I love discovering. It is the reason I left home, the endless joy I found in New York, then again, why I left it to discover something new in France. When I woke up at Le Mas de Peint I had no idea where to set out for lunch that day. By chance, a French friend messaged me and said, “go to La Chassagnette, you will not regret it.” Without a reservation, which is a big no-no in Provence, I showed up at noon and was pleasantly surprised to discover the most incredible secret garden dining in the Camargue.
I literally knew nothing about the space, almost missing the humble sign for the turn off on the road. However, once I walked over the little wooden creek bridge into the world of La Chassagnette I knew this was something special. The host invited me to discover their garden, baskets of herbs, fruits, vegetables, aromatics, roses, and some flowers I had never seen before set in an endless view of farm land. All grown by organic standards, he informed me most of what I would be eating for lunch came from right here, what was picked this morning. A chef who lets the taste of nature be the star.
The setting was beautiful, just as beautiful as the edible art pieces that arrived on our plate. A reinterpretation of natural beauty. There was much to discover, flavors I have never tasted, flowers I had never before eaten.
I love this quote from their website about Armand Arnal the restaurant’s chef, “La Chassagnette seems to him an oasis which is self-sufficient and for which there is no concept to develop, except that of respecting its authenticity. ” Sounds like heaven, right?
Tip- try the sparkling sake!
I love New York in the summer. The parties are always at their most magical, and the people so beautiful. You would never know walking down a bustling street in Soho that behind a secret walled garden a glamorous summer soirée hosted by fashion designer Zac Posen is underway.
Under sparkling lights and fitted cocktail dresses, it was a perfect way to celebrate the newest collaboration between designer and wine maker. For two years now Zac Posen has been creating limited-edition bottle designs for Ecco Domani‘s Italian Pinot Grigio. Last year’s bottle was silvery burst of flowers and this year’s inspiration, taken from Mr. Posen’s 2016 collection, is reminiscent of joyful dancing bubbles in tones playing off of the wine’s crisp floral notes.
If Zac Posen is the go-to designer for the glamorous, classic Hollywood, lady-like women of the world then it is of no exception that his Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio design would be anything less. Perfect for a summer party table, the bottle is dressed for the occasion and all the joy that comes with….
Ecco’s Sparkling Rosa Cocktail
- 1 bottle Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio
- 12 oz Fresh Lemonade
- 12 oz Fresh Grapefruit juice
- 24 oz Club soda or sparkling water
- lemon-lime soda
- Mint for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl. Serve in wine glasses or low ball glasses with ice and garnished with fresh mint leaves and lemon slices.
Continue reading “A Summer Soirée with Zac Posen & Ecco Domani”
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.
Continue reading “A Picnic in Provence”
From the fields of France to the tables in Barcelona, we have been on some amazing journeys with Dom Pérignon. The latest adventure has us standing over the Californian desert horizon of Joshua Tree, drawing parallels between a 100 million year old natural park with its rich history of change and Dom Pérignon’s 1998 vintage which is now, according to Chef de Cave Richard Geoffroy, entering its Second Pléntitude on its own journey through time and change.
The Second Pléntitude, or P2 as they call it, happens around year fifteen in the champagne aging process. According to Geoffroy, champagne has three peak stages: The first at around seven years, the second at fifteen and the final stage around thirty. For the sake of comparison, a typical champagne is aged around three years. When you contrast the aging of Joshua Tree and how it has had many stages created and affected by nature you see how the stages of champagne are a small mirror to a vast landscape, both displaying their beautiful triumphs as a result of mother nature.
I love champagne, of course, it is greatly heightened by the master craft and artisanship of a wine like Dom, but I don’t drink it because of the name on the label. I love champagne because I’ve never had a bad time with it. It evokes memories of celebration, joy, friendship, laughter, perfect sunsets and even perfect sunrises. When we toast with champagne it is that sparkle in our eyes that effortlessly compliments the golden movements of the silent symphony inside that golden glass leaving your memories to float up into the night-sky and dance among the stars.
Continue reading “Dom Pérignon P2 1998”
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.
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!!)
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Yesterday marked the 230th anniversary of the 1st shipment of Veuve Clicquot Champagne to the United States, which was first ordered by a Frenchman living in Philadelphia who was familiar with the excellent sparkling wines from the Champagne region of France… what else would you expect from the French?!
To mark this special occasion my darling friends at Veuve Clicquot along with Kelly Framel, Mat Sanders and Kevin Burg boarded a train from Penn Station in New York to Philadelphia, our port of call. A quick little trolly to a historic ship and then the Veuve Clicquot champagne began to flow!
As introduced by Veuve Clicquot’s Cellar Master Dominique Demarville, we sipped on a vintage Rosé from 1989 with hors d’oeuvres, Cave Privée Vintage from 1990 with appetizers, my favorite and a very special treat with the 1978 vintage pared with our main courses, and finishing with a lovely demi-sec and dessert.
I think it’s safe to say we dreamt in Champagne dreams and bubbles of beauty last night…
Continue reading “Champagne Dreams…”