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Passione In Piemonte


Passione is a word used constantly in the wineries and restaurants of Italy. It is the passion to produce the best wines and meals imaginable, sparing no effort in achieving this lofty goal. We heard the word everywhere on our recent food and wine visit of discovery in Piemonte (Piedmont), as the people we met were eager to share that passione with us.

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Winter, Wine & Food on the Rhone

La NertheWelcome to winter in the southern Rhône Valley. Yes, it’s the south of France, but don’t count on warm weather. It can be cold: sometimes freezing or below. It can be windy: the infamous Mistral winds can gust up to 50 mph and last up to ten days. Yet despite—in fact because of--the mercurial weather, for wine lovers and foodies, winter can actually be the best time to visit.

The winemakers are not too busy and have time to chat, and the best restaurants are eager to welcome you, as they are not packed with tourists AND it’s truffle hunting season. In addition, if you’re lucky, you’ll enjoy at least a few brilliantly sunny days with 60-degree temperatures, days when you can eat outside as you savor a glass of Rhône wine.

Le Pré Grourmand
We arrive on a warm Tuesday afternoon in late January and spend a few nights in a comfortable vacation rental overlooking the Rhône river, in the ancient town of Beaucaire. Our first stop after settling in is Le Pré Gourmand (or “field for foodies,” in our rough translation), owned by the couple Christine Fare & Patrick Léonce. A lovely modern building in the midst of a field in the tiny village of Eyragues — originally the Fare family farm — the restaurant offers seasonal menus made from local products.

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Corsica, Hollywood, & Chocolate!

OlivierCorsica, Little-Known Jewel of the Mediterranean

Where do actors George Clooney and Kathy Bates, singers Tom Jones and Alicia Keys, and even socialite Paris Hilton (just to name-drop a few of Hollywood’s elite) go to escape the rigors of being in the spotlight day in and day out? Why, the tiny island of Corsica, that’s where.

Every day we read stories of Hollywood’s crème de la crème going on holiday to such destinations as the tony island of St. Barth’s in the Caribbean, Hollywood’s backyard playland, Cabo San Lucas in Mexico's Baja Penninsula, or the chi-chi ski slopes in Aspen, Colorado. But now a discreet group of Hollywood stars have discovered the crown jewel of the Mediterranean.

This writer has known about this enchanting island for over 20 years when there was only one automatic car on all of Corsica, and it was reserved for yours truly. Well, I knew my secret couldn’t stay hidden forever...

Corsica is a rock-hard, fragile paradise. It’s for beach lovers, hikers, divers, and culture buffs alike, combining dazzling white beaches with dramatic mountain ranges and picturesque old towns. There’s plenty of activities for your body and some rich history to engage your mind.

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Meet the Queen of Burgundy

Jeanne Marie twoThere are legends born every day. But sometimes it's not until after they're gone that we appreciate their greatness. Fortunately, there's one heroine in our midst who is very much alive and with us. She’s responsible for some of the best winemakers in the heart of one of the wine world's most prestigious regions. Her name is Jeanne-Marie de Champs, and for those who know her, she is truly the Queen of Burgundy. For this amazing woman, it's not about power. It's not about money. It's all about having the greatest wine in the world. And as Jeanne-Marie will tell you, there's only one way to accomplish that. "In Burgundy, the secret is in the vines!"

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