Friday, October 1, 2010

Brief Review of a Gastronomic Windfall

So, Chronicle Books is on Twitter (@ChronicleBooks) and occasionally has a book giveaway.  I was recently very impressed with a recipe they posted for a Kadota Fig Tart with Mascarpone Cream. I entered the giveaway for the book from which said recipe sprang and the two photos included in this post ought to tell the rest of the story more expeditiously than a man as enamored with his own circumlocution as I.

As you've no doubt read, the book is The Winemaker Cooks by Christine Hanna (with appropriately lush, if you'll pardon the expression, photography by Sheri Giblin.)  Hanna is the president of Hanna Winery and Vineyards in Sonoma County (which is really only about a day trip away.  I believe this serendipitous acquisition to my cooking library has put the destination on some mental list for some future day when I am able to take day trips.)  

As you can see, it is a very beautiful cookbook, filled with gorgeous and creative dishes.  Very much in the "entertaining" vein of cookbooks with dishes both delicious and impressive; the book itself seems too nice to bring into the kitchen with me when I'm cooking.  My cookbooks tend to chronicle the dishes I've created by ingredients left behind on their pages.  However, I would also add that for a centerpiece of a book, the price is reasonable.  Chronicle Books also sent a small catalog of their forthcoming Autumn line of cookbooks, all of which are similarly impressive and delightful (e.g. The Domaine Chandon Cookbook, Michael Chiarello's Bottega, Tartine Bread, Absinthe Cocktails.)

There is another aspect to the book which I believe will prove dear to me, which actually served as the catalyst for my compulsion to write this post.  There are sprinkled throughout the text questions to and answers by the eponymous winemaker.  Upon opening the package containing the book, I flipped at random to a page about stocking a wine cellar.  I, of course, have, largely by design, structured my economic life in such a way that I will never have my own wine cellar.  But I do have a new, modest wine rack which I am greatly looking forward to stocking.  She gives advice on aiming toward wines which boast the strengths of their given regions and then goes on to give a brief outline of some of those strengths!  When I told this to Laurie she correctly guessed that I would be photocopying this section and carrying it around in my wallet.

I've owned the book for about four hours and I already offer you my earnest recommendation.  Also, poke around the Chronicle Books website.  There is a lot of nifty material there.

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