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Filtering by Tag: slow food new orleans

Celebrate Slow Wine and Slow Food, Terra Madre Day at Swirl!

Beth Ribblett

Terra Madre Day, December 10th, marks the anniversary of the founding of the Slow Food movement in Italy in 1986 by a passionate guy named Carlo Petrini.  It's a day when  food communities and Slow Food chapters around the world celebrate eating locally and sustainable local food production in more than a 1,000 events: collective meals, community festivals, protests, workshops for children, excursions to producers and much more are held to promote local food traditions and demonstrate the Slow Food philosophy of good, clean and fair food to communities, media and decision makers. This year the Slow Food NOLA event will be hosted at Swirl where we are teaming up with our friends from Fat Falafel for an evening of Slow Wine and Slow Food!  

So just what exactly does that mean? Slow Food publishes a great Italian wine guide called "Slow Wine" in support of producers who not only make great wine but who are also passionate about their bond with the land and their choice of cultivation and cellar techniques - favoring those who implement ecologically sustainable wine growing and winemaking practices.  Slow Food panels of judges visited over 400 wineries and have compiled reviews of over 3000 wines. So our role in tonight's event will be to serve wines at the bar from producers highlighted in the book for their support of good, clean and fair.

Fat Falafel will be supporting another initiative of Slow Food by preparing a dish using a food that is part of the Ark of Taste program.   Slow Food's Ark of Taste is a catalog of over 200 delicious foods that you’ve maybe never heard of, because, for one reason or another, they’ve been cast aside by the industrial food system.  So besides all of the other great stuff they already serve on the truck, Gavin and Teresa of Fat Falafel will be preparing a special dish on the menu specifically for the event.  A portion of the proceeds from Fat Falafel's sales of that one delicious item and the bar sales from our 5 special Slow Wines, will be donated to Slow Food.

And just in case you want to know, Swirl represents many of the producers in the book and you can look for the Slow Food snail on the bottles to indicate which ones are considered worthy of the Slow Wine snail of approval!  Check out the list below and come to the shop on Tuesday where 5 of the following wineries will be represented on our special by the glass menu! The hard part is going to be picking 5 from this amazing list.

Italy's Slow Wine Producers currently available at Swirl:
Allegrini - Veneto
Occhipinti - Sicilia
Terlano - Alto Adige
Caggiano - Campania
Librandi - Calabria
Terre Nere - Sicilia
Foradori - Trentino
Velenosi - Marche
Donnafugata - Sicilia
Planeta - Sicilia
Gaja - Piemonte, Toscana
I Vigneri - Sicilia
Travaglini - Piemonte
Le Morette - Veneto
La Spinetta - Toscana
Boscarelli - Toscana
Bartolo Mascarello - Piemonte

Driven by a passion for wine, food, travel and good company...

Beth Ribblett

As I sat at my desk this morning putting all of our upcoming events into the calendar, I couldn't help but scratch my head and wonder how we are going to pull all of this off. While it would be so easy to sit back and just be a fun wine bar and market, I can't help myself. Because in sharing our love of wine, food and travel through our events and trips, we connect with others who share our passion; chefs, winemakers, importers, wine wholesalers, restaurant owners, slow food folks, farmers, customers and more. New friendships are formed and others deepened with delicious food, interesting wines and wonderful company. After all, isn't that what this is all about?

So I hope you'll join us sometime soon for a wine and cheese pairing night, a dinner or two, a flite nite at the bar or just wander on in for a nice glass of wine and some lively conversation. Besides our regularly scheduled events that we do each and every week like Fat Falafel Tuesdays (6-8pm), Wednesday Nite Flites (6-8pm), Friday Free For Alls (6-8pm) and Saturday Happy Hour (all wines on our menu are 1/2 off, 4-6pm), here are some exciting things on the books and in the works!

The Famed Wines of Montalcino with Antonio Molesini and St. James' Cheese Casey Foote. A seated tasting of Rosso di Montalcino, Brunellos and Super Tuscans from one of Italy's most famous hill towns. And since no Italian event is complete with out a little food, Casey will pair delicicous Italian cheeses and meats with the wines. $30, Reservations and prepayment required. Thursday, February 21, 6:30pm @ Swirl.

Premium Pinot, a special Wednesday Nite Flite featuring 12 artisanal Pinot Noirs that retail from $40 to $100 a bottle from California and Oregon. We are teaming up with our friends from Mystic Vines for this exclusive event limited to 25 participants. $20, Reservations and prepayment required. Wednesday, February 27, 6:00pm

Three Muses Supper Club
with James Moises a small, intimate event featuring a special menu for the evening that we will pair with Oregon and Washington wines presented by our mutual friend James Moises. I sent a special email out on Friday with the menu, pairings and reservation details. We were sold out by Sunday, but keep an eye out for more events with Chef Dan. Tuesday, March 12 @ 7pm.

Italian Barrel Wine Dinner
with Antonio Molesini will feature 5 courses with wine pairings with our favorite Italian Wine Guy, Antonio Molesini. The dinner will be prepared by Chef/Proprietor Samantha L. Castagnetti a native of Verona in her true Italian style trattoria. Menu and pairings TBA, but mark the date! Tuesday March, 19th at 6:30pm. $70 inclusive, only 20 spots available!

The Oregon Wine Road Show with Bizou Wines featuring 30 Oregon wines from artisan producers, most of who don't sell their wines outside of Oregon. James Moises represents a slew of small producers who make incredible Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Tempranillo, Viognier, Syrah and of course Pinot Noir that few in New Orleans have ever tasted. This is a don't miss tasting for all you Pinot lovers or any who wants to taste some amazing wines and learn about what is happening in Oregon. This tasting will be an extension of our Wednesday Nite Flites on March 20th. More info TBA!

Artisan Winemaking Tour with James Moises of Bizou Wines for a unique, hands-on experience of small production, artisanal winemaking at its best!  We'll take you to the stunningly beautiful Pacific Northwest for a five day tour to visit small, off the beaten path wineries and vineyards; meet, taste and dine with winemakers and witness one of the most exciting times of the year in wine country, the harvest!  You will get an exclusive, insiders look into what goes on behind the scenes as you'll have the opportunity to pick grapes, sort fruit and see many aspects of the grape harvest and early stages of production first hand. October 9-13th, details and pricing coming very soon!

Also in the works for March... an unforgettable event with Marco De Grazia Imports President, Anne Zakin on March 14th at a fabulous NOLA restaurant...and in early April a Slow Wine and Food Event with Slow Food NOLA featuring Italian wine, pasta and the new Slow Wine book!

See anything interesting?  Call us!  504-304-0635

Savory Bites

Beth Ribblett

...offering tidbits of information on interesting discoveries in the food and wine scene of New Orleans.
The Farm to Table Movement Picks up Steam in New Orleans!

It is hard sometimes to think of the positive things that have resulted from hurricane Katrina and the failure of our levee system. But they are there, if you open your mind to the fact that having to rebuild has allowed us to make many things better than they were before, in fact better than I ever dreamed they could be. Two very prominent issues for me in my daily life are the amazing things happening at City Park and the increasing awareness of the importance of the farm to table movement. While the Crescent City Farmers Market has lead the way in introducing local farmers and their wares to us city dwellers, Katrina has somehow shown us the importance of supporting each other economically as well as how eating local not only tastes better but is better for you nutritionally!

In addition to our wonderful CC Farmers Market, we have many prominent community vegetable and fruit gardens, Hollygrove and Mid City to name a few, an active Slow Food chapter, an increase in backyard, urban gardening, many local chefs who are seeking out farm fresh meats, poultry and produce and a population of socially aware foodies who want the best on their tables without the big box price tags.

Also, edible community magazine, a national publishing and information services company that creates editorially rich, community-based, local-foods publications in distinct culinary regions throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, has started "edible new orleans". An absolutely beautiful local magazine, they connect consumers with family farmers, growers, chefs, and food artisans of all kinds through their publications, supporting websites, and events. The current issue has a lot of information on local gardens so pick one up at the shop on your next visit!

Now enter Jack and Jakes, something Kerry and I have wanted for years, an alternative to Whole Foods that offers truly fresh products – typically available at the Market within 3 days of harvest. Their mission, from the Jack and Jakes website: "Our food is truly local and is harvested within ~65 miles of the heart of the city. Our farmers and food artisans cultivate local varieties and use organic products that produce food that tastes better, retains more nutrients, and meets special dietary needs. We are proud to tell you that our fresh produce comes with seeds because we do not support or promote the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Our farmers use open pollinated and heirloom varieties that don’t ship well but taste great! We are working to save and promote our local food heritage through sustainable food practices that utilize locally adapted plants and animals."

A much needed service, Jack and Jakes will be opening this spring at 8300 Earhart Blvd., near the Carrollton intersection. Their model will reduce your food miles by bringing you fresh, local, and organic foods under the roof of a full service 7 day a week grocery store. Dry goods, dairy, pastured meats, local seafood, and seasonal local produce is their mission. Local first, everything else is second! I'll keep you posted on their progress or got to their site to check them out: Jack and Jakes

Book Signing with Poppy Tooker at Swirl!

Beth Ribblett

Date: July 31
Where: Swirl Wines, 3143 Ponce de Leon Street
Time: 6 to 8pm
Cost: Free

Slow Food New Orleans Founder, published author, culinary activist and chef Poppy Tooker will be at Swirl Wines this evening for a book signing of The Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook where she tells the story of the Crescent City Farmers Market through recipes, anecdotes, and profiles of key market vendors. Local culinary talent Chef Daniel Esses will join Poppy with tapas plates for sale created from the recipes in the book using ingredients from the Crescent City Farmers Market. And as is there is each and every Friday at Swirl, there will be free wine to taste and enjoy as Antonio Molesini, Italian Wine Specialist from Republic National, will be pouring 4 free wines from his native Italy.

Plus local artist Rudy Rowell will be hanging 10 new canvases for tonight,s event. And if you know his work, you know how quickly it sells, so stop by to see what Rudy's up to now!

For more information call Swirl Wines at 504.304.0635.

Cool Summer Cocktails at Cure

Beth Ribblett

I snapped a few quick pictures at the Slow Food New Orleans cocktail class at Cure. We learned the tricks of the trade for 3 summer cocktails that featured local, fresh ingredients including the Anejo Highball, Bramble and Peach Smash.

While all were delicious, I'd have to say my personal favorite was their take on the Anejo Highball (I'm not sure why the called it anejo when it was made with a blanco, but I guess it just sounds better...). Ingredients included fresh cucumber slices, lime juice, tequila and bitters, it was the first cocktail of the evening. It was followed by the Bramble, made with a fresh blueberry puree, gin and lemon juice and with the peach, bourbon and mint "smash" as the finale.

Lots of great information, techniques and fabulous cocktails were enjoyed by all. Here's the recipe for the light and refreshing Anejo Highball:

2 cucumber slices
2 lime wedges
1 part simple syrup
1 part fresh lime juice
2 parts blanco tequila
a little club soda
splash of Angostura Bitters

-Muddle the lime and the cucumber
-Add the the simple syrup, lime juice and tequila and stir
-Fill the glass with ice and top off with club soda
-Add the splash of bitters

Enjoy!!And if you have yet to visit Cure, put it high on your list if visiting an upscale, beautiful cocktail lounge with great drinks, nice small plates on the menu and a really comfy atmosphere, sounds like a good time to you! We need more of this in New Orleans!!

The Slow Food Movement in a Snail Shell

Beth Ribblett

To the uninitiated, the exact meaning of the Slow Food movement can be a bit elusive. Slow Food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.

Slow Food burst into being in 1986 as a protest to McDonald's establishing its first outpost in Rome's historic Piazza di Spagna. The prospect of the golden arches among the city's baroque facades was too much for Carlo Petrini (pictured below), a journalist and gastronome from the Piedmont region of Italy.

Petrini and fellow founder Folco Portinari wrote a manifesto to champion slow food as an antidote to the "fast life" and "fast food" that have drastically altered cultures worldwide over the last 100 years. As Portinari wrote, "Let us rediscover the flavors and savors of regional cooking and banish the degrading effects of Fast Food." The Slow Food Manifesto was signed on November 9, 1989 at the Opera Comique in Paris and was endorsed by delegates from Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States, and Venezuela.

The gist of the manifesto and the movement is to cook, eat and live slower. This is done by avoiding mass-manufactured products and preserving local and regional foods and traditions and especially focusing on the cultural cuisine and the associated food, plants and seeds, domestic animals and framing within a region.

Slow Food has over 100,000 members that are involved in over 1,000 convivia - local chapters - worldwide. Membership dollars fund a host of programs dedicated to educating through school and campus based initiatives, promote local and regional foods, safeguard biodiversity and connect people around the country with their food and the people who grow it.

Feeling moved by the Slow Food movement? Derrick Schneider, author of the food blog Obsession with Food and a Slow Food member for years, had a few suggestions for those hoping to slow down.

1. Become a regular at the farmers' market.
Local growers have the freshest ingredients you can buy and are a great source of information. As Schneider puts it, "Don't feel shy about asking how to cook something or how it grew." Farmers and food artisans are usually happy to educate their customers about the products they grow and create.

2. Get a cookbook to guide and inspire your changing habits.
Getting used to buying whatever looks best (as opposed to the specific ingredients needed for a particular recipe) can be a challenge, but a good cookbook can help you plan meals and menus around the treasures you find at the farmers' market.

3. Be willing to look around for high-quality food.
Depending on where you live, a wide variety of products, from cheeses and wines to grains and sweeteners may be available. Contact your local Slow Food chapter to find sources for hard-to-find products, or ask around. You may be surprised by the variety of high-quality food that's out there once you start looking.

4. Sit down and share meals with others.
Enjoying food in the company of loved ones is an important part of the Slow Food philosophy. As Schneider suggests, "Sit down with your family--or even your roommates--at the dinner table and enjoy each other's company. Open a bottle of wine or beer and just take a moment to slow down and appreciate your life. Eat slowly and have a conversation."

If the Slow philosophy piques your interest, please join Jeff Roberts, author of The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese, on Wednesday for a free Slow Food New Orleans event at St. James Cheese Company. This evenings “American” themed festivities will include small plates by local chef Bart Bell, samplings of sustainable and organic California wines by Swirl Wines, accompanied by artisan American cheeses from St. James Cheese Company and beer by Kirk Coco of NOLA brewing.

We’ll have a Slow Food information and membership table set up if you are interested in joining or you can go to Call Swirl, 504.304.0635 or St. James Cheese, 504.899.4737 for more information. St. James Cheese is located at 5004 Prytania Street