The Loire Valley, often referred to as the ‘Garden of France’, is an important wine producing regionlocated between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes-sur-Loire. One of the main regions here is the Anjou.
The region produces a variety of wines, but perhaps the most popular (certainly here in the Netherlands, especially since the 70s!) is the Rosé d’Anjou.
Welcome to a brand new year! In case you’re wondering, no, I don’t really make resolutions or think that life will suddenly get better once the clock strikes midnight. Much wiser to live mindfully every day and to make each moment count!
So how did I spend the first Saturday of the year? Read on!
After a pain au chocolat and an espressso, I turned up Charlie & Zaz and decided to clean the house. All of the decorations and lights were neatly put away and brought up to the attic. The house suddenly looked so naked! And so clean! I was a little sad before I started but good music got me through it just fine.
I even decided to clean some of the storage space and counters in the kitchen. It was a huge mess. A job which I had been putting off for the longest. It’s all nice and neat now! All the old vinegars and spirits are gone and the little rack next to my kitchen window — notice my dried lavender 😉 — is finally tidy!
After that hearty cleaning session, I got all dolled up and headed out for our first Saturday lunch. I was so happy hubby was feeling a bit better — seems like he caught a terrible cold somewhere.
We stayed close to home and decided to check out Le Baron in Almere. We’ve been there for drinks a few times, but never for a bite. The horrible reviews always scared me off. Luckily, our experience was positive. The service was excellent (the waitresses are SO friendly and bubbly!) and the food was simple, decent Dutch pub fare. I had the schnitzel and hubby went for the spare ribs. I think this will become a fun weekend hangout for us.
The afternoon ended with a quick shopping round for dinner tonight. I picked up a new wine for a ridiculously low price, Château La Tonnelle 2011 Bordeaux Superieur. The bottle reads ” Dark garnet with aromas of wood and an intense fruity flavor of blackberry, cassis and cherry.” I’ll tell you my thoughts tomorrow on Instagram.
Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend, and if you’re going back to work this Monday after a long Christmas break, chin up — it’ll be spring break before you know it! 😉
Friday again, and what a full week this has been! With work for DUTCH (the print deadline is quickly approaching!), social engagements and recipe writing for Vriendin, I have not had a chance to catch my breath. Only a good thing, though. I don’t know if I would be sane with empty time slots in my agenda.
One of the things I did this week was attend a press dinner showcasing Lidl’s ‘Delicieux’ collection for the upcoming holidays. If you haven’t read about that yet, check out the two previous blogs. During the event I tried a wide variety of excellent products, but the one that caused the biggest impression on me was a wine — the 2008 Saint-Estèphe from Château Andron Blanquet, a Cru Bourgeois and part of Château Cos Labory. The wines consist of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc. With strong tannins balanced by ripe, dark fruits and spicy notes, it is a wine that pairs well with rich meat dishes. A beef wellington for example, but also a good steak — exactly how I will be serving it soon, because it absolutely swept me off my feet. I will be stocking up on this one for sure.
Speaking of wines, tomorrow I will be attending a wine tasting fair in Utrecht featuring organic wines from France, Italy, Slovenia, Austria and Spain. Sixteen wine growers will be present to explain their vision on organic wine production, something I am still reading up on and very eager to learn about.
That evening I will be dining at a French restaurant in Amsterdam, A La Ferme. The restaurant is taking part in the ‘Franse DinerDagen’, or ‘French Dinner Days’ and serving a four-course menu (incl. coffee and a digestief) for only €34.50 per person. During ten days, from the 14th to the 23rd of November, fifty top French restaurants across the country, selected by IENS and En Route Magazine, will be offering the same deal.
My review on Sunday will therefore not be about a lunch date, but about a dinner date. Expect some of those here and there as well, too.
But first, on to the order of the day. After writing my editor’s letter for DUTCH, I will start editing and testing the recipes for a production on winter warmers for Vriendin. I’m really looking forward to testing these recipes — especially the ‘easy and quick’ cassoulet! My own recipe starts a day in advance and calls for duck, lamb and Toulouse sausages. This one, however, had to be written accessibly, so that everyone can make it with products found at any supermarket. A challenge for me, which I gladly accepted.
Have a great weekend and hope you’ll come by Sunday to read about my experience at A la Ferme!
One of the perks of my job is being invited to interesting events in the world of food. Restaurant openings, culinary demonstrations, wine tastings, book presentations, etc. Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the opening of Gastrobar Anton, a new hot spot in the ritzy Dutch city of Laren. It was quite a lively evening full of champagne, cocktails, great wine, a posh selection of bites and fabulous oysters! The gastrobar has a Scandinavian inspired interior with warm color accents, robust materials and different types of seating options.
I’m not going to give you a full review just yet as I’m planning on going back there for lunch, but suffice to say that I had a great time. One of their wines, by the way, just happens to be a favorite of mine — Le Petit Berticot Cabernet Sauvignon from none other than my beloved Duras! How awesome is that?! Highly recommended by yours truly.
After the event, my friend and I decided to try out another restaurant in Laren. We figured we were already there, so why not? Both of us love Spanish food and Bodega, also located on the Brink, seemed like a good choice. Their menu features a varied selection of tapas as well as ‘Paella Valencia’, which is what we both went for, agreeing that perhaps this would make up for our last paella experience — ahem, it took place at an awful restaurant in Barcelona’s La Rambla called ‘El Choquito‘. El Choquito does not have a website, in case you’re interested, just a restaurant full of rude, frustrated waiters, crap food and weak sangria. Luckily, our experience at Bodega was not as appalling (kudos for the friendly staff), though their paella left a lot to be desired. The seafood selection was mostly deep-fried and I barely detected three tiny little mussels hidden in the rice, which missed more saffron, in my opinion. Some lemon wedges could’ve also helped the dish a bit, too.
In other news, it’s almost weekend! In case you don’t have any cooking plans yet, allow me to suggest grabbing a copy of the latest Vriendin (#43) where you can check out six of my easy and seasonal mushroom recipes! My aromatic noodle soup with shiitake and prawns is especially recommended today — rain, rain, and only rain!
I’ll be headed to Amsterdam tomorrow to review a new restaurant that boasts a menu which made me go a little weak in the knees when I read it. You can catch the review here on Sunday.
Have a delicious weekend!