The Floating Island Workshops

A travelling series of writers' workshops with Kim Sunee

Archive for the ‘Exclusive Events’ Category

Chapel Hill: Centerba Selections Wine Tasting at Bonne Soiree

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2010 FIW Chapel Hill - Bonne Soiree Wine Tasting with Centerba Selections

Shortly after the introductory session, Kim Sunee and the workshop attendees walked down Franklin Street to Bonne Soiree for a tasting of eclectic wines from local importer Centerba Selections. Damon Hanes, one of the Centerba founders, was on hand with captivating stories about obscure grapes and whimsical wineries. Bonne Soiree owners Tina Vaughn and chef Chip Smith complimented the wines with artisanal cheese from around the world as well as a local goat cheese souffle and an impeccable pork foie gras with pistachio and prunes.

2010 FIW Chapel Hill - Bonne Soiree Wine Tasting with Centerba SelectionsThe white flight began with a wonderfully dry Vouvray Petillant Non Dosé from the Francois Pinon in France’s Loire Valley. Its dryness is the result of the ‘non dosé’ method, in which producers refrain from introducing additional sugars during fermentation, and Damon believes this wine is a pure expression of Vouvray. From there we hopped across the border to the Spanish region of Ribera del Duero for Vina Sastre’s “Flavus,” only to return to the Loire with Le Brin de Chevre 2007 from Le Clos du Tue-Boeuf. Those familiar with the French word for goat cheese–chevre–will notice it in that wine’s name. Menu Pineau, the grape in this bottle is prevalent in the Loire Valley and gives the wine a light, bright and distinctively … goaty character.

2010 Chapel Hill: Centerba Selections at Bonne Soiree

Before moving on to the reds, Damon introduced us to a slightly effervescent, minerally Mosel Reisling from Peter Lauer. Trollies make the winery’s steep hillsides accessible and the concentration of slate and quartz in the soil make this Riesling particularly refreshing and complex when paired with buttered French blue cheese (yes, you read this correctly: bread, blue cheese, and butter).

2010 FIW Chapel Hill - Bonne Soiree Wine Tasting with Centerba Selections

Continuing down the list of rebel winemakers and offbeat grapes, Damon poured a Beaujolais from Fleurie whose owner was so frustrated by the French classification process that he replaced that information with a picture of his favorite horse. Its red berry notes (namely cranberry and raspberry) played beautifully with Chef Smith’s pork foie gras. Afterward, we moved to a deep purple Spanish Ribeira Sacra red called Pena do Lobo and then to Italy for an unclassified Tuscan Chiante Classico from Montesecondo.

The evening’s centerpiece, a 2005 Cabernet Franc from Clos Rougeard Saumur Champigny, again in the Loire Valley, was exquisite. Apparently the limestone on the vineyard is so moist, you can easily stick a coin in it (though once you do, it becomes the winemaker’s property). The silky, robust wine has distinct notes of coconut, leather (or tobacco, depending on who you ask) and bourbon. Spitting this wine was forbidden.

2010 FIW Chapel Hill - Bonne Soiree Wine Tasting with Centerba SelectionsBefore the final wine of the evening, a southern Spanish Sherry, Damon and Tina treated attendees to a taste of a Rioja Tempranillo, which tasted reminiscent of blueberries, spice and leather. Tina passed out warm toasted almonds to pair with the sherry, which because of its proximity to the Atlantic tasted distinctly salty and clean.

For more images of the wine tasting, please visit our Flickr page.

2010 FIW Chapel Hill - Workshopping at the Franklin Hotel 2010 FIW Chapel Hill - Mural on West Franklin St 2010 FIW Chapel Hill - Bonne Soiree Wine Tasting with Centerba Selections 2010 FIW Chapel Hill - Bonne Soiree Wine Tasting with Centerba Selections 2010 FIW Chapel Hill - Bonne Soiree Wine Tasting with Centerba Selections 2010 FIW Chapel Hill - Bonne Soiree Wine Tasting with Centerba Selections 2010 FIW Chapel Hill - Bonne Soiree Wine Tasting with Centerba Selections

Chapel Hill 2010: What a lunch at Crook’s Corner

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Chapel Hill 2010: The Many Faces of Bill SmithIt was an unseasonably warm October afternoon when The Floating Island arrived in Chapel Hill. We all hit the ground running and kicked off the 2010 Chapel Hill Workshop with a fabulous lunch at Crook’s Corner with Chef Bill Smith. He regaled attendees–including recipe editor Sheri Castle, cookbook author Sandra Gutierrez, and Publisher’s Weekly senior editor Lynn Andriani–with stories about the dishes and his time at the restaurant.

2010 FIW Chapel Hill - Crook's Corner Rice Porrage with Fried OystersHe started off the meal with rice porridge with fried oysters instead of crackers, using Carolina Gold rice from Anson Mills. This porridge is typical fair in China but this was one of the first times Chef Smith has served it at Crook’s Corner. With this bowl of warming, delicious goodness, we were served a slightly-sweet, slightly-spicy Pineapple-Tequila Sparkler. Along with the eponymous ingredients, the light, refreshing drink featured jalapeno and a dash of Peychaud’s bitters.

2010 FIW Chapel Hill - Rosy's Banana Leaf TomalesFor our main course, Chef Smith produced tender, bone-in chicken tamales steamed with plantains and wrapped with big banana leaves, which he paired with fresh papaya. The recipe was inspired by (and ultimately assembled by) Rosy, a local Tamale legend, who served them curbside (before meddling health inspectors intervened).

2010 FIW Chapel Hill - Almond Safron CakeAnd for dessert, Chef Smith presented a perennial favorite from Kim Sunee’s Trail of Crumbs: Almond-Saffron Cake (recipe). He paired the tender, subtle cake with homemade orange sorbet and a generous dollop of whipped cream.

2010 FIW Chapel Hill - Crook's Corner 2010 FIW Chapel Hill - Crook's Corner Sign with Pig 2010 FIW Chapel Hill - Crook's Corner Lunch Menu 2010 FIW Chapel Hill - Crook's Corner Lunch 2010 FIW Chapel Hill - Crook's Corner Rice Porrage with Fried Oysters

Written by Dan

October 13th, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Exclusive Events: Publishing Panels at McIntyre’s Books

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Author Frances MayesJoin workshop founder Kim Sunee, McIntyre’s Books founder Keebe Fitch, and an all-star cast of writers, editors, chefs, and cookbook authors for an evening of discussion about the state of food writing on October 13, 2010.

Fearrington House chef Colin Bedford will host a cocktail reception in the Fearrington House Garden Terrace from 4 p.m. to 5:30. Chef Bedford has finished writing two North American Relais & Chateaux cookbooks that are due out this fall, and he will be joined by culinary journalists from central North Carolina.

The two hour-long publishing panels will begin at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Keebe Fitch will moderate both panels with these confirmed attendees:

  • KIM SUNEE (workshop founder, magazine writer and editor, and author of the acclaimed memoir Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love and the Search for Home)
  • FRANCES MAYES (Pictured, right. special guest of the Floating Island Workshops and author of Under the Tuscan Sun and the wonderful new book Every Day in Tuscany)
  • SARA FOSTER (magazine writer and author of so many great cookbooks including a SIBA Best Book Fresh Everyday)
  • SHERI CASTLE (a professional recipe tester and author of the forthcoming The New Southern Garden Cookbook
  • RICA ALLANNIC (cookbook editor for Clarkson Potter, who worked with Andrea Reusing on the forthcoming COOKING IN THE MOMENT.)
  • ANDREA REUSING (author and chef at Lantern in Chapel Hill, NC)
  • LYNN ANDRIANI (a senior editor and the cookbook editor for Publishers Weekly)
  • ANDREA WEIGL (Food Writer, The News & Observer and Member, James Beard Foundation Awards Committee)

To register for the reception and panels ($35 per person), please visit McIntyre’s Books website or their EventBrite site.


McIntyre’s Books
Reception and Publishing Panels
October 13, 2010
2000 Fearrington Village Center [map]
Pittsboro NC, 27312
(919) 542-3030
Reception from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
Panels begin at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.

Tickets $35 each, available at EventBrite

Exclusive Event: Lunch with Chef Bill Smith

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Chef Bill Smith

Chef Bill Smith

During a three-course lunch at Crook’s Corner (the Chapel Hill restaurant long known as “sacred ground for Southern foodies”), chef and author Bill Smith with share the ins and outs of how he came to write Seasoned in the South, a book of recipes and stories, named not only a New York Times Notable, but also a Food & Wine best book. Part cookbook and part memoir, Bill Smith’s Seasoned in the South was published by Algonquin Books, a literary publishing house which is a division of Workman Publishing, known for more standard cookbooks.

As intuitive a chef as he is a writer, Bill Smith is constantly writing from the kitchen—daily on Twitter and at more length on his blog, A Year in the Kitchen). His next book-length project involves Mexico and working with immigrants in the kitchen. A taste of this new project can be found in the Southern Foodway’s Alliance’s journal, Gravy.

We are looking forward to lunch with Bill Smith and hope you’ll join us. In the meantime, you can visit with Bill Smith on this YouTube post that follows him on the Libba Cotten Bike Path in Carrboro, NC—part of the process for making his famous Honeysuckle Sorbet.

The three-course lunch, with wine pairings, is included in the 2010 Chapel Hill Writers’ Workshop. And it is open to the public at the cost of $29 (tax and tip not included).Please reserve online, as seating is limited.

Lunch with Bill Smith at Crook’s Corner
Monday, October 11, 2010
Noon to 2 p.m.
Crook’s Corner
610 West Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, NC
Reservationsonline registration

Exclusive Event: Family Dinner at Lantern

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Chef Andrea Reusing

Chef Andrea Reusing

We are excited to announce an exclusive family-style meal at Chef Andrea Reusing’s nationally renowned Lantern Restaurant on Wednesday, October 13. Chef Reusing has an uncanny ability to take essential Asian flavors and bring them to life with the best local products North Carolina has to offer. Gourmet Magazine recognized Lantern as one of “America’s Top 50 Restaurants,” and Chef Reusing has been nominated for Best Chef in the Southeast by the James Beard Foundation.

Andrea’s first cookbook, Cooking in the Moment, is slated for release next year and promises to be brimming with beautifully seasonal recipes, and tales of simple local meals with family and friends. Click here for an interview with Chef Reusing.

The multi-course family-style meal with wine pairings will be offered at a set price of $95 including tax and tip, as well as a cocktail hour with snacks beginning at 6 p.m. Call Lantern today to reserve your seat, as space is limited.

Family Dinner at Lantern
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Cocktail Hour at 6 p.m.
Lantern Restaurant
423 West Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, NC
Reservations: (919) 969-8846 (credit card required)