The Floating Island Workshops

A travelling series of writers' workshops with Kim Sunee

Archive for the ‘food’ tag

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

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

Chapel Hill 2010: Workshop Registration Open

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Chapel Hill 2010: Workshop Flier

Floating Island Workshops proudly announces that registration for the October 2010 Chapel Hill, North Carolina workshop is now open. Fifteen talented writers will have the opportunity to hone their nonfiction skills with bestselling author Kim Sunee and meet/work with a host of celebrity authors and chefs.

The workshop includes:

  • 4 days of workshopping
  • Breakfast and lunch daily
  • A special lunch at Chef Bill Smith’s nationally renowned Crook’s Corner Restaurant
  • An exclusive chef demonstration (TBA)

In the coming weeks a few exciting excursions will be added to the workshop roster, including a wine tasting, a cookbook author panel, dinners featuring local chefs, and cookbook signings. Tickets for these excursions will be available on an a la carte basis to workshop attendees and the general public. (Workshop attendees will have preference.)

We have secured a special group rate at the beautiful and well-situated Franklin Hotel in downtown Chapel Hill. Information on how to take advantage of that rate will be furnished to attendees who have completed their online application and submitted their deposit.

The $1,200 workshop fee, includes 4 days of workshopping, daily breakfast and lunch, the special lunch with Chef Bill Smith, and a chef demonstration (TBA). To secure your spot, please fill out the online application and submit a 50 percent deposit.

Seaside 2010: Cooking with Chef Suvir Saran

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Attendee Rose cooking with chef Suvir Saran

Attendee Rose cooking with chef Suvir Saran

We were lucky to have chef Suvir Saran on hand over Memorial Day weekend to provide cooking demonstrations and world-class cuisine for our attendees. Suvir hails from New Delhi and won U.S. acclaim as the co-executive chef at New York City’s Devi restaurant and as the author of two incredible cookbooks: Indian Home Cooking and American Masala. He cooks with the ease and grace of a Michelin-starred chef (2007 and 2008 Michelin Guide to New York City) and instructs students with a a master’s precision and patience.

Floating Island Workshop: Cooking with Korin knives

The beautiful (and Sharp!) Korin knife with jalapeno

Suvir arrived prepared with some of his favorite equipment and products in tow. Japanese knife and tableware purveyor Korin provided beautiful knives and a traditional wok that Suvir used to cook a batch of Chivda (Indian trail mix). Kim Sunee described Chivda on her website, but it is a snack mix based on stir-fried thin poha (flattened rice), fresh curry leaves, spices, raisins and peanuts. The result is a crunchy, sweet and spicy treat that stays fresh for weeks (if you can keep yourself from eating it all in one go). Read the rest of this entry »

Seaside 2010: Off and Writing (and Cooking)

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Seaside 2010: Writers Workshopping with Kim Sunee

Seaside 2010: Writers Workshopping with Kim Sunee

The 2010 Seaside Floating Island Writers’ Workshop started off in delicious fashion when attendees began arriving Saturday, May 29. Among them, chef Suvir Saran of New York City’s restaurant Devi and his partner Charlie Burd came to run cooking demonstrations and sign his fabulous cookbooks (Indian Home Cooking and American Masala) at Sundog Books.

Kim Sunee and Chef Suvir Saran at Sundog Books

Kim Sunee and Chef Suvir Saran at Sundog Books

A few hours after arriving, Charlie and I headed off to find some fresh Gulf shrimp from Goatfeather’s Seafood. Soon Kim, Suvir, and a few other attendees (particularly Rose) began toasting, grinding, zesting, chopping, juicing and sauteing a beautiful supper of Goan shrimp, basmati rice, and a mixed yogurt raita. Read the rest of this entry »

North Carolina Workshop: Oct 10 to 14, 2010

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NC BBQ sign

photo by sashafatcat/

Hot on the (tar)heels of our Seaside 2010 workshop, Kim Sunee announces a Columbus Day Weekend food writing and memoir workshop in Chapel Hill/Durham, North Carolina, October 10 to 14. In addition to four full days of writing, eating, and workshopping, the workshop will feature a slate of celebrity chefs, food authorities and cookbook authors. More details will follow, so save those dates.

Please comment below or use the Contact Us form to show your excitement.

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May 3rd, 2010 at 3:49 pm