Monday, November 30, 2015



By Doc Lawrence

Lara Lyn Carter Heads to South Beach
MIAMI BEACH-The 2016 South Beach Wine & Food Festival will bring more than 60,000 guests to over 75 spectacular events throughout a star-studded gourmet weekend soiree alongside the Atlantic Ocean. The 15th annual festival running non-stop on the last four days of February is a star-studded gourmet celebration showcasing the talents of the world’s most renowned chefs and culinary personalities plus the legends of wine and spirits.

And it’s now official: Celebrity chef Lara Lyn Carter is included in the prestigious lineup.

Lara Lyn Cater is a perfect fit for this global gourmet lifestyle event. A cookbook author, successful cooking show star in South Georgia and the host of Georgia Public Broadcasting’s hit series “Thyme for Sharing with Lara Lyn Carter,” the personable chef bubbles with enthusiasm on the cooking demonstration stage whether from her home kitchen TV set in Albany, Georgia to the big studios in Atlanta or her triumphant appearances at Telluride last summer.
Strolling Along the Festival Venues

What makes her selection to South Beach impressive is that this is one event that occupies a top tier ranking of glamour and success in the highly competitive world of culinary celebrities. Many top chefs from the world over want to be included but only a few make the cut.

What the South Beach Wine & Food Festival means to top chefs is what the major leagues mean to baseball stars. It’s where the big names appear, cook, hobnob and join in the celebration of good living. And, you would be hard-pressed to find a more inviting environment than the festival sites lining the topical beaches along the Atlantic Ocean.
Over the years of covering South Beach, I’ve enjoyed Emeril, Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, Todd English, Paula Dean, Giada, Guy Fieri (and even Willie Nelson) and dozens more. This year, I have the special honor of admiring the performance of Chef Lara Lyn Carter as she joins ranks with legends like Martha Stewart who hosts her highly anticipated Rosé Brunch, country music superstar Trisha Yearwood’s hosting her Southern Kitchen Brunch, and others like Giada De Laurentis, Michelle Bernstein, Stephanie Izard, and Alain Ducasse.

And there’s the top of the line wine seminars and luxurious tastings hosted by Wine Spectator.

Lara Lyn Carter is just beginning. A network television in the near future will be no surprise at all. Next February, Georgia is going to be on the mind of the throngs from the planet's four corners enjoying food, wine, sunshine and music at South Beach.

Monday, November 23, 2015


Vive la France- Embracing Food, Wine and Travel

By Doc Lawrence

Alluring Martinique
ATLANTA-It’s known as the Fleur de Caraïbes. Located in the heart of the Caribbean archipelago, Martinique is a jewel in the Windward Islands. Bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, its western coast is flanked by the Caribbean. The island is much nearer to the U.S. Southeast than France, but for a few hours on a lovely afternoon it seemed close to Atlanta.
The Normandy Coast

Atout France, the French tourism agency, came here to promote travel in France and Martinique with a group of lucky members of the press at the opulent Four Seasons in Atlanta’s booming Midtown. You expect nothing less than excellence from French hosts and accordingly, French wines were poured and food was served from a special menu presented by esteemed Chef Robert Gerstenecker.

The entrees included Bronzino, the delicious European sea bass and filet of loin steak followed by chocolate silk pie, a delightful finale. Wine glasses were never empty.

During lunch, the intimate gathering learned that despite the tragedy in Paris, travel to France and Martinique is loaded with cultural rewards with a bonus of recreational opportunities along the countryside.

Breathtaking Midi-Pyrenees
Imagine a Normandy vacation. Featuring one of the world’s most famous coasts with 80 sites dedicated to D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, it is known as the cradle of Impressionism. Normandy will glow beginning in April during the 3rd edition of the Impressionist Festival. There will be hundreds of events during the spring and summer featuring over 25 exhibitions showcasing portraiture displaying about 100 paintings by Manet, Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Degas, Caillebotte, Fantin-Latour, Morisot, Cassat and many more.

Toulouse, the capital of the popular destination Midi-Pyrénées, is also Atlanta’s sister city. A bustling technological hub renowned as the home of Airbus and Aéroscopia, it enjoys a thriving arts and culture scene. Lourdes and the “Grand Sites” of the Pyrénées, include the UNESCO natural heritage site of the Cirque of Gavarnie and the Pic du Midi, a mountain in the Pyrenees famous for its astronomical observatory. The city of Albi boasts the Toulouse Lautrec Museum, the Episcopal City a UNESCO site dating back to the Middle Ages, and the nearby village of Cordes-sur-Ciel, a fortified town dating from 1222 perched on a hilltop. The beautiful sites along the Way of St. James, include Conques, Figeac, Moissac and Auch.

Martinique's Geraldine Rome with Greg McCluney
The horrible events in Paris took a back seat. The gracious hosts were emblematic of the French spirit that eschews uncertainty and fear. As my distinguished colleague Greg McCluney observed, “France is vast and diverse making any region an attractive destination.” While enjoying another glass of wine, we agreed that the perfect place to lose those winter blues would be two weeks in January on Martinique, France’s island paradise.

Monday, November 16, 2015


Vignettes of France in the South

By Doc Lawrence

“There is never any ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. We always returned to it no matter who we were or how it was changed or with what difficulties, or ease, it could be reached. Paris was always worth it and you received return for whatever you brought to it. But this is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy.”
                  -Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Marquis de Lafayette in LaGrange
The statue in downtown LaGrange, the lovely West Georgia city, is one of many tributes to the French leader who was instrumental in helping George Washington’s army win the Revolutionary War. Marquis de Lafayette was a hero to early Americans and drew crowds like today’s rock stars as he traveled Georgia and new country. Milledgeville, another showcase Georgia city, marks the spot where America’s first huge outdoor barbecue was held, honoring Lafayette, a special guest.

Last Saturday on public radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” host Garrison Keillor opened with remarks acknowledging Paris as a city that appreciated the joys of everyday living, gentle moments like dining with friends, the arts and music, a lifestyle he said that made them vulnerable to evil. Then, Mr. Keillor asked the audience in Cleveland, Ohio to stand as the band played the French national anthem, “La Marseillaise.” I rose from my living room chair as well, a special moment to think about all that is French in my little world.

Rodin's "The Shade"
On June 3, 1962, 106 Atlanta arts patrons died in an airplane crash at Orly Airport in Paris while on a museum-sponsored trip. At the time, it was the worst single plane aviation disaster in history. The French government donated a Rodin sculpture "The Shade" to the museum in memory of the victims of the crash. Today, Atlanta’s High Museum of Art is the leading art museum in the Southeastern United States and one of the most-visited art museums in the world.

Established in 1804 by Napoleon Bonaparte, the Père Lachaise in Paris contains the remains of thousands of celebrated artists, writers and musicians, including Edith Piaf, Marcel Proust, Frederic Chopin and Oscar Wilde. But the cemetery's most visited grave belongs to American rock legend Jim Morrison, a Florida native, who died in Paris in 1971. On any given day, hordes of tourists surround his tombstone.
The Maid of Orleans

The stunning gilded statue of Joan of Arc remains one of my favorite memories of New Orleans and the French Quarter. Millions have seen and photographed it. Not far from the Maid of Orleans is the Cabildo, the Louisiana State Museum where the Louisiana Purchase was signed. One of the most prominent exhibits is the death mask of Napoleon Bonaparte, who, many say, planned to escape from prison exile to live out his days in leisure as a French Quarter resident.

The antidote to sadness and loss can often be found in the Parisian lifestyle. Laissez-faire and joie de vivre suggest that freedom and happiness represent a preferred state of mind. My crystal glass is waiting to be filled. Nothing soothes the soul quite like great French wine. My choice is Moulin-A-Vent from Burgundy. The first sip is warming, infused with optimism.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


             Chef Josh Butler's Recipes

By Doc Lawrence

Chef Josh Butler
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA-They call it the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party, a claim backed up on this college football weekend by partisans who combine their fierce loyalty to their respective teams with libations and some very creative food. Georgia’s ‘Dawgs met the Gators of Florida here alongside navigable waters, under a clear autumn sky.

Welcome to the Sunshine State, a diverse place, far more than beach vacations and Disney World.

Still Southern, Jacksonville is North Florida where you can find a variety of cuisines. Seafood is omnipresent, but there’s a bedrock culture that harkens back to Spain over five centuries ago that includes wines. The first wines to come into America were brought by Spanish explorers into St. Augustine

Cracker cooking is part of Florida’s culinary heritage. Popularized by Pulitzer Award winner and Cross Creek resident Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, it features game, garden vegetables and all things local. A new book on Florida food inspired by Eatonville, Florida’s Zora Neale Hurston, one of the leaders of the Harlem Renaissance, confirms the profound impact of African-Americans on today’s Florida cuisine.

Chef Josh Butler is one of Florida’s most effective food representatives. Josh, who now cooks for Zac Brown’s Southern Ground Restaurant in Senoia, Georgia served as chef for three Florida governors including Jeb Bush. His Grouper Burger is a tailgating original.

   By Chef Josh Butler
1-pound fresh Florida grouper fillet, rough chopped
½ pound fresh Florida peeled and deveined shrimp
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
¼ cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
¼ cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
1-teaspoon whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 egg, beaten
3/4-teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 whole grain, freshly baked buns

Add the shrimp to a food processor and make a paste. Roughly chop the grouper into pieces. Combine the chopped Grouper, Shrimp paste, salt, pepper, onion, bell pepper, breadcrumbs, egg, mustard, and mayonnaise and fold gently, dividing into four equal sections shaped into patties. Cover the patties and refrigerate for 1 hour. Cook burgers 4 minutes per side or to internal temperature of 150°F. Place the cooked burgers on top of the whole grain rolls, top with Florida slaw and Capital City Tartar sauce.
1-cup low fat mayonnaise
1 cup Greek-style yogurt
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup fresh basil, leaves picked off of stems
1 cup fresh cilantro, leaves picked off of stems
1-cup fresh Mexican tarragon, leaves picked off the stem
1 cup fresh baby spinach, stems removed
1 teaspoon capers, drained and chopped
1 teaspoon chopped dill pickle
1-teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and cayenne pepper, to taste
In a food processor or blender, add the fresh herbs, spinach and lemon juice, then puree. Add the mayo and yogurt and puree to incorporate the herbs.  Pour this mixture into a bowl and fold in the remaining ingredients. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
½ head Napa style cabbage
2 carrots peeled and grated
1 small sweet onion, sliced
2 pink grapefruits, sectioned
2 tangerines, peeled and sectioned
2 tablespoons key lime juice
4 teaspoons raw Florida sugar
4 teaspoons Greek-style yogurt
1-tablespoon fruity olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the vegetables in a mixing bowl and toss with olive oil. With a serrated knife, peel the grapefruits and tangerines and cut out the segments removing the white pith. Cut the sections into bite size pieces then add to the cabbage mixture. Mix the lime juice and the sugar together until dissolved. Add the yogurt and toss well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
Florida Wines
Warm-up with a Datil Bloody Mary (made with the ancient pepper still abundant in St. Augustine) and sever Grouper Burgers with the delicious white wine, Blanc Du Bois from Florida’s Lakeridge Vineyards.

GIFT SUGGESTION: The collectible Jim Sanders Coos For Wine Lovers is now available. Includes the French wine pairing chart.