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Jul 302009
Lee and Ricardo, Ariels Restaurant, Brookfield VT

Ariel’s Restaurant, Brookfield VT

Even though I live in the middle of nowhere, I am beyond blessed to have a world class restaurant a short 20 minute drive from my home in Vermont. It is called Ariel’s, and the owners, Lee and Richard, have become close friends to me and my family.

The atmosphere in Ariel’s is very reminiscent of old-style European eateries. The chef and maitre d’ live upstairs with their beautiful children and the Catahoola dog. The pristine setting in Brookfield on the pond (with a floating bridge) is primo, but it cannot hold a candle to the food itself.

With a serious emphasis on fresh, local food (long before it became so popular) and exceptional, affordable wines, Richard and Lee have set the bar so high that very, very few restaurateurs can achieve it consistently.

Lee can be glimpsed as you walk through the door working in her small but efficient kitchen. She prepares all the food. Richard is the wine and spirits expert, having had his own radio program called The Wine Guy.

Last night I went to a fabulous Farmers’ Dinner at Ariel’s honoring the local farmers and cheesemakers that supply their restaurant. I had the total pleasure of sitting with Craig and Angela Russell from Brotherly Farm (who raise beef and pork) and Allison Hooper (founder of Vermont Butter and Cheese).

I feel so fortunate to be a part of the remarkable food revolution that is taking place. Richard has also taught me how to forage mushrooms…and the chanterelles are out right now!

Jan 142009

One day, many years ago, I happened upon this beautiful magazine.  I picked it up because the design of the cover was intriguing and the graphics so well done.  It ended up being Edward Behr’s, ART OF EATING. That first cover quietly reflected the contents; superb straight forward writing about food and its place in our lives.

There is no hype; no advertising; just a straight forward opinionated point of view, with which I happen to agree!  It is through Ed Behr that I first learned about the term “terroir”.  He has been far ahead of other writers in drilling down into the DNA of food.  He is deeply interested in the traditions of food, the growing of it, the place of it all in the hearts and minds of each culture.

I keep almost every issue in a file related to a specific country. They are pulled out when I travel.  Whether it’s Japan or France, he has covered it all. I have learned about obscure wines, green tea, raw milk cheese, French sausages, olive oil, anchovies, bacon, foie gras, cooking equipment, on and on.  In addition, he reviews restaurants and books and has others writing excellent columns.

Although we have never met, I feel as though I know this man well.  He is incorruptible. You have to love that!.

Finally,  in the synchronicity of it all, Ed lives in Vermont.  Another independent “gotta’-do-it-my-way” kind of person that thrives in this state.

Oct 022008

I like to explain my interests in life as a search for the genuine article. A quest for authenticity.  This passion for the “real deal” has contributed to  Anichini’s reputation as having the best of the best, with an emphasis on hand crafted traditional textiles.

Having said that, my quest extends beyond textiles into many areas. One of them is food and food production.  I am a member of the Slow Food movement. Carlo Petrini, it’s founder, is a personal hero. His revelation in 1986 was the spark that launched a new awareness of food around the world; how we grow, prepare and share it. I have often suggested that Anichini could be defined as part of a Slow Textiles movement; in opposition and contrast to chemically produced disposable textiles.

Like food, there are many “endangered species” of textile production that we seek out and support. I live in Vermont where there are many people who share these ideals. This past weekend I visited the local Norwich farmers market which was overflowing with beautiful fresh food, all produced within a small radius of the market. Marketplaces are the same the world over; they are the epicenter of the community. Wherever I travel, I always try to visit the local market to experience what is unique to that place.