Does the food we eat deliver a sense of place?
One of the pleasures of traveling is sitting down to a meal that so distinctly represents the place we are visiting that those flavors and aromas tunnel deep into our memory. But what about the food we eat when we aren’t traveling? Can we similarly sum up local tastes with just a few words?
This is certainly more of a challenge, but not impossible, I learned a few weekends ago when visiting wineries out on Long Island. I was traveling on assignment for Luxury Travel Magazine, and my article on the c/o The Maidstone hotel was just published this week. You might remember me mentioning the Slow Food restaurant, the Living Room, a couple weeks ago. In addition to my excellent meal here, I also spent a sunny Saturday sampling a flight of wines at the Channing Daughters winery, one of two wineries on the South Fork of Long Island. Here’s a little preview from my article:
The Slow Food movement works to counteract ‘fast food and fast life’. A restaurant like the Living Room and a winery like Channing Daughters encourage us to become engaged and interested in what we are eating and where that food comes from. These passionate craftsmen inspire us to take what we learned back into our regular lives. After a meal at the Maidstone, I am a believer that slower can indeed be better.
In the article, I had enough space to briefly mention my visit to Channing Daughters. The recommendation came from the sommelier at the Maidstone, who shared her passion about Long Island wines throughout our meal at the Living Room restaurant. The following morning, I woke to find directions and a map to the winery, and we decided to stop in for a tasting.
The vines may have been bare, but there was a distinct hint of spring in the air. It may have been before noon on a Saturday, but after poking around a little in the tasting room, admiring the artistic bottles, it was time for a taste. As we sipped a total of six different wines, both whites and reds, we learned what gives wine from Channing Daughters its distinct sense of place. Atlantic breezes cool the vineyards, allowing for successful growing of several grape varieties.
There are the varieties you might expect to find, such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, but there are also unusual varieties such as Gewurztraminer and Blaufrankisch. The knowledgeable staff helped to break down where the grapes originated from and what they contribute to the wines. I also liked the interesting names of the wines, such as ‘Meditazione’ (meditation).
If you’re interested in these Long Island wines, they have a wine club that can introduce you to the their different wines. Alternatively, these local wines are also available at several stores in Manhattan and on wine lists in restaurants such as Gramercy Tavern and Le Bernardin.
Before automatically reaching for old favorites, I will now be tempted to check out the local Long Island section of the wine list when I sit down in a restaurant.
Readers: Any favorite Long Island wines to share?