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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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Comfort Food was Never so Sweet!


Posted: March 24, 2008
by: Chris Card Fuller

If I had to think of one dessert that has to be the best-loved treat in
France, it would be chocolate mousse – or, as we call it here, mousse au
chocolat.

Mousse au chocolat was the first dish my au pair employer decided that
even a kitchen-challenged American student might be able to handle. The
beauty of this chocolate addict’s dab of nirvana is that it really can be
easy to prepare.

Strangely enough, I never make the dessert when I’m stateside, but when I
get back to France,  I seek out the familiar Nestle’s Dessert Chocolat
Noir bar which you can find in any supermarket.  The recipe for mousse au
chocolat has always been (and hopefully will remain forever) on its
outside wrapper. Here are the five easy steps – which even I can follow,
while reading in French.

The ingredients are simple.  200 grams of bittersweet chocolate (luckily,
the entire chocolate bar is exactly 200 grams – so I don’t have to worry
about converting grams to ounces. (and I only sometimes steal a square of
chocolate before it gets into the pot).
6 Eggs and a dash of salt.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.  Then, let the melted chocolate sit
for a moment while you separate the yolks from the whites of the six eggs.
Whip the egg whites with a dash of salt until the egg whites look like
Mont Blanc in Switzerland.

Take the melted chocolate and drizzle it over the mixed egg yolks,
blending the chocolate in bit, by bit.  Then mix more energetically.

Now comes the tricky part.  Incorporate 1/3 of the egg whites into the egg
yolk and melted chocolate mixture, using a spatula to fold in the egg
whites.  Then add the remaining 2/3 of egg whites, continuing to fold them
in without losing the ‘airiness’.

Mousse needs at least three hours refrigeration time which can be a good
thing - you can always put those three hours to good use while getting the
rest of the meal prepared.  Meanwhile, your dessert is sitting pretty.

Whenever I make this dessert, I think of Michele who taught me this
simple, so very French dessert. By now, her son for whom I babysat is
grown up and certainly has kids of his own.  Michele’s home cooking was
always good, never fancy, and always satisfying.
She taught me one recipe that’s stood the test of time.

This is the kind of treat you share with friends who you don’t need to
impress. Instead, it’s the smile at the end of the meal and the way they
scrape the last bit of chocolate from their bowls that will leave you
impressed.

When you’re in France, you can pick up bars of Nestle Dessert Chocolat
Noir in almost any regular grocery store (Monoprix or Champion or Franprix
for example).   Looking for mousse au chocolat on a restaurant menu?  You’re
most likely to find this favorite at your local brasserie or café.  (And,
yes, even at the Ritz Hotel room service!)

Chris Card Fuller

www.parislogue.com

Mousse

Easter Food Gift – Easter Brunch Delivered From GourmetStation


Posted: March 13, 2008
by: T.Alexander

Easter is early this year. That’s right – Easter is on March 23rd – Sunday. So what plans do you have? There are three things I remember about Easter as a child. The first is obviously a new frock to wear to church – something made of light pastel fabric; maybe a lavender Swiss dot. Second are flowers sprouting up everywhere including Easter lilies. And last is food….the glue that binds most all families together on special occasions like Easter.

If you want to reach out to someone this Easter – someone that you love, you miss, or you just want to connect with, GourmetStation has an Easter food gift just for you and your special recipient…a 3 course Easter brunch delivered. The menu is traditional to the core featuring a 1.5-pound honey glazed ham (left overs guaranteed). The brunch includes six handmade appetizers, smoked ham (96% fat free) with a homemade honey brown-sugar glaze, creamy spinach and southern style sweet potatoes. Dessert is luscious vanilla coconut cheesecake and the event is concluded with Numi organic mint tea. This food gift is light, delicious and a gift they will always remember.

As with all dinner gifts from GourmetStation, the brunch is shipped in elegant free gift packaging and to save 50% off 2nd day shipping, just enter Easter08 in promo code box at online checkout. Happy Easter!

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A Kiss Around the World


Posted: March 9, 2008
by: Mark Stine

A recent vacation and birthday celebration trip to Hawaii turned into an art hunting adventure coupled with fun dining around the island of Maui, sponsored by friend and software guru Wayne, celebrating his impending 40th birthday.

An overnight in LA and a dinner at the Encounter restaurant and bar in the landmark theme building in the center of the airport features early 60’s space age design, ubiquitously featured in 70’s and 80’s TV shows when they wanted LA to look moderne…suffice it to say, if you are between flights it makes a fun stop for drinks and appetizers...dinner however was less inspired…But if like me, you have flown in and out of LA for decades and never made the stop...its fun from a nostalgic standpoint.

The next day, the morning flight to Maui landed uneventfully and it was off and running for a week in the sun…ok so it rained four days, who really cares when you are in paradise! Now the things I love about Maui are the diversity… beaches, upcountry highlands, populated with ranches, protea farms and eucalyptus groves, with yes… a wonderful vineyard to visit.

Tedeschi vineyards makes a variety of wines using local tropical fruits as well as wines and a sparkling wine made in the traditional méthode champenoise.

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The Tasting room is described as historic according to the Tedeschi Vineyards web site. “Located in one of the most historic buildings on the island of Maui. The King's Cottage dates to 1874, when it was built specifically for the visit of Hawaii's monarch David Kalakaua and queen Kapi'olani. During his turbulent reign, which began that year and lasted until his death 1891, Hawaii’s last king often came to Ulupalakua to find peace of mind The centerpiece of the Tasting Room is an eighteen-foot-long bar cut from the trunk of a single mango tree.  Shelves are stocked with Hawaiian-made products and specialty foods and gifts Today the ranch is a destination for visitors exploring rural Upcountry Maui. They picnic here and learn island history by touring the grounds”.

Cottage2

Guided tours are available at 10:30 am,1:30 and 3 pm and well worth the time from both an historical perspective and for the views….or check them out at www.mauiwine.com.

Well wine and champagne tasting seemed high brow enough, so we next tackled the art galleries of Lahaina…the best stop of all was Vintage European Posters, featuring original posters from 1890 to 1960, where General Manager Franck Soler (Franck@europeanposters.com) personally waited on Barb (Rhubarb Barb from earlier blogs) and I in our endeavor to find the perfect vintage poster. The search took about an hour and we each found the right one for us. Franck in his wonderful French accent regaled us with historical facts on vintage posters, their rising value and diminishing availability. Franck also explained they do not maintain a website, as the world’s largest European vintage poster, they sell too quickly to scan and post. So if you want one, plan on a trip to Maui or email Franck for some great recommendations.

Vintageeuropeanpostermarkfranck

Mark and Franck with P.L. M – Arles-St. Remy poster, a lithograph from 1910 by Georges Dorival.

I found a wonderful old vintage poster from 1910 mounted on linen to preserve and stabilize the old paper.  Barb also found a French poster from 1921…a stone lithograph... which had hung in an old French rail office…and never having been exposed to the outdoors, hers was in pristine condition! Titled Chemins de Ferdo L’Etat …Excursions in Bretagne, with the town of Dinan, from the Emerald Coast of France. A town coincidentally that I once visited in 1990 with my friend Isabelle from Rennes, France, so a connection was immediately established with the poster.

Ahh…but the French Connection continued. In concluding the sale, Franck kissed Barb on each cheek, one for her and one for a” free dinner” if she delivered one of the kisses to his father who runs, along with his charming wife, the restaurant Le Gazan. At 3 rue Gazan in the city of Grasse known as the parfum capital of France.

And since my French friend Isabelle is planning her 40th birthday party in Provence this July and had taken me to the city of Dinan in 1990..or was it 91 and Barb unknowingly bought the vintage French poster about Dinan and since both of them will get to meet each other in Las Vegas, in March at my home, due to an unexpected business trip Isabelle will be making from Montpelier, France after a 15 year absence of being able to visit….whew….well based on all of these psychokinetic connections , we are planning to go to Grasse, France and collect on that free meal when we head off for Isabelle’s 40th bash! And then Barb can deliver the “Kiss” from half way round the world to Franck’s father and mother. What a nice custom! Bon Appetit’!

And to continue our “French Connection” in Maui, we brunched in the upcountry at Le Provence…a hidden away treasure in the eucalyptus scented highlands in upcountry Maui. Not even a decent roadside sign to spot this gem. I stumbled on this spot quite by accident years ago and am always pleased to be able to introduce friends to it. With views of the island and the ocean spread out below, with strong Kona coffee and chocolatines, and several really great and light and fluffy quiche…it’s a wonderful and peaceful spot for any meal. Le Provence – The French Eater, can be found at 3158 Lower Kula Rd. in Kula the upcountry in Maui  (808) 878- 1313.

Jumping whales spouted right off our ocean front room in Ka’ anapali and one night we dined ocean front in Lahaina at our hosts choice for his birthday dinner. Wayne recommended

I’o at 505 Front Street (iomaui.com) where the ocean front and patio view was exceptional. The appetizers are wonderfully prepared and the entrees were delicately seasoned, with all of the fish dishes exceptionally fresh, as one would expect in Hawaii. A hint…the Cowboy ribs appetizer went quickly in our group, as did the Thai curry asparagus soup. The entrees and desserts were equally as impressive, with Wayne’s favorite , the I’o trio of seared fresh catch with lobster curry, petit filet mignon and petite osso bucco with a braising demi and mushroom risotto. (www.iomaui.com)

All in all it was a wonderful trip. Wayne turned 40 with no visible trauma….I bought art…Barb bought art…a new French friend was made…whales jumped and spouted and the sun set...as only it can in Maui.

Oceanbarb

25% Sale - Gourmet Dinner Gifts at GourmetStation


Posted: March 2, 2008
by: T.Alexander

Drop by the GourmetStation website and see the excitement of the 25% sale for yourself. Purchase any occasion dinner gift and save 25%. That includes birthday dinners delivered, anniversary dinner gifts, and meals delivered to express congratulations, thank you and thinking of you. For those special occasions you wish to celebrate, think beyond traditional. Now we're not saything there is anything wrong with gift baskets, flowers and the like. But we are saying that dinner gifts are unique and leave a lasting impression. So now you can impress & save too.  Enter occasion08 in promo code box at checkout.

Bon appetit!

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