A blog about literature, politics, crime novels, recipes and restaurants, food and wine, travel and other essentials. Visit my author website. For my custom walking tours of Paris (and elsewhere), please visit my Paris, Paris Tours blog. For my travel, food, wine and tours of the Italian Riviera, visit my new site WanderingLiguria

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Food Wine Burgundy at the Village Voice in Paris

Food Wine Burgundy has only been out for a week and already it's in stock at the Village Voice on Rue Princesse
Note that this is the authentic item, not a faux Pinot Noir kind of Burgundy.
The VV also stocks Food Wine Rome and Food Wine Italian Riviera & Genoa (not to mention Paris City of Night, my thriller).
For those used to e-books and on-line commerce, it can be a shock on the system to enter a real bookstore, buy real books, and realize that the old, analog approach has too many advantages to describe here. Of course there's room for e-books, as long as they don't kill the real, bound variety. Once in while try a book, not a Red Bicyclette of an e-book, pretending to be something it is not.

Red Bicyclette and Gallo: what's in a name?

Red Bicyclette? You must be kidding. At least it is red, in color. But it has little to do with Pinot Noir, other than inappropriately using the grape variety's name.
The best Pinot Noir generally does not go by that name, but rather by a village or vineyard appellation in Burgundy, the cradle of the variety. That's France, by the way. In Burgundy, when the Pinot Noir is made right it is not syrupy, it is not redolent of cooked red fruit, it is not overly alcoholic, it is not any of the things that enamored so many of our fellow citizens (including wine reviewers and connoisseurs who can't tell one grape variety from another) to this marvelous fake. The best Burgundy wines stand out because they are true to type, could be made nowhere else, with no other grape variety, and don't pander to the lowest common denominator. "True to type" is what Food Wine Burgundy is all about.This scandal is yet another call to arms: respect the soil, the seasons, the essentials of terroir.

Starred review of Food Wine Burgundy in Library Journal

A banner day today... starred reviews go to only 5 percent of books reviewed... the last time we got one was for Cooking the Roman Way!

Travel & Geography
Downie, David (text) & Alison Harris (photogs.). Food Wine Burgundy. Little Bookroom. (Terroir Guides). 2009. 464p. photogs. maps. index. ISBN 978-1-892145-75-8. pap. $29.95. TRAV

Downie (Food Wine Rome) pragmatically explains how world markets push out many "moms and pops" that produce a quaint bounty in vast, varied, and lush landscapes and how haute influences in bistro cuisines replace traditional dishes and forsake roots.
Not writing a dirge, Downie instead calls readers to arms by celebrating the terroir (literally "terrain") and how it, along with the particular climates, has created culinary jewels for millennia—snails, Charolais beef, chèvre, honey, truffles, and grand cru pinot noirs and chardonnays. He easily demystifies the processes of wine making and the distinction and variety of Burgundy's regional productions. Downie succinctly maps and divides Burgundy into four regions, walking readers through each town and discussing lodgings, markets, artisans, and vintners. He also deconstructs restaurants' menus for their technique and signatures. VERDICT Beautifully depicted, handily sized, and substantially sourced for contact info and seasonal hours. Not a stand-alone general guide, this book is a regional standard for oenophiles and the palatably enchanted traveler. Highly recommended.—Ben Malczewski, Ypsilanti Dist. Lib., MI, Library Journal, 2/15/10, Starred Review

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Paris City of Night review

This just appeared on

Tell your friends! dd

David D. Downie Lets Paris Set the Scene for New Thriller
Bonnye Busbice Good, Photo by David E. Good Posted by
Bonnye Good
Feb 16, 2010

Mystery/suspense authors tend to zestfully pursue many areas of interest and David D. Downie is no different.
As an American living in France and Italy, his inspiration comes from the dense culture emanating from the stone city streets to the modern exuberantly lit avenues, both of which can be found in the same central European cities.
Downie has written a thriller, Paris City of Night, (which will be reviewed later on featuring a multi-faceted main character named Jay Anthony Grant, or JAG, in the famous City of Lights.
On a more low key note, Downie has also written guides on food and wine for specific regions in Italy and France plus a cookbook for those hoping to replicate the flavorful food found in Roman trattorias and local homes.
While most of us are digging out from several inches of snow even during Mardi Gras, this is a good time to take a break to read a Parisian thriller or at least to picture the Eiffel Tower lit up at night, vibrantly reflected by the snow. For more information on Paris City of Night or on his nonfiction work, check out

Read more at Suite101: David D. Downie Lets Paris Set the Scene for New Thriller

Friday, February 12, 2010

NY Review of Books ad for Food Wine Burgundy

Instead of chocolate hearts... 400-odd pages of food, wine, shops (including chocolate shops), food-wine pairings, history, culture... This ad just came out in the New York Review of Books (I haven't seen it yet--a friend emailed me this image). Happy V-Day and happy reading!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dollar up, euro down, Burgundy out

The snow is falling in Paris. Photographers are happy: even the horizontal pollution on the sidewalks, generated by the city's half-million pooches, looks picturesque. The homeless and those who can't afford to pay their heating bills are less thrilled. Paris is going back to its millennial default: long, cold winters, brightened (in terms of luminosity) by a dusting of snow.
The snow and ice and cold are also good for the grapevines, specifically those in Burgundy, which are getting a serious chill. That's what they need. The wines of Burgundy have been tasting more and more Californian of late, and the climate--a long warming trend, with mild winters--is probably--note the modifier--partly to blame. Unwelcome bugs and virus are also getting frozen out, which means winemakers will probably be kinder to their vines and the soil this coming year.
To celebrate the snow, and Saint Valentine, and a newish and better year (we hope), my latest Terroir Guide has come out this week: Food Wine Burgundy.
This may not be the ideal time to sip a chilled Chassagne-Montrachet, but a warming, vintage Aloxe-Corton or even a quirky little red Marsannay might do. Of course, if you prefer herbal tea and honey instead, Burgundy has some of the best of both (just possibly some of the best honey anywhere, period).

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Burgundy tree hugger

Near this 500-year-old chestnut tree in Burgundy's Morvan parkland was a set of beehives. The chestnut honey produced by those bees is probably what we tasted at the wonderful farmhouse B&B down the road where we stayed: Ferme de la Chassagne.

Having been stung several times as I attempted to embrace the tree, I did not wish to make inquiries of the bees themselves, and the beekeeper was nowhere to be seen. One day soon we will return to the Morvan, track down the honey-maker, and add him to the listings in our book, Food Wine Burgundy, which is in bookstores and available on-line today. For now, you'll find several dozen of the region's top honey-makers listed, as well as the Ferme de la Chassagne (and dozens of other wonderful farmhouse B&Bs). A honey-lover's job is never done...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Food Wine Burgundy is out!

Back on line after months in Rome or traveling, with no access to the Internet...
Here's a link to Amazon, where FOOD WINE BURGUNDY, the third in our Terroir Guides, may be ordered as of tomorrow, Feb. 9, 2010.

I'll be posting extra info on Burgundy in these pages.
Please tell your friends! Best, dd