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Glamorous Getaways: Eau Palm Beach Resort + Spa

People say we don’t have seasons here in Florida, but as a native Floridian I must disagree. In fact, we have two: “season” and “off-season.” And there’s only one word that adequately describes South Florida during season…PARADISE! These precious months spoil us with gloriously sun-kissed days, balmy nights and just enough chilly weather to break out our boots and sweaters a few times.

One of my favorite places to experience our season that really captures the natural beauty and relaxed glamour of South Florida is the Eau Palm Beach Resort + Spa. Located in tony Manalapan, just a skosh south of Palm Beach proper, this former Ritz-Carlton is known for its unwavering attention to luxury and rigorous service standards. The property’s enduring Forbes Five-Star status serves as reliable testament to this.




While I’ve raved about the hotel’s truly amazing Spa before (a MUST for you spa-lovers!), I recently had the opportunity to experience one of the resort’s newly renovated Jonathan Adler suites. This special property provides the perfect canvas for the part-time Palm Beach resident’s signature style which incorporates vibrant, sun-drenched colors, bold, patterns and whimsical details in a chic, yet playful way.

Set against the vibrant azure of the stunning ocean view visible from each room, Adler’s concept truly pops. The ambiance transforms the luxe design elements into an approachable, comfortable seaside refuge. I was equally comfortable whether I was ensconced in one of the cozy, royal blue sofas, relaxing out on the balcony or soaking in the generously sized, free standing bath tub. Hey, I take my research VERY seriously!




Personally, I also appreciate Adler’s nod to South Florida’s enduring history and local character. Thoughtful decor details include a vintage Slim Aaron’s photo of socialite Lady Daphne Cameron astride a tiger skin rug taken in a historic Palm Beach home; beachy, cabana-inspired canopies and window-treatments; as well as a radiant, sunburst chandelier. A sassy, colorful, crewel-work pillow emblazoned with “Palm Beach” provided the cherry on top of the design experience.

And after a delicious al fresco dinner at the hotel’s casually chic, Mediterranean-inspired restaurant Temple Orange, I couldn’t think of a better place to retire to than our luxurious, yet cozy room.  The sumptuous beds lulled us into a sound sleep only to be awoken by the rising sun and the sound of the waves softly lapping at the shore.

Bravo to designer Jonathan Adler for imbuing the Eau Palm Beach Resort + Spa with a true “sense of place” and capturing Florida’s unique “merroir” in his brilliant design. For more information on the resort, please see below and to check out even more Glamorous Getaways, please click here.

Eau Palm Beach Resort + Spa
100 South Ocean Boulevard
Manalapan, Florida 33462
561.533.6000
www.eaupalmbeach.com

Safe travels,

The post Glamorous Getaways: Eau Palm Beach Resort + Spa appeared first on The Glamorous Gourmet.

5 Fabulous New Year’s Wine Resolutions!

With your New Year’s Eve hangover in the rear view mirror, here are 5 Fabulous Wine Resolutions to guide your vinous exploration in the New Year. From becoming a better taster to planning a trip to your favorite wine region, I’ve got ya covered:

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1.) Mix It Up: Because the world of wine can be confusing it’s often easier to just stick with the same wine day in and day out – but how boring is that?!? To break out of your vinous rut, why not vow here and now to sample a different wine every week or at least every month. I’ll have plenty of great recommendations here on The Glamorous Gourmet as well as my weekly Facebook LIVE Show “Wines of the Week.” I also recommend finding a local retailer who can guide you towards selections based on your preferences. To sign up for my weekly newsletter with ALL the latest wine dish, please click here.

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2.) Start a Wine Collection: If you’ve been drinking wine long enough to have a favorite wine region and/or producer why not sock a few bottles away for a later date? Aged wine can be a truly enjoyable revelation but collecting wine does NOT mean you have to commission a custom built, 15,000 bottle capacity cellar, in fact, far from it! All you’ll need is a small wine fridge and a few age-worthy bottles to put in it. This piece of equipment is VERY important since varying temperatures and humidity levels as well as any mechanical vibration (i.e. refrigerator, A/C unit) are the arch-enemies of wine. Also, if your budget allows, purchase a fridge with a little room to grow, wine lovers have a habit of outgrowing them faster then they think.

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3.) Learn to Taste Wine: I know we all know how to physically “taste” wines,  just take a sip, right? But to really learn about wine you need to taste it in a particular way, utilizing ALL of your senses including sight, smell AND taste. This sensory information provides valuable insight into a wine’s place of origin, grape variety and “terroir” which are all critical factors to learning about and understanding wine. So if becoming a better wine taster is on your list of New Year’s Resolutions, please join me every Friday at 5pm EST for my brand new Facebook LIVE show “Wines of the Week” where you can taste four wines along with me EVERY week (click here to be taken there).

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4.) Drink more sparkling wines: The focus on sparkling wine/Champagne consumption around special occasions like New Year’s Eve leaves the majority of the year unbearably bubbly-free. While Champagne’s price tag may limit it to more of a special occasion wine, there are many sparklers from around the globe that are priced for everyday consumption. Wines like Prosecco, Cava and Crémant (for some examples, please and here) are perfect for enjoying on a Tuesday night after work or when a friend stops by to visit. As an added bonus, sparkling wines also have less calories and alcohol than a glass of Chardonnay or Pinot Noir – affordable, delicious AND figure-friendly – what’s not to love about that?

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5.) Wine-related Travel: Next time you’re booking a getaway why not head to your favorite wine region? Whether you’ve collected wine for years or are new to it, nothing will give you a greater appreciation for what’s in your glass than standing in the vineyard where the grapes are grown and talking to the people who make the wine. Most wineries offer tours and tastings which you can sign up for via their website and they’re usually very happy to hear from you! Here’s a link to some of my travel-related articles.

I hope these suggestions inspire you to further embrace the world of wine in the New Year! If you have any other wine-related resolutions I’d love to hear about them, please let me know in the Comment section below.

Cheers,

The post 5 Fabulous New Year’s Wine Resolutions! appeared first on The Glamorous Gourmet.

A #ThrowbackThursday Lunch at Le Jules Verne – Paris

Today’s #ThrowbackThursday post is one of my FAVORITES! Not only because of the delicious and beautfuly presented food but also because of the unique circumstances.

You see, this photo was taken during the first trip Steve and I took to Paris. We were so looking forward to it but, unfortunately, I had developed a stress fracture in my femur ten days before our trip (I’ve got LOTS of orthopedic issues). The day this photo was taken, I’d been walking the streets of Paris all morning on crutches and needless to say, I was exhausted! So when we sat down for lunch at the luxurious Le Jules Verne Restaurant in the Eiffel Tower and this gorgeous dish was placed in front of me, I seriously felt like I had died and gone to heaven!

The lobster dish was so breathtakingly beautiful – I almost couldn’t bring myself to eat it. Then, I remembered how much it cost – the restaurant is helmed by legendary French Chef Alain Ducasse after all – and I quickly devoured it. And while the meal was a definite SPLURGE, it was worth every penny that day!

The dish also paired beautifully with a lovely Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, a medium-bodied white blend of Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier from France’s Rhone Valley. While we normally think of Châteauneuf-du-Pape as a red wine, there are also delightful white versions which make a dreamy pairing with richer seafood such as scallops, shrimp and lobster.

Please check back next week for even more nostalgic #ThrowbackThursday deliciousness. Also, if you happen to be traveling to Paris anytime soon and are looking for a glamorous foodie experience, I highly recommend Le Jules Verne which is located on the second tier of the Eiffel Tower. It’s the perfect showcase for Chef Alain Ducasse’s cuisine and the view of Paris is truly spectacular – just be sure to hold on tight during the precarious elevator ride!

Bon Appétit,

The post A #ThrowbackThursday Lunch at Le Jules Verne – Paris appeared first on The Glamorous Gourmet.

A Delicious Day in the Hamptons: Topping Rose House & Eleven Madison Park’s Summer House Pop-Up

After a late night at the James Beard Foundation’s dreamy “Chefs & Champagne” event (I just can’t resist a dance floor and 80’s music!) we slept pretty late the next morning. As the Champagne-induced haze lifted, we decided on a deliciously relaxing day wandering the Hamptons. There are definitely worse places to wander, that’s for sure!

We set out into the blissfully sunny Summer day (with zero humidity, Z E R O) and, after a pit stop at the Southampton Starbucks, we made our way to Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton for an afternoon cocktail (nothing like a little hair of the dog, my friends!).

Built in the 1840s, the Topping Rose House was extensively renovated in 2011 and is one of the Hampton’s most beautiful and luxurious hotels. We sipped delicious Ginger Margaritas as we relaxed into cozy chairs on the beautiful green lawn. As we kicked off our shoes, the feel of the cool, damp grass on our feet was sheer heaven.

In 2016 world renowned Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten took over the Topping Rose restaurant. After dining there last year, I thought the food was truly fabulous but we had another place in mind for that evening. It was a long shot, but hey, after a Ginger Margarita anything seemed possible.

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Earlier this year, New York’s famed Eleven Madison Park was named The World’s Best Restaurant. Needless to say when you’re named the number one restaurant on the planet, your already sterling reputation becomes, well, legendary.

So when we discovered owner/partners Chef Daniel Humm and Will Guidara were closing Eleven Madison Park in Manhattan for the Summer and heading to East Hampton to open a Summer pop-up restaurant…well, we were ALL in!

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However, EMP Summer House, a partnership between Eleven Madison Park (aka EMP) and American Express, was not intended to be a mini-version of the famed, sophisticated NYC eatery. In fact, quite the opposite. This playful, Summer-inspired riff was to feature classic Summer cuisine in a casual atmosphere.

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The new concept truly embodies Summer featuring an a la carte menu, whimsical decor and indoor and outdoor seating. But the pièce de résistance of EMP Summer House is its expansive back yard replete with ping pong tables, corn hole boards, and oodles of other fun activities for children and adults alike. The fun, festive ambiance exudes Summer…chic, Hamptons Summer but definitely Summer nonetheless.

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The Summer House’s pièce de résistance is it’s Beautiful Lawn

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While reservations are required for the indoor dining room, the patio and backyard are for walk-ins and thankfully, the Hubs and I slid right in for the first dinner seating. But while the atmosphere was relaxed Summer chic, the Summer House seriously ‘brought it’ with the food. This casual, Summer-inspired meal was definitely my most memorable of the year!

To take full advantage of the impending sunset and heavenly weather, we dined al fresco adjacent to the beautiful lawn which was buzzing with activity. We decided to indulge in some bubbles and the super approachable and knowledgeable Somm guided us toward an excellent choice, the Bérêche et Fils Brut Réserve Champagne NV. This delightful grower Champagne, made of equal parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, is a blend of 70% base year wine with the balance reserve wines.

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A Wonderful Recommendation from our Somm!

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As promised, the sparkler did embody the richness of Krug Grande Cuvée balanced by a splendid, food friendly acidity. While truly delicious on its own, the Champagne’s layers also paired brilliantly with the deliciousness to come.

At the recommendation of our server (everything looked incredible it was SO hard to pick!), we ordered the Lobster Tempura with Bibb Lettuce and Chile Lime Aioli; Corn, Black Truffle and Parmesan Flatbread and the Bouillabaisse for Two.

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The Lobster Tempura with Bibb Lettuce & Chile Lime Aioli was a Favorite

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The Corn, Black Truffle & Parmesan Flatbread Delighted our Palates

The Lobster Tempura and Corn and Black Truffle Flatbread arrived together and were as much a feast for the eyes as our palates. The contrast of the warm, tender lobster coated in a heavenly, golden tempura with the crisp, cool lettuce leaves was superb and only made more so by the spicy aioli.

The heavenly flatbread was a delightful combination of flavors and textures. The crispy grilled bread was the perfect delivery system for the deliciously al dente corn kernels and earthy truffle shavings. Each bite was perfectly accented by flavorful snipped chives and a generous dusting of snowy, shaved Parmesan that just melted in our mouths.

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As if our first course wasn’t amazing enough, the bouillabaisse took things to another level. A dish intended for two, Steve and I each received our own plate featuring a golden crusted black bass fillet and a dollop of delicious rouille, a classic bouillabaisse accompaniment.

In the center of the table was the bouillabaisse proper, a generous white bowl filled with heavenly braised fennel, shellfish and potatoes in a delightful, saffron-imbued, tomato-based broth. The dish was garnished with additional saffron and fennel fronds making it even MORE Instagram-worthy!

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The care that went into the preparation of each individual ingredient was astounding. From the creamy, perfectly sliced potatoes to the tender, plump shrimp to the savory, tender fennel – each component was sheer perfection. Steve and I savored each and every bite washing it down with our delicious Champagne. We seriously didn’t think the meal could really get any better at that point…boy were we wrong!

You see, a few months ago while in NYC for business I had the pleasure of staying at the NoMad Hotel and dining at the Elephant Bar. While the food was indeed amazing, my favorite thing about the meal was the delicious Milk and Honey dessert which I dispatched single-handedly. So when I saw it there on the Summer House menu, I knew we were ALL in!

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So while we were sure of our dessert choice…what about a wine pairing? Well, once we spotted the ’96 Château d’Yquem Sauternes, the perfect pairing for this honeyed, divine concoction, we decided to go for it…as in we split a glass between the two of us And if you’ve seen any of my social media posts, you’ve probably seen the slow motion pour of this nectar from the gods, but just in case you missed it, you can watch it right here.

As we sipped and savored (and battled for) the remaining bites of dessert and sips of wine, we couldn’t have been more content. We were so glad we made the effort to drive out to East Hampton which rewarded us tenfold. It made me even MORE determined to experience Eleven Madison Park in the future…probably 10 years from now when we can finally get a reservation.

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If you plan on visiting the Hamptons and would like to dine at EMP Summer House, there’s still time! They’re accepting reservations until September 4th but, if you happen to be in the neighborhood, why not drop by unexpectedly.

EMP Summer House
341 Pantigo Road
East Hampton, NY 11937
www.empsummerhouse.com

Bon appétit,

The post A Delicious Day in the Hamptons: Topping Rose House & Eleven Madison Park’s Summer House Pop-Up appeared first on The Glamorous Gourmet.

Postcards from La Pitchoune: Day 4 & THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

Well, it’s official! The dates are set, the details are finalized and I couldn’t be more excited because today I get to share my big announcement with you! You know, the one I’ve been hinting at for the past month or so since we returned from our cooking class at La Pitchoune, Julia Child’s former Summer home in Provence?

So while I apologize for the delay, I promise it will be worth the wait.

First, in keeping with my previous La Peetch posts, I’d like to share the details of our magical last day with you. Days one, two and three of The Courageous Cooking School were so heavenly, a teeny gray cloud descended on my heart knowing we would be leaving this special place in the morning. However, this was also the day I knew I wanted to return and share this experience with you or others?.

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The charming Kitchen at La Pitchoune, Julia Child’s former Summer home in Provence

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Chef Dominie demonstrates how to Supreme Citrus

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The day began with a lesson on creating beautiful fruit and charcuterie platters. Chefs Sandrine and Dominie demonstrated tips for making them especially gorgeous including grouping similar colors together while also combining different heights and textures.

We also learned to supreme citrus, a technique I adore, which separates the juicy, citrus segments from the bitter, white pith. Sandrine also showed us how to make delicate strawberry roses out of gorgeous ripe, red French strawberries. To view her technique, check out the video below.

To pair with our bounty of fresh fruit, Dominie also showed us how to make a sabayon. Known as zabaglione in Italy, this heavenly mixture of egg yolks, sugar and sweet wine (traditionally Madeira) is served slightly warm to make the contrast between the warm sauce and chilled fruit truly delightful.

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After our morning lesson we quickly changed and we were off to our celebratory last day lunch at Paloma, a Michelin two-star restaurant in the neighboring town of Mougins. The nattily dressed staff greeting us warmly and whisked us through the gorgeous Baroque-style dining room to our secluded table tucked in a lovely niche of the restaurant.

The beautiful dining room featured sumptuous decor in muted tones of black, grey and lavender accented by gorgeous, sparkling crystal chandeliers. Ensconced in our banquette replete with chic Mongolian sheep fur pillows, the charming Chef de Cuisine Nicolas Decherchi greeted us personally. Needless to say, an onslaught of culinary delights ensued!

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Chef de Cuisine at Paloma, Nicolas Decherchi

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Shortly after ordering, an amuse bouche of Savory Candy Floss with Foie Gras arrived served like miniature cotton candy on whimsical wooden sticks. It was served with a Food Lover’s Trio featuring a delightful demitasse of pea soup with duck leg confit, a miniature sandwich of olives, anchovies and tuna and a bright yellow pepper capsule served atop savory bread. We were encouraged to begin with the trio and finish with the savory floss since they would bring us wet napkins for our hands.

The soup and sandwich were a divine combination of flavors and textures, the velvety soup with silky duck confit paired nicely with the flavorful sandwich. The delightful savory floss deliciously dissolved on the tongue and rewarded with a creamy foie center – tres magnifique!

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Paloma’s delightful Food Lover’s Trio

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A happy bunch with our Savory Candy Floss with Foie Gras!

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Gelée of Fresh Mint with a Creamy Espuma, Bacon & Black Salt

Next, was a Seasonal Amuse, a gelée of fresh mint topped with a creamy espuma of smoked bacon studded with bits of bacon and black salt. The creativity of the dishes thus far was truly stunning. Even the fresh bread was served with a trio of beautifully sculpted, incredibly flavored pyramids of butter leaving us all in suspense over the main courses.

Finally, a throng of waiters descended with our main courses. Our respective dishes were placed perfectly in front of us, each covered with a lovely silver cloche. Then, in perfect synchronicity, the servers removed the cloches in one dramatic grand gesture to reveal the deliciousness underneath (to watch, please click here).

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Even the Trio of Butters was Beautiful!

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Lobster with Linguine in Lobster, Orange & Basil Sauce Topped with Foam

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Yellow & Brown Morille Mushrooms with Roasted Gnocchi & Licorice Zabaglione

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My mouthwatering Lobster with Housemade Linguine was blanketed in a blissfully creamy sauce of lobster, orange and basil and topped with a heavenly foam. Steve opted for a Paloma classic, Yellow and Brown Morille Mushrooms with a delicate mushroom mousseline with roasted gnocchi, poultry broth and a licorice zabaglione. Since I had been on a morel mushroom bender since we arrived, I’m thankful he shared a few bites with me. Needless to say, oodles of delightful rosé washed down all the deliciousness!

As you might expect, dessert was equally astounding. I chose the Piña Colada Soufflé featuring a warm coconut soufflé with a creamy pineapple center accompanied by a refreshing coconut sorbet topped with rum foam (to watch the special prep, please click here). Steve opted for the divine Sainte Honoré with Praline which featured classic Sainte Honoré cake with delicious almond flavors topped with lemon foam served with praline ice cream.

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Piña Colada Soufflé with Coconut Sorbet & Rum Foam

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Steve’s Sainte Honoré with Praline

In addition to the desserts we ordered, we were also able to indulge in perhaps my favorite part of the French fine dining experience: the cheese and dessert carts. In the event you are still hungry after your multi-course meal, you can select from a plethora of delectable cheeses and heavenly pastries.

While Steve indulged in some cheeses, I was thrilled to spot one of my absolute favorite Provencal desserts on the cart: a miniature Tarte Tropézienne. Made of decadent, vanilla custard-filled brioche cake and finished off with delicious nibs of pearl sugar, this dessert has quite a glamorous pedigree: it originated in Saint-Tropez in the 1950’s and was named by actress Brigitte Bardot!

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Paloma’s Delightful Cheese Cart!

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My Personal Favorite, the Dessert Cart!

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Delicious Strawberry Tarte Tropézienne

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Steve & I with Paloma’s Chef Nicolas Decherchi

A tour of the kitchen following our meal rounded out the exceptional dining experience. And that’s exactly what is was, truly exceptional. From the haute cuisine, to the gorgeous decor, to the impeccable service right down to the intricately adorned silverware, the unwavering attention to detail made it quite easy to see how Paloma earned it’s Michelin two star-rating.

That evening back at La Peetch, we enjoyed a delightfully relaxed dinner comprised of the last of the ingredients we had purchased at the Market in Antibes as well as the morning’s projects, our cheese and charcuterie boards.

Steve and I made a Frisée aux Lardons Salad complete with perfectly poached eggs (one of my favorite takeaway skills of the week) which was served alongside a gorgeous Salade Niçoise with fresh seared tuna, a colorful and crisp Fennel and Grapefruit Salad and delicious Tomato Balsamic Bruschetta. Fresh country bread and copious amounts of salted butter from the boulangerie rounded out our final meal.

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Frisée aux Lardons Salad with Poached Eggs

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Delicious Tomato Balsamic Bruschetta

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Fennel & Grapefruit Salad

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Salade Niçoise with Freshly Seared Tuna

We dined and drank wine into the wee hours of the morning with our new friends, reveling in our experiences over the week and all we had learned. We laughed until our cheeks hurt and it was truly the perfect end to a truly magical week and an experience we will cherish for years to come.

And it is for that reason and being so inspired by this special place…

I’m excited to FINALLY announce my first EVER Food and Wine Trip to La Pitchoune in Provence!

The 2018 La Pitchoune Food & Wine Experience will take place Sunday, October 14 – Friday, 19th, 2018. I’ll be partnering with current owner and consummate hostess of La Pitchoune, Makenna Held, and we are looking forward to creating an incredibly special experience for you.

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Makenna Held, Owner of La Pitchoune

Attendees will stay on property at La Pitchoune, Julia and Paul Child’s former Summer home, and Bramafam, the home of Simone Beck (Julia’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking co-author) which is located mere steps from La Peetch. Beck and her husband were actually the owners of the property who allowed their dear friends, Julia and Paul, to build their Summer home there.

During the experience, we’ll divide our time between learning French-inspired cooking techniques and developing wine tasting and pairing skills. In addition to the food and wine classes, we’ll also enjoy field trips to local purveyors, markets, restaurants and wineries who highlight the bounty of Provence and make this magical region so incredibly special.

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The Kitchen at “La Peetch” retains much of it’s original charm!

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Steve relaxing on the patio of La Peetch with a glass of rosé – our afternoon ritual!

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Another breathtaking sunset at Bramafam’s infinity pool!

The 2018 La Pitchoune Food & Wine Experience will be limited to 16 guests and the Sunday to Friday experience is $3,750 per person. In addition to lodging and daily classes, continental breakfasts, lunches and dinners are also included as well as excursions throughout the local area to food hot spots, (optional) daily yoga, beaucoup wine from the region and unlimited dips in the pristine, mosaic pool of La Peetch or the picturesque infinity pool of Bramafam. From the moment you arrive, you’ll have a glass of wine in hand and plenty of food in your belly.

If you are interested in signing up for our 2018 La Pitchoune Food & Wine Experience (Sunday, October 14 – Friday, 19th, 2018) or if you’d like to learn more about it, please e-mail me at stephanie@theglamorousgourmet.com. I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you can join us in Provence!

Bon appétit,

The post Postcards from La Pitchoune: Day 4 & THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT! appeared first on The Glamorous Gourmet.

“Weekly Wine Picks” Episode #5: California Gems!

On this week’s episode of “Weekly Wine Picks” (my new Facebook LIVE show) I featured some very special wines I discovered on a recent trip to California, aka “California Gems.” 

While a little off the beaten path (ok, and a tad pricey), these are special wines from some very well-known and respected winemakers who take a “hands-off” approach to winemaking while placing immeasurable value on “terroir.” The four wines featured include:

To view the “California Gems” episode and join in the ongoing conversation where we discuss everything from our favorite wine regions to the need for a white wine emoji on the iPhone, please click the video below.

Many thanks to all who attended and be sure to join me next Friday, August 11th at 3pm EST on my Facebook Business page where I’ll be featuring Pinot Noirs from around the world in, “Pick a Peck of Pinots.” I hope you can join me as I sample some delicious wines!

P.S. To be notified when I go LIVE in the future, click FOLLOW and LIKE on my Facebook Business page OR to view previous episodes of “Weekly Wine Picks,” please click here.

The post “Weekly Wine Picks” Episode #5: California Gems! appeared first on The Glamorous Gourmet.

Chef Marcus Samuelsson Honored at James Beard Foundation’s “Chefs & Champagne” Event

Last Saturday marked the James Beard Foundation’s 27th annual “Chefs & Champagne,” the Hamptons most glamorous Summer food and wine event, not to mention one of my favorites!

The bucolic bliss of Wölffer Estate Vineyards located in picturesque Sagaponack once again provided the perfect backdrop for this uber-chic culinary fête which featured the cuisine of some of the country’s best Chefs paired with delightful bubbly from Champagne Barons de Rothschild and a selection of Wölffer Estate’s eponymous wines.

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Past honorees of this prestigious event have included culinary icons such as Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay and John Besh, and this year’s honoree was no exception. Chef Marcus Samuelsson is a multiple James Beard Award-winning Chef, author, philanthropist and restauranteur who’s been dazzling diners and critics alike with his multicultural cuisine since his arrival in New York City in the early ’90’s.

Born in Ethiopia, Samuelsson and his sister survived a harrowing early childhood and were ultimately adopted into a nurturing Swedish family. His maternal grandmother Helga was the inspiration for his love of cooking, introducing him to ingredients such as lingonberries and blueberries for the first time as a young child.

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After studying at the Culinary Institute in Sweden, Samuelsson ultimately landed an apprenticeship at Manhattan’s Aquavit in the early ’90’s. It was here, in 1995 that he became the youngest Chef to ever receive a 3-star restaurant review from the New York Times. Following this distinction, Samuelsson’s career blossomed and, to date, his impressive accomplishments include five James Beard Awards, numerous cookbooks and an array of restaurants which began with Red Rooster in 2010 established in his adopted hometown of Harlem where he currently lives with his wife, model Maya Haile, and young son, Zion.

In addition to opening two more restaurants in Harlem (Ginny’s Supper Club and Streetbird Rotisserie), Samuelsson also currently has restaurant projects in Bermuda, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Chicago and, most recently, London. Samuelsson also devotes a significant amount of time to philanthropic work benefiting charities such as the Three Goats Organization, C-CAP and UNICEF.
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I was fortunate to have the chance to speak with the nattily dressed Chef before the big event and get his take on everything from his favorite Summer flavors to figure skating:

Q: Have you been enjoying your time in the Hamptons?
A: “I got here just a couple of days ago. I always love to come out but it’s been such a busy year I haven’t been able to come out that much. Chefs and Champagne is such a great anchor event to link the city Chefs with what’s going on out here so I’m excited to be here.”

Q: What are your favorite Summer flavors?
A: “I was actually cooking with my friend [Chef] Marc Murphy last night and all day we were putting beautiful wild salmon on the grill, lamb chops, eggplant, tomato, corn and zucchini. In the Summer, especially out here, you just want to eat really light and delicious.”

Q: How about a wine or cocktail that feels like ‘Summer’ to you?
A: “Well we’re at Wölffer Estate and they have one of the best rosés you can have so why not that? It’s light, it’s bright and I drink rosé basically from March to October but in Summertime it’s even better.”

Q: What does it mean to be honored at Chefs & Champagne this year?
A: “It’s such a huge honor for me and my team. I look at the success of the foundation and all the young, ambitious Chefs that have aspired to be here and that’s something I hold on to and then pass on to someone else. This idea between mentor & mentee is something the foundation really aspires to and I think successfully achieves.”

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Q: Of your many accomplishments, is there one that stands out above them all?
A: “My wife and I were blessed with our son Zion last year and he’s with us here today. So for him to slowly start seeing my world in terms of cooking and I cook with him so he would definitely be number one.”

Q: Your cooking has such a multicultural influence, is there anywhere you’ve traveled recently that’s really inspired you?
A: “We just opened Red Rooster, London and London’s food scene is similar to New York in terms of diversity but just tastes and eats very differently. I think it’s a great food scene, especially Middle Eastern food in London is really delicious, Persian food is fantastic and a couple of the dishes we might not have in New York so much – there’s so much you can see in London and I love that.”

Q: Do you have a favorite culinary quote or words to live by?
A: “My favorite Chef Leah Chase always says, ‘And still I cook.’ No matter what happens around her, ‘And still I cook.’ And I feel that, as a Chef, no matter what crazy turbulence goes on in the world, we can disagree or agree with certain things but when I go back to the kitchen and I’m gonna make you happy, I feel centered, I feel I can do this. We all need that gravity to hold on to and for me, it’s cooking.”

Q: What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A: [Thinks for a minute and laughs] “Growing up in Sweden with two sisters I did a lot of ice skating. Ballerina ice skating. I was not good at it but there are good pictures that I think might even be in the Internet.”

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Another milestone was also being marked at this year’s Chefs & Champagne. It was officially the last for James Beard Foundation President, Susan Ungaro who announced earlier this Summer she would be stepping down after eleven years with the organization.

Ungaro did much for the foundation during her tenure including developing the Chefs & Champagne event into a “party with a purpose.” I had the chance to speak with her about her experience and accomplishments before the event and I look forward to sharing more with you in this month’s “Inspiring Women of Food & Wine” so please stay tuned.

After the interviews, we mixed and mingled with the glamorous crowd sipping Champagne and rosé and sampling all the Chefs’ delectable dishes. Here are my Top 10 Favorites:

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1.) Chef George Mendez’s (Aldea & Lupolo, NYC) Chilled Shellfish Broth with Sea Urchin, Melon & Shiso: the layered complexity of the flavorful broth was the perfect vehicle for the textures of the sea urchin, mussels and other shellfish.

 

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2.) Chef Shane McBride’s (Balthazar & Augustine, NYC) Rabbitt Rillettes with Summer Vegetables & Pickles: the rich flavor and texture of the rabbit was balanced nicely by the bright, fresh vegetables and tangy acidity of the pickles.

 

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3.) Chef Oliver Lange’s (Zuma, NYC) Wagyu Beef Tartare with Saikyo Miso Buns & Australian Black Winter Truffles: a decadent bite that featured silky and incredibly flavorful beef tartare beautifully highlighted by paper-thin shavings of fragrant, earthy black truffle.

 

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4.) Chef Todd Richards’ (Richards’ Southern Fried, Atlanta) Lamb Merguez Sausages with Watermelon, Pickled Rind, Shiso & Coffee: this combination is Summer perfection featuring classic sausage and watermelon paired with unexpected textures and flavors of the pickled rind, shiso and coffee.

 

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5.) Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s (Red Rooster, NYC) Jerk Pork Belly with Stone Fruit, Pickled Cabbage & Cornbread Crisp: the master of flavor did it again, creating a truly memorable bite packed with flavor that kept us coming back for more (…and more).

 

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6.) Chef James Ahearn’s (Verde Wine Bar, Deer Park, NY) Foie Gras Torchon with Wagyu Beef Pastrami & Cocuzza Squash: the decadent, creamy texture of the foie gras was complemented beautifully by the flavorful pastrami, squash and crispy, toasted topping.

 

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7.) Chefs Jeffrey McInnis & Janine Booth’s (Root & Bone, NYC; Stiltsville Fish Club, Miami) Shrimp and Grits with Melted Tomatoes, Charred Corn, Pickled Onions & Bacon-Beer Jus: a deliciously complex and flavorful twist on the classic Southern dish!

 

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8.) Chef Brian Cheewing’s (Wolffer Kitchen, Sag Harbour) Chilled Corn Soup with Duck Confit & Black Truffle: Cheewing’s dishes never disappoint, delighting both the eyes and the palate with an incredibly thoughtful and flavorful combination of ingredients.

 

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9.) Pastry Chef Brit Marie Culey (Coquette, Cleveland) Smoked Ohio Peaches Elderflower Crémeux with Champagne Chartogne-Taillet Rosé Aspic. A synergy of deliciousness which takes a classic Summer ingredient and kicks it up five notches with a glamorous French twist!

 

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10.) Pastry Chef Abby Swain’s (Fowler & Wells, NYC) Lemon Posset with Blueberries & Cornmeal Cake: a delightful bite that embodied the essence of Summer with it’s juicy blueberries, creamy posset and toothsome cornmeal cake.

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Photo by Mark Von Holden/Invision for James Beard Foundation/Invision

Towards the end of the evening, all participating Chefs gathered in the field behind the event for a group photo. As the Press lined up to get our photos, the mischievous Samuelsson playfully doused us with Barons de Rothschild Champagne. In the photo above you can glimpse his devilish grin right before he made it rain Champagne!

Cheers to the James Beard Foundation on another magical evening and please stay tuned for more information on this “party with a purpose” with the fabulous Susan Ungaro.

Bon appétit,

The post Chef Marcus Samuelsson Honored at James Beard Foundation’s “Chefs & Champagne” Event appeared first on The Glamorous Gourmet.

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