I recently had the pleasure of attending the ten-day Right Some Good culinary and music festival held in small towns and historic sites along the rocky shores, rolling farmland, glacial valleys, barren headlands, mountains, woods and plateaus of Cape Breton, this serene and sparsely populated island in Nova Scotia. The event teamed world-class chefs hailing from as far away as Peru, China and Belgium with local chefs and culinary students for a series of gourmet dinners that were accompanied by the music of island talent.
“Make it a double!” is an oft-spoken command to a bartender, but it takes on a different meaning when the spirit in question is Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch whisky. Jim Beveridge, Master Blender of the House of Walker, has produced the company’s newest release, Johnnie Walker Double Black.
If you enjoy the smoky, peaty flavor of Johnnie Walker Black Label, then this new limited release gives you more of what you look for in a Scotch. The distinctive blend is even smokier, even peatier and even bolder than its younger brother, but eminently drinkable.
Double Black is composed of select single malts of naturally smoky aged whiskies and whiskies that have matured in deep charred oak barrels. Despite its strength, it is still quite complex, with fruit, vanilla and spice flavors also evident. We recommend drinking it on the rocks with water, which helps release more of the flavor.
The pool pictured in the photo to the left of this text is at the just-reopened Hotel Bel-Air, but most guests won’t be allowed to use it. It is to be used exclusively by those high-rollers staying in the brand-new 6,775 square-foot Presidential suite. Just imagine the luxury: one bedroom, one bathroom (although adjoining rooms may be connected for a maximum of five bedrooms and five bathrooms), indoor and outdoor living spaces, a private dining room for ten, chef’s kitchen, study, great room with a grand piano, and that magnificent pool, all for $15,000 or so per night.
If that one-of-a-kind space is too big for you, choose from the other 58 rooms and 45 suites the historic hotel now has to offer. Twelve of them are completely new, in new buildings constructed into the hillside; make sure to ask how to get there before heading there. This is the result of two years of renovations, remodeling, and refurbishing, and somewhere under $100 million dollars invested by the Dorchester Collection to make the Hotel Bel-Air more grand and splendid than it ever was since its 1946 opening. When you own a legend, you are obliged to maintain its status.
By the end of yesterday’s reception at the French Consulate in Beverly Hills, the guests were covered with glitter. Had we gotten too close to the models, who were wearing fine French jewels? No, the glitter was coming from the Madame Chocolat truffles! For the fifth edition of “The Jewels of France” event, chocolatier Hasty Torres was offering edible glitter truffles.
We had a few. Or maybe a lot, I’m not sure; when it comes to chocolate, we make all these excuses. We had to choose from the dark chocolate espresso covered in gold and silver, the white chocolate lime in blue or green, and the red and fuchsia filled with milk chocolate raspberry (my favorite).
Just so you’re not confused by the headline, this blog is not about a train powered by Krug Champagne or even drinking Krug while riding on a train. It’s about listening to the group Train performing live while drinking Krug Champagne during Saturday night’s Los Angeles Food & Wine event, which left quite an unforgettable memory.