German engineering, bratwurst, beer. These three things come to mind when thinking of Germany. But wine? Not so much. Flanked by France and Italy, Europe’s powerhouses of winemaking, Germany has long existed under the shadow of these two regions — despite the fact that Germans began making wine more than eight centuries ago.
The German Winegrowers’ Association has been taking its vintages on tour in parts of Europe and the United States for several years now in an attempt to introduce German wines to the industry and public alike. Germany’s 2011 vintage has proven to be “the best in recent years,” according to Norbert Weber, president of the Association. Germany’s soil works together with the climate to produce primarily Rieslings and Pinot Blancs, with the former most recognized in the industry. Rieslings range from very dry to very fruity depending on the sugar alcohol level at processing, and the versatility of this wine makes it equally ideal for both pairing with food and drinking on its own.
The first week of May is often dominated by thoughts of where to go for the long Memorial Day weekend at the end of the month. Or about summer travel, in general. For foodies, though, it’s about one thing: the James Beard Awards. As per usual, the awards took place this week at Lincoln Center and were a glorious gala of the country’s best of the best in the food industry.
Chefs and attendees flew in from across the country, but the home team did very well. New York was well represented in the winner’s circle with Eleven Madison Park’s chef, Daniel Humm, taking the cake, or, rather the top award for Best Chef while Momofuku Bakery & Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi took home honors for Rising Chef. In the Best Chef NYC category, Gramercy Tavern’s Michael Anthony was the big winner. Other Big Apple restaurants and individuals that received awards included Terroir’s Paul Grieco for Outstanding Beer, Wine, and Spirits Professional and La Grenouille for Outstanding Service.
Thomas Keller is the only chef to have two restaurants on GAYOT.com’s list of Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S.: The French Laundry in Napa Valley in the city of Yountville, CA; and Per Se in New York City. Congratulations! Watch my exclusive video with one of America’s top chefs, filmed at the temple of gastronomy that is The French Laundry, and find out how he does it.
With New York City Restaurant Week(January 16-February 10) already underway, foodies have hundreds of great restaurants from which to choose. But there are other food events and celebrations well worth checking out in the next few days, including the Kids Food Festival and the start of Mehtaphor’s Global New Year dinner series.
At this weekend’s Kids Food Festival at Citi Pond in Bryant Park, chef Jehangir Mehta continues his mission to educate children about the role of nutrition in combating obesity. Chef Mehta will be joining food personalities and chefs such as David Burke (David Burke Townhouse, Fishtail by David Burke, David Burke Kitchen), Ben Pollinger (Oceana) and Jackie Newgent, RD, to present culinary demonstrations and offer healthy samples. The festival provides plenty of fun activities, including the “Balanced Plate Scavenger Hunt,” a puppet show and the “Silly Workout,” but also aims to educate parents and kids about the importance of making balanced food choices. General admission is free from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on January 21 and 22; tickets are required for cooking demos and other chef events. Festival partners are the James Beard Foundation and Share Our Strength. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit www.kidsfoodfestival.com.
For those of us who don’t feel like scraping our fingers raw grating potatoes to make latkes, or cooking up a beef brisket as big as a telephone book, there are wonderful restaurants in New York City that take the traditional Chanukah feast and turn it deliciously on its head. Here are some restaurants ideal for family gatherings to celebrate the Festival of Lights, held this year from December 20 through 28.
Why visit the Brooklyn Diner? Two words: Free latkes! At this Manhattan favorite for upscale comfort and diner food, complimentary potato pancakes will be served throughout the eight days of Chanukah, with your choice of sour cream or applesauce, along with many other Jewish-American classic dishes. From the smoked fish platter of Nova Scotia salmon and sturgeon to the hand-carved hot pastrami, you’ll find plenty of choices for a holiday feast. For more information, visit www.brooklyndiner.com.