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.
In this week’s do-not-miss world of beer news, it appears the Icelandic brewery Borg Brugghús has created a beer that gets its unique taste characteristics from, yes indeed, sheep dung.
The malted barley that goes into their Fenrir Nr. 26 is smoked over burning Icelandic sheep excrement for several hours, resulting in a brew that is, according to brewmaster Sturlaugur Jon Björnsson, “Þetta er í raun léttur IPA bjór með sítruslegt og ferskt bragð og lykt frá humlunum. Síðan kemur svolítið þyngri, taðreyktur fílingur í þetta en þetta gengur allt saman upp.”
For the non-Icelandic among us, that more or less translates as “It’s a lightweight IPA with fresh citrus and hop notes, then comes a bit heavier taste from the...” Well. You get the idea.
On America’s 190th birthday in 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the “Freedom of Information Act,” a law he described as crucial to the democratic principles of our country.
And FOIA, as it now known, has since become a cornerstone of government openness and individual rights, and was most recently renewed in 2014.
The idea is simple: provide American citizens with information and space to complain regarding the country’s most pressing issues: national security, policy making and ketchup packets.
Yes, ketchup packets.
You can roll it, ferment it, dry it and put holes in it.
It can be stinky enough to be banned on public transport, crawling with maggots or hard enough to break your teeth.
Cheese is savored all around the world - even if some of it is an acquired taste.
Casu Marzu (Italy)
That's because it's served with live maggots.
It does have a fan base in Sardinia, where sheep farmers for centuries have made pecorino cheese and left it to rot and attract flies.
When the flies' eggs hatch the transformation takes place and the cheese becomes Casu Marzu.
It's then consumed with relish or perhaps trepidation - it has an aftertaste that lasts for hours.
Gordon Ramsay called it "the most dangerous cheese in the world."
Talk about creative coping mechanisms for being alone - from the blogger who photographs selfies with his imaginary girlfriend to the company that takes your stuffed animals on vacation without you, Japan appears to be cornering the market on accommodating solo travelers.
You can now add the "anti-loneliness" Moomin House Cafe to the menagerie of "wait, what?" strokes of Japanese brilliance.
Larry Clinton of Bessemer City, North Carolina, has expressed a wish for his ashes to be buried in a Duke's mayonnaise jar. This is a sentiment behind which we can get.
Not only is the the best sandwich in the universe crafted expressly with Duke's mayonnaise - it also is a source of intense regional pride and identity, as we expounded upon in a mayoni-festo a while back.
A Miami man is in a swampy situation after he was caught trying to trade a live alligator for beer at a Florida convenience store.
Fernando Caignet Aguilera, 64, was cited by officials December 10 after he trapped the 4-foot alligator at a nearby park and brought it to the Santa Ana Market, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Jorge Pino. Aguilera then walked up to the counter asking for a 12-pack of beer in exchange for the alligator. The clerk called Miami police instead.
Pino told CNN that never in his 25-year career in law enforcement has he heard of a person capturing an alligator for the purpose of exchanging it for alcohol - or anything, for that matter. Saying Aguilera apparently needed to "quench his thirst buds," Pino called the incident an "extremely unusual situation, and a sad situation for the alligator."
Lopburi, Thailand, is famous for the small but feisty - and sometimes downright vicious - long-tailed macaques that live among its ancient temples and can often be seen creating mischief in the streets. The town throws an annual "monkey buffet," which gives the animals a chance to gorge on over 2,000 kilograms of fruits, vegetables and other treats like candy and soda.
Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
Recently, news broke that made-in-China dog jerky treats had killed about 600 pets (mostly dogs, along with almost a dozen cats) and made thousands more ill. Poor guys. The FDA’s veterinary medicine chief, Dr. Bernadette Dunham, called it “One of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we’ve encountered.”
I hate that headline. I love my two cats, Lily Gorilla and Coco, who, I’m afraid, are pretty spoiled. (They occasionally score leftovers from the Food & Wine Test Kitchen and from restaurants around New York City.) Still, there are some lengths I’m not ready to go to, like paying $1,000 for treats.
Here are some of the more extravagant things people are doing for their pets. And before my cats start feeling left out, I’ll note that they’re all geared toward dogs.
No one is disputing the quality of the wings. But still.