Martin Field 2009-09-17T08:30:48+00:000000004830200909 Food and Wine

War-games with oyster entrée

In March 1965, a bunch of us Regular Army electronics technicians were posted to provide backup for CMF* war games in the bush near Tea Gardens, New South Wales.

 On the penultimate day of pretending-to-shoot-each-other manoeuvres, a CMF officer (i.e. a sweating red-faced jumped up bank teller from Sydney) ordered us to work as kitchen staff in the officers’ mess tent for their farewell dinner the next night. ‘Nah,’ we said, ‘we didn’t come here to wait on weekend warriors.’ Or words to that effect.

He went away muttering about undisciplined rabble and later came back. ‘What if we pay you?’ ‘Okay… Sir.’ (Cue limp salute here.)


Star drinking

Martin Field 2009-09-17T08:22:47+00:000000004730200909 Wine Tasting

Hardys Stamp of Australia Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 – I bought a dozen at around $6.60 the 1 litre bottle – ***

I know it’s only September, but this red gets my value for money wine of the year award already.

 A lovely robust melange of fully ripe berries, plums, sweet vanillin American oak, mildly assertive tannins and a pleasant aftertaste. Good on its own or with tucker and a stunner at the price. Some very ordinary cask wines are dearer.


Carme Ruscalleda – Sant Pau

Mike Tommasi 2009-07-28T12:03:57+00:000000005731200907 Restaurant Reviews

Getting a reservation at the Sant Pau (c/Nou, 10 – E-08395 Sant Pol de Mar – Catalunya, Spain – T: +34-93-7600662) is not an easy matter, this three-star dining room only has 9 tables. Catherine and I travel frequently to Catalunya, my parents live in the Baix Empordà area; the region is also one of the earth’s true hot spots for star chefs: within 120km of Sant Feliu de Guíxols, that useful tyrant known as the Red Guide has identified 38 one-star eateries, 2 two-stars and 3 three-stars! While I can only describe my experience at super-legendary elBulli as “interesting”, a recent visit to El Celler de Can Roca proved to be one the most memorable and perfect lunches of my life. Sant Pau is very different from Can Roca, and yet both share the same extremely high level of taste, precision, service as well as culinary culture and intelligence.
Sant Pau, Carme Ruscalleda


La Compagnia del Rossese

Luca Risso 2009-07-26T22:30:43+00:000000004331200907 Degustazioni di vino

Vigneto Luvaira

Vigneto Luvaira

Qui si parla di Rossese. Si parla di un vino poco conosciuto ma grande. Si parla del più importante vino rosso ligure ottenuto dall’omonimo vitigno, praticamente assente fuori dai confini delle provincie di Imperia e (in minima parte) di Savona, ma che raggiunge i suoi vertici qualitativi in un fazzoletto di terrazze quasi verticali nei comuni di Dolceacqua, San Biagio della Cima, Soldano e Camporosso.


Cheap booze for bankrupt millionaires

Martin Field 2009-07-17T05:58:42+00:000000004231200907 Wine

by Martin Field
Yeah I know you high flyers are doing it hard and don’t know where the next magnum of Krug is coming from.
Public sympathy for scammers and skimmers is in even shorter supply than usual but we lower socio-economic dwellers are charitable, so I’ve decided to share a few tips on alcoholic cost cutting to ameliorate your pain. I have assumed none of the following tips will breach your bail conditions.
Make your own wine. Buy some grapes, put them in a large garbage bag and have the home help trample them on the marble kitchen floor. Bung some yeast in the drained off juice and, when fermented, store in a barrel. Bottle and drink when ready. (True, this is how a friend does it every year.)
Brew your own beer. Buy a can of Coopers home brew stout mix (the best of them all) follow the instructions (or ask your PA to do it). Drink.
Drink more cask (bag in box) wines and cleanskins. Dollar for dollar, cask whites always taste better than the reds – don’t know why.


Trowelling Stilton at the Melbourne Club

Martin Field 2009-07-17T05:56:33+00:000000003331200907 Food and Wine

by Martin Field
Maybe it was 20 years ago. ‘How about I take you to lunch at the Melbourne Club?’ My eye specialist, a generous, learned gentleman of the old school and also the father of a friend, wanted to repay me for fine-tuning his office PC.
Never having been there – they have an invisible brass plaque by the front door saying ‘No women, no lefties, certain religions are a bit suss, and definitely no riff-raff!’ – I accepted. ‘You’ll have to wear a suit you know,’ he smiled, gazing at my public service uniform: Miller shirt, Lee jeans and Blundstones.
When I arrived at the club, I certainly didn’t look like a member – longish hair, beard, baggy tan suit, a ridiculously narrow dusty pink leather tie and tan R.M. Williams Cuban-heeled boots (to match the suit, you understand). However, after the business with the rubber gloves, some pointed interrogation and upon showing my passport and letters of accreditation, they let me in.


The Emperor of Scent

Martin Field 2009-07-17T05:53:23+00:000000002331200907 Wine Tasting

by Martin Field
I cheekily asked the Emperor of Scent, Luca Turin, if he had ever written wine reviews, and if not would he write one for us.
He replied, ‘I would be incapable of writing a wine review, though I am very flattered you should ask.
‘Here’s why: I believe that what underlies my perfume reviews (and Tania’s) is the fact that insofar as perfume is composed by humans it contains intent, which it is the critic’s job to infer.
‘Wine seems too much a product of divine providence to be an artistic creation proper. I could no more write wine reviews than I could write cloud ones.’
Despite Luca’s reservations, let’s hope that one day he and Tania put their pens to wine in a way that is as evocative and incisive as their writings on fragrance.

Star Drinking

Martin Field 2009-07-17T05:47:48+00:000000004831200907 Wine Tasting

by Martin Field
Murray’s Nirvana Pale Ale – about $3 the 330ml bottle – ***
Golden syrup hued ale. Hoppy, spicy nose. The palate is full and smooth with hints of cardamom and lime and a firm bitter finish. Moreish.
Veuve Amiot Brut – $12.30 – **
AOC Saumur, Loire Valley. Methode traditionelle. Chenin blanc and chardonnay. Refreshing bubbly with a nose of dried pears. On the palate, it shows almonds and apple pie along with mild acidity and a good length of palate.
Tyrrell’s Stevens Hunter Semillon 2005 – up to $32 – ****
Very pale. Fresh as a newly bloomed daisy – you wouldn’t know it was over four years old. Aromatic, showing citrus fruits and freshly baled hay. Light lime marmalade flavours are supported by brisk lemon peel edged acidity. Tasty.
Scarborough Chardonnay 2006 – $21-ish – ***
Hunter Valley, New South Wales. A nose of new white peaches and biscuity French wood. Well-structured in the mouth with flavours of stone fruits, subtle toasted oak and a lively acid finish.


Off topic: il Martini cocktail

Luca Risso 2009-07-07T11:12:37+00:000000003731200907 Vino e Cibo

Si dice che non ci sia miglior tranquillante di un Martini, che uno non sia abbastanza e tre siano troppi, che sia una filosofia di vita, un punto d’arrivo. Effettivamente pochi cocktail godono di una storia così lunga e gloriosa, ricca di fan appassionati e famosi nella realtà come nella finzione cinematografica. La forza del Martini sta tutta nella sua purezza e semplicità: pochissimi ingredienti che però opportunamente scelti e declinati generano decine di varianti e alimentano ogni giorno il mito di questa ricetta.
Intanto Il Martini non c’entra nulla con il Martini & Rossi vermouth, ma pare prenda il nome da un tal Martini originario Arma di Taggia barista a New York nel 1910, oppure da un tal Martinez di New Orleans o ancora forse da una cittadina californiana. Il Martini vermouth in ogni caso nacque molti anni dopo.


Là nella Valle…

Luca Risso 2009-07-02T12:57:09+00:000000000931200907 Vino e Cibo

Se perfino big del giornalismo enogastronomico incominciano a parlare della Val di Vara come ha fatto Luigi Cremona nel suo blog, vuol dire che questo verde spicchio di Liguria qualche interesse lo merita davvero. Per chi avesse voglia di trascorrere un week end al fresco, approfondendo le proprie conoscenze sui vini, formaggi, salumi e carni prodotti in valle segnalo due manifestazioni di sicuro interesse, una a Brugnato e l’altra a Sesta Godano.