2004 June Newsletter
Jun 21, 2004 13:47 PDT
June 2004 Newsletter
Summer is in full swing here in Texas, heat and all. Dick, Amy, Craig
and I are busy gearing up for the fall season and feel it is going to be
one of our best ever. We are working on a lot of new culinary
experiences for you around the world and will be going on many of these
excursions ourselves. How much fun it would be if you could join us.
Diane Kochilas still has a few spaces open for the Glorious Greek
Kitchen the week of Aug. 26 – Sept. 1. You won’t want to miss it. Be
sure to look for her in the upcoming publications: Cooking Pleasures
between now and July and in Gourmet and Saveur in the July issues. She
had a fabulous article in the New York Times Travel section on Sunday,
May 23. This article can be found in the archives of the Times website.
Be sure to read about Diane in the July issue of National Geographic
Traveler. She is one of 5 culinary holidays to be featured. Diane has
just informed me that next year she will also be doing some classes in
Crete, bringing a new aspect to her culinary experiences. Touted to be
the Culinary Cradle of Greece, I can hardly wait to see her itinerary.
Anna Tasca Lanza of the World of Regaleali in Sicily has a beautiful
article and color spread in the July issue of Conde Nast Traveler. Be
sure not to miss this informative and exciting article.
Refugio da Vila in Portel, Portugal is featured in the Summer issue of
Hotel Bel-Air, a glossy up-scale magazine serving the Bel-Air Hotel in
Los Angeles. The Portugal Association of Travel Agents has honored
Refugio da Vila with the distinction of being the finest rural hotel in
Portugal. We are very proud to be representing them.
Valter and Julia Roman, have opened their own school, The Tuscan Chef at
Villa Boschiglia in Vorno outside of Lucca. They were formerly with
Villa Michaela and Borgo Bernardini. We have followed Valter throughout
his career as I think he is one of the most knowledgeable chefs anywhere
with an amazing ability to teach at all levels of expertise. Valter
studied at the Istituto Alberghiero di Casargo and he has had positions
in many successful restaurants. In London he specialized in pastry and
cakes, even supplying these to the British Royal Family. Valter
recently completed 3 years of sommelier studies and obtained his
professional wine sommelier’s certificate. He and his wife, Julia, have
put together a comprehensive and exciting program that you won’t want to
Villa Boschiglia is a beautiful, historic 17th century Lucchese Villa
set in private Italian gardens filled with Lavender, cypress, magnolia
and lemon trees and nestled elegantly against terraced olive groves.
Valter and Julia will offer the same type of itinerary they have done in
the past with additional exciting possibilities including a boat trip
along the Ligurian coast and the world heritage site of the five
cliff-clinging villages of the Cinque Terre, a visit to the Bolgheri
vineyards, a morning pampering at one of the world renowned health spas
in Montecatini, Outlet shopping experience that includes Prada and the
new Gucci Mall. Valter will even take time out on the golf course with
students if they wish, sharing with them another of his great passions.
As always, Valter will prepare and teach incredible dishes of antipasti,
primi, secondi and dolce. You won’t want to miss out. Please check our
website to see what Valter and Julia have to offer for 2004 and 2005.
The Villa can also be rented to groups, including the service of this
Be sure to sign up for a fabulous experience in Friuli with Dick and I
the week of October 11-17. You can read the interview about the chef
below. There is a limit of 8 people in this class but we do still have
a couple of spaces left.
We will also be in Amalfi the weeks of Oct. 3 – 9 and Oct. 17 – 23. The
latter week is filled but we have a few spaces left the first week.
We are working on a special culinary holiday in Bali next year. As we
firm up plans, we will let you know in the newsletter and on the
website. We are also preparing trips to Cusco and Machu Picchu in Peru
and Quito in Ecuador with a side trip to the Galapagos, to introduce to
you to the delicious and exciting cuisines of South America.
When Dick and I married, he gave me a Champagne & Caviar: a
Connoisseur’s Survival Guide by Arthur von Wiesenberger and vowed that
we would try all the champagnes and caviars mentioned in there and visit
as many as possible. We have followed that dream by traveling and
tasting these two divine items. Last week we did not have to travel far
as The Wine Broker here in Dallas featured a Veuve Cliquot tasting where
we could drink our fill of one of the most fabulous champagnes in the
world. Five offerings included Yellow Brut NV, Vintage Reserve 1996, La
Grande dame 1995, Rose Reserve 1985 and Demi-Sec NV. Never have I been
able to immerse myself in the decadence of drinking my fill of what I
consider the elixir of Heaven. There is not time or space in this
newsletter to tell you all of our impressions or tell you of the
romantic history of this winery, formed originally in 1772. For this
you must read the chapter on Veuve Cliquot in the above-mentioned book
or get up on the website: www.cliquotinc.com. To order these fabulous
champagnes you can also visit www.thewinebroker.com. One of the most
important things I learned is that when this champagne has been stored
properly, it can be saved for many years. Needless to say we filled our
wine cellar with some of these fabulous selections!
***** Rates among our top restaurants in the world
**** We absolutely love and would go back every time we could, well
worth a journey
*** We would return if there was time in our schedule, worth a detour
** Okay, but we would not make an effort to return
* We would never return.
The French Room in the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, Texas
If I were to choose any restaurant in the world, the French Room would
be one of my top picks. It is my choice for any special dinner or
occasion. We dined there last month for our wedding anniversary, a
perfect romantic choice.
Executive Chef William Koval runs a consistent and innovative kitchen,
never failing to please our palates. Sommelier Gregory Cheval pairs the
perfect wines to the menu. Dinner is $85 per guest for a four course
menu or you can order ala carte. When we are feeling especially
festive, we order the $135 menu with each course paired with wine. On
these occasions we always spend the night at the Adolphus Hotel so we
can enjoy all the wine and not worry about driving home. A four course
vegetarian menu is also available.
For our anniversary in May we enjoyed the six course wine tasting menu
and were delighted with the entire dinner. This delicious menu
Lightly creamed Yellow Corn Soup, wild Mushroom Flan, Crabmeat, Tomato
Clos Des Rochers Pinot Gris, Luxembourg 2002
Prosciutto Avocado Salad, Quail Egg, Artichokes, Kalamata Olive
Fendi di San Gregorio Greco di Tufo, Campania 2002
Seared Farm-raised Filet of Turbot, Fava beans, Morels, Hearts of Palm,
Chateau Carbonnieux Bordeaux Blanc, Pessac-Leognan 2001
Medallions of Veal Tenderloin, Roasted Red Pepper Lobster cake, Ramps,
Red Zinfandel Sauce
Foppiano Petit Sirah “Russian River”, Sonoma 2001
Selection of Farm Fresh Cheeses
Fonseca tawny Port
Rhubarb Napoleon, Strawberry Coulis, Rhubarb Ice Cream
Nivole Moscato d’Asti, Italy, 2002
As you can see, it would be too difficult to describe everything we ate.
We enjoyed it all. I would have to say that the Corn Soup and Veal
were my favorites. Dick voted for the Avocado Salad and Turbot.
Of course, with my sweet tooth and the memories of my childhood picking
rhubarb in the back yard and chewing on the delicious tartness, the
rhubarb napoleon was a standout. It nearly equaled the absolutely
divine rhubarb tart I enjoyed at Lutece in New York City prepared by
Chef Andrea Soltner before his restaurant closed and he passed away.
Believe me, that is a very high honor, as I have never enjoyed a dessert
more than Chef Soltner’s pure and simple rhubarb tart.
The service of the French Room is always of the highest quality and
impeccable. Maitre James Donohue oversees a professional and friendly
staff. It is always welcoming and impressive to be called by name when
dining in luxury. Be sure to ask for headwaiter Carlos Munoz. If you
are lucky enough to be served by him, you will realize what top-notch
service can be.
Beer baron Adolphus Busch had a vision of bringing the fortune and
flamboyance of the early Jazz Age to Dallas. This he accomplished in
the Adolphus Hotel in 1912. From the finest furniture to noted works of
art and the renowned French Room Restaurant, the Adolphus is filled with
a sense of European grace and refinement.
You can make reservations for both the hotel and restaurant at the
website: www.hoteladolphus.com or call 214-742-8200. This 5 star hotel
is located at 1321 Commerce Street in downtown Dallas; zip - 75202
Recipe of the Month
Il Melograno in Puglia
Insalata di Arance e Finocchi
Diane Seeds gives us this refreshing unusual salad from Puglia that can
be served as an antipasto, a side dish or even after the main course.
In Puglia they often serve a dish of crisp fennel at the end of the meal
instead of fruit. With this recipe you get the best of both worlds.
And it is delightful on a hot summer day.
3 bulbs of fennel
1 ½ ounces extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Remove the tough outer leaves and “core” of the fennel and cut into thin
vertical slices. Leave for ten minutes in the olive oil, salt and
Peel the oranges and cut into fine round slices, collecting all the
juice that escapes. Drain the liquid from the fennel and process with
the orange juice to make a cream.
Arrange the orange and fennel slices on a plate and dress with the
Another wonderful recipe from Lecce in Puglia is perfect for light
summer meals or as an unusual started served with fresh mozzarella
cheese or prosciutto. In the days when the household’s weekly supply of
bread was baked once a week, potatoes were often added to the dough to
prevent the bread getting hard too quickly.
4 cups flour
2 potatoes, weighting about 6 ounces
1 oz. Fresh yeast [powdered yeast can be used]
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
20 very small ripe cherry tomatoes
6 cloves garlic
Boil the potatoes in their skins in lightly salted water. Dissolve the
yeast in a little tepid water. Peel the
Peel the potatoes and mash well before adding to the flour with a pinch
of salt. Stir in the yeast, 1 tablespoon of oil and enough tepid water
to make a soft, elastic dough. Knead well by hand or use a food
processor if preferred.
Divide into two balls; roll out each ball to form an oval about ½ inch
high. Arrange on two oiled baking tins and using your thumb, make
indentations all over the surface. Put a sliver of garlic and half an
unpeeled tomato in each indentation. Scatter a little salt and oregano
all over the surface. Carefully pour the remaining oil in an even film
all over the top.
Bake in a very hot oven, 475 F or 240 C until golden brown. This is
best served warm.
CHEF ANTONINO VENICA IN FRIULI
Dick and I will be traveling to Friuli in October to explore and enjoy
the cuisine of Chef Antonino Venica. Tonino, as he is affectionately
called, focuses on the lightness of all the dishes he prepares. The
choice and quality of the ingredients, their correct use and pairing,
and the cooking method are very important for the good outcome of his
culinary creations. He believes in a tasty yet fat-free type of cuisine
and most of all he enjoys preparing dishes using products of the land
and what is available in season. When I asked him questions about his
culinary views, here is what he had to say. I think you will see from
his answers why we are so eager to study with him. We would love to
have you join us October 11 – 17.
How old were you when you began cooking?
I began cooking when I was 15 years old. I was 26 when I began
What is your favorite holiday and what favorite foods do you prepare for
Easter is my favorite holiday. My favorite foods for this holiday are
all those foods that include sprouts and early spring produce.
Where do you like to eat on a night out?
In restaurants where local cuisine is proposed and prepared.
What is your favorite dish your mother or father cooked for you?
I have very nice memories of potato puree with meat ragout that my
mother used to make and that I liked very much.
Who does the daily cooking in your home?
What is your favorite “comfort” food?
What is the name of your favorite market?
The weekly market in Cormons or my supplier of fresh fruit and
vegetables, always from Cormons.
What 3 items are essential in your kitchen?
The “planetaria” or kneading machine, copper pots and pans and an
What three products would always be in your refrigerator?
Different types of cheeses, especially Friulian cheese, vegetables and
of course extra-virgin olive oil.
What advice would you give to a beginning cooking class student?
Cooking is an art and all artists, before achieving success, had to
toil. So therefore my advice is patience and, most of all, passion.
What other chefs do you admire?
I admire Chef Santini from “Al Pescatore” and Chef Alfonso Iccarino
from “Don Alfonso” for their maniacal choice of products of the land.
What type of dish or food do you most enjoy preparing?
All types of pasta with vegetable fillings.
What advice would you give to a budding chef – either professional or
To travel the world to learn and blend new techniques.
How important is presentation of food?
I talk about art in cooking. The dish is the fashion runway and the
food is the haute-couture.
Until next time, Dick and I wish you Buon Appitito,