The Best of the Boutiques

Written by Marcy Roth

Here atrepparttar gateway torepparttar 148903 California wine country, choices abound in wine. Many ofrepparttar 148904 best never make it out ofrepparttar 148905 Golden state (unless we ship them there.) And, many ofrepparttar 148906 finest are small-scale, low-production wineries – often called boutique or “garagistes”, referring to vintners who make their wines in small quarters such as garages, rather than lavish châteaus.

Norman Kiken, winemaker at Reverie, high atop Napa’s Diamond Mountain, puts it this way, “It’s about controlling your own destiny – good, permanent people who know every vine in our vineyard – they almost treat each one as an individual. I think that leads to higher quality fruit, which of course, leads to higher quality wine.”

“The downside is an incredible inefficiency inrepparttar 148907 use of equipment. For example, we userepparttar 148908 same expensive equipment as Mondavi, but we’re only using them 100 hours per year, whereas they are using them 7 hours per day.”

A tiny new label may have major start-up costs, while a big player seesrepparttar 148909 cost-per-bottle go down as production goes up. There are tremendous economies of scale for a brand that sells millions of cases of wine versus brand ofrepparttar 148910 same quality fromrepparttar 148911 same region.

Grapes, includingrepparttar 148912 labor involved in growing and harvesting them, are usually a winery's biggest single cost—up to 60 percent ofrepparttar 148913 production expenses. Winemaker David Ramey adds, "With our Chardonnay, we do all whole-cluster pressing, as opposed to using a destemmer-crusher. You get half as much material inrepparttar 148914 press, and it takes twice as long, sorepparttar 148915 labor is twice as high. But we think it adds torepparttar 148916 quality." Ramey and his wife Carla founded Ramey Wine Cellars in 1996 after nearly two decades of creating benchmark wines for such California wineries as Matanzas Creek, Chalk Hill, Dominus and Rudd. “Owning one’s own winery isrepparttar 148917 dream of every winemaker.”

Edith's Cake That Thrilled the French

Written by Janette Blackwell

Twenty-three chefs who cooked for world royalty and heads of state (The Club des Chefs des Chefs) were, during their 1987 visit torepparttar U.S., wined and dined withrepparttar 148902 best our finest chefs had to offer. What impressed them most? Lunch at an Amish farm in Pennsylvania, where they ate homegrown new potatoes, string beans with cream sauce and corn, charcoal-grilled chicken, and baked ham, washed down with homemade root beer and peppermint tea, served byrepparttar 148903 family in a barn lined with handmade quilts.

They were stunned. Happily so, it seems. The chef forrepparttar 148904 president of France said, “Cooking has evolved so much. Nobody presentsrepparttar 148905 true product as it is, and all of a sudden we were presented that.”

Butrepparttar 148906 desserts impressed them most. Especially one they couldn’t name. One they described as a light “pain d’epices” (spice cake) with a layer of chocolate filling. Gilles Brunner, chef to Prince Rainier of Monaco, was so taken withrepparttar 148907 cake, which he described as a chocolate gingerbread, that he tried to getrepparttar 148908 recipe. His request was refused.

The Amish family did not want their identity revealed, which refusal greatly hampered efforts to identifyrepparttar 148909 cake as well. Research by Phyllis Richman, then food editor ofrepparttar 148910 Washington Post, seemed to show thatrepparttar 148911 mystery dessert was Amish applesauce cake with chocolate frosting, andrepparttar 148912 Post printed a version of it contributed by Betty Groff, a cookbook author fromrepparttar 148913 Pennsylvania Dutch country.

Which applesauce cake turned out to be pretty much what our family had been enjoying since my father married Edith Kennedy in 1977, and which Edith’s family had been enjoying long before that. Her daughter, Lorenelle Doll, who gave merepparttar 148914 recipe, says that it was a favorite of my father and Lorenelle’s husband Arnie. (So far as I know, Edith didn’t actually feed any to a French chef.)

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