One of the bi-products of the wine-making biz that keeps us busy on weekends in our vineyard in El Penedés, the wine region of Catalunya, is the proliferation of fresh grape leaves on our vines. (Duh!) In May or June, grape growers undertake the labor-intensive process of “leafing” and “suckering” the vines, which means that you remove all of the stems that have no fruit, and you also snap off big leaves that are casting shadows on the baby grape clusters. The leafing also gives the fruit more air and minimizes the possibility of icky mold growth. (“Sin miedo!” our local helper tells us: Snap off the excess growth WITHOUT FEAR!)
Last year, during our first season with the white grapes that are now slowly fermenting into “cava” (Spanish champagne), we were pretty thoroughly focused on getting all of the steps right. This year, I had the wherewithal, with the help of daughter Stassa, to collect a few of the largest grape leaves and tuck them away in a plastic bag for later use, after we recovered from the very hot and sweaty leafing process!
My motive? DOLMADES! I had read up last year on the quickest and easiest way to stuff your own grape leaves, guided by Martha Stewart and a dozen other on-line cooking websites, many of them Greek-oriented. And then I promptly forgot it. So while the leaves were still mostly green and supple, I consulted the Internet once again, and I went for what seemed like a fool-proof and remarkably rapid method of preparing the grape leaves for stuffing: blanch them for a few seconds in boiling water.
It worked pretty well, and the results were tasty if a bit chewy. The stuffing process itself was less laborious than I’d anticipated, and it helps if you can make it into a fun assembly-line process in the kitchen.
An energetic young Dutch couple, Iris Tonies and Arnout Krediet, run an innovative art school called ESTUDIO NOMADA, located on one of the twisting stone streets in the heart of Barcelona’s historic Gothic Quarter.
The “nomad” studio offers workshops for individuals and families who want to spend a week or two exploring Barcelona and environs with creative local types who will show them local art destinations through the eyes of the artist. Drawing and painting classes, as well as a museum visit or two, are included in the workshop in the city. But that’s not all! The school has just opened an artist residency program in a stunning historic macia in the nearby wine country of Penedés. A day in this lovely setting, surrounded by vineyards (lunch and wine tasting included!), can be added to the workshop, which is hand-tailored for the visitor by Iris. There are stops to sketch or paint the enchanting vineyards and olive groves, along with a visit to a fantastic family-run winery. All of Spain’s cava, the champagne of Catalonia, comes from this photogenic region, an hour outside of Barcelona.
The price for this unique experience, all art materials and museum admissions included, is 50 euros per person per day in the city, and an additional 80 euros for the vineyard/art tour.
To see the lovely wine-country location, take a look at the website for Residency Mas Els Igols and be sure to check out the A.I.R. artist-in-residency.
Carrer de la Palma de Sant Just, 7
Arnout Krediet | Founder @ Estudio Nómada
Official Estudio Nómada website
During the summer meet festivities at the Saratoga Race Course, the thoroughbreds are the stars who pack the small town of Saratoga Springs with horse racing enthusiasts and tourists. But after the last race of the day, the restaurants and bars become the main attraction, and finding great food and a party is easy. Just keep in mind that most places during this time of year are very busy, but getting a table isn’t impossible.
The brightest stars among the numerous options are Prime at Saratoga National and Sperry’s. If you want to rub elbows with celebrities, horse owners, trainers and jockeys, these are the spots…
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Yep, it’s true. After breaking up with my boo 9 mos ago, I’ve decided to jump back into the dating pool. And by jump I mean poke a very cautious toe into the most passive form of dating – the online kind. I tried eHarmony once while on vacation, after the breakup and two bottles of wine. It was a “free weekend” so I thought why not! After an hour of answering inane questions and one more glass of wine, I got this…
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Former chef turned restaurateur, Steve DiFillippo is Boston’s food aficionado and hospitality guru. When he’s not selling his popular spring rolls on QVC or appearing on “The Today Show” or the like, the owner of the Davio’s Restaurant Group is traveling around the country and inspiring other restaurateurs with the art of hospitality.
Steve takes you on a culinary ride with each episode of “Dish It Up” on styleboston. Explore the hottest new restaurants, chefs, foods, wine by the barrel, and more. At Davio’s, their motto is “It’s All About the Guest.” Be his guest on styleboston.
I have a secret: I love crafts. I love arranging necklaces and organizing scrapbooks and painting various assortments of ceramic jungle creatures that will be placed on a shelf and never used for anything productive ever. I’m not ashamed of my passion, per say. Rather, I have no outlets to pursue it with. Take Plaster Fun Time, for example. What adult goes to Plaster Fun Time alone? Doing so would be social suicide, like wearing gym sneakers with skinny jeans or not finding online kitten videos cute. As a result, older craft lovers like myself are driven into seclusion, forced to purchase craft materials at cheap home-goods stores and construct scrapbooks in private.
But not anymore.
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