Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of Screech

The best way to stay warm on a cold Newfoundland night is to have a glass of Screech, a strong and characteristic local drink. The manufacturing process of Screech is similar to that of rum: take sugar cane, ferment it, distill it, age it and blend it.

Here’s Wikipedia’s take on its history:

The story goes that Screech was first created in the days of the Triangle Trade, where the same barrels were used to carry molasses and rum, and only occasionally cleaned. The barrels built up a deposit of impossibly sweet sediment at the bottom, which was melted out with boiling water and either fermented or mixed with grain alcohol. This concoction eventually became known as screech.

The Screech sold legally in liquor stores both in and outside of Newfoundland is blended and bottled by the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation, which unlike its counterparts in other provinces has retained its bottling business (apparently so it can carefully control the quality of a product so closely identified with the province). However, consumers should be aware many Newfoundlanders do not view the NLC-bottled Screech as the genuine article, as stronger Screech that cannot be legally sold continues to be blended and distributed in an extra-legal manner.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Batali still the Iron Chef to beat

Despite loud and insistent rumors to the contrary, Mario Batali tells TV Guide that he is definitely NOT quitting Iron Chef. "I'm taping two episodes of Iron Chef America in a few weeks," he says. "I'm the best Iron Chef, why would I quit?" Mmm... and modest too!

Contestants in the coming season, kicking off in November, include:

- John Besh (Restaurant August, Besh Steak, Luke and La Provence, New Orleans, LA)
- Chris Cosentino (Incanto, San Francisco, CA)
- Jill Davie (JOSIE, Santa Monica, CA)
- Traci Des Jardins (Jardiniere, Mijita and Acme Chophouse, San Francisco, CA)
- Gavin Kaysen (El Bizcocho at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego, CA)
- Morou Ouattara (Farrah Olivi, Washington, DC)
- Aaron Sanchez (Centrico and Paladar, New York, NY)
- and Michael Symon (Lola and Lolita, Cleveland, OH)

Judges will be Michael Ruhlman (cookbook author and food writer), Andrew Knowlton (Restaurant Editor of Bon Appetit magazine) and Donatella Arpaia (restaurateur and owner of davidburke&donatella and Anthos).