Sunday, June 28, 2009

Introducing Guest Blogger, Nicholas Waerzeggers - “The World of Intentional Food”

Take the intentional nature of food, its culture, restaurants, personalities, products, growers, producers & caretakers and their intentions, mix in wry commentary on how and why we collectively participate in the sacred sharing of food.....and you have our newest blog post, “The World of Intentional Food” by Nicholas Waerzeggers.

Nic has a unique perspective to share, as Maitre D' and resident Dionysius of L’Etoile Restaurant (a personal favorite), he intentionally presides over and participates in nightly celebrations of food and wine. We hope you find Nic's contributions lively, informative and thought provoking.

Albariño and Commitment

Albariño - the Spanish white grape which more often than not zings with juicy flavors of nectarines and salsas happily with a lush sturdiness – is not frequently seen on liquor store shelves. Unfortunately, it’s just as seldom on restaurant wine lists.

This was disappointingly brought to my attention a couple weeks back while dining at a nearby restaurant that was featuring shrimp ceviche tostados. A glass of Albariño would have been so darn perfect with those tostados that I nearly wrote the restaurant in a brooding/longing personal classifieds missed connection frame of mind.

Above photo from The Wine Blokes.

It got me to thinking about Albariño’s relative scarcity. I thought maybe it was that intimidating ñ or the general unknown of Spanish white wine. Really, I think it’s just a matter of commitment. Not in a monogamy sense, but more along the lines of a redirected summer-love-interest sort of sense. Everyone had that summer, I think, where the expected reconnection at the lake or at camp was thrown upside down by the arrival of a new, more exotic girl.

“Look, Chardonnay. If there’s time maybe I’ll meet you after lunch by the docks. Albariño and I are going out to the sand bar.”

The Spanish, I’m told, drink Albariño in bucketfuls along side shellfish. Seafood is pretty easy to come by in Northwest Spain because of the many fjord-like extensions of land into the Atlantic Ocean. The resulting inlets, or rías, as the wine books say, invite bevies of seafood into the awaiting fishermen’s nets.

Albariño is not simply from the Rias Baixas, Spain, however. California and even Australian Albariños are at the ready and possess equally steely refreshing virtues. Perhaps it’s that steely quality as to why I associate nectarine and not peach, as the accomplished tasters do, with Albariño. Or, maybe it’s a bit of personal karma.

Above photo from Gerry Dawes'Spain.

I sort of understand that peaches and nectarines are the same fruit but with different textures. Maybe that’s why as a youngster walking through the produce department I sometimes dug my fingernails into nectarines. I did this, I believe, because nectarines didn’t immediately give way as the seemingly always riper peaches did. I liked the look of that crescent moon-shaped fingernail in the nectarines as opposed to a mushy thumbprint.

I see that I regret that behavior now, and I guess I want to believe that all those nectarines that were likely thrown out by the produce clerk ended up being used in some roundabout way. Therefore, I’ve committed to trying three or four Albariños this summer and come August, when nectarines are at their juiciest, I’m gonna sit on the balcony and enjoy one with a glass of Albariño. And while I sip, I’m going to write a letter to that restaurant saying how much I enjoyed their shrimp ceviche tostados and how I’d like to try them again with a glass of Albariño.

I’ll wait a month and if Albariño is still not on their wine list, perhaps I’ll attempt to bring in my own bottle. On the subject of bringing your own bottle of wine to a restaurant… (the next blog topic).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chocolate and Green Tea - Which Is Healthier?

Benefits galore! Dark, gourmet chocolate and the vitality of green tea...

As we are finding out, dark chocolate and green tea are two very powerful foods that have an incredibly wide range of benefits. However, do we know which is healthier - green tea or chocolate? Rhonda Parkinson on tells us of the interesting comparison between these two "super-foods" !

"...Chocolate contains up to four times the anti-oxidants found in tea." Sound too good to be true? In fact, that was the conclusion of a recent study by Holland's National Institute of Public Health and Environment. Researchers found that chocolate - specifically dark chocolate - contains 53.5 mg of catechins per 100 grams. "

Read the rest of this rather "delicious" article here!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Delicious for Your Skin - "Chocolate As Sunscreen!"

The benefits of dark, organic chocolate are many, but who knew that it could protect your skin?

From, is an enticing tidbit - can we benefit from using chocolate as sunscreen?

"...German researchers have shown that ingesting types rich in cocoa solids and flavonoids—dark chocolate—can fight skin cancer. Their findings are preliminary because they come from a trial of just 24 women who were recruited to add cocoa to their breakfasts every day for about 3 months."

Interesting indeed! Read the full story about how chocolate could help protect your skin here.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

"Brain Stretching" - Get Smarter As You Get Older!

Vitality and life for your brain!

By Linton Weeks on is this very encouraging article that states : "Nowadays, some scientists say, you can exercise your brain the way you exercise your body". Here's more from this article:

"If you sleep more, eat less and get plenty of exercise — using your body and your brain — says Richard Restak, you can improve your intelligence over the years and help stave off the dementia that comes with old age.
Restak, a psychiatrist in Washington, D.C., is the author of the just-published Think Smart: A Neuroscientist's Prescription for Improving Your Brain's Performance. Research shows, he says, that the brain responds to stretching and challenging exercises in every stage of life."

It is also important to stimulate sensory memory:

"...To stimulate the sensory memory, Restak suggests testing your powers of olfaction. He writes that "eighty-five percent of the U.S. population can identify the following seven odors: baby powder, chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, mothballs, peanut butter and soap."

Read more in depth here on about the steps we can take for a healthy, happy, whip-smart brain!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Are "Brainier" Men Healthier?

Credit: catsquared

A rather fascinating article by Ewen Callaway in New Scientist Magazine probes the topic - "Brainy Men May be Healthier Men". Could intelligence be linked to better heath for men? Here's an excerpt from the article with both sides of the story:

"A new study of 3654 Vietnam War veterans finds that men with lower IQs are more likely to suffer from dozens of health problems – from hernias, to ear inflammation, to cataracts – compared with those showing greater intelligence.
This offers tantalising – yet preliminary – evidence that health and intelligence are the result of common genetic factors, and that low intelligence may be an indication of harmful genetic mutations.

"It poses the question to epidemiologists: why is it that intelligence is a predictor for things that seem so very far removed from the brain," says Rosalind Arden, a psychologist at King's College London, who led the study.

One obvious counter-argument is that intelligent people make healthier choices. "You could say: 'look, brighter people make better health decisions – they give up smoking when they find it's bad for you, they take up exercise when they find out its good for you, and they eat a lot of salad'," Arden says."

Intrigued? Read the full article here.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The 83 Year Old Yogi! More Wonderful Benefits of Yoga.

Vitality at any age! See what a bit of dark chocolate and yoga can do...

Courtesy of the Daily Mail Online, here's a wonderful article about an 83-year old "super-gran" that stays incredibly and impressively fit thanks to her dedicated yoga practice!

Bette Calman, of Williamstown, southeast Australia, has taught yoga for over 40 years and can handle some of the most difficult asanas with ease. It just goes to show how far a bit of dedication and compassion towards oneself can go! Here's more via the Daily Mail Online:

"Mrs Calman teaches up to 11 classes a week with no sign of stopping and she keeps the 'corpse' posture strictly for her classes.

'Yoga keeps you young,' she said.

'Never have I gone to a yoga class and wished I was somewhere else, because I know I'm going to come out feeling on the top of the world. There'll always be yoga.'"

Read more about this inspiring yogi here!