  Like many before us in the USA and world wide, we and the other participants were blindfolded then led upstairs to the dining room where Wedler guided us through a series of sensory exercises and a pre-selected flight of Coppola wines. It was quite a revealing experience.

Listen as Hoby Wedler explains his method and talks eloquently about how each whiff, each drop of wine  produces unforgettable images and creates exciting  inner movies. 

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