Once again, Uncorked! the Key Largo & Islamorada Food & Wine Festival is offering ten glorious days of wine tasting events, cooking demonstrations, wine dinners, live music, food and wine pairing classes, progressive wine dinners, art and wine shows, and of course,  fund and sun, fabulous sunsets, scuba diving, fishing, many tourist attractions, shopping, and more.

The Grand Tasting, the Festival Finale, is scheduled for Saturday January 17. Dozens of area restaurants and wine experts come together under a giant tent to present samples of their finest cuisine and world-class wines. Live music, celebrity chef appearances and cooking demos combine to serve up the recipe for a spectacular afternoon of tasting in the fabulous Florida Keys.

For information on event schedule, where to stay, things to do and more, log on to: http://www.floridakeysuncorked.com/  


truffleA record-setting 4.16-pound white truffle has sold for $61,250 at a New York City auction.

Sotheby's says the fungus was sold Saturday to a food and wine lover from Taiwan bidding by phone.

The truffle was found last week in Umbria, Italy, by Sabatino Truffles.

The firm had said it turned down million-dollar offers from buyers in China. Instead, it chose to auction the truffle in New York to benefit Citymeals-on-Wheels and the Children's Glaucoma Foundation.

Sabatino Truffles spokeswoman Jane Walsh had said the truffle was slightly smaller than an American football. She says the average white truffle that's unearthed is about the size of a walnut.  Sotheby's says the previous largest white truffle ever found was 2.5 pounds.

                                  click here for story

The world’s leading show for wine and spirits professionals, Vinexpo 2015 has designated the U.S. as its first-ever Country of Honor – a distinction that will give the American wine industry maximum exposure throughout the show. Themed “Taste the Unexpected,” Vinexpo 2015 will be held June 14-18, 2015. Vinexpo drew 48,000 professional visitors in 2013, of which Americans represented the second largest segment of international attendees. Founded in 1981.

Vinexpo is held in Bordeaux in odd-numbered years at Bordeaux’s Parc des Expositions, just minutes from the historic town center and some of the world’s most storied wine regions including Canon Fronsac, Saint Emilion, Médoc, Graves and Sauternes..

Special events throughout Vinexpo 2015 will shine a spotlight on the U.S. wine industry. American wineries will be showcased in the center of the exhibition area, which will feature as many as 2,400 exhibitors from 44 wine- and spirits-producing countries around the world.

The Country of Honor designation acknowledges the U.S.’s ascendancy as the world’s top wine-consuming nation. A 2014 Vinexpo-commissioned study by International Wine and Spirit Research revealed that in 2011 the U.S. surpassed France and Italy to lead the world in wine consumption in both volume and value. The study, which analyzed results from 2007-2012 to forecast market trends through 2017, also reported the following:

·        The U.S is the third largest wine importer worldwide, including still, light and sparkling wines.

·        The U.S. is the fourth largest wine producer in the world and the sixth largest exporter.

·        Between 2012 and 2016, American annual wine consumption is projected to grow by more than 12 percent, or 40.5 million cases.

·        Consumption of spirits in the U.S. reached 190.87 million cases in 2011 (up 7.6% from 2007), and should increase by another 8.7% by 2016. Vodka, rum and bourbon are the top-selling spirits in the U.S. market.

·        The U.S. is the world’s largest market for tequila, well ahead of Mexico.

In his song Young Forever, Jay-Z envisions a life where “you never get old and the Champagne’s always cold.” He may not be able to do much about aging, but he may be able to help with the chilled bubbly.

Just days after the British beverage giant Diageo swapped whiskey for tequila, taking control of the Don Julio brand from Jose Cuervo, a new company led by Jay-Z has acquired Armand de Brignac Champagne from Sovereign Brands.

“We are proud to announce that Sovereign Brands, a New York-based wine and spirits company owned by the Berish family, has sold its interest in the Armand de Brignac (Ace of Spades’) Champagne brand to a new company led by the globally renowned Shawn ‘Jay Z’ Carter,” Sovereign Brands said in a statement. Yvonne Lardner, global director of brand communications for Sovereign, added: Jay Z “became interested in owning the brand and made us an offer we simply couldn’t refuse.” Jay-Z’s interest in the Champagne, nicknamed “Ace of Spades” for the logo on its label, is not new. A gold bottle appeared in his 2006 music video for Show Me What You Got. In September 2012, Jay-Z held a fundraiser with his wife, Beyoncé Knowles, at the 40/40 Club in Manhattan for President Barack Obama that included a tower of 350 bottles of Armand de Brignac Champagne.

A bottle of Armand de Brignac Brut Gold retails for $300.





The fourth Thursday of November belongs to Thanksgiving, but the third Thursday belongs exclusively to Beaujolais Nouveau, the first wine of the harvest. This year, Beaujolais Nouveau Day falls on Thursday, November 20 and more than 35 million bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau are expected to be consumed in the months following the wine’s release.

This fruity, very young red wine is made from handpicked Gamay grapes, from the Beaujolais region and bottled just a few weeks after harvest.  Thanks to a process called carbonic maceration, or whole berry fermentation, which allows the juice to be extracted from the grapes with a minimum of tannins, this young wine is best enjoyed immediately

Each year, people across the world celebrate the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau on the third Thursday in November anywhere in the world. Because this is a wine that’s easy to drink and easy to pair, it has become associated with the eclectic Thanksgiving dishes that grace the tables of people of all cultures and ethnicities.


www.italyrevisited.org documents Italians' cultural heritage by creating an extensive photo archive of the day to day life of farmers and townspeople living at the turn of the 20th century. With family photos taken before 1969 which capture the Italian way of life in Italy or abroad, Dessert recipes handed down over generations , folk sayings and current photos of linen trousseaus, country antiques and Little Italys world wide.

Check out the lists of Traditional Italian dishes and desserts by region, in Alphabetical Order and with recipes! A fantastic document. http://www.italyrevisited.org/recipe/X_X_Lists_of_Italian_Dishes_and_Desserts_by_Region/672

arcimboldoPinecrest Gardens is to host Internationally-renowned contemporary artist and filmmaker Philip Haas’sarcimboldopinecrestFOUR SEASONS – a towering installation of fantastical sculptures inspired by Renaissance artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo   – November 16th to April 6, 2015 in its lush botanical sanctuary.

Consisting of four 15-foot-tall busts, Haas’s FOUR SEASONS bring 16th-century Renaissance portraiture by Italian artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo into modern times through a transformation of scale, material and dimensionality.

While Arcimboldo’s paintings present each subject in profile, Haas’s unconventional twist on the classical form allows visitors the opportunity to walk around the sculptures, to see the subjects from all sides, and from many different and surprising vantage points.

Each work represents an individual season and is distinctly unusual and extravagant. AUTUMN is comprised of fall vegetables, ripe grapes and leaves turning color. Weathered bark and verdant moss make up WINTER’s stoic bust, which sits on top of a cloak of straw. SPRING evokes rebirth and vibrancy with a face consisting of rose-colored petals and hair brimming with elaborate flowers. SUMMER’s hue is a variety of sun-kissed yellows; its face and headdress sprout onions, garlic, corn, peas, a multiplicity of fruit, and a cucumber nose. The sculptures are made of pigmented and painted fiberglass, supported by interior steel frames.

“I started the FOUR SEASONS project wanting to bring Arcimboldo’s Renaissance painted nature imagery into the 21st-century physical world. I can’t think of a better venue than Pinecrest Gardens to inaugurate the Florida tour of this work, where the sculptures will arrive in the one of the oldest outposts of the New World, having fled their earlier homes as paintings in European museums, to now rest, and blend in, for an extended period amid the lush tropical flora, rock formations and historic water features,” said Haas.

In marrying sculpture, painting, film, and architecture, Philip Haas has created a contemporary visual vocabulary all his own. He describes his process as “sculpting by thinking”. His groundbreaking artwork has been featured by museums, including the National Gallery of Art (Washington DC), the Kimbell Art Museum (Fort Worth, Texas), Dulwich Picture Gallery (United Kingdom), and Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris). In the public realm, his work has been exhibited in the Piazza del Duomo (Milan) and the Gardens of Versailles (France). His feature films include ANGELS & INSECTS, THE MUSIC OF CHANCE and UP AT THE VILLA. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, as well as other awards. He has taught in the visual arts and creative writing programs at Princeton University. He lives and works in New York and London.

FOUR SEASONS by Philip Haas is the latest commission of Pinecrest Garden’s art program.

Food Network Star, the successful culinary reality series, is casting for season 11 and is holding an open casting call in Miami on Saturday, November 15th. They are looking for those with a captivating personality who believe they’re at the top of the culinary game. You can apply online  at www.JSCasting.com , or go to the Miami Open Casting Call on Saturday, November 15th, from 10am - 1pm, at the Epic Hotel, 270 Biscayne Blvd Way, Miami, FL 33131

 One of the Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival’s most highly anticipated events, the 5th Annual Grand Chef Throwdown,returns as the culmination to the four-day culinary affair.

The Grand Chef Throwdown is a cook off with three local chefs battling it out for $10,000 ($5,000 cash and $5,000 to the winning chef’s charity of choice).

Two-time reigning champion Eric Grutka of Ian’s Tropical Grill in Stuart returns to defend his title. he remaining two chefs are selected by the public through a Facebook competition.

Moments before the Grand Chef Throwdown competition begins, presenting sponsor Creekstone Farms will reveal the mystery ingredient—a special cut of beef that must be used by the competing chefs. Since inception, the Grand Chef Throwdown has raised more than $20,000 for various charities.

Chefs interested in participating in the Grand Chef Throwdown have until to November 30th at 5 p.m. to act on the following steps for entry into the competition:

1. “Like” the designated FB page at www.facebook.com/grandchefthrowdown

2. In 150 words or less post a comment on the page about themselves

3. Get as many friends and family to like their post.

The two chefs with the most ‘likes’ will compete in the competition.

The Grand Chef Throwdown, presented by Creekstone Farms, takes place on Sunday, December 14, from 8 p.m. – 9 p.m. during the 8th Annual Grand Tasting at 150 WORTH, 150 Worth Ave., Palm Beach, FL 33480. . For tickets to The Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival, call (561) 561-389-1222 or log on to  www.pbfoodwinefest.com .


\With the help of a medieval text, David Smale, an Essex farmer has revived a tradition in the heartland of production in Tudor times. He is cultivating his crop in a secret location.  (photo: saffron flower). The Telegraph

Saffron has returned to the fields of England for the first time in 200 years — and only a stone’s throw from the town of Saffron Walden, the heart of British production in Tudor times.

Saffron-growing died out in Britain as the painstaking harvesting methods became too expensive to compete with cheap imports from Iran and Kashmir.

However, Mr Smale is determined to revive the centuries-old tradition and grow his business into a full-scale commercial enterprise.

With a gram (0.035oz) of spice selling for up to £75, saffron is more expensive than gold because the harvesting is so laborious. Each crocus flower yields just three stigma, which are picked by hand then dried to create the saffron strands.

As Britain’s only saffron grower, Mr Smale has attracted the attention of food shops such as Fortnum & Mason and Partridges in London.

David Smale, 50,  began his business by growing the Crocus sativus — commonly known as saffron crocus — flowers in his back garden but it was not until he found a Tudor manuscript on growing saffron while browsing in a library that things really took off.  “I’ve always wanted to grow something and one day I had a mad idea that I would grow saffron. I live in Essex and my family has a connection to Cornwall, two places that were big on saffron production centuries ago. I looked into who was growing saffron and to my surprise I found there was no one doing it. I was told the practice had died out a few hundred years ago which I thought was ridiculous, so I decided to give it a go,” said Mr. Smale.

He added: “For the first few years I had some successes and some disasters but there was no one to turn to for advice – I was learning as I went along. The turning point came when I found a medieval text for growing saffron in the archives of the library at Saffron Walden. It dated back to the 1600s and confirmed everything I had learnt so I knew I was doing it right.”

It was then that he decided to turn his hobby into a business, English Saffron. “Each year we get bigger and bigger and by next season we are hoping to be able to employ people. “To have that industry back in Essex after all these years is amazing.”  As well as tending to his crop of crocuses, David runs a geophysics consultancy.

The crocuses are planted in summer then harvested in late autumn. Tens of thousands of flowers have to be hand picked at just the right moment then dissected to remove the three red stigmas from each one. The strands are dried on racks for 24 hours then put into storage containers, ready for packing.  

These days saffron is more associated with exotic locations like Iran, Morocco and Spain, but in the past English saffron has been by reputation the best in the world.  “Ours certainly comes out top in taste tests. It’s sweeter and more honey-like than other varieties and I think that’s down to the nutrients in the soil.  We’re lucky that there’s a food revolution at the moment and people are prepared to pay a little bit more for quality produce made locally."

A 0.2g packet of Mr Smale’s saffron sells in Fortnum & Mason for £15. He is hoping to increase his output by 20 times next season.  “We moved into a new field this year which will become our centre for processing and we’re looking to take on another field next season" he said. 

He added: “Saffron Walden was one of the world’s major producers of saffron a few centuries ago and we’re happy to be doing our bit to keep the tradition alive.”


 Trade publications The SOMM Journal and The Tasting Panel recently announced an essay contest for a full scholarship to the 2015 Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood Napa Valley, February 17-20.

"The Tasting Panel and The Somm Journal are publications that speak to the gatekeepers of the hospitality industry,” said Publisher and Editorial Director Meridith May, who serves on the Symposium’s faculty. “We are always on the lookout for that writer whose voice is eloquent, entertaining and educational when it comes to imparting information to the prestigious and sophisticated reader."

The winner of The SOMM Journal and The Tasting Panel competition will receive a full scholarship to the 2015 Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, including registration and lodging at Meadowood Napa Valley resort (does not include transportation to and from the conference), a value of $1,940. Additionally, the winning essay will be published in the February issue of The SOMM Journal and the January/February issue of The Tasting Panel.

Essays should be 750 words or less, focused on a topic of the author’s choice within the broader subject of wine, due December 20, 2014. The SOMM Journal and Tasting Panel editors will review submissions and select a winner by January 5, 2015. Applicants must also meet the Symposium’s eligibility requirement of being a working journalist or author with at least two paid, published editorial works on relevant subject matter in the prior 12 months. Winery employees and others working to produce or promote wine brands are not eligible.

Registration is now open and can be accessed at www.WineWritersSymposium.org .

To learn more about the 2015 Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, log on to www.WineWritersSymposium.org . For inquiries about the SOMM Journal / Tasting Panel scholarship, please email MMay@SommJournal.com .

cannologiantJUPITER, FL   – An official attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest cannolo (the singular form of “Cannoli”) ever made will take place on Sunday, November 9 at 2 p.m. at the annual Feast of Little Italy at the Abacoa Town Center in Jupiter, FL.

The current official Guinness database reflects a cannolo made in 2010 in Newburgh, NY that weighed in at 123 pounds.  However, in July of this year, a bakery in Ontario, Canada prepared a cannolo that weighed in at 211 pounds and is currently under consideration by the Guinness organization.

For this attempt, to surpass both, the team (60 prep members and 20 assembly team)  will assemble a cannolo that weighs 300 pounds and will be 12 feet in length. 

In addition to the team for Feast of Little Italy in Jupiter, Florida, Galbani Cheese, headquartered in Buffalo, NY, will supply 500 pounds of ricotta cheese.  The Golden Cannoli Shells Company of Boston, MA  will supply 200 pounds of dough for the cannolo shell.  During the assembly, team members will be armed with over 100 bags of cannoli filling.   Prior to final assembly, the cannolo shell dough will be mixed and fried in and shipped from Boston.

A Guinness representative will be onsite to certify the record.


Starting Tuesday, October 14, 7 p.m., The Embassy Miami Wine Club  members will meet every second Tuesday of each month for an evening of wine and food pairing. Tuesday, October 14, 7 p.m. will be the official kick-off with tasting of five different wines and food pairing by Chef Alan Hughes.   Members free, non members $25.

The Embassy Miami, 4600 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, Florida 33137. (305) 571-8446 (The event starts at 7.00 pm but food and wine will be available for those arriving later)


charlieSoon to be released:  the film "The Duel of Wine " , a sequel of “El Camino del Vino” starringcharlie2Miami Sommelier Charlie Arturaola.   For a sneak preview, visit: www.theduelofwinemovie.com and www.randg.es

A Sommelier film premiere at Tribeca Grill in NYC coincided with the US launch of a range of Spanish wines  from renowned winemaker Michel Rolland and Spanish entrepreneur Javier Galarreta.


To celebrate its 100th birthday this October during National Popcorn Month, Jolly Time Pop Corn – America’s first branded popcorn that began in a humble Iowa basement – sent us some fun facts and trivia about popcorn:

  • Americans consume some 16 billion quarts of popcorn each year. That’s 51 quarts per man, woman and child.
  • If you made a trail of popcorn from New York City to Los Angeles, you would need more than 352,028,160 popped kernels.
  • Popcorn kernels can jump up to 3 feet in the air.
  • During the Depression, popcorn at five or ten cents a bag was one of the few luxuries down-and-out families could afford.
  • Volunteers in Sac City, Iowa created the world’s largest popcorn ball in February 2009. It weighed 5,000 lbs., stood over 8 ft. tall and measured 28.8 ft. in circumference.
  • Popcorn is naturally low in calories and gluten-free – a cup of air-popped popcorn contains just 35 calories.
  • Archaeological evidence suggests pre-Colombian Americans were popping popcorn as early as 4,700 B.C.
  • Popcorn was integral to early 16th century Aztec Indian ceremonies.


To listen to vintage ad campaigns with celeb Bob Hope and radio legend Paul Harvey, visit the virtual museum




This is Food Critic Lee Klein's own site --  the former restaurant critic at the Miami New Times and Miami.com  has gone solo into the publishing business -- so you're pretty much sure to get the latest in restaurant reviews.  Log on to: lee2go.com


food designhttp://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/journals/view-Journal,id=246/

The International Journal of Food Design (IJFD) to be published in 2016, is the first academic journal entirely dedicated to Food Design research and practice – the various disciplines that contribute to the understanding of Food Design.

The journal focuses on Food Design-related research.   Connecting food and Design of course means connecting any aspect of food with any aspect of Design. For this reason, the International Journal of Food Design is interested in pushing the boundaries of research that connect aspects from Culinary Arts, Hospitality, Food Science, Food Culture, and any other food discipline, with aspects from Design Theory, Design Education, Industrial Design, Design History, and any other Design discipline.

Connecting Food and Design can also mean looking at how Design is or can be used in all aspects of the eating experience. The eating experience is the process that transforms stimuli of an eating situation into emotions, knowledge and ultimately memories. The stimuli are many, and analysing them is a complex issue. Here we are interested in looking at how Design can be applied to the control of such stimuli, and therefore, to the control of the different aspects influencing the eating experience. The aspects influencing the eating experience can be grouped into those related to food itself, those related to the eating environment, those related to the relationship between people eating together, those related to the atmosphere, and those related to management, marketing, distribution and manufacturing. We look at how Design is applied to the control of such stimuli surrounding any type of food: food eaten at a restaurant, in a coffee shop, or at the cinema, food that comes in a packaging or on a plate, food eaten during physical exercise, food eaten in a space station, food connected to religion, culture or celebrations, etc.

How is Design used to influence or modify any of the aspects influencing the eating experience? What Design methods, processes or theories apply to the design of food or of the eating situation? How should we teach Design methods, process of theories applied to the design of food or eating situation? And more: is there a scope for a sub-discipline called Food Design History? Is there a space worth exploring between Food History and Design History? Between Food Culture and Design Culture? Is there a scope for a sub-discipline called Food Design Thinking? Is there a scope for Design methods and process particularly designed for Food Design? These are some of the questions that the articles collected by the IJFD aim to answer.

For additional information and to subscribe log on to  http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/journals/view-Journal,id=246/


Food & Wine Talk Radio

Achile Sassoli, Director of Gelato World Tour
and Gelato Artisans:
James Coleridge, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Abdelrahman Al Teneji, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Matthew Lee, Austin, Texas
Ahmed Abdullatif, Kingdom of Bahrain
Stefano Versace, Miami, Florida
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The House of Mandela Wines from South Africa


Chef Scott Conant: Scarpetta


Mark Schatzker, author of The Dorito Effect, The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor


Elizabeth Minchilli, author of  Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City.  


James Beard Award-winning wine journalist Lyn Farmer on: Garnacha from Carinena; the next great wine


Cindy Hutson,chef/owner, Ortanique and Zest, author of From the Tip of My Tongue


Lidia Batianich, celebrity chef, TV host, author and restaurateur 






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