Past Issues


Please click on an issue from the E-zines list on the left for reading
Click to view in a standalone window
Call 888 345 3005
or 212 327 3424
For info and e-zine, email
Home   |   About Us   |   Contact Us   |   Traveling With Us
December, 2014

Happy Holidays Friends!

The end of the year is upon us. Time to reflect on the past year and prepare for a new one. Of course, we at Tour de Forks know just how you hope to spend 2015: experiencing the best food and wine destinations the world has to offer! And we have just the thing to help you get there. A Tour de Forks travel gift certificate is the perfect holiday gift for any adventurous epicurean. Because, once the holidays are over and the new year rung in, it's time to start planning your next big adventure.

We're already excited for next year's hot culinary destinations. Join us in Strasbourg as we take to the Alsace Wine Route for German-influenced cuisine and some of the oldest wine estates in France. We'll also be traveling to Castilla Leon, home to one of Spain's up-and-coming wine regions. And we can't wait to share our itinerary for Irpinia, in Italy's Campania region (hint: it involves fabulous winery visits). Closer to home, we're hosting uncommon epicurean adventures in the laid-back Hamptons and the beautifully bucolic Hudson Valley in New York.

Chef Anita Lo with white truffles in Savigno, Emilia Romagna

White Truffles in Emilia Romagna

As you may already know, we love, love, love Emilia-Romagna. Last month, we returned to the home of Parmigiano-Reggiano, Traditional Balsamic vinegar of Modena and Prosciutto di Parma with two of our favorite people in tow: Chef Anita Lo of the award-winning restaurant Annisa and the photographer Melanie Dunea, author of My Last Supper. We had the pleasure of witnessing Chef Lo cook with the illustrious Massimo Spigaroli, aka the king of culatello, the cultish local cured ham, at his Michelin-starred Antica Corte Pallavicina. Chef Lo also joined Chef Marchini in the kitchen at the acclaimed L'Erba del Re in Modena; the women chefs of Casa Artusi in Forlimpopoli and Chef Bettini at Amerigo34 in Savigno. In addition to tasting 100-year-aged balsamic vinegar, being introduced to culatello piadina (perhaps the most divine ham sandwich in history), and hunting precious white truffles (which requires both skill and tremendous endurance!), we also had the opportunity to visit the Ferrari Museum and attend the opera in Bologna. So, trust us when we say: you'll want to travel to Emilia-Romagna with us next year. Here's to 2015!

A modern Bûche de Noël from Laurent Jeannin

A Short History: Bûche de Noël

The origins of this most famous and delicious of French pastries can be traced back to the ancient Celtic tradition of celebrating the winter solstice. On this day, the shortest of the year, the Celts would search for a large trunk of either oak, beech, elm or cherry in order to burn it. The burning log was a symbol of the rebirth of the sun as well as an offering of thanks to the sun for returning to the earth.

During the middle ages the logs and the ceremony of the burning log became more elaborate. The logs themselves would be decorated with ribbons and greenery. Then the youngest and the oldest member of each family would carry the log to the hearth and set it ablaze. It would burn through the night and the ashes would be collected the next day to be used during the year. They were thought to help cure various sicknesses and protect the house from storms, lightening and the evil powers of the Devil.

The tradition of actually burning the log began to disappear with the arrival of small stoves and the disappearance of large hearths. The big log was replaced by a smaller branch that was set in the middle of the table and surrounded by little friandises (sweets, delicacies) that were given as treats to guests. It is this branch that was eventually transformed into the cake we know as the Bûche de Noël. Whether it was a Parisian or Lyonnaise creation is still the subject of a heated debate. It is first mentioned and described in 1879 and since that time is has become "THE" dessert served at Christmas dinners.

Gift Suggestion

We have just the thing to help you experience the best food and wine destinations the world has to offer. A Tour de Forks travel gift certificate is the perfect holiday gift for any adventurous epicurean. Email us at Gift Certificates to arrange delivery.