Tag Archives: cheese

A Picnic in Provence


It was perfect. A picnic in Provence where it is so simple, so easy, it’s practically laid out for you! Bouncing around visiting the little ancient villages perched on hilltops you are bound to bump into one of the farmer’s markets that migrates daily from town to town. Stalls of cheeses, cured meats, fresh eggs, provencal olives, rustic breads, almond based sweets and the most delicious seasonal produce all lined up for discovery. There is no flashy marketing, just the country staples.

It brought me such joy.

We’d pick up a bottle of local wine which, in this region, is treated much more like a casual daily ritual than a precious commodity. More like an expression of joy from the earth and the community, and the simple pleasures of life. I bought an old monogrammed linen sheet from a yard sale which provided ample space for all our accompaniments to rest in afternoons under cherry trees, or hilltop vistas, lying down for a nap or to read a book, or even just listening quietly to my Renoir playlist as I watched the clouds roll by in all their funny shapes up there in that big blue sky.


Below, caught in the wind under the cherry trees in a Reformation floral dress and Maison Michel hat

A_Picnic_In_Provence_05 A_Picnic_In_Provence_06    (more…)

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A Southern Holiday Party

Holiday party with Ecco Domani Merlot and Pinot Grigio

It feels like only a moment ago we were hosting last year’s holiday party for friends. My how fast a year comes and goes with so many new memories to stowaway in the vault. For this year’s get together in our new Upper West Side home I wanted to bring to life a piece of my past to make the meal even more personal and intimate by taking our friends on a culinary trip down south, to taste my southern roots and warm comfort food.

When I think about southern food I always think about BBQ and biscuits. A saucy slow cooked meat rolled in spices and balanced by the buttery softness of a warm biscuit. It’s sinful and wonderful and went beautifully with Ecco Domani’s full bodied Merlot. For the non-meat eating guests we offered southern catfish baked and served in my cast iron skillet my grandmother passed down to me which is seasoned with love, as I like to say, and a great compliment to Ecco Domani’s Pinot Grigio.

Of course, any time I host friends or family I like to start with a cheese plate for people to graze on while we finish preparing the meal. Following my simple rule I outlined in this post, I chose a wonderful soft goat cheese, aged gouda, manchego cheese to be accompanied by roasted almonds, apples and artisanal crackers. Wanting to start with a crisp and light wine, we opened Ecco Domani’s Pinot Grigio for the cheese course though it goes perfectly well with the Merlot too if you prefer.

In the end, no matter what you serve or what you wear, it’s about making memories with friends and loved ones, sharing stories, being at peace and above all, loving one another this holiday season. Cheers….

See below for entertaining tips and southern recipes created for this night by my friend Jared who is, as we call him, the cookie monster. Everything was served on handmade pottery (a wedding gift from my parents!) by Clayworks in the East Village and another very personal, homey touch to this intimate gathering.

Holiday party with Ecco Domani Merlot and Pinot Grigio

For last year’s holiday party we set individual photographs I had taken of each guest at their place setting to not only arrange the seating in a beautiful visual way but for each of the guests to take home a gift from the evening. This year I decided to create individual bouquets for each place setting that the guests could take home and enjoy for the days to come. Living in New York City this is a wonderfully easy way to play with your creativity. On 28th and 7th is the most fabulous flower market where you can find anything your heart desires. I love more than anything exploring in and out of these shops and creating my own story though flowers.

Above, setting the table in Maud Heline’s Arlanik white button up shirt dress made in Brooklyn  (ps- it’ has pockets!!) 

Holiday party with Ecco Domani Merlot and Pinot Grigio Holiday party with Ecco Domani Merlot and Pinot Grigio (more…)

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Murray’s Cheese Shop

A legendary cheese shop in Greenwich Village with hundreds of imported, local and artisanal cheeses makes my little heart sing in joy!

Shooting a cheese story for Cup of Jo led us to this fromage haven to stock up for the Perfect Cheese Plate, the Adventurous Cheese Plate, & Perfect Pairs…. and then I died a happy-cheesey-death.


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The Food Diary of a Brocavore~

From Mike’s Food Diary:

Entry #3: Olives with Porch Grown Herbs


·      1 Tbsp of chopped herbs like oregano, parsley or thyme

·      2 Tbsp of diced cheese and preferably firm and made with goats milk

·      1/2 clove garlic chopped

·      1/2 tsp of good olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Transfer to a serving dish. Simple. 


Use basil, fresh rosemary, or tarragon
Omit the cheese
Serve warm by placing all the ingredients in a sauté pan over low heat for 5 minutes

Wine Recommendation

The briny quality of olives induces thirst, so pair them with a cool, vigorous glass of white wine. Let’s say a crispy Pinot Bianco from Northern Italy or a sleek Muscadet from France. 

The Food Diary of a Brocavore is an ongoing collaboration project with words & recipes by Mike of whats up stairs and photography by me. Please do enjoy other entries from The Food Diary of a Brocavore!

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