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FRENCH PRESIDENT CHIRAC IN FOOD FIGHT OVER BRITISH CUISINE
French President Jacques Chirac's low opinion of British cuisine, which he dubbed the worst in Europe after Finland, has started a food fight with London and sparked the wrath of Britain's press. "We can't trust people who have such bad food," Chirac was quoted as making the insulting remarks about food in London during a conversation with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Russian President Vladimir Putin. "I'm no fan of salmon, and I hope I will get a decent steak — I'm sure I will get one," Mr. Chirac said, when asked whether he was looking forward to the G-8 Summit food. "Beyond that, I don't know English — or Scottish — cuisine well enough that I could really talk as an expert." Mr. Chirac could have damaged his country's Olympic bid by criticizing food from Finland in the same conversation, when he reportedly added that only Finland had worse food in Europe, and that mad cow disease was Britain's sole contribution to European agriculture. Paris and London are among the contenders for the 2012 Olympic Games. Although British and French International Olympic Committee members are banned from voting, two Finnish IOC members will be voting. (By Robert Barr, AP)

CHEESE APPRECIATION CLASS AT ARS MAGIRICA, CORAL GABLES
Ars Magirica, the recreational cooking school for food lovers, has added a new Cheese Appreciation Class to their summer cooking class schedule. July 28 & August 25 (Thursday evening), from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., the focus will be on Cheese Fundamentals: Raw milk vs Pasteurized Cheese, Artisanal vs Industrial; - Cheese Categories; Tasting Cheese; Creating a Cheese Plate. Classes take place at: Ars Magirica- The Art of Cooking. 158 Almeria Avenue Coral Gables, Call 305.443.8303 or www.arsmagirica.com

FROM JULY 15 - 29, OLIVE OIL FROM ANDALUSIA’S CHEFS’ FEST AND PRIZES IN SOUTH FLORIDA RESTAURANTS
During the 2005 Chef’s Fest promotion, from July 15th to 29th, fourteen of the most acclaimed restaurants in North Miami, Broward and Palm Beach will prepare an exclusive three-course menu with dishes made with Olive Oil from Andalusia, Spain, such as lemon olive oil marinated tuna, monkfish roasted in garlic olive oil, and a tantalizing olive oil based crème brulee. In addition to sampling Andalusian-inspired cuisine prepared with Carbonell, La Espanola, Goya & Musa brand olive oils, restaurant patrons will be entered to win a nine-day trip to Spain, compliments of Olive Oil from Andalusia, Spain. Participating restaurants, include: Timo, Satine, Johnny V, Grill Room, Mark’s Las Olas, Casa D'Angelo, Eduardo De San Angel, Darrel & Oliver’s Café’ Maxx, Sunfish Grill, Mark’s Mizner Park, Max’s Grille, Mark’s City Place, East City Grill, and Ivy Aventura. The Grand Prize, a nine-day trip for two to Spain, includes visits to Madrid, Cordoba, Seville and Granada, where the lucky winner can experience the land of the olive, sherry, the siesta, flamenco, and tapas. Secondary prizes include gift certificates for dinner at participating restaurants, and gift baskets filled with Andalusian delights.

MIAMI SPICE RESTAURANT MONTHS: AUGUST – SEPTEMBER 200
The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) is bringing back Miami Spice Restaurant Month for its fourth consecutive year for two months – August and September – sponsored by Campo Viejo wines, owned by Allied Domecq Wines USA. During Miami Spice, participating restaurants offer special prix fixe menus encompassing three courses (appetizer, entrée and dessert) for $30.05 (dinner) and $20.05 (lunch), both excluding tax and gratuity.
For each American Express Card purchase at participating restaurants American Express will donate $0.10 to United Way to help fight hunger. Participating restaurants include: 1200 at The Biltmore, 1220 Restaurant, A Fish Called Avalon, Acqua at the Four Seasons, Aigo at the Clinton, Americana at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, Azul at the Mandarin Oriental, Miami, Bal Harbour Bistro, Baleen, Bizcaya at The Ritz-Carlton, Coconut Grove, Blue Door at Delano, Carmen the Restaurant, Chef Allen’s, China Grill, Chispa Restaurant, Christy’s, Doraku, Dragon, Emeril’s Miami Beach, Escopazzo Ristorante Italiano, Grazie Italian Cuisine, Harrison’s, Isabela’s, Mark’s South Beach, Mendoza Miami Restaurant, Metro Kitchen + Bar, Mosaico, Neomi’s Grill, Norman’s, North 110, Novecento, Ortanique on the Mile, Pascal’s on Ponce, Preston’s at the Loews, The Purple Dolphin, Red Fish Grill, Restaurant at the Raleigh, Rex at The Marlin, The River Oyster Bar, Riverwalk Café, Shula’s Steak House “The Original,” Shula’s Steak House at The Alexander, Smith & Wollensky, Sugo, SushiSamba dromo, Talula, Tamara at The National Hotel, Timo, Touch, Tuscan Steak, Vix and Vue, both at the Hotel Victor, and Whitney’s. For an up-to-the-minute list of participating restaurants, menus and details on special Miami Spice Campo Viejo wine tastings in development: www.MiamiRestaurantMonth.com
To submit information and tips for this column, please e-mail to: editor@southfloridagourmet.com
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