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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The 10th Annual Boca Bacchanal Announces Chef and Vintner Lineup!

It is with great pleasure that I present the lineup of fabulous Chefs and Vintners participating in the upcoming 10th Annual Boca Bacchanal. This weekend-long celebration of food and wine benefits the Heritage Education and Historic Preservation Programs of The Boca Raton Historical Society and will take place March 23-25, 2012. Steve and I are honored and very excited to be serving as Chairpersons of this tenth anniversary event!

The weekend will kick off Friday night with Vintner Dinners hosted in beautiful private residences, featuring the talents of our participating Chefs and Vintners. Saturday night, get ready to revel at the Bacchus Bash where you can sip and savor selections from our Chefs and Vintners during a lively and festive reception, then enjoy a multi-course feast prepared by Boca Raton Resort & Club Executive Chef Andrew Roenbeck. The evening's remarkable silent and live auctions will feature amazing wine, travel, dining and lifestyle lots you won't want to miss! Also, be sure to bring your dancing shoes for the posh, postprandial "Rock your Bacchus" after party. Conclude the weekend with Sunday's Grand Tasting at Mizner Park Amphitheatre where you can stroll and sample delicious dishes from thirty local chefs and enjoy wines from top vintners. The Tenth Anniversary Boca Bacchanal promises to be our best event ever!

So, without further ado, here is the list of internationally renowned Chefs and Vintners who will be participating:

Tony Apostolakos of Masi Agricola, Veneto, Italy
 Laurent Drouhin of Maison Joseph Drouhin, Burgundy, France
Dennis Koelewijn of Bodegas Salentin, Mendoza, Argentina
Tom Johnson of Silver Oak Cellars and Twomey Cellars, Napa, California
Clarke Swanson, Swanson Vineyards, Napa, California
Anthony Truchard, Truchard Vineyards, Carneros-Napa, California

Kevin Garcia of Cesca and Accademia di Vino, New York, NY
Pano Karatassos of Buckhead Restaurant Group: Kyma, Atlanta, GA; Chops Lobster Bar and City Fish Market, Boca Raton, FL
Michael Tuohy of Dean & Deluca, St. Helena and Napa, CA
 Ken Frank of La Toque, Napa, California
Ken Vedrinski of Trattoria Lucca, Charleston, SC
Carlos Guia of The Country Club at Wynn Las Vegas Resort, Las Vegas, NV 

For more information on the Tenth Annual Boca Bacchanal, please check out I hope to see you there!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Colin Cowie's Advice for a Stylish Thanksgiving Table!

Some great tips from the expert of elegant entertaining, the fabulous Mr. Colin Cowie, for creating a stylish and glamorous Thanksgiving table!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Wines to Pair with Your Thanksgiving Fare!

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, it's time to select wines to pair with your holiday meal. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, with one zillion flavors to consider, a panoply of palates, and the cost of providing wine for twenty plus thirsty friends and family members, this task is easier said than done. This is the prime time of year for an acute case of Wine Pairing Paralysis!

Never fear, my fellow wine lovers - the Glamorous Gourmet has you covered! In keeping with my previously mentioned "Wine Pairing Principles" and in the spirit of this very American holiday, I've selected six fabulous, American wines that are sure to get you through the day sans panic attack. It's always a good idea to have one white and one red on the table, so whether you are a fan of bubbles, the classics, or are looking for a more alternative approach, I hope one of these pairs fits the bill:

Sparkling Duo: These sparkling wines are bound to be a hit with your bubbly-loving guests! 
J Cuvée 20 Brut NV: Commemorating twenty years of winemaking at J Vineyards, this lovely blend of 49% Chardonnay, 49% Pinot Noir and 2% Pinot Meunier hails from the cool climate of the Russian River Valley. Its delicate notes of citrus, apples and toasted brioche are light and lovely and the perfect kick off and/or accompaniment to your holiday feast.

J Brut Rosé NV: This second offering from J Vineyards is a delightful blend of 64% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay and 2% Pinot Meunier also from the RRV. This sparkler makes a dramatic presentation in a clear bottle that showcases its gorgeous pink, salmon-colored hue. This medium to full-bodied wine has lovely notes of wild strawberry, citrus and spice and its lively acidity will stand up to the delicious flavors of your holiday meal. 

Classic Duo: You can't go wrong with these vinous classics!
2010 Morgan Metallico Un-Oaked Chardonnay: For those of you who are wary of California Chardonnay, think again! This Chard is fermented in 100% stainless steel and exhibits lovely fresh, fruity notes of citrus and green apple with a lively food friendly acidity. Without the heavy "cloak of oak," this Chardonnay is a fabulous pairing with your holiday meal!

2009 Fess Parker Santa Barbara Pinot Noir: Hailing from the vineyards of the legendary actor, Fess Parker in Santa Barbara County, California this approachable offering is rife with juicy flavors of dark cherries, baking spices and sweet toasty oak. It is lush and lovely with ample appeal and will definitely "play nicely" with the diverse flavors of your holiday meal. 

Alternative Duo: Delight your guests with these unconventional offerings!
2010 Darioush Signature Viognier: This elegant white entices with floral and tropical fruit aromas accompanied by starfruit, pear and citrus on the palate. A kiss of French oak imparts a lovely spice to this medium to full-bodied wine that maintains a crisp acidity and a long, lingering finish. This wine is sure to be a standout on your holiday table.

2007 Bonny Doon "Le Cigare Volant": This interesting Rhône-inspired blend of 60% Grenache, 32% Mourvedre, 4% Syrah and 4% Cinsault hailing from California's Central Coast has a distinctive Old World feel. Flavors of dark cherry and plum are accompanied by characteristic notes of earth, game and garrigue. This youthful wine also has firm tannins and a long finish and would definitely benefit from decanting prior to serving.

I hope you enjoy these wines and I'd like to wish you and your families a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Sentimental Favorite: Gram's Split Pea Soup!

This time of year always gets me thinking about family, especially my Grandmother, the delightful Doris Johnson. Gram truly relished her role as matriarch of our family and always took great pride in her cooking, whether it was a Tuesday night dinner for my Grandfather or a holiday meal for the entire family. 

Whenever we arrived at my Grandparents' house, she was always in the kitchen whipping up all sorts of delicious dishes, many of which we came to love growing up. One in particular is her recipe for Split Pea Soup. It is a very simple recipe, but it is so delicious, comforting and, for me, incredibly nostalgic. My Mom used to make it quite a bit too and now, when the temperatures begin to drop, I can't wait to whip up my first pot of the season!

A few notes about making this recipe: please don't substitute fresh herbs for the dried, even though you might really want to. The recipe just isn't the same, trust me! Also, this is definitely not the time to go vegetarian - the ham hock really makes this dish and gives it so much delicious flavor. For me, pea soup without a ham hock is like Thanksgiving without a turkey, I just can't imagine it! 

I know it would make Gram very happy that I'm sharing this recipe with all of you and I wish she was still here so I could tell her. Somehow though, I think she knows. I hope you enjoy Gram's recipe and I wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season!


Gram's Split Pea Soup
16 oz. split green peas
1 large onion, chopped
1 lb. ham hocks
dried thyme (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
dried oregano (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
garlic powder (a dash)
salt & pepper

Directions: Empty peas into pot, add enough water to cover peas plus one inch.
Add remaining ingredients (to taste), cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and simmer for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes - but at least 1 hour. Stir well while simmering. 
Serves 4

Monday, November 14, 2011

Guilty Pleasures: A Decadent Duo of Desserts & Wine Pairings at Café Boulud, Palm Beach!

What's more decadent than dessert after lunch, you ask? Dessert after lunch with wine pairings! I recently had the pleasure of indulging in this delicious duo created by Chef Pâtissier, Arnaud Chavigny at Café Boulud Palm Beach, paired with the perfect wines to match.

The Chocolate Peanut Bar with peanut crémeux, hazelnut  dacquoise and chocolate sorbet had a rich, chocolaty consistency and fabulous texture - definitely a chocolate lover's dream! It paired beautifully with The Rare Wine Company's New York Malmsey Madeira Special Reserve and its luscious, sweet flavors of chocolate, toffee and dates. The second selection was the perfect contrast to the decadent chocolate, the Key Lime Revival with homemade graham crumb, meringue and pink grapefruit sorbet was light, flavorful and divine. It paired very nicely with the 2008 Charles Hours Uroulat Jurançon with its notes of citrus, apples and spice, light sweetness and lovely acidity.

This was definitely a "Guilty Pleasure" I will not soon forget! Next time you're out and decide to indulge in dessert, ask your Sommelier or server for a wine to pair with - your sweet tooth will thank you.



Friday, November 11, 2011

Champagne "Haute Couture" with Krug President & CEO, Maggie Henriquez!

I recently had the distinct pleasure of attending a Champagne tasting with one of the most inspiring women in the wine world, Margareth "Maggie" Henriquez, President and CEO of one of the world's most revered Champagne Houses, Champagne Krug.

In addition to being the first non-French person to ever become President and CEO of a Champagne House, Venezuela-born Henriquez has held an array of influential positions during her 30 year career in wine and spirits. She also earned a Harvard degree in Advanced Management and, did I mention, she is also the epitome of style, incredibly charming and down to earth too? Yes, it's true!

The tasting was held at Cielo at the Boca Raton Resort & Club and the evening showcased three of the Krug cuvées; the Krug Grande Cuvée, Krug Vintage 1998 and the Krug Rosé. While sampling the divine lineup, guests enjoyed the gorgeous view of the sun setting over the Intracoastal Waterway and delicious hors d'oeuvres while the elegant and engaging Henriquez regaled us with stories of the legendary Champagne house's rich history and world renowned cuvées.

Delicious Hors d'Oeuvres
Krug is known for its unrelenting attention to detail in producing one of the finest Champagnes in the world. Henriquez likened the portfolio of cuvées to haute couture due to the meticulous attention to detail involved in their production, and rightly so: the Krug Grande Cuvée, the house's flagship multi-vintage bottling, is a blend of 120 hand-crafted reserve wines from over ten different vintages. The full-bodied Grande Cuvée delighted with enticing aromas of toasted brioche and marzipan, and complex flavors of citrus peel, hazelnuts and spice. Henriquez informed us the oldest vintage in the blend was 1988, meaning what was in our glass was over 20 years in the making. Take that, Karl Lagerfeld!

The View from Cielo!
Second was the Krug Vintage 1998, appointed by the house as an Hommage au Chardonnay due to the grape's predominance in the blend although all three Champagne varietals, including Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, are represented. As a vintage Champagne, all the grapes were harvested in the year marked on the bottle, 1998, a year characterized by the hottest August since 1962, followed by heavy rain in early September and dry, mild weather during the harvest. "Krug Vintage is not simply the selection of the best wines of a particular year, Krug 1998 is the way the House of Krug relates the story of that year." And what a story it was! This offering had divine notes of citrus, brioche, almond and a hint of gingerbread with a lovely precision and structure. It was incredibly elegant and refined.

Me & Maggie Henriquez
Our final Champagne of the evening was the Krug Rosé, a decadent expression of the three Champagne grape varieties crafted from a selection of several different vintages. Skin-fermented Pinot Noir is responsible for the enticing light salmon color and alluring spiciness of this sparkler. Heady aromatics and notes of wild strawberry, brioche and spice beckoned from the glass and this full-bodied brut rosé was delightfully rich and elegant. While sipping this sparkler, I couldn't help but wonder what delicious dish to pair it with - it was just begging for a roasted pork tenderloin or rack of lamb. I savored every drop while listening to Henriquez describe the fascinating details of Joseph Krug's journal written in 1848  that reveals his ultimate vision for the Champagne house. It was a great moment!

In addition to being one of the best Champagnes in the world, Krug is also one of the most expensive - the bottles sampled this evening ranged in price from $180-$320.
If you feel like celebrating the holidays in style this year - I highly recommend it! A big thank you to Cary Roman of for the invitation to this fabulous evening - be sure to check out his website for even more delightful local events.


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