Photo of Steve Hoffman
Photo of Steve Hoffman

Steve Hoffman

Steve Hoffman is a food writer, tax preparer, and part-time French villager with ten years of experience writing for local and national publications about the food of the Great Lakes North and Mediterranean France.

Expertise: Northern Food, French Wine & Cuisine

Experience: Steve Hoffman is a James Beard Award-winning food writer who spends half of each year in his left brain, as a professional tax preparer, and the other half in his right brain, as a writer on the subjects of food, wine, and culinary travel. He splits his time between his native Minnesota and the Languedoc region of southern France. Steve dedicated four fall semesters working with local winemakers in a tiny French village, assisting in the vineyards and wineries. His writing has appeared in numerous outlets including Artful Living, the Washington Post, Food & Wine, and the Minnesota Star Tribune, where he won an IACP Award for his article "From the Wild (Meals from a Hunter)."
Just an hours drive from Montpellier, Faugères offers a slower pace—but plenty of charm.
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Vin d'Orange Classique
Rating: Unrated
1
One of the great anticipatory pleasures of life in the Languedoc is watching a friend get up from the dinner table, disappear downstairs into his family's cellar, and reemerge with a dusty bottle or two of richly colored liquid. These are homemade cordials or liqueurs are made from plums, blackberries, lemon verbena, green walnuts, myrtle berries, or sloe berries, among others. Vin d'orange is among the most approachable and easy to make. It's a subtly explosive fortified wine that smells like an orange grove and balances tenuously between sweetness and an edge of bitterness and alcoholic bite. Chilled with a single ice cube, it is a perfect opening act to the drama of an evening's conversation, a meal, or merely watching the sun's waning glow in the western sky.
Poached Pears in Muscat
Rating: Unrated
New!
Languedoc and Mediterranean France make beautifully aromatic, sweet Muscat dessert wines that soak into these poached pears. This recipe, which writer Steve Hoffman tasted in the town of Autignac, replaces the usual sugar with honey and counters the sweetness and floral notes of the reduced wine with some of the resinous and earthy aromas of the area's famous wild scrubland, namely bay, thyme, and fennel. A knife inserted into a poached pear should encounter about the same resistance as room-temperature butter. 
This version of the classic French-Mediterranean red-wine stew leans on three different cuts of beef—chuck for firmness, shank for its silky texture and connective tissue, and short ribs for their fat and deep flavor. Traditionally daube is cooked in a bulbous clay pot called a daubière, but it can also be made in a tightly sealed Dutch oven. Lamb, boar, venison, and octopus are widely used alternatives. The structured, briary wines of Faugères are the perfect pairing for this flavorful stew—both to cook with, and to drink alongside.
Salade Catalane
Rating: Unrated
2
The three-part core of a classic salade Catalane includes roasted red pepper, anchovy, and hard-boiled egg. Beyond this, there are endless interpretations. This one, from Steve Hoffman's time in the French town of Autignac in Languedoc-Roussillon, takes the form of a very approachable chopped salad, which pays its respects to the region's love of wild bitter greens and fire-based cooking.
The widely influential winemaker, chef, and culinary muse has died at 102.
An American couple living in a remote fold of southern France longed to become part of the local community. Then they got a thrilling invitation to a winemaker’s blending session.
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An American couple living in a remote fold of southern France longed to become part of the local community. Then they got a thrilling invitation to a winemaker’s blending session.