Farmers To Families – Food Boxes Creating A Virtuous Circle

The official statement on, USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program: “This is a new, innovative approach to provide critical support to American farmers and families, and USDA moved as expeditiously as federal procurement rules allow to stand up the program … Continue reading

56: Our Shared Astronaut Moment + Demeter & Persephone

LISTEN To Podcast HERE
5′ 45” Start: NASA Scientists Gioia Massa and Matt Romeyn, on VEGGIE Continue reading

Major League Kale – Baseball Stadiums’ Rooftop Gardens

Mashup posted by Paige Donner At the beginning of the 2015 season, Fenway opened a 5,000-square foot rooftop farm along a previously unused stretch of roof behind Gate A, dubbing the area “Fenway Farms.” The impetus for the farm came … Continue reading

Le Harcourt – An Exquisite Dessert by Chef Guy Martin and Baccarat

by Paige Donner Inspired by the 250th anniversary of the house of Baccarat, Chef Guy Martin created Le Harcourt, an equally exquisite dessert to match the heritage of the crystal house and its emblematic crystal glass, Le Harcout. Chef Guy … Continue reading

GMO Labeling Initiative Heading to California Ballot!

Hi LA friends, I wanted to let you know about this event taking place in LA next week to celebrate the good news that Californians will get to decide in November whether we have the right to know if the food we eat is made with genetically engineered ingredients. Continue reading

Monsanto Must Pay Damages To French Farmer for Pesticide Poisoning

Excerpted from From Le Figaro (English)

Monsanto must pay for French farmer’s pesticide injuries

A French tribunal found Monsanto, the leading producer of agro chemicals, responsible for serious neurological effects suffered by a French farmer after his exposure to poisonous pesticides. Monsanto must pay for all damages suffered by the farmer.

This win may set a precedent for other cases. The MSA (mutuelle sociale agricole), the French mutual insurance system for agricultural workers, reported that they receive about 200 files a year from agriculturalists who confirm being poisoned by pesticides.

READ MORE:  » Poisoned French Farmer Wins Against Monsanto

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♥Chérie Du Vin

The Wine Yacht

“We wanted to put our own unique spin on traditional food and wine pairing concepts” says Chef Natasha Harris. “Clients who book the yacht will be able to show their guests Vancouver from a new perspective, while learning about interesting wine and food combinations using local ingredients. It’s a great opportunity to showcase our city and what we are privileged to have here.” 

Created by Sunset Bay’s ISG accredited Executive Chef Natasha Harris, The Wine Yacht’s interactive group tasting sessions are designed to provide clients with an informative and unique custom tasting event while on board the “Sunset Bay II” private yacht. Each tasting station features premium wine varietals from BC and around the world, paired with small plates inspired by the corresponding wine’s region.

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Thousands Demand Sustainable Food

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Thousands of people across America call for healthy, affordable, sustainable food ahead of the first ever National Food Day.

WASHINGTON, DC – Thousands of people are demanding sustainable food in their local communities ahead of the first ever Food Day by starting and joining campaigns on Change.org, the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change.

Tens of thousands of individuals and organizations have already begun supporting sustainable food through campaigns on Change.org. Healthy Child, Healthy World, a food-focused nonprofit, launched an online campaign urging Campbell’s Soup to phase out the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) from its packaging; a Texas animal rescuer created a campaign asking Governor Rick Perry to save struggling ranchers and starving horses by using state resources to bring hay to Texas; and a Maryland farmer started an online campaign to prevent his 31-year-old organic farm from being turned into private soccer fields.

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Clos Lanson Champagne Harvest

by Paige Donner 

After nearly 40 years with the House of Champagne Lanson, Reims, winemaker Jean Paul Gandon is not afraid of innovation. That is, innovation when it stays within the context of tradition. Gandon and Champagne Lanson enjoy a singularly unique relationship in Champagne insofar as next year, when he celebrates his 40th year with the house, it will be the longest standing winemaker-to-winery relationship in this very exclusive region of France.

Jean Paul Gandon, Clos Lanson [Far Left]Jean Paul Gandon, Clos Lanson - Local Food And Wine

Gandon, Far Left

Gandon, Enguerrand Lanson Tasting Room, Reims - Local Food And Wine

Gandon, Enguerrand Baijot - Lanson Tasting Room, Reims - Local Food And Wine

Clos Lanson is one enclosed hectare of Chardonnay vines that grows grapes bursting with fruit and juice, if this past weekend’s harvest in Reims offers any evidence. The Clos is also singularly unique in Reims as it is the only enclosed hectare of vines growing within the city center. Beyond its walls are straight views onto the Reims Cathedral and the Stadium.

Harvest at Clos Lanson, Reims - Local Food And Wine

Harvest at Clos Lanson, Reims - Local Food And Wine

During one day each year family members, employees and friends of Lanson Champagne assemble for a spectacular day of convivial harvesting and celebration of what will be the most exclusive of Lanson Champagne cuvées, the Clos Lanson. This celebratory harvest and Cuvée of no more than 8,500 bottles was  the brain child of Gandon and one of the owners of Lanson International, Philippe Baijot, 6 years ago. This year will mark the first that the champagne will be available to taste and to drink.

Philippe Baijot, Champagne Lanson, - Local Food And Wine

Philippe Baijot, Champagne Lanson, - Local Food And Wine

Lanson Champagne Cave - Local Food And Wine

Lanson Champagne Cave - Local Food And Wine

Champagne Lanson is most well-known for its power of the Pinot Noir grape, its blocking of malolactic fermentation during its vinification and its cellaring of at least 36 months prior to release. (AOC Champagne regulations require 15 mos. minimum). Wine connoisseurs speak of keeping the Black Label Lanson for 10 years. In other words, this is not a “pop and pour” champagne.

Champagne Lanson was founded in 1760 by Francois Delamotte which makes it the fourth oldest house in the world. During its changing of hands in the last several decades, “…vintages of Lanson remained of high quality… Much of this success in the face of adversity must be down to Gandon.”

Launched in 2011 is Lanson’s L’Académie de Lanson  and its Little Black Book of Champagne. The House believes strongly in viewing champagne as a wine and not purely as a label. The Lanson Academy was developed to engage and enlighten all champagne drinkers.  –    ♥Chérie Du Vin

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Today Is Biodynamic Flower Day

Courtesy of Organic Matters, Ireland’s Organic Magazine

Bio-dynamic gardening

Bio-dynamic gardeners, followers of the principles of Rudolf Steiner, believe that the movements of all theheavenly bodies, moon, planets and stars have an influence on the growth and development of all plants. So the time you chose to sow, plant or even weed your plants will affect their progress. The moon, the stars and the planets all affect the development of our plants.

At first glance the idea that the stars affect our garden seems quite crazy. But then we do know that the moon can move millions of gallons of water from one side of the ocean to the other every day. We do know also that all living things, including plants and ourselves contain water. So perhaps the idea is not so far fetched? Anyway judging by the number of horoscopes in newspapers and magazines, it seems that many people accept that the movement of heavenly bodies can affect their lives. So why not on plants?

Flower and fruit

The auspicious time for flowering plants is on ‘flower days’ when the ascending moon is in, Libra, Gemini or Aquarius. And for plants that are grown for their seed or fruit such as beans, tomatoes or courgettes, the best yields will be had by planting on ‘fruit days’ when the ascending moon is in Leo, Sagittarius or Aries.

By now, many readers have probably put these ideas into the ‘interesting, but far too much trouble’ category. And they may be forgiven for wondering if they are being asked to spend all their precious gardening time gazing at the sky before they can venture out to sow their new packet of seeds? But just as you don’t have to be an astronomer to read your stars in the newspaper, neither do you have to be one to plant by them.

Bio-dynamic calendar

Maria Thun publishes a calendar every year for interested gardeners and farmers. In it are marked all the suitable days for planting and sowing for the year. Few bio-dynamic gardeners bother themselves with the complexities of the cosmos, they merely organise their sowing and planting times around the calendar.

Another interesting aspect of bio-dynamic theory is that crops harvested on favourable days will keep better than when picked at other times. Thus, lettuce cut on a leaf day will stay fresher for longer than heads picked at other times. Equally gardeners who store their carrots over the winter are advised to harvest them on root days.

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Obernai, Its Le Parc And Its Vineyards

By Paige Donner

Obernai is the exquisite gem of a village on the famous Alsace Wine Road. If you have two days in which to explore Alsace, I recommend that you hop on the TGV from Paris, do a quick change in Strasbourg and continue onto Obernai on one of the regional trains for another 30 minutes.

Obernai from Above - Local Food And Wine photo by Paige Donner c. 2011

Obernai from Above - Local Food And Wine photo by Paige Donner c. 2011

Obernai and its Vineyards - Local Food And Wine photo by Paige Donner c. 2011

Obernai and its Vineyards - Local Food And Wine photo by Paige Donner c. 2011

Disembark in Obernai and then park yourself at the 4-Star Le Parc Hotel, the haven of VIP service and quiet tranquility that awaits you at the top of the village. If you are so predisposed, you needn’t budge from this spot as the resort has an indoor and an outdoor pool, two restaurants, both gastronomic quality, a cigar and rum lounge, a stylish bar, a bowling alley, a breakfast room and one of the best spas – the Asiane Spa – not just in Alsace but in France. There’s even a winery right next door that sells cold bottles of Gewürztraminer, Cremant d’Alsace and Riesling, as well as regional specialties like Kirschwasser, Salted Caramel Liqueur and fine regional patés.

Le Parc Hotel Obernai, Alsace - Local Food And Wine photo by Paige Donner c. 2011

Le Parc Hotel Obernai, Alsace - Local Food And Wine photo by Paige Donner c. 2011

l'Hotel Le Parc Obernai, Restaurant La Stub - photo courtesy Le Parc Obernai

l'Hotel Le Parc Obernai, Restaurant La Stub - photo courtesy Le Parc Obernai

Hotel Le Parc's Obernai (****) Rum and Cigar Lounge, Alsace - photo by Paige Donner c. 2011

Hotel Le Parc's Obernai (****) Rum and Cigar Lounge, Alsace - photo by Paige Donner c. 2011

Vineyards of Obernai

But if you do feel like venturing farther, an early morning walk, when the air is still fresh and cool, up Mt. St. Odile through the Schenkenberg, will have you walking through vineyards of Pinot Gris and Riesling. You will be rewarded with a magnificent view over Obernai that stretches all the way to several of the neighboring towns on the Wine Route.

Obernai's Oldest Butcher Shop, Alsace - Local Food And Wine photo by Paige Donner c. 2011

Obernai's Oldest Butcher Shop, Alsace - Local Food And Wine photo by Paige Donner c. 2011

Winery and Wine Shop next to Le Parc Hotel, Obernai, Alsace - Local Food And Wine photo by Paige Donner c. 2011

Winery and Wine Shop next to Le Parc Hotel, Obernai, Alsace - Local Food And Wine photo by Paige Donner c. 2011

For Oenotourists, you have several options: Either let the extraordinarily gracious staff at l’Hotel Le Parc (****) make a few phone calls to their winery friends to set up tasting appointments for you – recommended if you have your own car or a rented one. Or you can wander over towards the Tourism Office where you will find a sign that maps the wineries right in Obernai, all within walking distance.  You can stop by for a tasting and pick up some of that Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer before heading back to your hotel for an afternoon lazing by the pool and drinking outstanding Alsacian wine. Top your day off with a gastronomic dinner at Le Parc’s La Table accompanied by haute cuisine service. Paradise found…in Alsace.

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Gerard Bertrand’s Jazz Fest Weekend, Sud de France [Slideshow]

All photos by Paige Donner c. 2011.

The Gérard Bertrand annual Jazz Fest took place August 4th – 8th this summer at Château l’Hospitalet just outside Narbonne.  These photos are taken at Château l’Hospitalet in Languedoc-Roussillon, “Sud de France.”

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To read more about Gérard Bertrand wines, his annual summer Jazz Fest and his L’Art de Vivre Les Vins Du Sud, click on Gerard-Bertrand.com.

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Monaco Royal Wedding Chooses Local Cuisine

2010-11-19-14-19-47-2-prince-albert-ii-of-monaco-and-lady-charlene-witts

It was in the kitchens of the Louis XV in the Hôtel de Paris, along with the executive chef of the kitchens of the hotel, Franck Cerutti, that Alain Ducasse received the confirmation from the Palace.

«H.S.H Prince Albert IIand Miss Wittstock’s decision honours me. It honours also Mediterranean cuisine,a sincere and fair cuisine that pays tribute to a rich and generous land. A cuisine that is respectful of its environment. Prince Albert and his future wife have thus expressed their attachment to nature and to the attentive work of the men and women who wisely nurture it. On this very special day, I cannot help myself remembering with emotion the tasty moments the Prince spent with his family at our table.

Monegasque since 2008, it was in 1987 that Alain Ducasse discovered Monaco,when Prince Rainier III called upon him to take over the direction of the kitchens of the Hôtel de Paris, Monte-Carlo SBM’s prestigious establishment, with the mission to make the Louis XV the first hotel restaurant awarded three Michelin stars, a distinction that was granted in 1990. Located between Nice and Liguria, it is at the Louis XV that Alain Ducasse brings cachet to Mediterranean cuisine. A cuisine of freedom, of emotions and of passion but also of rigor, sobriety and method; it gives the best role to each ingredient -from the modest vegetable garden plant to the most sumptuous crustacean- for the greater pleasure of the senses. At the very heart of this Mediterranean soil that so inspires him, he has found, in twenty-five years of professional partnership and personal implication, a staunch support. Today, Monaco is the essential anchor point in his profession as chef-creator. From the Louis XV, he trains most of his chefs, the very same ones who then carry his work across the globe.

The Princely wedding dinner, held on the terraces of the Salle Garnier, will be executed from the kitchens of the Louis XV at the Hotel de Paris, with the support of a temporary kitchen located on the site. As for the theme of the dinner, Alain Ducasse simply states that he will work along side his team in the highest respect of a nature that today, we realise is weakened. It will combine the essence of taste -with emphasis on local produce- with the sober elegance of the tableware. On this subject, he notes with a smile, that the garden and the cows of Rocagel, Prince Albert’s property, will be involved in the menu. Indeed, the former will supply the vegetables, while the latter will provide milk for the dessert. The dinner prepared by Alain Ducasse with the full commitment of the employees of Monte-Carlo SBM establishments, will contribute in making the event a simple and warm moment for all the guests, as was requested by H.S.H Prince Albert II and Miss Wittstock. [Press Release]

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Château HAUT-BRION Hosts Dinner, Conseil des Grand Crus Classés of 1855

Château Haut-Brion’s Prince Robert of Luxembourg, Alain Juppé, Mayor of Bordeaux and Philippe Castéja, President of the Conseil des Grand Crus Classés of 1855 (Médoc & Sauternes), Alain PASSARD (L’Arpège, Paris), Anne-Sophie PIC (Maison Pic, Valence), and Yannick ALLENO (Le Meurice, Paris) … Continue reading

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Book Of Recipes

Gwyneth Paltrow’s book of recipes for “Family and Friends” was released by Marabout Books in May. It is a delightful book filled with basic dishes, healthy and flavorful, that will gather your friends around you as you putter in the kitchen.

Couv_gwyneth

The dishes are good go-to recipes for “Mothers of The Family,” as well, as there are no refined sugars used. Following the foreward by Mario Batali, Paltrow lists two full pages of essential ingredients to have on hand and stocked in the refrigerator. These include: Dark Agave Syrup, Light Agave Syrup, Brown Rice Syrup, Maple Syrup, Honey…

Illustrations include beautifully photographed prepared dishes alongwith family photos of Gwyneth as a child and a baby, and then as a mother herself with her own children. Wonderful summer dessert recipes await you at the end of the book such as Seasonal Fruit Crumble and Fresh Red Fruits With Caramelised Cream.

Paltrow founded the site Goop.com and also wrote another foodie book, co-authored with Mario Batali, Spain, A Culinary Road Trip. Read More on Local Food And Wine. 

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Bordeaux Nibbles And Fresh Markets

by Paige Donner Bordeaux is the ideal-sized city to just wander around. In this sense, it is a bite-sized city that still offers enough funky and charming little neighborhoods to give you the feeling that you are exploring. Chartrons is the … Continue reading

La Table du Lavoir

by Paige Donner [Read Full Article on Bordeaux Food And Wine] La Table du Lavoir is built on the 19th c. site of an old vineyard wash house the wives of the vineyard workmen would use on laundry days. It has … Continue reading

Vinexpo Bordeaux 2011

BORDEAUX VINEXPO FROM 19 TO 23 JUNE 2011 Champagne Louis Roederer, Concha y Toro and Baron Philippe de Rothschild are among just some of the world-class wines that will be represented at this year’s Vinexpo, Bordeaux. Alongside these major groups, large numbers of vigorous … Continue reading

La Revue du Vin de France Paris Salon 2011

By Paige Donner

La Revue du Vin de France held its wine salon this past weekend in Paris at the “ancien Bourse” which is the old stock exchange of Paris. As you can see here, it’s a beautiful building. It’s spacious and airy and the perfect place for wine tasting on a sunny Spring Sunday afternoon in May.

Le Salon LRVDF May 2011 c. Local Food And Wine

Honestly, if I have one recommendation to make to visitors to France, it’s that you really must coordinate your travels with these wine salons. For a few Euro, you get to not only see the interior of a national monument, you get to drink and taste your way through the wines of France.

Le Salon LRVDF May 2011 c. Local Food And WineI was so pre-occupied with tasting wines from Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Loire and Provence that I had to remind myself to sip a few drops of champagne every so often – just to clean the palate, you know.

So many wonderful wines. It will take the rest of the month to wade through all my tasting notes.

Le Salon LRVDF May 2011 c. Local Food And WineAnd the crowd was super friendly. Maybe it’s the sunny weather in Paris in Spring or perhaps it’s simply that good French wine brings  out that “conviviality” that the French speak so glowingly of when discussing their wines. Whatever it was, the LRVF crowd was super friendly, very forthcoming with anecdotes about the wines they were pouring and the wines they were tasting and just plain, well, welcoming.

Le Salon LRVDF May 2011 c. Local Food And WineIf there is only one little note I might give it’s that the Spanish wines were much too hard to find. Certainly, once I found my way upstairs, I loved the private room where the Spanish winemakers had stashed themselves, with the old stock exchange board that featured handwritten company signage such as Printemps and Paribas on it… But they were much too isolated up there. Since it’s the first time the salon has welcomed foreign wines amongst its midst in its 5 year history, perhaps affording them more accessibility would be a gesture of convivial diplomacy.

By the time I left, it was with a full glass of Spanish red liqueur wine. So sweet and rich and nothing like “ice wine.” I’ll definitely have some words to share about that and about the Priorat wines I discovered at the Paris Stock Exchange.

Le Salon LRVDF May 2011 c. Local Food And Wine

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