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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.

Nov 162008

In this world where every store looks alike, a step into Sue King’s store is a complete departure from the norm. While the store does not appear to be very large on first encounter, it is packed with the most intriguing and unusual products and gifts. There is also a warehouse off-premises, with staff scurrying back and forth to keep the shelves well stocked.

The shop is primarily a “home store” with an emphasis on tabletop and textiles. However, much can be found that transcends that description. Whatever strikes Sue King’s fancy, ends up being given space in her Sacramento Street domain.

Celebrating her 30th anniversary this year, her long experience and keen eye are unmatched in the retail world. She personally travels the world and chooses the crème de la crème for her San Francisco customers. As much as I travel, which includes trade shows everywhere, I always find things I have never seen when I visit her shop. Why? Because she has developed personal relationships with creative folk from all walks of the design world who work exclusively for her.

You will find glass, china and flatware that is completely unique to her. But you will also find Fortuny lighting, enameled lava table in brilliant colors from France, handmade one of a kind jewelry pieces, the best in room fragrances, body products, lavish and pertinent books, unique furniture pieces, the list is endless.

I love the place! Sue is almost always there unless away drumming up new ideas. Something of a legend, she runs a tight ship and has an extremely knowledgeable staff. Naturally, designers are very attracted to her space.

Oh! one more thing. Her gift wrapping is the BEST. Beautiful thick paper with rich satin ribbon and always perfect colors. Her eye for color is impeccable.

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.