Australia has more than 65 wine regions, each of them with its own climate and soil type. As a result, the wines from each region have their own distinctive characters. Here’s a geographic guide to Aussie Shiraz:
Shiraz: A Regional Guide. Art © Alex Nabaum.
Warm Climate (Pink Dots)
Regions: Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Heathcote, Langhorne Creek
Character: Ripe blackberries, massively rich, lots of power
Wine to Try: 2010 Torbreck Barossa Valley Woodcutter’s Shiraz ($22)
Food Pairing: Braised short ribs
Moderate Climate (Green)
Regions: Eden Valley, Clare Valley, Margaret River
Character: Tangy blackberries, substantial body, licorice and black pepper notes
Wine to Try: 2010 Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Clare Valley Shiraz ($19)
Food Pairing: Lamb chops
Cool Climate (Blue)
Regions: Great Southern, Yarra Valley, Coonawarra, Frankland River
Character: Raspberries, medium-bodied with higher acidity, herb and white pepper notes
Wine to Try: 2010 Innocent Bystander Victoria Shiraz ($20)
Food Pairing: Roast duck
Related: In Defense of Australian Shiraz
Eating with your hands isn’t just acceptable for cocktail parties and raiding the fridge, it’s now common practice at some of the country’s top restaurants. Here, F&W's Kate Krader spotlights some of the more interesting serving vessels.
Beet Tumbleweeds at Minibar in Washington, DC. Photo courtesy of Powers and Crewe.
Minibar; Washington, DC
To present small bites like beet tumbleweed—a string of fried and tangled beet (photo)—chef and owner José Andrés had artist Sami Hayek make porcelain molds of his hands. minibarbyjoseandres.com.
Travail; Robbinsdale, MN
Chefs Mike Brown, James Winberg and Bob Gerken first introduced extra-long forks to feed their modern-American food directly to guests at the kitchen counter. Now they have a “tableside bites chandelier,” a 15-foot pole that extends from the kitchen to serve diners at the central table. travailkitchen.com.
Eleven Madison Park, New York City
On Daniel Humm’s newly redesigned menu, sous-vide-cooked carrots are passed through a classic meat grinder tableside and served on toasted rye bread, with condiments like fresh grated horseradish. elevenmadisonpark.com.
Related: Best New Finger Foods
Dan Barber on Why You Should Put Down the Fork
Chef Dan Barber’s finger-food lessons. As told to F&W’s Kate Krader
Illustration © Lauren Tamaki.
After we opened Blue Hill in New York City in 2000, I decided to do a Valentine’s Day menu with no silverware. It’s an idea I essentially ripped off from Alain Rondelli, a brilliant chef in San Francisco in the very early 1990s. His food was quite traditional, but then he’d do these incredibly iconoclastic things, like have a waiter walk around the dining room with just-spun cotton candy. In 2012, that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but back then it was fantastic. I saw how happy everyone was, and I equated no silverware with being happy at a restaurant.
Then I tried it as a full meal for Valentine’s Day at Blue Hill. It was a fun idea, but miserably executed. We served distracting dishes, like sweetbreads skewered on something like cinnamon sticks. Instead of being about love and looking at each other, it was just messy.
Still, I’ve turned the no-silverware ethos into the first part of a meal at Stone Barns. We serve a bunch of little things you grab at and nibble on—carrots and young bok choy skewered on a “fence”; pancetta-wrapped hakurei turnips; beet burgers with olive oil financiers. It’s less formal, without the interruptions of clearing that happen when we serve the amuse-bouche with a lot of silverware.
But I’m not a trailblazer in any of this. I just ate at Noma in Copenhagen: During my first hour there, I can’t remember if we used silverware at all. I was busy crushing ants [Noma’s current menu features live ants] and nibbling, skewering and swiping a parade of imaginative things. That’s the evolution of where restaurants are going: more extreme spontaneity and interaction. You can’t eat ants with silverware.
F&W Best New Chef 2002 Dan Barber is the co-owner of Blue Hill in Manhattan and Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York.
Related: Best New Finger Foods
Grace in the Kitchen
Turning crêpes with a spatula often causes them to break. The easiest way
to flip them is with your fingers. Use a spatula or a table knife to lift up
the edge, then gently pick up the crêpe and flip it over.
© William Meppem
Food & Wine's senior recipe developer, Grace Parisi, is a Test Kitchen superstar. In this series, she shares some of her favorite recipes to make right now.
The funny thing about crêpes is that I always forget just how easy they are to make until I have to test or develop a recipe for them. Then, I remind myself to make them more often (which I never do). I have started tearing out, bookmarking and flagging old recipes that I’ve either developed or tested and loved and have forgotten about. (I may have to try get a Pinterest account.)
It’s hard to remember what happened last week, let alone in 2001 (unless, of course, you’re Tina Ujlaki, whose memory is positively elephant-like), so forcing myself to look back has been supercomforting. There are dozens and dozens of recipes that I’d always wanted to make again, but then I had to move on to the next thing and poof, they disappeared. I’m going to try this chocolate and dulce de leche torte again—I know my kids will go crazy for it. SEE RECIPE »
Related: More Beautiful Desserts
F&W's Ultimate Holiday Guide