20080710

Out of shape at 33


Out of shape at 33 is one of those targeted ads you see on Facebook. They are insidious, but ultimately they are an acceptable trade-off for many Facebookers (you reveal your birth date so your friends can get birthday reminders in order to buy you a drink; you suffer thereafter a torrent of tanned, toned abdominal muscles that call you out by your age, peppering you with reproach about your wanning fitness the day after your birthday).

But they are only annoying as they are effective. Internet incantations of laziness prompted me to post this, after all.

Finally, after six weeks of inactivity and silence, I am posting. Finally, after a marked increase in bottles of calorie-rich wine (that just so happened to match my sudden hike in vacation time, which always carries with it wanning physical activity)!

And, sure enough, this post comes after a time away in which I celebrated my 33rd birthday. So that's me who's out of shape. There's no contest: I really am out of shape at 33. At the very least, this blog space is a testament to it.

SEXY, STREAMLINED AND SAVVY IN AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE

I bring up Facebook mostly because I'm on it and I'm on it a lot. (Oh, don't act surprised. You're on there too. So is Steve De Long of De Long's Wine Moment. So is David McDuff of McDuff's Food and Wine Trail.)

Need more proof of how much I'm on there (other than the sad abs-in-my-face story)? Here:
MY NEW WINE BLOG ON FACEBOOK

Yes, I've been somewhat busy with a new foray for Weingolb set in an exciting collaborative environment: it's called the Facebook page.

Here's what a Facebook page brings:

  • public access to everyone on the Internet (notice that I didn't say it was a Facebook profile!) so it's not restricted to registered Facebook members (though Facebookers do get the added benefits of an improved social networking experience, which is something that has entirely changed the raison d'être of wineblogging for me -- thanks especially to BrooklynGuy, Bill "the Caveman" Zacharkiw and Joe from Joe's Wine

  • a multi-purpose wall for writing comments, wine reviews or comments on wine reviews (or...?)

  • a discussion board for enhanced development of forum topics

  • the easiest photo and video upload tool on the planet -- accessible to all, whether you are a reader, administrator, weindoktor or plonkpupil

  • built-in RSS and news feed features for reliably keeping track of updates

  • event creation -- though it's a bit stiff and I admit could be better -- and the usual web 2.0 bells and whistles

  • automatic web tracking and metrics (bye-bye slow-loading Site Meter)

  • But most of all, the biggest thing it brings is:
  • convenience and ease of access... since I'm already always on Facebook!

Ooops. I've forgotten a bit about wineblogging. It has been a long, long time since I last wine blogged. I meant to say... Here's what my Facebook page brings:And those were just wines suitable for the celebration of my 33rd birthday. Plenty of other everyday wines are documented too.I'm about to post reviews on Château Candastre, another French southwest wine from Gaillac, this time red, and a Limoux sparkling wine from Laurens.

Drink up!

Thanks to all the clever bloggers I have continued to read during my slow-down and switch. They have kept me inspired. I may never publish notes once a day as I did when I started this site. But I am hopeful that this move could ultimately be better than the blogging of my early days anyway.

So I hope you will visit me over here on my re-launched page.

20080602

"De la terre"







De la terre means from the earth.

De la terre is also the name of the bakery café that my sister works at in Fonthill, Ontario. Its focus is on local and organic, with local taking precedence over certified organic, but often you get both. So one way or the other "de la terre" is a well suited name for this place.

See their website for words from the horse's mouth. It's at De la terre Café and Bakery.

Or read on below for what I was able to pick up about this ambitious and pleasing spot.

Though my sister has only been working as pastry chef apprentice since November 1, 2007, De la terre is already approaching its second anniversary. Jan Campbell-Luxton is the proprietor and chef of the café. He serves up a mean breakfast (shown in the photographs here) and lunch (I sampled an amazing braised beef sourdough sandwich with the best Ontario mustard I've ever tasted, as well as an fascinating celery root and apple soup).

Though it's open for breakfast and lunch but not dinner, De la terre possesses an omnipotent influence on the neighbourhood that surrounds it. In addition to a commitment to local food crops, Jan also has a barter system set up so that anyone can bring in their fresh chemical-free greens or other local produce and strike up a deal with the kitchen.

I imagine that they've given out more than a few loaves of their bread this way. Their bread is also distributed at the Grimsby market on Thursdays and at a various other establishments, including the Saint Catharines restaurant called Pan Café.

SETTING OTHER ANNIVERSARIES

As a pastry chef, my sister may not be affected by local harvests as much as head chefs who manage an entire kitchen. Regardless, she does use many regional ingredients in her creations.

You can see some of her recent baking, which she has been doing entirely on a volunteer basis. See the spelt wedding cake and dessert trays she customized for a wedding in Ball's Falls last weekend by clicking here.

That wedding -- my brother's, in fact -- carried a local theme similar to so many restaurants, recipes and cuisines have been the trend at the moment in the cultural zeitgeist. At the wedding reception, all the cupcakes, spelt brownies and other dessert nibblies were baked in a conventional domestic oven, in my sister's simple kitchen, located about only 15 minutes away from the reception.

Also keeping with the local theme, the wedding favours given out to guests of my brother and his bride once the fabulous desserts ended were large clay pots of young herbs -- mint, sage and rosemary sprigs. These were starter kits for a summer of home harvesting.

Local may be trendy these days, but it is more than that in the bigger picture. And it's more than sentiment at a wedding. It's delicious, for one thing.

When you're one of the neighbours of De la terre Café and Bakery, it's a huge benefit too and valuable addition to the community.