Category Archives: Europe

500th Anniversary of German Beer Purity Act

Three ingredients mandated for Bavarian beer — and that’s all.

A German commemorative stamp celebrates the Reinheitsgebot, the world's first legal standard for the prodcution of a food or drink product.
A German commemorative stamp celebrates the Reinheitsgebot, the world’s first legal standard for the production of a food or drink product.

April 23, 1516, was not the date of William Shakespeare’s death. That wouldn’t happen for another hundred years. It was the date of the adoption of the Bavarian Beer Purity Act (Reinheitsgebot in German), decreeing that beer could be made only with three ingredients: water, barley and hops. Period.

This calls for all manner of celebrations, certainly in Germany where some festivals will stretch through the summer, but even in Colorado. Here are some:

AC Golden and Sandlot Brewery, both part of the Coors family, serve limited release of the Reinheit brew at select World of Beer locations. Master brewer Andreas Gahr from St. Johann Research Brewery in Germany has collaborated on this authentic, old-style German lager.

Boulder’s Bohemiian Biergarten is turning up the party juice this evening, even though Bohemia is now the Czech Republic, not Germany. Really, who cares? Beginning at 8 p.m. this evening, they are serving  $5 Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr Biers (both from Munich and now corporately related). Also, there’s a raffle for commemorative mugs. Austrian Connection plays live. At least Austrian and Germany share a common language (more or less, depending on regional dialects). Create some Reinheitsgebot-themed attire and  get a gift.

Mockery Brewing irreverently calls its its event Reinheitsgewhat?!.  It starts today at noon, and the irreverence continues as the brewery invites guests to “spend the day rocking and mocking beer laws.” They’ve got limited beer releases, live music by the The Polkanauts (“Metal by Birth-Polka by Choice”) and commemorative beer steins for the first 100 guests. They are putting details on their Facebook event page.

The Rackhouse in RiNo is serving specialty brews from Call to Arms and Fässer, Andechs Döppelbock monastery from noon on. The kitchen is turning out the Bavarian specialty, Leberkäse, a pâté beloved in southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Illy Cafe in Denver Hotel

Colorado’s first location of Italian cafe.

Illy-logoIlly, which the company insists on writing with a lower-case I (attractive on the logo but challenging to read in sans-serif type), recently opened  opening its first free-standing café in Colorado,

Actually, the 650-square-foot Illy Caffé Bar is semi-freestanding, since it is located within the Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center Hotel but also has a direct street-side entrance on the hotel’s 17th Street side, just off Champa. Indoor and outdoor seating for 40 mean it’s more than an stand-up/take-out place.

Since its founding in 1933 by Francesco Illy in cosmopolitan Trieste, Italy, the family-run company continues to be a prestigious brand for coffee culture in more than 140 countries.

 

J’ai Une Bonne Anniversaire a Paris

Translation: I had a wonderful birthday in Paris.

P1050721We had plenty of OK but forgettable food in Paris, eating wherever we happened to be when our stomachs rumbled. But dinner on September 9, my birthday, was one to remember. Our AirBnB host recommended Maguey (“expensive but very good”), and it was both — and happily is located just down the street from where we stayed.

Simple, stylish and understated décor lets the food shine.
Simple, stylish and understated décor lets the food shine.

We had to leave for the airport early, so made a reservation for 7:30 — early by Parisian standards. The small, stylish restaurant was empty  half-an-hour before anyone else arrived, but when we left at 9:30 or so, it was packed. The suave, efficient waiter explained the restaurant’s intriguing format. The “menu” consists of two adjectives and three courses. The diners select the adjectives that best suit their tastes (convivial, exuberant, playful, silky) tell the waiter what they might be allergic to — and the chef, whose name I do not know, tweaks the dishes to order. Beverage pairings are suggested for each course, but with an early morning departure for the airport, we each ordered just a glass of celebratory champagne.

The menu is deliberately vague, so that the specifics of what will appear on the table is a surprise.
The menu is deliberately vague, so that the specifics of what will appear on the table is a surprise.

At the end of the meal, the waiter brought small menus (in French) of what was selected.  Here are some of the gorgeous and delicious items we had with just the most basic labeling of each dish. No time to translate the full roster of components.

Continue reading J’ai Une Bonne Anniversaire a Paris

A Little Lunch in the Dolomites

Brief encounters with a local forager.

P1050285We haven’t been eating lunch in San Martino di Castrozza every day, but yesterday, we were hungry at mid-day. We were almost the only customers at the Bar dai Maestri, a pretty little place with  an abundance of light pine furniture.

The bar was out of various salad ingredients for items described on the menu, so I requested a salad of whatever was available. Out came a nice mixed salad topped with a super-fresh egg with bright yellow yoke.
The bar was out of various salad ingredients for items described on the menu, so I requested a salad of whatever was available. Out came a nice mixed salad topped with a super-fresh egg with bright yellow yoke.
My husband ordered sliced ham and mushrooms on flatbread. The mushrooms were delicious, sautéed and flavorful. I am fonder of mushrooms than he, so he shared them by putting a lot on my plate.
My husband ordered sliced ham and mushrooms on flatbread. The mushrooms were delicious, sautéed and flavorful. I am fonder of mushrooms than he, so he shared them by putting a lot on my plate.
This morning we decided to visit the town of Mezzano down the valley. a lady with immaculate hair and makeup, and a straw basket on her arm and hiking boots on her feet, waited at the bus stop with us but got off part-way down. Surprise of surprises, she was on the return bus with us. Her basket was filled with wild mushrooms she foraged, along with herbs and leaves to keep them cool. She got off at the Br dai Maestri, evidently delivering that day's haul.
This morning we decided to visit the town of Mezzano down the valley. a lady with immaculate hair and makeup, and a straw basket on her arm and hiking boots on her feet, waited at the bus stop with us but got off part-way down. Surprise of surprises, she was on the return bus with us. Her basket was filled with wild mushrooms she foraged, along with herbs and leaves to keep them cool. She got off at the Br dai Maestri, evidently delivering that day’s haul.

Jasinski Cooking at Food Expo

Denver chef selected to showcase American food at world food fair.

ExpoMilano-logoMy husband and I are winding down a week in the Dolomites in northeastern Italy, and when we were planning this trip, I made some efforts to plug a visit to Expo Milano 2015 into our itinerary. The theme is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. This embraces technology, innovation, culture, traditions and creativity and how they relate to food and diet.” Right up my interest alley.

I couldn’t fit it into an itinerary that includes the resort town of San Martino di Castrozza deep in the mountains, Paris and New York, but Denver chef Jennifer Jasinski  is there. Now. She and her Rioja crew are cooking at the James Beard American Restaurant at Seven Stars Galleria  this weekend. They left for Italy on Monday, August 31 to prepare for the meal.

Other US chefs featured in the September lineup are Ming Tsai, Norman Van Aken and Hugh Acheson, with Tom Collichio, David Kinch, Andrew Carmellini among those scheduled for October, final month of the fair.

“I was blown away and honored to be invited by the US. State Department and the James Beard Foundation to join this incredible lineup of chefs at Expo Milano,” said Jasinski when the invitation was announced. “Expo Milano has been described as the first world’s fair that’s all about food and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Jasinski is serving 70 guests each night at the Milan dinners. She is showcasing contemporary American-accented cuisine for the diverse Expo crowd. These dishes, many including local Italian ingredients, sound awesome:

  • Passed appetizers
  • Crispy bacon cannoli “BLT” with rocket, heirloom tomato, avocado
  • Grilled Virginia ham wrapped peaches, Pedro Jimenez gastrique
  • Apple crisps with tuna tartare, apple, fennel anise vinaigrette
  • Local oysters with citrus-chile granite
  • Fresh cornbread served with cultured butter and Hawaiian sea salt
  • Savory ricotta tart, marinated heirloom tomatoes, pine nut crust, pickled shallots, pine nut pistou, herb salad
  • Alaska turbot, white corn grits, green tomato gazpacho, fresh baby corn, preserved lemons, radishes, watercress
  • Piedmontese beef filet, smoked sweet corn risotto, squash alla Montava, romano beans, sauce bordelaise, bone marrow butter
  • Strawberry rose Bavarian, pistachio-cashew phyllo, Pernod honey, candied rose petals

Buon appetito to the lucky diners

Tasting the West in Italian Establishment

Sanity & taste buds required a break from hotel food.

P1050192The other day, we stopped at the Ranch Bar in San Martino di Castrozza for kicks. Yesterday, needing a break from both the Hotel Colfosco’s truly mediocre food and the constant wailing of one or another baby or toddler at this family hotel, we escaped to the Ranch Bar for dinner. Plus we were really curious about the backstory and food at this Western-theme outpost in Italy’s Dolomites.

The menu named some names.
The menu named some names. Tantalizing leads to the backstory, but not worth exploring beyond a quick initial search. After all, I’m not stalking them.
May there's a Boulder connection. Holubar was an old outdoor gear supplier in Boulder. This loo appears on the placemat.
Maybe there’s a Boulder connection. Holubar was an old outdoor gear supplier in Boulder. This logo appears on the placemat. Or maybe someone just thought that Holubar was a bar.

But what of the burgers?, you might ask. They’re huge! Three young guys at the next table each order two. Two of the trio picked them up American-style, while the third earnestly sawed away at his with a knife and fork.

When I wrote
When I wrote “huge,” I meant HUGE. Big burger from quality eat with or without cheese, on an enormous sesame seed bun.
Not just large, but juicy too. According to the menu, it comes with
Not just large, but juicy too. According to the menu, it comes with “salad.” That it fact is butter lettuce and sliced tomato.
Fries that must have been hand-cu because they are really irregular. They are less successful than the burgers because they weren't really hot when served.
Fries must have been hand-cut because they are really irregular. They are less successful than the burgers because they weren’t really hot when served.
Fries that must have been hand-cu because they are really irregular. They are less successful than the burgers because they weren't really hot when served.
Fries that must have been hand-cut because they were really irregular. They are less successful than the burgers because they weren’t really hot when served.