Author: Anita Breland

Sailing with James Beard: Spanish Cuisine on the High Seas

The sky streaked pink and deepened to dusk as our ship headed into the Mediterranean fo a night-time crossing to the Balearic island of Ibiza, Spain. Across a table set with fine china, my husband and I clinked glasses with new friends and tucked into starters of langoustine on rosemary apple purée and a salad of beets and berries. Over splendid mains of lemon pasta, grilled corvina and beef tenderloin, we marveled at all we’d seen and tasted thus far on the inaugural sailing of the 2016 James Beard Foundation Culinary Collection. For our gala dinner, wines from  Spain’s...

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The Complex, Versatile Wines of Ticino, Switzerland

I first tasted white merlot at a restaurant in Ascona, Switzerland. It was a soft summer evening on the shores of Lago Maggiore, and the restaurant was packed. The wine was served as an aperitif while my husband and I waited for our table, and it came with a plate of olives and salami.   At first, I thought it was a glass of pinot grigio, but this wine had more character, plus a hint of dry minerality. Later, on a crisp autumn evening in a cozy grotto (a traditional restaurant, perhaps with a vine-draped arbor for outdoor dining...

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Time Travel in Switzerland’s Müstair Valley

We lower the car windows as we descend from the Ofen Pass into Switzerland’s far eastern precincts, and revel in the cool breeze wafting westward from Italy’s South Tyrol. The first olfactory hit is one of Arolla pine, sometimes called ‘the incense of the Alps’. Soon, though, the aroma of newly-mown hay gently wins out as we curve down from the pass into farmland, and follow the Rom River from the village of Tschierv through the valley to Santa Maria. This is how we will remember mid-summer in Graubünden.

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Cuisine Wat Damnak: Siem Reap, Cambodia

In March 2015, Cuisine Wat Damnak, in Siem Reap, Cambodia was named S. Pellegrino Best Restaurant in Cambodia, and one of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. Thanks to owner and Chef Joannès Rivière, the Cambodian table has hit the big time. The restaurant is also a personal favorite. Early on a muggy April Saturday, just after the restaurant’s opening in 2011, the chef planted me on the back of his motorcycle for a round of local farmers’ markets. Haggling and joking with vendors in fluent Khmer, Joannès Rivière introduced me to the foragers and fishermen who supply his kitchen, and...

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