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  1. Agreed. And then there's mouth chemistry. I don't know how often I've tried a whisky (or wine) for the first time and not liked it only to find on retasting at a later date it was something I'd eaten or drunk just prior that was the real cause. If I was lucky I had more of it to go back to and realize my error.
  2. I'll chalk up your reaction to the Taketsuru to personal preference. The Taketsuru line of whiskys are very good. I just brought back a bottle of the 17 year old along with the Hibiki 17 year from a New Year's trip to Japan. I have the Taketsuru 21 as well and it is excellent. For those looking to buy higher end Japanense whisky while travelling there you will find the best prices by a pretty good margin at the duty free's in the airports. I wasn't sure and bought the Hibiki 17 in a store in Kyoto for 8500 yen and it turned up at duty free for 6500! Bought the 17 Nikka Taketsuru at duty free though so made back some of the loss. Having said that you will only find the mainstream high end at Duty Free and in most liqour stores. Yamazaki and Nikka being the main players with their range of brands. If you want the higher end Mars, Ichiro's etc. you really need to search out specialty stores like the one in Tokyo train station.
  3. Thought I'd give blended Scotch a try and picked up a bottle of Compass Box Great King Street and a friend has just brought me back a bottle of the famous Yamazaki 18 yr from Japan....
  4. Thought I'd bring this thread back into the light...... besides the previously mentioned whiskies what else is recommended these days? I have a friend going to Japan soon by way of Okinawa and she has offered to bring back whatever I would like! I'm giving myself a $100/9500 yen budget for a bottle. I'd love to get some Yamazaki 18 yr around that price but not sure if it's going for a lot more. I've heard great things about the Nikka Taketsuru 17 year as well as the Hibiki 17. If these prove to be above budget then perhaps the Yoichi 12 year sounds pretty tasty as well....Any other suggestions? If anyone is aware of current pricing in Japan I'd be most appreciative so that I can give some decent direction to my non-drinking (Japanese) friend.
  5. Very happy to have scored a bottle of the Four Roses Limited Edition 2012 Small Batch Barrel Strength. How it compares to the Four Roses 2012 Limited Edition Single Barrel Bourbon I'm not sure but at this level they are all excellent. Also a bottle of the tasty Rabarbaro Zucca Amaro.
  6. [Moderator note: This topic became too large for our servers to handle, so we've divided it up; the earlier part of the discussion is here: What did you buy at the liquor store today?] Picked up a bottle of Canadian Club 20 year. Don't see it everywhere so bought it as a backup to one I've got on the go. Not really a fan of the usual CC products (as above, 40 Creek rings my bell) but the CC 20 is fantastic stuff.
  7. The original book uses weights as well (unless I'm losing it!). That was one of the great things about it for the time. What I'm curious about is if she addresses the issue of converting recipes that started out as naturally yeasted breads to commercial yeast. Dan Leaders book Local Breads visited some of the same areas as Field and breads like the Pane Genzano are actually sourdoughs. I hate to think that with all the attention to detail in her books that she has dumbed down some of these classic recipes and has not corrected them for the much more sophisticated bakers of today. Leader's book has a poor record for actually putting a correct recipe on the page but I don't doubt his research.
  8. The original The Italian Baker was a groundbreaking book with it's well researched recipes and techniques on rustic Italian breads and pastries. It was a huge influence on my style of baking and I'm excited to see there is an updated version. I'll be picking up a copy in the next couple of weeks but I was wondering if anyone has gotten their hands on the new version and can comment on how much it has evolved?
  9. I gave up buying Jalapenos a couple of years ago for that very reason. Luckily most places sell the smaller Serranos alongside the Jalapenos and they (so far) have kept a pretty decent heat level and are now my go-to for a relatively hot green chili.
  10. No help on sourcing Pommeau but I have to chime in on how delicious (and addictive) it is. I was in Normandy in the Fall and it was my daily aperitif. I also had the great fortune to visit Camut (Semainville) arguably the best Calvados producer in Normandy and was given a bottle of the Pommeau they make for their family after buying some of their older Calvados to bring back home. Stuff to dream on....
  11. What makes this book worthwhile is that fact it's so compact. If you bought his whole grain book with all the crazy techniques this is dead simple in comparison. As previously mentioned Rheinhart has picked up tricks from other recent baking books as well as some of his own so if you've been buying the latest bread books this isn't a must have. I've tried the Pain a l'Ancienne (a real keeper with my favorite style of very wet dough that makes delicious hearth breads). There are three variations of the simple yeasted white dough in this section with the P.a'L being the wettest and the Classic French dough being the sturdier of the group. The Lean Bread (he could have come up with a better name) is the bridge between the two and his choice for the best of both worlds. The stretch and fold technique will give any novice a great result. I would really recommend tracking down a yard or so of French linen to use in place of parchment or floured boards for the wetter doughs as the longer rising times will cause some grief (especially for the ciabatta) as you try flipping the dough over. What makes life easier is the fact that the Pain a l'Ancienne dough recipe will make a simple hearth bread and with the addition of olive oil will also make a pretty decent Ciabatta and a Foccacia. (although I found his Foccacia technique to be pretty fidgety with the back and forth in the warm oven.) The 100% Whole Wheat hearth bread came out quite well but there will be huge variation in results depending on where you get your whole wheat flour from -especially if it's the kind that is really white flour with the bran added back and most certainly has additives to help the rising process-(vs the serious stone ground organic that will be much heartier). Some people may not like the addition of oil but it certainly helps to create a less dense product. A hit for the class I taught was the Struan loaf which Rheinhart states is his absolute favorite loaf for toast and one of the recipes he has made since he came out with his first book "Brother Juniper" eons ago. It's mildly sweet and interesting texturally while still being more white than wheat. Other than that I've tried the Cinnamon Buns and they're ok but not to die for. He also uses the same dough for the Panettone and the Stollen which is a big sin in my books (it's much more a Panettone dough). All in all he packs a heck of a lot of info and bread styles into a very slim book, the recipes are quite accurate (using a scale) so don't get scared if the dough looks way to wet, if you've measured properly trust the techniques before adding more flour.
  12. Fuel Restaurant on W. 4th in Kitsilano has announced it will be closing Nov. 29 and reopening Dec. 2 as a more casual neighbourhood style venue. Sad to see the original concept fall by the wayside but very happy that their style and quality will continue in a more affordable direction. Fried Chicken Fridays will continue to the end of the month and their third annual Whole Hog Dinner will take place Nov. 25, 26, 27. Looking forward to December.
  13. I've been asked to teach a couple of baking classes in the next few weeks based on this book. Just got my copy so I'll let you know as I work through the recipes.
  14. I'm planning a split couple of weeks first in Normandy and then in the Dordogne starting in mid October. While I'm sure to find all kinds of great Walnut breads in the Dordogne I haven't come up with much on Normandy in the way of Pain de Campagne. Although I plan to set up base in Calvados country I'll travel anywhere for great breads. In particular I've seen recipes in some N. American baking books (Jeffrey Hamelman as well as Joe Ortiz in the Village Baker) referring to a levain bread made with apples and cider that originated in Normandy. Is this a common bread or a specialty item? Any help locating a bakery making bread like this would be much appreciated. As well, any great Patisserie suggestions are welcome. thanks!
  15. Here's a couple of things: There must be a place that sells soups and stocks in Toronto? They should make demi but in any case you might want to try posting in the Ontario Cooking section here as you'll get a much better response. I'm assuming this is for home use so you might want to consider making your own and freezing it. I use chicken bones for mine using the exact technique for veal bones and you'd be hard put to tell the difference especially if you use it to make things like Beef Short Ribs etc. In fact here's a link to a blog that shows that exact technique [post='http://livingstoncooks.blogspot.com/2007/12/sauce-production-101-chicken-demi-glace.html']Chicken Demi.. One good batch will freeze up for a few months worth of meals at a fraction of what you would be charged for what is very often a lousy quality faux demi that has powdered beef base and too much thickener.
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