Month: February 2010

Sustenance for the long walk to Santiago de Compostela

Full disclosure first: We did NOT walk one of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. But last spring, when we were in northern Spain to research a guidebook, we did see pilgrims everywhere. Guess we shouldn’t have been surprised. Pilgrims have been walking across Europe to Santiago de Compostela, ever since the tomb of St. James the Apostle was discovered around 814 A.D. Pilgrims often carry walking sticks with scallop shells, the symbol of Santiago. Alas, they also often throw rain ponchos over their backpacks. There’s a good reason the north is called “green Spain.” It rains a lot. Two of the main routes from France (the Camino del Norte and the Camino Aragónese) converge in Navarra and La Rioja, continuing west across...Read More

Summer’s bequest: blueberry bread pudding

Please forgive the shameless plug, but the second edition of our locavore book, Food Lovers’ Guide to Massachusetts, has just been published by Globe Pequot Press. We love researching the farmstands, restaurants, bakeries, fishmongers, chocolatiers, and cheesemakers that are featured in the book. Food people are some of the nicest and most generous folk in the world, and they remind us that we don’t have to go to exotic locales for wonderful tastes. We are already at work on the next edition. Of all the great places in the book, Tower Hill Botanic Garden (11 French Drive, Boylston, MA 01505, 508-869-6111,, home base of the Worcester County Horticultural Society, is one of the best places to learn about New England heirloom apples. The society...Read More

French Chocolate Mousse for Valentine’s Day

We have been racking our brains for something special to conclude our Valentine's Day dinner. We simply lack the skills to reproduce our all-time favorite dessert from Fauchon, the amazing gourmet shop, tea house, and patisserie on Place de Madeleine in Paris. That would be Megève cake—perfect thin layers of crisp meringue with chocolate ganache and chocolate mousse. But we did recall a dynamite, foolproof version of chocolate mousse given to us by a French housewife, Madame Picavet. Given that Monsieur Picavet was very fond of Burgundy, it made the perfect companion to the last glass in the bottle. She used dark chocolate, but we've had good luck using an American bittersweet chocolate like Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips. FRENCH CHOCOLATE MOUSSE Ingredients 6 oz. bittersweet...Read More

Super Bowl arroz con pollo

We were surprised to read recently that Super Bowl Sunday is the second biggest eating holiday in the U.S., close on the heels of Thanksgiving. Since our own team, the New England Patriots, is not part of the action this year, it's a diminished holiday for us. But we thought we could console ourselves with a good meal, and realized that the one dish we've probably eaten most often while watching football is arroz con pollo. Of course, the football in question is what we Americans call soccer, but the Spaniards are every bit as obsessive about it. As in the U.S., tickets to the games are expensive, and the matches are typically broadcast on premium cable. If you want to see a match in...Read More