Wednesday, October 1, 2014

La Vie Rustic

Georgeanne Brennan's new store La Vie Rustic, is now open. 

Think of it as a quasi-secret French village store. The kind that would open only when Madame was in the mood, is stocked with magical treasures sourced from the land the old fashion way, by hand, and is known mostly to the locals and those few tourists that stumble upon it. 

It's the type of place that would sit in the old barn on the ground floor of a 700 year old village house located in an off-the-beaten-path town settled before the Romans dropped in for an extended visit in the hinterlands of Provence. 

Well, it reminds me of a place like that.

The difference of course is La Vie Rustic lives on the internet, so it's open 24 hours a day. 

The difference is much of what she has for sale she made herself, comes from her garden, or is made under her supervision.

The difference is Madame in this case is the fabulous Georgeanne Brennan, so a bit of old Provence magic is included with every order.

The shelves are still being stocked so I strongly recommend you sign up for her newsletter (more like a personal note) that way you'll know when something new arrives... before it sells out.

But in the meantime, peruse. Take your time, nobody is in a hurry here.

Friday, June 28, 2013

A culinary trip through time from Paris to Provence

I recently had the opportunity to write an article for Gastonomique En Vogue magazine about the memoir slash cookbook Paris to Provence.  I don't do these types of articles very often, but...

Some of Sara Remington's beautiful images which are included in the book. (L-R) Charcuterie Plate on page 118, Boy in car on page 15 and Strawberries in Red Wine on page 66 of the book Paris to Provence.

I've been a fan of Georgeanne Brennan for years and consider myself privileged to be able to call her a friend, and so when she asked if I'd take a look at her daughter's manuscript for a book she'd been working on I said I'd be honored to.  And I was.

When Georgeanne's daughter Ethel sent over the manuscript, which included photographs by co-writer and photographer Sara Remington, I was hooked. In reading the manuscript I was struck time and again at some of the similarities in our experiences as children vacationing in France. Of course having recipes of childhood favorite dishes was a nice bonus! I told them the book was beautiful and gave them a quote to use for publicity that ended up on the back cover.

And when, just after the book was released Gastronomique En Vogue asked if I'd write a review, well, all I could think of was that good works by great people should be supported!

Please do give the article a read and let me know what you think...

bon apetit
Le Capitaine

Friday, March 22, 2013

France & Moi

Did a fun interview in the France & Moi series with the delightful Jaqueline Brown of The French Village Diaries. 

France & Moi - The French Village Diaries

Very best,
Le Capitaine

Friday, October 26, 2012

A vermouth above all others

A couple years ago, while sitting at the bar of a small restaurant called Rocker Oysterfeller’s in the tiny town of Valley Ford about forty five minutes’ drive north of San Francisco, I drank what at the time was the best Negroni I’d ever had. It had a smokiness, complexity, depth and hint of burnt orange that just took things to a whole other level.

To ensure that it wasn’t a fluke, a few months later I went back to Rocker Oysterfeller’s and ordered another one, and sure enough it was spectacular.

Now a Negroni is just not that complicated – equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth. OK, some people prefer a little more gin and a little less Campari and vermouth, but this is the basic recipe. Wait, I forgot, you need to add your choice of orange slice or strip orange peel. But here’s my point, this means the only real big variables here are the gin and the vermouth, because there’s only one Campari. And what was different here was not the gin.

So, I asked the barmaid, who also happened to be the owner of the restaurant, which by the way is surprisingly good for being in the middle of a beautiful nowhere, what made her Negroni so good. She smiled, as knowing barmaids are wont to do, and said “It’s the vermouth. I use the best there is.” And proceeded to show me a slightly over sized,  kind of fat bottle with an old fashion looking label. Stuff was called “Antica Formula.” I had a 3 second glimpse, and it was gone.

Shortly after that life got in the way. Homes were packed and unpacked. Jobs were changed. Latitudes shifted. You get the idea.

Then, while looking at some bottles of wine at a Whole Foods, what do I see but that slightly over sized,  kind of fat bottle with the old fashion label. Oh yes, this was coming home with me!

Antica Formula is now my house standard. It is, hands down, the best vermouth I've ever had and a spectacular mixer.

Antica Formula’s distributor describes it as follows:
Antica Formula is a red vermouth made from an original recipe by Antonio Benedetto Carpano, the man credited with creating modern vermouth in Turin in 1786. Carpano originally developed vermouth by mixing herbs with a base wine and then sweetening it by adding spirit. His new drink proved so popular that soon his shop had to stay open 24 hours a day to satisfy demand.
Carpano had been inspired by a German aromatised wine and was a fan of German poetry. As a result, he named his new product after the German word for wormwood, wermut, which was frequently used to flavour wine at the time.
Antica Formula is richer and more complex than most red vermouths and will make an excellent Bronx, Manhattan or Negroni.

And there you have it.

Le Capitaine

Friday, September 14, 2012

Part 2

And here's Part 2 of the Author Showcase interview.

Le Capitaine

Friday, September 7, 2012

Part 1 - Author Showcase interview

Last week I did an Author Showcase interview with host Jacob Morris. Part 1 was just released. Can you tell we had fun?

Very best,
Le Capitaine

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez

Phoebus II, a 3 tonner built in 1903 sailing in the Voile de Saint-Tropez event.

The Spirit of Yesteryear Comes to Saint-Tropez

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, organized by the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez, aspires to maintain the spirit of yesteryear. Mixing vessels from the past with those from the present is a key feature of their approach. It has proved highly successful, as participants throughout the fleet share a genuine camaraderie and esprit de corps that is rarely found in modern competitive sports. Rolex has been part of this landscape since 2006, supporting the Rolex Trophy: a competition within the Tradition division for classic yachts over 16 metres in length “on deck”.

The 2012 Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez will be held between 29 September and 7 October. It is open to both modern and traditional yachts over 9 metres in length, with a limit of 300 entries. Racing, usually in the form of coastal courses the length of which depends upon the prevailing wind conditions, takes place on the bay of Saint-Tropez. To watch the bay during this event is to see a magical canvas of sails and classic sailboats painted on the blue of the bay.
Mariska, a 15 meter built in 1908 
Modern yachts race over five days, while the classics race over four days. In the middle of the competition, a day is reserved for private challenges, where enthusiastic owners remember the origins of the regatta.

Formerly known as La Nioulargue, Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez was born of a challenge between two passionate sailors. In 1981, Jean Laurain, the owner of the 12-Metre design Ikra, and American Dick Jason, the owner of a Swan 44, Pride, agreed to race between Saint-Tropez and the restaurant Club 55 at Pampelonne, using as a turning mark La Nioulargue, a buoy marking the Nioulargo shallows some five nautical miles east-north-east off Cap Camarat. Ikra beat Pride, and following the enthusiastic embrace of Patrice de Colmont, the restaurant’s owner, the Club 55 Cup and La Nioulargue regatta were born. In 1995, a tragic accident led to a cessation of the event. The regatta returned in 1999 with a new name and revitalized spirit.
The Lady Anne, 15 meter built in 1912

Les Voiles is a popular end to the Mediterranean inshore yacht-racing season. The harbor of Saint-Tropez fills with yachts, carbon-fibre sitting happily alongside varnished wood. The town brims with people, as crews and spectators mix together. The bay is a sea of sails, as synthetic fibres contrast with more natural materials.

The week of competition closes, appropriately, with a prize-giving at the 16th-century Citadelle overlooking the old port.

As Rolex is the sponsor, among the many prizes presented, the winner of the Rolex trophy will be awarded a Rolex timepiece. Nice.

Fair winds,
Le Capitaine

P.S. Here's a fantastic video of the 2010 VOiles de Saint-Tropez. I recommend playing it full screen.

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez from kaaps || spaako on Vimeo.