Before the end of the year I’ll do a few more livestreams that cover Portuguese wines from the Douro region, as well as Italian Prosecco and Franciacorta wines, and Chianti Classico. Will keep you informed!

Coming attractions


France is locked down again—from October 30th until the end of November.

Yet I was officially requested to come to the government Prefecture building complex in Bordeaux city today to obtain a 10 year visa. After five rounds of one year visas, this was great news!

(Incidentally, historical note: the capital of France was moved from Paris to Bordeaux three times—once during the Franco-Prussian war in the 1870’s, and again during both World Wars.)

Bordeaux city

Afterwards, I visited the apartment of my Italian friend Gaia, because we are working together on a translation of text for an important boating event. We decided to have a quick celebratory toast of champagne while she prepared (once again) some wonderful Italian food.

1. CHEF.

Gaia comes from the city of Trieste in northeastern Italy, which sits on the sea front. She moved to France many years ago, and now is in love with living in the beautiful city of Bordeaux.

Stairwell in Gaia’s apartment building in Bordeaux city

‘Surfing and cooking are my favorite hobbies,’ she explained, lamenting that she misses the oceanside during this lockdown. Her parents still live in Trieste and keep active; her father sometimes still goes technical rock climbing. Both of them taught Gaia to cook.

‘My parents lived a few hundred meters from the Adriatic Sea. My father cooked a lot of fish, but is also a specialist in making risotto. My mother taught me to cook pasta and rice dishes.’

Surfer / Chef Gaia from Trieste, Italy


Gaia made a ‘healthy, light, delicate’ lunch. The first dish was Brodo di Verdure di Stagione, which literally means ‘seasonal vegetable broth.’ She added potatoes, carrots, leek, onions and celery to a pot of water, then added thyme, parsley, rosemary and pimente espelette (a seasoning made from special red peppers from the Basque territory of southwest France). She cooked this for an hour and a half. (Incidentally, she uses this same liquid as a basis for making risotto.)

The flavor was light and complex. Beautiful.

Brodo – broth

For the main course Gaia cooked short, angle-ended pasta known as ‘trofie’ (easy to purchase in supermarkets), then added homemade pesto (made from olive oil, basil, garlic, Parmigiano cheese, pine nuts and salt and pepper before sprinkling grated cheese on top. Again, light and delicious.

The next cheese dish was camembert from Normandi, which paired well with champagne.

Dessert was a plate of Lindt Rocher chocolate squares, together with strong espresso (with a hit of almond milk).

Lindt Rocher chocolate and espresso


We opened a celebratory bottle of Canard-Duchêne champagne (photographed with the new visa). Although we also had Prosecco, we decided to eat Italian and drink French.

Champage and Carte de Resident de Longue Duree – excellent combo!

Home cooking with friends is wonderful. Merci, Gaia.

Incidentally, I purchased a book of Tuscan recipes for lockdown cooking practice. Beginning tomorrow!

Thanks for tuning in again …

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