Virtual Gourmet

  December 25,  2011                                                                                               NEWSLETTER

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Merry Christmas

GOOD NEWS! now has a new food section  called "Eat Like a Man," which will be featuring restaurant articles by John Mariani and others from around the USA.THIS WEEK: Top Chef, Episode Endless.


from John Mariani

I have just been chosen as one of five recipients for the 2012 edition of the Grana Padano Italian Cuisine Worldwide Awards, "to honor individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the promotion and/or knowledge of the Italian food and wine culture in the countries they live, in the last year or during their life. In your case the jury has intended to reward especially the excellent work you have done with your recent book How Italian Food Conquered the World as well as the contribution you have given during your whole  career. The nominations of the candidates came from the network of the 200 ICMC – Italian Cuisine Master Chefs and were evaluated by a jury of experts."



Eating in Amsterdam
by John Mariani


Mas (la grillade)
by John Mariani


Gin Seeks a Return to the Spotlight

by John Mariani


Eating in Amsterdam
by John Mariani

"Shrovetide" by Frans Hals, circa 1615

    As in any major capital in Europe these days, the options for enjoying just about any kind of cuisine is high, whether it's sushi, pizza, or tapas. And in that regard Amsterdam may well be richer in such options than Paris or Rome.  Short-term visitors to Amsterdam will want to partake of the more indigenous restaurants, from low to high, that are everywhere.  Amsterdammers love eating out, so you'll find the restaurants packed with the locals, while the tourists tend to go where tourists are told to go. 

    The biggest dining news in the city is the opening of Bord' Eau in the renovated--61 million euros--Hotel de L'Europe (Nieuwe Doelenstraat 2), where Sommelier Dannis Apeldorn oversees a first-rate winelist, with 24 wines by the glass, and 79 bottles under 50 euros, plus another thousand selections to choose from. You might, then, wish to first have a drink at the hotel's beautiful Freddy's Bar (named after Alfred "Freddy" Heineken, one of the most elegant of the so-called "brown bars" (referring to their color) in the city and more sophisticated than any.
    Bord'Eau (left),  the name is a pun meaning "next to the water" as here and in the French wine region), which replaced the outdated Excelsior. It is  very elegant even posh in a very contemporary range of colors and soft gold  lighting, flowers, superb tablesettings, thick linens and fine stemware.  You know you're off to a good start when the butter and breads are as good as they are here. A pretty amuse set the stage for what followed, a pizza crisp topped with lobster cannoli and a lollipop of octopus. Executive Chef Richard van Oostenbrugge (below) and Chef Thomas Groot have fashioned menu that is as modern--without being "modernist"--as any in Europe.  It is playful but always based on sound culinary principles, as evident in a dish of autumn vegetables with a pistachio vinaigrette and cous-cous style rice with Pierre Robert cheese whipped into a cream.
    "Mac & Cheese" came with butternut squash, pearl radish and Saint Marcellin cheese, while a plate of crisp sweetbreads were matched with a risotto-style Taggiasche olives and celery root--all the flavors winningly complementary.
    Main courses followed in the same balance, beginning with a fillet of red mullet and jus bécasse (woodcock), watercress salad and roasted toast. A big, well-fatted Anjou squab came with an Asian touch of orange and soy, cabbage and peanuts, which might well have appeared on a rijsstaffel feast but is far better on its own.   Lozère lamb had the bite of lemon confit and capers, Niçoise vegetables and lamb jus. And a dry-aged (unusual in Europe) Simmenthaler loin and neck of beef came with stewed vegetables, rich pork belly and an ever richer Bordelaise sauce.
    You, of course, expect desserts to be sumptuous in a restaurant of this caliber, and they certainly are, from cocoa bean  m
oelleux with chocolate mousse and crumble to a wild peach Melba with white currants and crispy almonds.
        There is a four-course menu at 66 euros ($86), five for 76, and six for 88, which are very reasonable prices, especially since à la carte prices are 18 euros-56 euros, and main courses 36 euros to 66 euros, though those same main courses may be ordered more cheaply in smaller portions. Prices for similar haute cuisine in Paris would cost double that. Service, as everywhere in Holland,  is included.
    The hotel also has a casual Hoofdstad Brasserie on premises with an open kitchen, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    High-end, deluxe restaurants have long been part of the Amsterdam dining scene, with established places like Roberto in the Hilton, Christophe, Breitner, and the landmarked Café Americain, but, as elsewhere in Europe, few are outside those hotels that can pay the kind of money it takes to do open such places.  Bridges (below) is just such a new restaurant, situated in the Sofitel along the Oudezijds Voorburgwal canal and was not long ago a municipal canteen. In
1949, COBRA-artist Karel Appel painted the well-known "Questioning Children"  (below) for the space and is still here at the restaurant, whose clean, modern design of whites and reds are something like a set for "2001: Space Odyssey."  Lighting at night is a little low in which to read the small print on the menu. 
    Bridges, with a smart bar up front (below), is a mainly seafood restaurant, and the focus is absolutely on the main ingredient on the plate, with few additions to detract from its exquisite freshness, as fashioned by Chef
Aurélien Poirot. Sommelier Hans Tuin has culled his excellent list to reflect this same idea and is happy to match wines with dishes, since most on his list can be ordered by the glass.
     Our table of four ordered broadly across the ever-changing menu, following an amuse of smoked salmon and mussels. Oysters came with cucumber, tinged with tarragon foam and shallots.  A detour from the seafood menu ("From the Field") was the fine, silky foie gras with more foam, this time potato and sea salt, and a plate of well-made gnocchi lashed with lemon oil and shavings of Parmigiano.
    Returning to seafood form, we had selections from the raw side of the menu, pearl-like scallops and salmon of pristine quality, then tuna tartare in a cream sauce, with pommes pont neuf and salad. A half lobster cooked in a tandoor with Indian-style naan bread was good, but like several dishes that evening, quite salty.
     Prices are pretty high, but this quality of seafood comes dear, with starters 14 euros to 49 euros, and main courses 22 euros to 105 euros (this last for wild turbot and caviar). 

    I found a new favorite place to have lunch or dinner,  near the Concert Hall on the broad Avenue Van Baerlestraat, named Brasserie van Baerle  (right), now two decades old. The interior of the dining room is a rare enchantment, with wonderful lines, glossy white ceilings, deep purple banquettes, little lamps on the table, white tablecloths, big mirrors, and a window over the street. Outside there is a favored patio, though my guest and I scurried back inside because smoking is allowed outside and there was plenty of it going on.
    The proprietor and her well-trained staff delivered an amuse of creamed mushroom soup, ideal with the bottle of iced Riesling I ordered. We then had rich foie gras mousse and shrimp croquettes with samphire greens and a light shallot mayonnaise and greens--perfect for lunch; a sea bream and tiny scallops with flavored rice and vegetables, including asparagus with beurre blanc lavished over them was simply good in the best way.
Veal ravioli packed with chanterelles was lifted by a little spiced oil.
For dessert there was a creamy bavarois.
    Brunch is very popular here, and the Brasserie gets a good pre-theater and concert crowd.
    At lunch the prices range from 13.50 euros to 14.50 euros and main courses 13.50 euros to 19.50 euros. At dinner the top price for a main course is 29 euros.
    Amsterdam is famous for its rijsstaffel (rice table) restaurants, a heritage of its colonial days in Indonesia, serving a vast meal composed of sometimes dozens of dishes, though these days you can sample somewhat fewer from various menus.  The ideal is to go with several people and try as many items as you wish.  Sometimes the dishes are brought out according to how spicy they are, but again, you can mix and match.  The restaurants tend to be very casual and don't cost very much at all. Nor, I am told, do they differ radically in quality from one another in town.
    We had a pleasant if somewhat underwhelming lunch at one of the better known rijsstaffel  eateries, the 30-year-old Sama Sebo (Hoostraat 27),  about ten minutes' walk from the Museum District. The place looks like a pub up front; the dining room (left) could use an update and a rehab; the service is by rote. The food is good, according to which dishes you sample; some of them seemed like they'd been sitting on the steam table too long. But there was definitely a lot of flavor and spice.
    The full rijsstaffel runs a modest 29.50 euros ($38.50) per person, and, since I haven't the acumen or space enough to describe them all, let me just list them all:
  Nasi, Sajor, Babi Ketjap,  Daging Madura,  Ajam,  Sateh,  Krupuk,  S.G. Sajoran,  S.G. Tahu,  S.G. Kering,  Gado Gado,  Serundeng,  Pisang Goreng, Rudjak Manis, Atjar,  Sambal and  Katjang. Smaller versions made be had for 16.50 euros.

To read Part One of this article on Amsterdam, click here.


by John Mariani

Mas (la grillade)
28 Seventh Avenue South

    As everybody knows, in Old French  a mas is a stone farm house or small estate where as  much as possible, the food comes from its own fields or nearby, an ancient and obvious idea that predates modern locavorism by millennia. About five years ago Chef Galen Zamarra (below) opened Mas (Farmhouse) in Greenwich Village to wide applause; its décor had a rusticity that was both comfortable and sophisticated, a nook-like restaurant with a menu stressing simple goodness. This fall Zamarra, with partner Eric Blinderman, debuted Mas (la grillade), and about the only thing about it I can't applaud are those eccentric parentheses.  Just about everything else about this marvelous restaurant is a revelation of good taste, based on the deceptively simple notion that you can turn out wonderful food from a wood-burning stove. (Note the large wheel in the photo to the right, which allows the cooks to raise or lower the food to get the right temperature.) If such a technique seems restrictive, just point anywhere on the menu--vegetables, fish, meats--and you'll be amazed how flavorful they all are when treated to Zamarra's way with a flame.
    Within that context, he has mastered grilling, smoking, charring, even steaming, from grilled baby squid stuffed with bay leaves, baby arugula salad, and grilled lemon to a fig tart with smoked ice cream.  Of course, cooking over a hardwood fire is as ancient as the day a caveman, or more probably a cavewoman, discovered that a burnt piece of meat tasted a whole lot better than a raw piece of meat.  Mas (la grillade)'s distinction is in seeing just how far one can go with the idea without getting zealously gimmicky.  "What we're doing at Mas (la grillade) is the antithesis of molecular gastronomy," says Zamarra.  "Cooking over live wood coals has nothing to do with transforming food into theater, but rather celebrates the natural properties of foods and flavor.  This cooking technique delivers simple, yet sophisticated, cuisine. I can't emphasize enough how critical the quality of the raw ingredients must be to make this concept work." And it shows.
    The main dining room seats 80, with two floors and different levels of ceilings, a small bar up front, and the décor evokes a farmhouse spaciousness and coziness, with charred white oak planks and maple. Fabrics are Provençal, the spindly white chandelier French, the mirror is framed in old barn wood, and there is artwork on wood panels and photos of farm landscapes.  Upstairs is a lovely skylight.  The sound level is not too bad, with civilized conversation possible.
    The beverage list, by general manager Christopher Bender, is sensibly, fairly priced in all wine categories, with plenty to choose from under $60, strong in Rhône bottlings and an extensive beer list.
    There are both "small plates" and appetizers; of the former I loved the grilled tartine of sunchoke puree, smoked butternut confit, and grilled green onions, and we delighted in squeezing out succulent gloves of garlic that had been pit roasted within their shell, glossed with olive oil and served with grilled country bread.  The appetizers we tried included a fascinating tour de force of grilled Romaine lettuce with house-cured lamb bacon and a buttermilk and blue cheese dressing and grilled croutons, that smoke adding measurably to the textures of all the other elements. Artichokes à la chapa came with grilled chanterelles and a hazelnut mayonnaise. And then came something so amazingly delicious that I could have stopped cold right then: a baked potato, which was actually cooked in aluminum foil--anathema to me anywhere else, but here it gave the tender sweetness of the white potato a moist texture that was just terrific. There was also a good deal of butter in the deal, which helps enormously.
    For the main courses, there is spit-roasted squab (above), which we didn't have a chance to try, and grilled wild striped bass with parsley-walnut gremolata, and a grilled whole whiting rubbed with salt and herbs, a dish so simple and so good that you have to wonder how it could possibly be improved by the addition of anything else. Also excellent was grilled rack of lamb, its rich fat intact, served with red wine and shallot butter.
    Side dishes like baby fennel and pears, and Brussels sprouts with lamb bacon, were equally as impressive.
    For dessert pastry chef Catrine Oscarson keeps to the same simplicity in her creations, nothing too lavish, nothing too composed. I loved the grilled pumpkin-chocolate tart with toasted marshmallows, white chocolate sorbet and candied pumpkin seeds, and her maple cheesecake brûlée with grilled persimmon, pear sorbet and smoked walnut crumble is the wintery-est dessert I can imagine.
    Now what does all this cost? Much less than you'd think, with small plates $3-$6, appetizers $10-$18, and main courses$24-$49 (that last for a NY strip steak).  For $40 a vegetarian  could contentedly gobble up all the side dishes (aside from the lamb bacon), and a six-course menu is offered at a very reasonable $95.       
    Zamarra is not trying to be revolutionary here. Instead he is insistent that his ideas are sound and add tremendous flavor to his food, by a technique as old as cave dwelling.  Time maybe to bring those ideas back to the dinner table.

 Mas (la grillade) is open for lunch and dinner daily.



Gin Seeks a Return to the Spotlight
by John Mariani

    Ever since James Bond ordered a “shaken, not stirred” martini made with vodka, in Ian Fleming’s 1958 novel “Dr. No,” gin’s popularity began to sink. While vodka has cannily capitalized on the youth market, gin—the other white liquor--hasn’t been a hot category for decades. Gin sales have been soaring in China, India and Russia, but elsewhere, except for premium imports, sales have dropped or remained flat in the top markets of the Philippines, the U.S., and, in Europe, Spain.
    Of course, purists would never dream of making a martini with anything but gin, whose dryness is the subject of countless jokes, as in the instructions to “have a bartender just glance at the vermouth bottle” before pouring the gin into a shaker. A few other classic cocktails demand gin, the Gibson, the gimlet, the negroni, the French 75, and the Singapore sling, but none has the cachet of newer cocktails like the saketini or Cosmopolitan.
    Three hundred years ago, gin was all the rage. Originally created by Dutch physician
Franciscus Sylvius, gin was used to treat everything from gallstones to bubonic plague. Cheap to produce, gin became the drink of the poor, with 7,500 gin shops in 18th-century London, whose squalor and dissipation were depicted in Hogarth’s “Gin Lane” (left) engravings. One innkeeper of the day advertized “Drunk for a penny, Dead drunk for twopence, Clean straw for nothing!” During Prohibition in America “bathtub gin” could literally be made by anyone with access to neutral spirits.
    Gin’s name derives from the Dutch genever, juniper, which is the principal flavoring distilled with neutral spirits. All gins are genever but not all genevers, which may have many different flavorings, are gins. Minimum alcohol levels required by the EU is 37.5 percent, in the U.S. 40. The two main types are Hollands and London. The term “London” once connoted a gin made in or near London, but is now a general term.
    For a full immersion course in gin-ology, the requisite visit is to The House of Bols Cocktail & Genever Experience in Amsterdam, just across from the city’s Van Goh Museum. During a self-guided tour you’ll learn the history of the genever company founded by Lucas Bols in 1575 and pass through a gorgeously lighted Hall of Taste (below) where you can touch and smell the ingredients that go into genever, and sniff from 36 “puffers” of flavorings from strawberry to white mint, coffee to peach. Then you end off at a bar/lounge called the World of Cocktails, where they’ll make you any of hundreds of cocktails made from scores of Bols genevers. There’s even a Ladies Night special discount, and you can sign up for the Bols Bartending Academy to become a registered bartender. You will also learn the proper way to drink genevers, which involves leaning over to take a sip from a full shot glass on the table without picking it up. And if you follow a beer with a chaser of genever, it’s called a kopstoot (headbutt) in Flanders.
    Bols sells its products worldwide, but while
new vodkas—from improbable places--seem to appear in the market every month, few producers besides artisanal entrepreneurs are pouring investments into new gins. So I thought a tasting of those well-established gins was an easy enough way to tackle what’s out there.
Professionals usually taste whiskies cut with a little water, but who would ever drink gin with water? I tasted them straight.

Beefeater London Dry Gin ($20)—Beefeater is a true  London gin, “distilled in the heart of the city,” at a high 47 percent alcohol, so it’s very lush. When I poured a little from the bottle, its aroma of juniper, Seville oranges and lemon bounded out of the glass. Very aromatic, Beefeater is complex and wonderful on the rocks, but also good for a Gibson, a martini garnished with cocktail onions. 

        Gordon’s London Dry Gin ($17)—American made, in Norwalk, CT, Gordon’s is based on a 1769 formula, with an “Appointment by Her Majesty the Queen.” The weak nose is a little sharp and it’s a fairly bland gin, minty but pretty bland, so it would do well as a mixer with tonic or in a negroni.

        Seagrams Extra Dry ($14)—“Extra Dry” means little since all gins are distilled dry. This has a light aroma of citrus, that floats over the palate, with a distinctly American taste—punchy, not too much alcohol (40 percent), fruity and fleshy, and at $14 you can see why it’s such a big seller in the U.S. My father, a smart man, always used to have bottles of Seagrams and Gilbey’s in the liquor cabinet. He’d use the Gilbey’s for those who asked for gin on the rocks or with tonic, the Seagrams to make a perfect martini. He was right.

        Bombay Sapphire East ($25)—Worth every penny, with 42 percent alcohol, this U.K. product is a stylish gin rife with aromatics—many stenciled on the bottle—like Thai lemongrass and Vietnamese black peppercorns, that make it unusual and somewhat exotic, the kind of gin you’d order in a Singapore sling at the Raffles Bar in Singapore before heading out to tend your rubber plantation. (Other Bombay gins may have a different proof.)

        Tanqueray Special Dry English Gin ($25)—For many gin lovers this is the apex of London gins, highly refined, bursting with aromatics and tropical fruit, all balanced with spice notes that linger on the palate. It’s almost creamy and is best enjoyed on its own or in the very driest martini a bartender can possibly make, with lemon peel, not an olive.

John Mariani's wine and spirits column appears in Bloomberg Muse News, from which this story was adapted. Bloomberg News covers Culture from art, books, and theater to wine, travel, and food on a daily basis.


Prof. Dana Small,
associate professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine and an associate professor of psychology at Yale University who runs Yale University's Affective Sensory Neuroscience Laboratory has given a presentation titled "The Flavor Modality," in which she describes taste this way:  "When we 'taste,' we also touch the food or drink in our mouths and sense its odor via retronasal olfaction. The term flavor describes this multimodal experience. The aim of this lecture will be to describe how the independent sensations of taste, touch and smell converge to create unitary flavor percepts and how, through experience, the brain encodes these 'flavor objects' and their associated physiological significance.  Psychophysical and neuroimaging data will be presented to support the existence of a binding mechanism, possibly residing in the somatomotor mouth area, that underlies illusory processes that bring taste, touch and smell into a common spatial and temporal field. Activation of this mechanism then allows flavor objects that reside in the insular cortex to become associated with the post-ingestive consequences of feeding, which then drives flavor preference formation."


In Providence, RI, at Cook & Brown Public House, chef/owner Nemo Bolin says the restaurant's most frequently stolen items are the polished black rocks they use to hold down checks. "At one point we realized that people thought they were large after-dinner mints," he said, "although only one ever made it to the table, so maybe people were taking them home and biting into them later in the evening. We lost so many that we had to change the way that we presented the bill to people."



 Any of John Mariani's books below may be ordered from

My latest book, written with Jim Heimann and Steven Heller,  Menu Design in America,  1850-1985 (Taschen Books), has just appeared, with nearly 1,000 beautiful, historic, hilarious, sometimes shocking menus dating back to before the Civil War and going through the Gilded Age, the Jazz Age, the Depression, the nightclub era of the 1930s and 1940s, the Space Age era, and the age when menus were a form of advertising in innovative explosions of color and modern design.  The book is a chronicle of changing tastes and mores and says as much about America as about its food and drink.


“Luxuriating vicariously in the pleasures of this book. . . you can’t help but become hungry. . .for the food of course, but also for something more: the bygone days of our country’s splendidly rich and complex past.  Epicureans of both good food and artful design will do well to make it their cofee table’s main course.”—Chip Kidd, Wall Street Journal.


“[The menus] reflect the amazing craftsmanship that many restaurants applied to their bills of fare, and suggest that today’s restaurateurs could learn a lot from their predecessors.”—Rebecca Marx, The Village Voice.

My new book, How Italian Food Conquered the World (Palgrave Macmillan) 
has just won top prize 2011 from the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.  It is a rollicking history of the food culture of Italy and its ravenous embrace in the 21st century by the entire world. From ancient Rome to la dolce vita of post-war Italy, from Italian immigrant cooks to celebrity chefs, from pizzerias to high-class ristoranti, this chronicle of a culinary diaspora is as much about the world's changing tastes, prejudices,  and dietary fads as about our obsessions with culinary fashion and style.--John Mariani

"Eating Italian will never be the same after reading John Mariani's entertaining and savory gastronomical history of the cuisine of Italy and how it won over appetites worldwide. . . . This book is such a tasteful narrative that it will literally make you hungry for Italian food and arouse your appetite for gastronomical history."--Don Oldenburg, USA Today.

"Mariani admirably dishes out the story of Italy’s remarkable global ascent to virtual culinary hegemony....Like a chef gladly divulging a cherished family recipe, Mariani’s book reveals the secret sauce about how Italy’s cuisine put gusto in gusto!"--David Lincoln Ross,

"Italian restaurants--some good, some glitzy--far outnumber their French rivals.  Many of these establishments are zestfully described in How Italian Food Conquered the World, an entertaining and fact-filled chronicle by food-and-wine correspondent John F. Mariani."--Aram Bakshian Jr., Wall Street Journal.

"Equal parts history, sociology, gastronomy, and just plain fun, How Italian Food Conquered the World tells the captivating and delicious story of the (let's face it) everybody's favorite cuisine with clarity, verve and more than one surprise."--Colman Andrews, editorial director of The Daily

"A fantastic and fascinating read, covering everything from the influence of Venice's spice trade to the impact of Italian immigrants in America and the evolution of alta cucina. This book will serve as a terrific resource to anyone interested in the real story of Italian food."--Mary Ann Esposito, host of PBS-TV's Ciao Italia.

"John Mariani has written the definitive history of how Italians won their way into our hearts, minds, and stomachs.  It's a story of pleasure over pomp and taste over technique."--Danny Meyer, owner of NYC restaurants Union Square Cafe, Gotham Bar & Grill, The Modern, and Maialino.



FEATURED LINKS: I am happy to  report that the Virtual Gourmet is  linked to four excellent travel sites:

Everett Potter's Travel  Report

I consider this the best and savviest blog of its kind on the  web. Potter is a columnist for USA Weekend, Diversion, Laptop and Luxury  Spa Finder, a contributing editor for Ski and  a frequent contributor to National  Geographic Traveler,  and Elle Decor. "I’ve designed this site is for people who take their  travel seriously," says Potter. "For travelers who want to learn about special  places but don’t necessarily want to pay through the nose for the privilege of  staying there. Because at the end of the day, it’s not so much about five-star  places as five-star experiences."  THIS WEEK: Following The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in Stockholm

Eating Las Vegas is the new on-line site for Virtual Gourmet contributor John A. Curtas., who since 1995 has been commenting on the Las Vegas food scene and reviewing restaurants for Nevada Public Radio.  He is also the restaurant critic for KLAS TV, Channel 8 in Las Vegas, and his past reviews can be accessed at Click on the logo below to go directly to his site.



Tennis Resorts OnlineA Critical Guide to the World's Best Tennis Resorts and Tennis Camps, published by ROGER COX, who has spent more than two decades writing about tennis travel, including a 17-year stretch for Tennis magazine. He has also written for Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, New York Magazine, Travel & Leisure, Esquire, Money, USTA Magazine, Men's Journal, and The Robb Report. He has authored  two books-The World's Best Tennis Vacations (Stephen Greene Press/Viking Penguin, 1990) and The Best Places to  Stay in the Rockies (Houghton Mifflin, 1992 & 1994), and the Melbourne (Australia) chapter to the Wall Street Journal Business Guide to Cities of the Pacific Rim (Fodor's Travel Guides, 1991).

The Family Travel Forum
 - A community for those who "Have Kids, Still Travel" and want to make family vacations more fun, less work and better value. FTF's travel and parenting features, including reviews of tropical and ski resorts, reunion destinations, attractions, holiday weekends, family festivals, cruises, and all kinds of vacation ideas should be the first port of call for family vacation planners.

Family Travel Forum

                                                                    ALL YOU NEED BEFORE YOU GO

nickonwine: An engaging, interactive wine column by Nick Passmore, Artisanal Editor, Four Seasons Magazine; Wine Columnist,;;

MARIANI'S VIRTUAL GOURMET NEWSLETTER is published weekly.  Editor/Publisher: John Mariani. Contributing Writers: Christopher Mariani, Robert Mariani,   John A. Curtas, Edward Brivio, Mort Hochstein, Suzanne Wright,  and Brian Freedman. Contributing Photographers: Galina Stepanoff-Dargery,  Bobby Pirillo. Technical Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.

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© copyright John Mariani 2011