Here’s a no-brainer no one talks about.

If you want to learn to cook, where do you go? Cooking school? Restaurants? Cookbooks? Television chefs?

Sure. But you can do better.

If you want to cook flavors with the power to ignite passions, bond friendships, swing emotions, even fire up romance – you need to find Masters of Taste.

Who are they? What people (many since the age of four years) have developed taste buds that can differentiate between multiple olfactory stimuli – taste sensations – to know what triggers delight in those who taste?

Think about it.

This is just a warm up...
This is just a warm up…
...not near main course yet...
…not near main course yet…

What people dedicate their lives to taste? I don’t mean chefs who begin cooking school at age seventeen. I don’t mean television cooks who spent their first careers as stock brokers or engineering professors. I mean people who dunk their taste buds in the lifelong pursuit – the gustatory pleasure – of differentiating between ten thousand shades of taste.


Talented wine makers.

Find an incredible wine maker, and most times you also find a cook with taste buds attuned to subtlety, complexity, creative possibilities, and the desire to please others as they eat and drink.

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Family Eymas on a sunny Sunday afternoon…

The other day, Les and Clarissa from Villa St. Simon in Blaye and I shared lunch provided by friends and proprietors of Château La Rose Bellevue – Jérôme and Valérie Eymas. We sat in the shade of a sprawling tree and drank Chablis and tucked into bowls of Valérie’s gazpacho soup. While tasting this amazing summer delight, I realized that it’s time to write another book. We did a little brainstorming for the title: The Winemaker’s Cooking Companion. 

This book will include recipes from winemakers, wine producers, and others from the world of wine.

We’ll start off with this family recipe from Valérie, taster and assistant producer of dozens of vintages. This recipe is well suited to the hot days of summer.

Zucchini / Cucumber Gazpacho Soup

Zucchini/Cucumber Gazpacho Soup from Château La Rose Bellevue

Ingredients and Amounts…

Zucchini – 2 normal, 2 round

Table salt – 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 grams)

Water – 1 and 1/4 cup (300 ml)

Cucumber (large) – 1

Rocket salad leaves – 1/2 bag [3 ounces(80 grams)]

Garlic cloves – 2

Coconut milk – 1 cup (200 ml)

Fish sauce, or nuoc mam – 2 tablespoons (30 ml)

Dashi Bonite dried fish powder – 1 sachet

Lime juice – from one lime

White pepper – 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 grams)

Coriander leaf


1. Peel, de-seed, and chop up four zucchini.

2. Boil them for twenty minutes in the water, together with two pressed cloves of garlic and the salt.

3. Take off heat and let cool.

4. Peel, de-seed, and chop up one large cucumber. Add this to the boiled zucchini mixture.

5. Add the rocket salad leaves, coconut milk, fish sauce, Dashi powder (Valérie uses Dashino-Moto Bonito Flavored Seasoning – made by Shimaya), lime juice, and white pepper. Mix well.

6. Put in a blender. Whirl until the consistency is creamy. Add coriander leaf on top for decoration (or you can replace with mint).

7. Let cool in the freezer, then serve cold.

We enjoyed a Grand cru Chablis with this, although Valérie suggests a Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc would be more acidic, and better.

(My own effort with this recipe included too much garlic, so I reduced the quantity to two cloves.)

The Grand Cru Chablis with a screwcap....
The Grand Cru Chablis with a screwcap….

Bon appétit…


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  1. Zucchini/Cucumber Gazpacho Soup …. I’m on it! Sounds delicious!

    1. Yes, it was quite yummy. Great for summertime – light and fresh. The next recipe will be monk fish and thin cut smoked pork ribs from Julien…stay tuned!

  2. Sounds delightful. I’ll have to try it and see how different it is from my new found favorite, a watermelon gazpacho made with a lightly sweetened basil syrup with star anise and cloves. Truly complex flavours and amazingly refreshing.

  3. Dan Witters (sometimes resident of Blaye, Bordeaux) wrote an email in which he said:


    I really enjoy these emails/reports from you. Keeps me in touch with Bordeaux, wine and much else. Keep it up.



  4. Looking forward to the book, Tom! Great idea!

    1. Thanks Chrissie! It will accrete slowly over time…if you know any winemakers (or wine specialists, such as yourself) who want to share something yummy, do let me know 🙂

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