Announced at the last Village Board meeting is the impending opening of a number of new businesses on Franklin Avenue this fall. They include "Rose Randolph Cookie Shop", "Leaf & Bean" and "Love Feast" (whom we know from Millerton and Amenia Farmers' Markets) who is opening a Vegan restaurant in town. Millbrook Nails has now moved to Franklin Avenue from its former location on Front Street. Owner Kevin Tran and his wife offer manicures, pedicures, waxing and massages. Chef/owner Joe Comizio of Franklin Avenue's new restaurant, Trattoria San Giorgio is looking for experienced staff. Qualified parties should send resumes to email@example.com.
There was a party atmosphere in Pawling on Saturday as crowds of visitors picked through the bargains offered at the 19th annual Community Garage Sale. Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, this year's event had over 80 participants. Many purchased spots for tables in the village for $30 while others bought the telltale yellow balloons for $20 and spread their sale merchandise out on their lawns. Maps listing all of the venues were provided free of charge to shoppers. Coupons were also offered to attract shoppers to specific merchants. According to Marie Stewart, organizer of the event and owner of the Yarn & Craft Box, "the fees go to advertising the event, to bring people into town to shop."
I spoke with chef/owner Joe Comizio of the much anticipated new restaurant, Trattoria San Giorgio, on the corner of Franklin and Church Streets. He expects to open in a few short weeks The trattoria will be a full service Italian restaurant specializing in brick oven Neopolitan Pizza (12 inch individual portions) that will be served in the dining room or available for pick up.
The Orvis Game Fair will be held September 21st and 22nd. Country sport enthusiasts (shooting, hunting, fly -fishing, wing shooting, falconry, dog training, etc.) should plan on two full days at the fair. Demonstrations, seminars and fun activities for the kids are all on the program. Over 70 vendors of fine sporting goods and services will be present to display their wares. The event usually brings about 3000 participants to Millbrook, many of whom also make their way into the village.
Aix en Provence
I doubt that there is a better way to visit Aix en Provence than as guests of Frédéric and Shirin Fekkai. The estate they built on what was once barren land is sumptuous. Breathtaking views, manicured gardens, fields of lavender and a large house that was well designed and is decorated to be both beautiful and comfortable—so comfortable that I had to force myself to take the five minute drive to get into town. But we did, and visited the famous market, where we saw probably more than a hundred vendors selling all sorts of tempting produce, as well as the pottery, tablecloths and espadrilles for which Provence is famous.
I attended my first "food-swapping" event last Saturday at the Pawling Farmers Market. This hot new foodie trend brings cooks, gardeners and gatherers together to share their surplus of homemade, homegrown or foraged foods with each other. No money changes hands. Swaps enable direct trades to take place between attendees. Inspired by a renewed interest in home growing, canning, preserving and cooking, the swap concept was introduced back in March 2010 in Brooklyn when Kate Payne, author of "The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking," set up the first food-swapping event. Through social media and blogging, it took off across the country, through the Midwest and onward, until, finally, Emily Ho in Los Angeles started the Food Swap Network. Now active in England and Scandinavia as well as in continental Europe and recently Brazil, food swapping has become an international phenomenon.
Millbrook Vineyards and Winery received the 2013 Best Overall Hudson Valley Wine award for its 2012 Tocai Friulano, Saturday at the Hudson Valley Wine & Food Festival in Rhinebeck. The award was presented to the winery by Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, because Governor Andrew Cuomo who had planned to make a surprise visit to the event to promote his "Taste NY" initiative, had to cancel due to a personal issue.
When I first received my invitation from Governor Cuomo to attend the Hudson Valley Wine & Food Festival in Rhinebeck, I fully expected a gathering of the very best in upscale wining and dining in our lovely Hudson Valley. Little did I know how wrong I was. Thousands stood in the long lines in front of the New York State winemaker booths with their wine glasses in hand, waiting to sample the latest vintages. (I tried a few and came back to Millbrook Winery’s, which was my favorite among those I tasted.) The food tended more toward burgers, corn dogs, pizza, chicken wings and shish-kebab than anything I would want to write about. Yet the trip was made worthwhile by my discovery of Italian chef Carmela Decker, owner of Senza Glutine, and her biscotti. I tasted and bought her gluten-free chocolate-espresso and also her almond biscotti.
Last week we drove to a small mountain village St. Chély d'Aubrac in Auvergne. It is on a pilgrimage trail, so many a hiker is spotted with a backpack and walking stick, stopping at cafes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our three days here would not be as rustic as that. We were visiting our friends François and Martine at their country home. It is a stone house and garden overlooking a mountain stream. The soothing sound of the water rushing by adds to the ambiance. The interior has been redone and has all of the space and comfort of a modern home, furnished with a charming mixture of traditional and modern pieces. They welcomed us with a simple but tasty dinner at home. Grilled baby lamb chops (lamb was naturally raised in nearby Lozere). As a side dish, we ate sautéed zucchini with Cantal cheese melted on top. I would soon discover that melting Cantal cheese (or tomme fraîche) into or on top of various dishes is an important element of Auvergne cuisine.