February 28th, 2014
12:00 PM ET
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Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.

I had the good fortune last week to be in California for Premiere Napa Valley, a glitzy shindig for which the valley’s top wineries produce special, one-off cuvées to help fund the Napa Valley Vintners (the local trade association). Usually five or 10 cases, but sometimes up to a full barrel, these cuvées are then auctioned off to wine shop owners and the like for, ideally, huge heaps of cash. Nothing is ever cheap at this event, and at this year’s auction—which demolished previous records for revenue—some things were very, very expensive.

Take, for instance, the top lot: five cases of wine from the beloved-by-billionaires cult–Cab favorite Scarecrow. It sold for $260,000. That’s about more than four grand a bottle, give or take. Or, you know, for normal people, a house.
 
However: It should be said that despite the glow given off by extravaganzas like this one, Napa Valley does produce some very good wines that are also, actually, affordable. People tend to forget that fact in their concentration on the region’s famed Cabernets, but it’s well-worth remembering.

Here, for those of us (wine writers included) who could no more spend four thousand bucks on a bottle of wine than we could fly to the moon on the backs of magical swans, some ideal Napa bargains.
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Filed under: Content Partner • Food and Wine • Sip • Wine


February 28th, 2014
10:30 AM ET
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Your phone's confiscated.

Your fingerprints are taken.

You're going to prison.

But don't worry, it's just for lunch.

The Clink Charity opened its third restaurant this week inside Brixton Prison in south London.

The meals are cooked and served by actual prisoners at restaurants located inside prison walls as part of a training and qualification program to help them prepare for life on the outside.
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Filed under: Britain • Restaurants • Theme • Travel


February 27th, 2014
05:00 PM ET
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Do you try to eat ethically? Do you only eat local produce, using nothing that’s been transported via air travel? Avoid certain products or grow your own?

The concepts of eating ethically and watching where our food comes from are hot topics in the food world.

CNN’s forthcoming Freedom Project documentary examines the cocoa industry and the work undertaken to combat exploitation of workers throughout the journey from “bean to chocolate bar,” shining a light on the often challenging issue of eating ethically.

Broadly speaking, eating ethically can cover anything from vegetarianism to eating only local produce and boycotting products which are considered wasteful or exploitative.

iReport asked CNN readers if they think about where their food comes from.
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Filed under: Animal Rights • Food Politics • iReport • Local Food


February 27th, 2014
03:45 PM ET
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Paula Deen might be on track to issue another apology.

After her career in food imploded last year when she admitted to previously using a racial slur, the 67-year-old celebrity chef is trying to slowly rebuild what she's lost.

However, her recent cover story with People magazine is having the opposite effect.

In the article, Deen says she is finding inspiration in what might seem an unusual place given her past troubles.
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Filed under: Celebrity Chefs • Paula Deen


February 27th, 2014
12:40 AM ET
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Love that chocolate Haagen-Dazs ice-cream? But what about the way its makers treat their farmers? How about KitKat and the way its production impacts the environment?

In a campaign to push big companies towards more ethical sourcing, international development group Oxfam is asking people to think about food producers' attitudes towards issues such as climate change and workers' rights the next time they dig into their favorite treat.
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February 27th, 2014
12:15 AM ET
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Choosing healthier foods at the grocery store may soon be a little easier.

The Food and Drug Administration is proposing several changes to the nutrition labels you see on packaged foods and beverages. If approved, the new labels would place a bigger emphasis on total calories, added sugars and certain nutrients, such as Vitamin D and potassium.

The FDA is also proposing changes to serving size requirements in an effort to more accurately reflect what people usually eat or drink. For example, if you buy a 20-ounce soda, you're probably not going to stop drinking at the 8-ounce mark. The new rules would require that entire soda bottle to be one serving size - making calorie counting simpler.
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February 26th, 2014
11:15 AM ET
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Paula Deen is back, y'all. She's opening a restaurant this summer at the foot of the Smoky Mountains, marking her first move back into business after a scandal derailed her many enterprises.

Deen's new restaurant and retail store will be called "Paula Deen's Family Kitchen" and located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

The 20,000 square foot Southern-fried facility is the premiere enterprise to come out of her new firm, Paula Deen Ventures, which was launched just weeks ago with backing from Phoenix-based Najafi Media. It will have an operating budget of about $20 million.
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Filed under: Celebrity Chefs • Paula Deen


5 bad excuses for not cooking
February 25th, 2014
07:00 PM ET
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This is the eighteenth installment of "Eat This List" - a regularly recurring list of things chefs, farmers, writers and other food experts think you ought to know about.

You should cook. Yes, you. Even if you don't want to.

This isn't like saying that you should learn Ovid in the original Latin for the enrichment of your soul, or requiring that you hunker and hone your julienne and demi-glace skills until you emerge victorious in a battle overseen by Alton Brown or Anthony Bourdain. This is about getting yourself fed and taking a modicum of responsibility for it.

You eat, right? Maybe even more than once a day? (Or even if you ingest some combination of nutrients solely through methods that don't require chewing, smoothies have to taste like something, don't they?) And I'm going to go ahead and assume that you'd like to continue living in your body for the next while. Assembling foodstuffs for intake without the intermediary of a drive-thru speaker, menu, or segmented tray and microwave is the ideal way to facilitate that.

Yet people object, throw their hands in the air and simply refuse. Here's why they're wrong.
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Filed under: Cook • Cooking • Eat This List • Make


February 25th, 2014
04:00 PM ET
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First lady Michelle Obama raps about food at an event to propose limits on the types of foods advertised in schools.
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