St. Patrick's Day All Year Long

By Carol Penn-Romine

Once during a St. Patrick's Day pub crawl, I saw a bruiser of a man swagger down the street wearing an ill-fitting dress and a lopsided wig, his face painted bright green. When some revelers on a balcony howled at him, he turned, lifted the back of his skirt and mooned them. We all discovered that his face wasn't the only thing he'd painted green! The partiers on the balcony roared with approval and raised their glasses filled with green-dyed beer to salute what they perceived to be his Irish chutzpah.
This didn't happen in Ireland, and quite frankly, none of it had anything to do with St. Patrick's Day. Not really. The Irish don't spend the day getting knee-walking drunk on green-dyed beer. In fact, they're not prone to paint anything green on the occasion that honors their patron saint.
Traditionally, the Irish celebrated St. Patrick's Day as Americans would Thanksgiving. Families began the day at church, then gathered at someone's home for a special meal. While the day has metamorphosed into a celebration of national pride, for the Irish it's still about the food and the fellowship.

I Love French Wine and Food - A Bordeaux Rose

If you are looking for fine French wine and food, consider the world-famous Bordeaux region of southwestern France. You may find a bargain, and I hope that you'll have fun on this fact-filled wine education tour in which we review a Bordeaux rose from an internationally renowned producer.

Among France's eleven wine-growing regions Bordeaux ranks first in acreage with about 50% more land devoted to vineyards than the second-place Rhone Valley. But it's more than just a question of acreage and volume. Bordeaux is widely considered as one of the top wine producing regions of the entire earth and has been for centuries. The wine reviewed below comes from somewhere in Bordeaux.

Bordeaux produces over seventy million cases of wine per year, about 85% red, 12% white, and the rest rose. That means a total of more than two million cases of rose wine per year. When I wrote the first Bordeaux article in this series, I Love French Wine and Food - A Bordeaux Merlot I stated that I didn't remember ever tasting a Bordeaux rose. I also promised to deal with this problem and I'll review Bordeaux rose in this article.

There are over twenty two thousand vineyards in Bordeaux englobing about 280 thousand acres. This means the average Bordeaux vineyard is less than 13 acres or somewhat more than 5 hectares, which is not a big area. About half of the vineyards produce their own wine, and about six thousand produce and sell their own wine, the rest selling wine through cooperatives. Bordeaux boasts about 60 different wine appellations ranging from fair-to-middling to world class with plenty in between. Some Bordeaux wine classifications date back to 1855 and have barely changed since, except that Baron Rothschild was able to get his best wine promoted from Second Cru (Second Growth) to Premier Cru (First Growth). Those in the know say that his Chateau Lafitte definitely deserves this honor. We'll review some fairly top-notch Bordeaux wines sooner or later, but the wine reviewed below is quite inexpensive. Interestingly Chateau Petrus, crafted by another internationally known Bordeaux wine producer holds no prestigious classification. However, Chateau Petrus is definitely world class and comes with a price to match, if the wine merchant will even look at your money.

Regional food of France

I have been travelling to France for nearly 25 years- usually on holiday- to most of the main regions. I so enjoyed all my trips, that I decided to move lock, stock and 2 smoking barrels to start my new life actually living in this great country. I bought a 300 year old house, part of which was the original ramparts of the walled town. I am in heaven- the weather is 38 C as I write this article, the cicadas are screeching outside, and soon I shall walk the 30 yards to the river and swim in mountain water at a temperature of 20 C. Bliss.

Before I can frolic, let me share some stories, myths and information about one of the French’s and also its visitors favourite pass times. Food, glorious food. What is perhaps less widely recognized is that France's reputation for fine food is not so much based on long-held traditions but on constant change. In fact, the general expectation of good eating is a relatively new experience for the French. At the time the Bastille was stormed in 1789, at least 80% of the French population were subsistence farmers, with bread and cereals as the basis of their diet, essentially unchanged since the time of the ancient Gauls nearly two millennia before. In the mid-nineteenth century, following the demise of the aristocracy, food was a conspicuous symbol of social position, swiftly adopted by a new ruling class of bourgeoisie, who recreated the sumptuous meals of the very aristocracy they had once criticized. At the same time, two-thirds of Parisians were either starving or ill-fed, five times more likely to be nourished from vegetable proteins than from any meats or dairy products. The golden age of haute cuisine benefited only those at the very top of the social ladder. It took a world war at the beginning of the twentieth century to halt the gross inequality of wealth at the table, and to bring about a more even distribution of the nation's produce. The advent of improved transportation, especially by train, brought culinary revolution to the regions, and slowly the spreading affluence could put a chicken on every peasant's table. Eventually, tourism fanned the flames of change in France's commercial kitchens, as chefs were obliged to create dishes appealing to an ever-widening audience of British, Japanese, Middle Easterners, and Americans, as well as French travellers hungering for new experiences. In some instances the reasons for change in regional products were a pragmatic reaction to a decline in other industries (such a silk) or to the economic disaster brought about by the Phylloxera pest, which wiped out most of France's grape vines at the turn of the century.

Mexican Cuisine- The many Moles of Mexico

by Astrid Burkle

I personally love moles, but honestly I like some of them better than others. My favorite is the Mole Blanco (white mole) not very famous or popular yet, then the Mole Negro, (black mole) which is one of the Oaxacan varieties, Mole Poblano.

You may have a recipe for a mole but each time one is prepared each chili and seed gives the mole its own flavor, aroma and thickness. No two moles are ever alike or taste exactly the same. The chilies in the sauce are not going to have same "picante", (spice or heat). Chilies of the same type may be hotter, bigger or thicker so recipe amounts do not produce the same results.

The 7 Moles
Oaxaca has the largest variety of moles.
They are: