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Learn of maximize food safety for customers this month!

“Accommodating food-allergic guests doesn’t need to be expensive, complicated or time-consuming to implement, and the benefits to their business – including increased profits and customer loyalty – can be quite significant,” says Paul Antico, founder and CEO of Boston-based AllergyEats, father of three food-allergic children and passionate food allergy advocate.
It’s also a way to make sure you never have a situation in which a customer with serious food sensitivities has a major issue or worse from food they’ve eaten in your restaurant or foodservice facility.
This month in New York, AllergyEats holds a major conference on Tuesday, October 21 at the Radisson Martinique on Broadway in Manhattan. The event is sponsored by Mylan Specialty L.P., as well as Nation’s Restaurant News, the New York State Restaurant Association, the Connecticut Restaurant Association, MenuTrinfo, and Gipsee.
Questions to be addressed include:
· How can I make my commercial kitchen safer for food-allergic and gluten intolerant guests? Prestigious industry trainers Betsy Craig from AllerTrain and Dr. Julie Kuriakose from Hudson Allergy will explain how to prevent cross contact, elevate internal protocols, create detailed ingredient spreadsheets, understand ingredient “aliases,” and much more.

· What types of protocols do allergy-friendly restaurants implement? Expert restaurateurs, including Matt Abdoo of Del Posto and Robin Hamm of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, will describe their best practices around food allergies. They’ll also explain why they’ve committed to being allergy-friendly and the positive outcomes they’ve experienced as a result.

· Will accommodating guests with food allergies really impact my business? Paul Antico from AllergyEats (and a longtime financial expert) will demonstrate that allergy-friendliness can significantly impact business, leading to increased revenue, customers and loyalty.

· What happens if a guest accidentally eats their food allergen? Prominent physicians, including Dr. Scott Sicherer of Mount Sinai Hospital, will explain the basics of food allergies, the range of repercussions, what allergic reactions look like and what to do if one occurs. They’ll also discuss the increased prevalence of food allergies and dispel common misconceptions.

· How do I modify meals to accommodate food-allergic diners? Accomplished chefs Colette Martin, Lori Sandler, and Beth Hillson will discuss ingredient substitutions, explaining how to modify recipes to be allergy-friendly, gluten free, and still delicious. They’ll also advise on the must-have items for allergy-friendly commercial kitchens.

· How can university dining halls safely serve food-allergic students? Hear from Robert Landolphi of the University of Connecticut, a pioneer who has created exceptional allergy-friendly protocols on campus. He’ll describe the steps he’s taken to better accommodate students with special dietary restrictions, including labeling allergens, offering cook-to-order stations, and training dining hall staff.

· How can my mom-and-pop restaurant be as accommodating as big restaurants/chains with much more significant resources? Independent restaurateurs like Jared Schulefand of Home will discuss cost-effective ways to elevate food allergy procedures, showing that restaurateurs don’t need to invest significant time or money into the process to reap the tremendous business rewards.

· What are food-allergic diners looking for when choosing a restaurant? Experts, including Dr. Mike Pistiner of Children’s Hospital Boston and Lisa Giuriceo of the Food Allergy & Asthma Support Group of North Jersey, will discuss the factors that go into this important decision, teaching restaurateurs how to attract this loyal customer base.

Registration is $279 per person. Group discounts are also available. To register and for more information, please visit www.allergyeats.com/conference.

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What’s Brewin’ – Ellie’s Brown Ale

This robust offering from Boulder, CO’s Avery Brewing Co. pleased us enough to order a second round at jmCurley’s in Boston’s Downtown Crossing recently. We didn’t go “woof” but it’s named for a chocolate brown Labrador and appropriately so, with its rich chocolate malt flavors and color. It has won awards for its drinkability and hoppiness. Go to http://www.averybrewing.com.
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Wine of the Week #2 – ‘S’ Sigma Mellasat 2012 White Pinotage, Paarl Coast

To my friend who once denounced my fondness for South Africa’s native Pinotage, I can only say he was totally wrong – Pinotage hasn’t tasted like burnt rubber tires (his words) for a very long time. And this year, we had the good luck to discover white Pinotage – a true treat.
Masciarelli Wine Company’s annual fall tasting in Boston is always a treasure trove of wines and if one takes the time to focus on certain wineries/styles/varietals, they’ll find a myriad of well-worth exploring vintages.
Such was the case this year when we began with the two booths serving South African wines and fell in love with this relatively rare white Pinotage. It quickly became a favorite with the first sip. Terry Seitz Selections presented the wine, noting that production is limited with only 1,800 cases exported to the U.S.

The grapes are whole bunch pressed right after picking the juice from being colored by the red pinotage grape skins. The wine is barrel fermented and held for 10 months, producing creaminess and nutty notes. It’s 13.5% abc and goes for a suggested retail price in the $19 range. It’s been an award winner for the 2010 and 2011 vintages.

The winery dates to ’96 but the vineyards date to 1693. Located 45 minutes from Capetown, it’s in the heart of winemaking country. We loved this wine and would like to see it have broader distribution.

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Wine of the Week – Marchesi Fumanelli Valpolicella Classic Superiore DOC 2010

Since 1470, Marchesi Fumananlli, in the heart of Valpolicella, Italy, has been making wines. This 2010 Squarano is an elegant, mature and complex wine with a deep ruby red color, made from 40% Corvina, 40% Corvinone and 20% Rondinella grapes. Well structured, with fine tannins, it offers ripe fruit – cherries and blackberries – with notes of cedar, spice and licorice. 30 to 40-year-old pergola and 8 to 10-year-old guyot vines are harvested on this 78 acre historic estate.

You won’t be disappointed when you experience the rich fullness of Squarano. 544 years of experience is represented here and the complexity and elegance of the wine will bring you a new appreciation of Italian offerings. Now available in the U.S. from Pasternak Wine Imports, it belongs on your list of outstanding wines.

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L’École du Grand Chocolat Valrhona opens first U.S. school in Brooklyn

Celebrating its 25th anniversary,L’École du Grand Chocolat Valrhona opened its internationally renowned school for chefs in Brooklyn, NY on Sept. 22, joining others in Tain L’Hermitage, Paris-Versailles, and Tokyo.
Like the other schools, the U.S. institution will serve as a place for chefs to exchange ideas and share expertise while learning to perfect techniques and discover current and new trends.
The school’s two Valrhona corporate chefs will seek to help chefs receive the highest level of training and advice, build their businesses and bring value to patrons by staying ahead of culinary trends, techniques and products.
Classes will be open to professional chefs and pastry chefs who want to enhance their technique and expand their knowledge in chocolate and desserts. As part of a small group of 8 to 12 pastry professionals, chef-students will create recipes and presentations.
Tuition for each class will range between $799 and $1190. Meals are included. Class themes will vary throughout the year, from Bonbons, Ice Cream and Mignardises, to Plated Desserts, French Classics, Logs, Wedding cakes and Show pieces, etc. In 2015, L’École du Grand Chocolat Brooklyn will also offer private classes for chefs and classes for non-professional gourmet enthusiasts.
The primary instructors at L’École du Grand Chocolat Brooklyn will be Valrhona’s two U.S. corporate chefs, Sarah Kosikowski and Derek Poirier, but will also include top guest chefs. With their singular passion for chocolate, they hold a common goal: to share their ideas, techniques, experience and knowledge acquired at L’École in France to help all professional chefs reach their highest potential.
For more information visit http://www.valrhonaprofessionals.com

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The Spirit(s) World – Double Cross Vodka

This handsomely bottled vodka represents the intersection of tradition and technology, taking the spring water from Tatra Mountain in Slovakia to be distilled seven times, creating a pure, clean distinctive taste. The back of each bottle is inscribed with lines of Slovakian poetry. The Double Cross symbol pays tribute to 12th century Byzantine monks who brought the symbol to the region. Wine Enthusiast gives this spirit a whopping 95 points. Cocktail recipes are available at http://doublecrossvodka.com/cocktails/. By itself, it offers a distinctive and delicious experience, straight up or on the rocks with a twist.

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Wine of the Week – Wines of Southwest France

The wines of Southwest France share a unique group of geographic influences from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pyrenees, to the Mediterranean. These cross influences help shape honest, rustic wines that happen also to be heart healthy.
We were introduced to five, ranging in price from $11.99 to $25.99. Our favorites of the five were the “Les Rials,” mis en Bouteile au Domaine de la Chanade. With pale straw color and salty,grapefruit and tropical flavors, it reflects the influence of proximity to the ocean.
Of all five, our number one favorite was the Aydie Madiran 2012.
Tannat is the native grape of Madiran and this wine is well balanced, rich and full bodied. Chateau Aydie has been making wine for three generations. This wine is ripe, chewy and has been called “brutish and feral”! It’s around 14.5% ABV. We agree with those who’ve called Tannat “magic in a bottle.”