Restaurant Intervention: Le Caviste, Seattle

Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog.  

binNotes reprises ‘Restaurant Intervention’ for a cameo appearance by Le Caviste  in downtown Seattle. Luckily, no intervention required…

By L. M. Archer, FWS

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Need an authentic Parisian bistrot-à-vins fix? Alors! Look further than Le Caviste in downtown Seattle.

Le Caviste channels all the best features of that favorite little Parisian bistro you’ve secretly dreamed about revisiting someday – you know the one…tucked away in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower (or, in this case, The Space Needle…) with quaint chalk board menus offering up the daily plats du jour and wines by the glass, charming butcher-papered tables, and that inimitable French bonhomie.

Le Caviste has it all, including a truly Parisian-inspired wine list.

Let’s talk about the wine list. Both white and red lists feature affordable, everyday regional wines by the glass or bottle. Whenever possible, wines sourced reflect organic and sustainable vineyard practices.

Delightful finds include a blanc and rouge from  France’s Savoie, as well as those from the more familiar Loire, Rhone, Bordeaux, and Burgundy regions. In search of something a bit more complex? Look for a hidden gem or two premier crus tucked among the carte des vins, with uncharacteristically modest prestige pricing to match.

Generous plats du jour groan with locally sourced bread, eggs and mushrooms, charcuterie, artisan cheese, imported fish and  olives –  all designed to stave off hunger and mitigate excess wine intake.   On your way out, a sweet little retail section beckons with tasty little take-out bottles at ridiculous retail prices.

But before you exit,  check out owner and oenophile David Butler’s lovingly compiled list of best wine bistros in ParisIt’ll make you want to jump-start your return to the City of Lights someday…with a few stops at Le Caviste for inspiration!

Sante!

Le Caviste on Urbanspoon

Le Caviste  | 1919 7th Avenue | Seattle, WA 98101 | 206.728.2657

4 to Midnight Tuesday through Saturday


Link here for more  binNotes Urbanspoon Restaurant  Interventions.

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Copyrighted 2012-2014. All images courtesy the author. All Rights Reserved.

Thank you:

David Butler, Owner – Le Caviste | Seattle

Terroirist Tuesday: The Terroir of Chocolate, Part 2

 Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog.

Terroirist Tuesday: The Terroir of Chocolate, Part 2

The Terroir of Chocolate, Part 1  here.

by L.M. Archer, FWS

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Today’s Terroirist Tuesday: The Terroir of Chocolate, Part 2 spotlights  three (3)  exceptional chocolatiers from Seattle’s 2014 International Chocolate Salon.  These chocolatiers stand out for their passion, drive, and artistry. Here’s their take on the terroir of chocolate, as well as the sweet life of a chocolatier:

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Tell readers about your ‘story.’ 

Andrea Torrenzio | Dolcetta Artisan Sweets

“I got into baking after college out of pure love for the craft.  I find it so satisfying to make a product, especially to make something beautiful and delicious that makes people happy….  I’ve always loved eating and baking with chocolate, but was at first intimidated by the tempering process.  I finally decided to tackle that fear and learn to temper and have been dreaming of and creating my business ever since… I’ve been successful as a pastry chef and have a good life, but by the end of 2012, I had ended up in a dark place, really struggling to find any joy or purpose.  At the same time, a friend was diagnosed with advanced cancer, and I felt that I owed it to him to, being lucky enough to be able to do what I want to with my life, to go ahead and live my dream, and create something beautiful and joyful.  It has been at times challenging to get to this point, but every challenge makes me stronger, and I am excited to see what I have created and to see where it will take me.”

Shannon and Christy Fox | Evolve Chocolate Truffles 

“Girl meets girl.

Girl & girl fall in love.

Girl & girl make truffles.

When we started the business three years ago one of our name choices was “girl meets girl”.  But because of the constant evolution of our lives and growth of the company we chose “evolve”.  Stemming from 20+ years in the restaurant industry, Christy who is a formally trained chef along with Shannon found that the bounty of Whatcom County and surrounding areas were truly a muse for creating culinary magic. Each and every truffle produced pays homage to what we believe in, which invokes local collaboration.

Love inspired.

Chef skilled.

Locally sourced.”

Rebecca ‘Becca’ Roebber  |  Kallari Chocolates

“Kallari is one of the only farmer owned and operated chocolate cooperatives, they grow and make their own chocolate from bean to bar…The Kichwa indigenous farmers use heirloom cacao called cacao naccional, which has a fruity and floral notes. They grow the cacao on chakras, which is land interspersed with other medicinal, fruit and hardwood trees…Kallari is made up of 850 farming families that have been able to maintain their way of life due to the production of chocolate. There are no middle men, the farmers are also the chocolatiers.”

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As a chocolatier, do you find that the terroir of chocolate – like wine – informs its flavor profiles?  If so, how does that translate into the chocolate grown and used in your chocolates?

“Definitely.  It has been exciting to see so many small batch single origin chocolates come on the market over the last few years.  I have only worked with a few, but I hope to add more to my line.  One that really excites me is Cru Sauvage from Felchlin, foraged wild cacao from the Bolivian Amazon. http://www.felchlin.com/en/product/cacao-bolivia  It has nice depth and is fruity but not sour.  Of course, the fermentation, roasting, and conching play parts too.  I have had single origin chocolates that I did not enjoy, but then again I’ve had some less-than-great wines, too.  Chocolate is an agricultural product, so of course origin and handling will affect the flavor…I use what I think is delicious.  I think it is good to use a variety of chocolates in order to create the best pairings in the confections. ” – Andrea Torrenzio  | Dolcetta Artisan Sweets

“Yes of course, we trust our supplier for 85% & 45% organic, fair trade, non-GMO, sustainably grown cacao primarily from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Peru.  Because there are no stabilizers added to our chocolate, the subtleties of the terroir changes from batch to batch…Because of the subtle changes in terroir, we use our finely tuned palates to coax those flavor distinctions into a new flavor profile.” -Shannon and Christy Fox | Evolve Chocolate Truffles 

“The soil is one of the main components to the flavor of the bean itself, the richness and biodiversity of the Amazon soil plays a large part in the flavor profile of the finished chocolate bar. It also has to do with fermentation and roasting, similar to the wine making process…The process starts with the fruit, a pulpy sweet and sour juice that surrounds the seed in the pod. Once the pods are ripe and the farmers harvest the seeds they are brought to the fermentation center. There the cacao is fermented for about 7 days in fermentation boxes made from wood. They are then dried under a green house for about two weeks. They are then roasted, winnowed and produced into chocolate all within 3 weeks of harvest. Their chocolate is the freshest in the world, because it is made in the country of origin by the farmers growing it.” -Becca’ Roebber  |  Kallari Chocolate

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What makes your chocolate different from other chocolates on the market?

“I really focus on flavor, I aim for clean, well-balanced flavors that you don’t have to search for.  I do enjoy trying chocolate with new and different flavor combinations, but I still want it to be delicious, not just novel.  My chocolates tend to be a little less sweet than others.  I do use some milk and white chocolates, but I balance them with tart flavors like passion fruit or salty bits like pretzels, and most of my bonbons and truffles are molded or made with 60% or higher couverture.” -Andrea Torrenzio | Dolcetta Artisan Sweets

“With both of our backgrounds in the culinary arts, the taste of local ingredients lends a hand to the ultimate sensorial experience.  With truffle making we dance using a blend of local organic spices and bright flavors, using the small batch method.  When we drive to the creamery in Lynden to pick up our cream and swing by the blueberry fields to pick up our blueberries, we are adding to the local terroir of our flavor profiles. Hand-rolled, hand-dipped and hand packaged with an extremely classy touch while keeping our grassroots philosophy.”  -Shannon and Christy Fox -| Evolve Chocolate Truffles 

“Kallari is known for being less astringent than many chocolates, its fruity and floral flavor is complemented by mahogany, passionfruit, cloves and other tropical notes.” -‘Becca’ Roebber  | Kallari Chocolate

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Finally,  “If making chocolate has taught me anything, it’s taught me…?”

“Chocolate is a great reminder that there are things you can control and things you can’t.  Sometimes chocolate seems to have a mind of its own, and willing and wishing won’t get it into temper, only stirring and patience will. Also…Sweetness counts!  I love my craft, but I also find it a little bit silly.  Spreading joy through high-end handcrafted confections is great, but I also feel strongly that everyone should have basic sustenance.  I’ve given 10% of my sales to the local organization Food Lifeline since I started selling in 2010.  I’ll continue to give to them and other worthy causes.” -Andrea Torrenzio  | Dolcetta Artisan Sweets

“Making chocolate truffles has taught us to treat each batch as if it’s a living organism, kind of like a child or something you are giving life to.  Appreciation of life, love, local and what’s good has been our main agenda.” -Shannon and Christy Fox | Evolve Chocolate Truffles 

“Making chocolate is an art. Every year, like wine, yields different notes based on many factors, such as climate. Chocolate that tastes simply like chocolate has been over processed, often masked by sugar and milk.  Tasting chocolate is a journey of flavors that all start at the source. This sensitive bean needs so much care and love to taste as fine as single origin, craft chocolate. Once your taste buds have had the experience of both, your world will change.” - Becca’ Roebber  | Kallari Chocolate

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The Terroir of Chocolate, Part 1

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Thank you:

Seattle Chocolate Salon

Andrea Terrenzio |  Dolcetta Artisan Sweets

Shannon and Christy Fox |  Evolve Truffles

Becca Roebber | Kallari Chocolates

Cheers!

 

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Copyrighted 2012-2014. All rights reserved. 

Terroirist Tuesday: The Terroir of Chocolate, Part 1

 Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog. 

by L.M. Archer, FWS

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I attended Seattle’s 2014 International Chocolate Salon with one simple question for chocolatiers:

‘Does terroir inform the character of chocolate, as it does wine?’

The resounding answer? Yes, it does. Like Burgundy’s wine subregions, chocolate’s growing regions and microclimates vary, and these variations inform the flavor profiles of the finished product. More on this next week in Terroirist Tuesday: The Terroir of Chocolate - Part 2.

In the meantime, enjoy  binNotes’ favorite tasting notes from Seattle Chocolate Salon 2014:

Perfume and Chocolate

I didn’t get it at first. A gauntlet of hand-crafted fine fragrances bank the walls leading into the Chocolate Salon. I thought this event was about chocolate? After sampling the perfume, however, I got it. Both chocolate and fragrance creation involve the custom-blending of exotic ingredients – resulting in end products that delight the senses. So it does makes sense, no pun intended.

binNotes personal fave: Pamplemousse*, by SweetTeaApothecary.com. Sweet Tea Apothecary crafts ‘Historically Inspired Perfumes’ such as Dead Writers, Pemberly, and La Reine Antoinette. *Note: Owner and perfumer JT Siems shares that Pamplemousse is the number one seller in Seattle – a blend of Ginger, bamboo, white tea, saffron, grapefruit and honey.

Chocolate For All Diets

  • Smitten artisan truffles offer a lactose-free way to indulge with flavors like Vanilla Carmel and Tahitian Vanilla Bean Sea Salt. Chocolatier Vanessa Holden and her husband Otho Bel design their chocolates to pair well with wine, pinot especially…gotta love ‘em!
  • Chocolatier Andrea Terrenzio’s Dolcetta Artisan Sweets provides gluten-free hazelnut truffles. And 10% of all profits go to feed people in need – a sweet treat all around.
  • Gusto Chocolates, the savory side of Forte Chocolates, mixes it up with combos like Bacon and Dark Chocolate or Rosemary and Sea Salt White chocolate bars…perfect with wine!

 

Wine…and Beer…and Chocolate

 

Indigenously Sourced Chocolates

Amano Artisan Chocolates sources their flavorful chocolates from diverse microclimates throughout remote regions of Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Madagascar, and Papua New Guinea.

binNotes’ personal fave: Dos Rios Dark 70% Chocolate bar, from rare Dominican Republic beans. Hints of lavender and bergamot, which chocolatier Aaron Davidson confirms reflects the surrounding vegetation.

Kallari Chocolates represents the only farmer-owned chocolatier attending the 2014 Seattle Chocolate Salon. Kallari sources from the Kichwa tribe of Ecuador in the Amazon Rain Forest.

binNotes’ personal fave: Sacha 60% cacao and coffee bean chocolate bar.

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Thanks to  Seattle Chocolate Salon – see you back here next Terroirist Tuesday for Part 2: The Terroir of Chocolate.

Cheers!

 

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Copyrighted 2012-2014. All rights reserved. All images courtesy of the author.

@ChocolateSalon 2014

 Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog. 

Image: Courtesy Seattle Chocolate Salon.

Image: Courtesy Seattle Chocolate Salon.

by L.M. Archer, FWS

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Hi: Just a quick note to update you – I’m  attending

International Chocolate Salon –  Seattle 2014

today.

Please check back for my forthcoming piece on the terroir of chocolate…cheers!

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Copyrighted 2012-2014. All rights reserved.

WITWIB? @ChocolateSalon 2014

 Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog. WITWIB?

International Chocolate Salon –  Seattle 2014

by L.M. Archer, FWS

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That’s right…somebody’s gotta do it. binNotes reprises her role as a judge at the 7th annual International Chocolate Salon this Sunday, May 4th at Seattle’s Bell Harbor Convention Center. Please check back for my take on the terroir of chocolate…Cheers!

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Copyrighted 2012-2014. All rights reserved.

UndergroundCellar | Sonoma Winecation

 Welcome to binNotes | a wine blog.

by L.M. Archer, FWS

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Remember binNotes’ 2013 recurring fan-shout out  feature #WW ?

Well, today binNotes takes it for a #FF spin, with a special cameo appearance by:

UndergroundCellar

I love winecations. I really love an all-expenses paid winecation. Which has yet to happen. But… Underground Cellar’s Sonoma Winecation giveaway offers just that – a chance to wine an all-inclusive uber-lux getaway for four (4) to Sonoma’s wine region, including airfare, dinners, VIP winemaker experiences, and a weekend stay at Villa Terra Nova Wine Country Retreat.

Jeffrey Shaw, wunderkind  founder and CEO of Underground Cellars –  the hip, ahead-of-the-curve, only-one-of-its-kind  reverse discount upgrade wine site in Napa and Sonoma county –  chatted with binNotes recently the event, and how they do what they do.

bN: Why a ‘Sonoma Getaway’ giveaway?

JS:  ” Underground Cellars has enjoyed huge success as a start-up wine upgrade wine site. We wanted to share the success to wine lovers by offering a giveaway getaway to our backyard, the Sonoma wine region.”

bN: Your site’s growth has been explosive – why the loyal following?

JS: “For several years now, wineries have looked to ‘flash’ sites to sell their excess and overstocked wine, but at a huge cost — bastardization of their brand, reputation, and pricing structure… There is a better way for wineries to quickly sell their wine without sacrificing their brand and future pricing structure.  All they have to do is ditch the discounts and replace them with upgrades! Our members get that.

And the wineries that work with us here at Underground Cellar offer up wines they’re proud to pour – not ones that have been sitting around an un-temperature controlled wine distribution warehouse for two or three years. Our members  appreciate this committment to quality.”

bN: How did you come up with the Sonoma Getaway prizes? They’re really cool.

JS: “Underground Cellars enjoys established relationships with a lot of boutique Napa and Sonoma wine makers. Thanks to these relationships, and buzz from our loyal Underground Cellar members,  we’ve been able to attract support from  local legends like the girl and the fig, Iron Horse Vineyards, and Villa Terra Nova. They’ve been super excited to participate in the promotion, which is great!”

bN: One final question…It’s raining here in Seattle…what’s the weather like right now in Sonoma? 

JS: “Sunny. Warm – in the low 80’s. I’m going to get my mail right now, and it’s beautiful.”

Nice. Find out more about how to enter to win Underground Cellars winecation and bask in some of that Sonoma sunshine here.

Cheers!

NOTE: binNotes asked Brand Director  Brian Gallagher about contest entrant data collection. Underground Cellar doesn’t spam. Contest entrants can ‘unsubscribe’ at any time.

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Copyrighted 2012-2014. All rights reserved.

Thank you:

Brian Gallagher, Partnership | Brand Director, UndergroundCellar

Jeffrey Shaw, CEO | Founder, UndergroundCellar

Seattle Wine and Food Experience – A Great Place to Taste!

 

SWFE - Seattle Food and Wine Experience

binnotes.com | a wine blog gets the inside scoop tonight at the Seattle Wine and Food Experience  Tweet Up at Bellevue Village QFC Private Lounge. The private event features a sneak peak at Seattle Wine and Food Experience  – the premier showcase for libations and all things culinary in the Northwest this February 23rd 2014 at Seattle Center Exhibition Hall.

Follow binNotes as she tweets her little hashtags off tonight!

Look for:

 #SWFE/#swfeQFC @SeattleFoodWine

here:

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See you back here next Terroirist Tuesday for: Côte Chalonnais, Part 3 of 3: Meet the Winemakers!

Côte Chalonnais, Part 2

Côte Chalonnais, Part 1:

Copyrighted 2012-2014. All rights reserved.