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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

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Paris Logue - An Insider's View

Posted: May 17, 2007
by: T.Alexander

GourmetStation tries to take you to France with our Parisian menu line. Food travel, so to speak. But let’s face it – there is no substitute for being there…for finally completing the journey as your cruise over de Gaulle Airport and take in the city from a bird’s eye view…for gently rolling into the culture and becoming French, if only for a few days.

Well, I’ve got a resource for you as you make your travel plans to Paris. And even if you don’t have a trip on the books, go anyway. Just go. I recommend you read Paris Logue religiously before departing. Chris Cardfuller will give you a comprehensive look at the city from an American’s perspective. Now there are many blogs and books on travel to France out there. But Chris has a unique perspective. She doesn’t skim the top with fluff touristy topics. She drills down to the heart of the city, it’s people, politics and much more.

I especially enjoyed the post by Chris about the 1st 100 days of  Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency which started on May 16th and the practical effect on tourism with potential labor strikes. There’s also Tips & Tidbits – a fast way to get “in the know” with topics like “how many train stations are in Paris.” The answer is seven, but don’t take my word for it, read the post! (The answer is: Montparnasse, St. Lazare, Gare du Nord, Gare de l’Est, Gare d’Austerlitz, Gare de Lyon, and Gare de Bercy)

Travel & accommodations are also favorite subjects. I won’t spill the beans, but Chris wrote a post on places to eat in Paris. What I like about her list is that she has tried them all and they are neighborhood restaurants – the best in my opinion. Thanks Chris – for giving us a peak at Paris through your eyes and you pen. Keep up the good work!


New Americana Menu - Gourmet Meals Delivered

Posted: May 16, 2007
by: T.Alexander

GourmetStation has enjoyed creating international menus for our gourmet dinners delivered since May 2000. Parisian, Tuscan, Cajun & Fusion – we’ve even taken a dip into the land of Baja. Then one of our associates recommended we think of an Americana menu. Now I guess if you are in Europe, Americana is international. So we were off to the R&D kitchen testing, tasting and having lots of fun.

The end result has been received with applaud and accolades from our patrons. And why not – what other food gift company offers gourmet meals delivered with entrees from field, sky and stream?

Both the 3 course & 4 course Americana dinners delivered feature Big Sky Beef Ribs with demi glace sauce, Jack Daniels Pork Chops with granny white apples, Manchester Quail stuffed with cranberries & wild rice and Clear Springs Trout encrusted with pecans.


Selecting the side items for these gourmet meals delivered was equally as fun. We developed a cubed, flame-roasted sweet potato with maple seasoning! Yum. For dessert we’re offering New York Style Cheesecake – simple, elegant and downright delicious.

So if you feel like being a little international – Americana style, check out these 3 & 4 course dinners delivered. A culinary patriot can enjoy more than hot dogs these days!

The Great British Tradition...of Afternoon Tea!

Posted: May 8, 2007
by: Robert Jackson

Here in the UK, summer has come early……very early indeed! We are basking in gloriously long, sunny days with temperatures WAY above average. And with this balmy weather come the pleasures and the joy of eating outdoors. Something of a treat for those of us living in “unpredictable” climates which is why we can’t wait to enjoy a lunch on the terrace, picnic in the countryside or afternoon tea in the garden……..gentile English life, at its very best!Tea_party

Last Sunday, I played host to a dozen or so guests for a most idyllic, lazy afternoon tea – it was quite delightful! And the beauty of hosting an afternoon tea party is that not only is it EASY, but even as the host, you actually get time to enjoy it yourself! But as will all parties, the key to success is down to sound planning. Let me share a few tips with you:

1. Do not invite more guests than you can comfortably cope with. I would personally never attempt to cater an afternoon tea for more than say a dozen guests unless I had some assistance.
2. If you are catering for more than say 50 guests, consider either hiring professional caterers or possibly a personal chef.
3. Good timing is critical for the perfect afternoon tea party. Do as much preparation ahead of time as possible but don't be tempted to make the sandwiches more than an hour before serving.
4. Ensure that you have a plentiful supply of boiling water - hire in an electric tea urn if necessary.
5. Ensure that you have adequate stocks of good quality china, serving platters, tea pots, cutlery, furniture and tablecloths. Hire additional stock if necessary.
6. If you are planning an outdoor garden event, always be prepared for a change in weather.
7. If time and kitchen space are in short supply, don't be afraid to buy in a selection of fine quality cakes and pastries from you favourite bakery or online supplier.

As for the food, keep it simple and keep it fresh. A traditional afternoon tea menu should comprise a good and varied selection of dainty, bite-size sandwiches (crusts removed), a choice of cakes and pastries (preferably home made), freshly bakes scones with jam and whipped cream, and ofcourse, an endless supply of properly made tea. Here are my top 10 tips for making a really good cup of tea:

1. Firstly, choose your tea/s. You really do not need more than 2 or perhaps 3 varieties and it’s wise to stick with the popular choices such as Darjeeling, Earl Grey, Assam or Lapsang Souchong.
2. For a tea party, I would always choose to use leaf tea rather than teabags……but that is very much a matter of personal choice.
3. Use a ceramic teapot in preference to metal as the latter can adversely affect the taste of the tea.
4. Bring a kettle of fresh cold water almost to the boil. Pour a little of the water into the teapot to warm it, and then discard the water.
5. Now add the tea to the pot - 1 teaspoon per cup, plus 1 extra spoon "for the pot".
6. Pour the near boiling water over the leaves and replace the teapot lid. Leave the tea to brew for 3 to 5 minutes depending on how strong you like it.
7. Pour the tea through a tea strainer into a teacup which is sitting on a saucer. Don't overfill the cup.
8. Offer fresh milk or lemon, and sugar cubes for sweetener.
9. If the tea becomes too strong, you can dilute it with more near boiling water.
10. Empty the teapot after about 15 minutes otherwise the tea will become "stewed".

Finally, I would like to share with you a recipe for my all-time favourite afternoon tea cake……..a classic Victoria Sponge Sandwich. If time permits, for a perfect result, bake the sponge on the same day that you intend to serve it and fill it just at the last moment. Pure heaven!


Serves 8 to 12

knob of butter, melted
8oz/225g butter, softened
8oz/225g caster sugar
4 large free-range eggs
8oz/225g self-raising flour, sifted (you may need a bit extra)
For the filling:
6 tbsp good-quality strawberry jam
280ml/10 fl oz heavy/double cream, lightly whipped

To serve:
icing sugar, for dusting

For this sponge cake recipe, you'll need two 15cm-17.5cm/6in-7in cake tins


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
2. Gently heat the knob of butter in a pan and brush two 6in-7in/15cm-17.5cm cake tins with the melted butter. Line the bottom of the two cake tins with a circle of greaseproof paper.
3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and creamy, using an electric whisk or a wooden spoon. Beat well to get lots of air into the mixture (this should take a couple of minutes).
4. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add a tablespoon of flour if the mixture curdles.
5. Fold in the flour using a large metal spoon. Be careful not to over-mix it.
6. Pour the mixture equally between the two cake tins and level off the top with a spatula. Make a slight dip in the centre with the tip of the spatula if you don't want them to be pointed in the middle.
7. Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when pressed gently with a finger and are pale golden in colour.
8. Remove from the oven and take them out of the tins after about 5-10 minutes
9. Place them on a wire rack to cool completely (for about half an hour).
10. Spread the sponge with the jam and the whipped cream, then carefully sandwich together.
11. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Click on this link for more great afternoon tea ideas plus etiquette tips and recipes.

Robert Jackson

Gourmet Food Revolution

The Other Pinot’s

Posted: May 1, 2007
by: Susan Anderson

Pinot Grigio is the common Italian name for the French wine variety Pinot Gris and as such, is probably the name by which the variety is best known to many wine drinkers. Pinot Gris is a mutation of the Pinot Noir grape. If Pinot Noir berries are purplish blue and the berries of the related Pinot Blanc (a white mutation of Pinot Gris) are greenish yellow, Pinot Gris grapes are anything between greyish blue and brownish pink – sometimes on the same bunch. And at one time Pinot Gris habitually grew in among the Pinot Noir of many Burgundian vineyards adding softness and sometimes acidity to the Pinot Noir.Pinotgrigio

Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are actually the same white grape, with two different names. In Italy and California this wine is known as Pinot Grigio, while in Oregon and France it's known as Pinot Gris. Other countries use the terms interchangeably.

Most Pinot Grigio wines are produced in Italy. The Italian version of Pinot Grigio is typically dry (not sweet) and light, with a mineral taste and many times a bitter almond finish. Californian variants of Pinot Grigio tend to be richer in flavor, but still have the mineral taste. Often, they finish with a lemony or citrusy flavor.

French Pinot Gris wines come from the Alsace region. These are more fruity and flowery than their Italian counterparts, though they still have that mineral aroma. Flavors can range from peach to grapefruit to melon.

Pinot Blanc is more about texture and acidity and less about aroma and flavor.  While it doesn’t provide much of an aroma, Pinot Blanc will make your mouth water and provide a very viscous or creamy texture. In Italy it is known as Pinot Bianco and is one of the varietals used in Soave, Vin Santo and Spumante.

In Alsace, the best examples of Pinot Blanc are immediately appealing, offering a delightful plumpness, rich, ripe, juicy fruit with apple-y flavors and floral aromas.

In the 1980’s, several California winemakers began using the same techniques in making Pinot Blanc as used to make expensive Chardonnay. So Pinot Blanc became another complex, oaky masterpiece of some California winemakers, rivaling the biggest and best Chardonnay.

Here are some pinot’s to try:

Livio Felluga Pinot Grigio Collio 2005
Masi Masianco Pinot Grigio/Verduzzo Friuli Venezia 2005
Ruffino Lumina Pinot Grigio Venezia Giulia IGT 2005
Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio Trentino Alto-Adige 2005

Oregon/Washington State/California
Chateau Ste Michelle Pinot Gris Columbia Valley 2005
King Estate Domaine Pinot Gris Oregon 2005
Chalone Pinot Blanc Estate 2005
Valley of the Moon Pinot Blanc Sonoma County 2005

Alsace, France
Trimbach Pinot Gris Reserve 2002
Lucien Albrecht Pinot Blanc 2005

New Zealand
Nobilo Pinot Gris East Coast Regional Collection 2006

Enjoy! Susan Anderson