As wine connoisseurship evolves, I look toward developing ways to express the aspects of wine I love the most. I recognize that wine is a product of nature and science; my goal is as natural as can be: to help make the connection between joy of taste and the bountiful pleasures of life.”

Thursday, July 7, 2011

my own residual heat

A restaurant that makes its own bread is automatically and respectfully elevated in my mind. A laborious task that even as consumers get to know "real bread" and come to expect something other that an 80's dinner roll, few operators can manage the heaving physicalities or the resultant labor costs. Making bread in a restaurant to be used as the "house bread" is something that like the range of appetizers or small plates an establishment has to offer, remains one of the elements that I critique and evaluate when deciding if I do or do not love the place.

Years ago, I helped open and develop an Artisan bread concept in Colorado. At the time it was the first of its kind and we did great work! The spirit of working with bread is hard to articulate. Its so alive and with each day that you make bread and work through this process, getting to know the ingredients, the starters and various living leveners, your senses of temperature, impending storms, air pressure, humidity and light are all heightened. You find yourself discovering the beauty of culinary preparations that are based in this glorious bread that you raise to loft and little miniature snacks and happenstance combinations of mis en place laying around when combined with the bread become examples of delightful culinary creations.

Yeah, an employee of Fifth Group here in Atlanta and we do make a good bit of bread company wide. While at least in my mind there aren’t a ton of good bread bakeries in this city,.. my love affair and affinity for good, hand shaped freshly baked bread remains an significant undercurrent of foodstuff appreciation. In the morning, if you are lucky enough to find yourself walking down cypress ave between peachtee and west peachtree oh,..say around 10:00, you wont need to try hard or even break your stride to catch a whaft of the nutty, warm ,..toasty,..honey scented aromas of Ecco’s naturally leavened bread that’s carefully and lovingly baked like clockwork each day.

I love the expressiveness that emerges from simple combinations of ingredients but at or just near the top of my list is this sinfully epic combination of Valhrona and warm Ecco levain. Something about a chocolate sandwich that melts its chocolate by itself. Not pressed or grilled, but actually taking a just out of the oven loaf, ripping the end off, spreading its crumb,.. pressing a couple disc shaped nuggets of dark chocolate into the center …and closing the Kermit the frog like edges ..and just waiting,..the bread gods take the helm and have rewarded me time and time again with a residual heat treat that may be one of the best breakfast snacks of all time. Don’t try this at home…instead, me or email me and we can arrange a time to meet in the alley and do this together.

No comments: