Monday, June 27, 2016

Jim Sanders Georgia Brunswick Stew

               Party Like It’s 1776
   By Doc Lawrence

Classic Brunswick Stew

ATLANTA-The Fourth of July celebration is just around the corner. I’m on the road again for most of this week and for the 10th consecutive year, here is a signature recipe for our American feast.

There is a mystique about Brunswick Stew: Did it originate in Georgia or Virginia? Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings in her classic book, Cross Creek Cookery concluded that it’s German in origin. We’ll settle everything by proclaiming it to be very American with a Southern accent.

The most authentic recipe came from Jim Sanders, the unchallenged “father of fine wine” not only in Atlanta but the entire Southeast region. A French-trained chef, Jim Sanders stayed true to his Southern roots, producing a cookbook pairing the great dishes of the South (his recipes) with the great wines of France. No counterpart exists today.

Each July 4, Sanders served his barbecue pork along with his treasured, venerable recipe Georgia Brunswick Stew, something he learned during his childhood days in Covington, Georgia. It is the traditional accompaniment to genuine Deep South barbecue.

1 four-pound baking chicken
4 pounds ground pork
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1-tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoons cayenne pepper
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup red wine, preferably Rhone style
3 to 4 tablespoons bacon drippings 
36 ounces tomato juice
4 ounce tomato catsup
3 cups cut corn
Kosher salt and black pepper

Boil the chicken until it is very tender, cool, de-bone and chop the meat finely. Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium heat, braise the pork until half done. Add half the chopped onions, one chopped garlic clove, chili powder, thyme, cayenne pepper and a generous sprinkling of kosher salt and black pepper. Continue to braise until the meat is well browned, stirring every few minutes to break up any lumps and combine with chicken. Add the tomato juice and catsup and simmer for 11/2 hours. Add the rest of the chopped onions, another chopped garlic clove and simmer for another 30 minutes. Taste for salt and spoon off the fat before serving.

Beaujolais goes well with Brunswick stew. It does not fight the spices and it has a lot of refreshment value. Otherwise, fairly heavy red wines like Cotes du Rhone complement the spice and flavors nicely as do several Italian reds like Chianti, Bardolino and Montepulciano.

Over three decades, Jim Sanders taught thousands in his wine classes in Atlanta, a rich mixture of governors, members of Congress, physicians, Georgia Supreme Court Justices and regular men and women. Although a product of the Deep South, Jim was more French than anything. After World War II (he was wounded five times in the Pacific campaigns) he went to France, bicycled the countryside and found his passion in wine and food. He learned to cook in Lyon and Paris and met Armand Cottin, president of Labourie-Roi and through this brotherly friendship, developed his own cuvee of 179 Burgundies garnering numerous awards. Each day, in the rear of his retail wine shop in Atlanta’s Buckhead, Sanders served most anyone who came in wonderful dishes he prepared along with pours from countless bottles of perfectly paired wines. There was no charge.

Recipes &Wine Pairing
Today, Jim’s wines, all under his J.SANDERS label, are sold exclusively in Atlanta’s Sherlock’s Wine Merchants.

On the eve of his death in 1999, Jim Sanders entrusted me with his priceless wine notes, lectures, stories and recipes. 


Friday, June 24, 2016

Chocolate History In The Big Apple

Quintessential Chocolates Unveils First Certified Organic Liquid Center Chocolates

                                              Summer Fancy Food Show

By Doc Lawrence

NEW YORK CITY-It’s a time when the purveyors of wonderful things to eat come together to share and learn. If the Summer Fancy Food Show at the Javits Center is anything, it is an adventure into the delicious world of flavors and palate-pleasing items that just might be on the shelves of our retail stores soon. Just as Tesla is changing the perception of total electric cars from ones that once looked like a bloated M&M to a luxury ride with bells and whistles, many exhibits here will take attendees to new horizons where industrious entrepreneurs unveil goodies heretofore unknown.

Meet Lecia Duke, widely known as the “Chocolate Diva,” an architect turned chocolatiér and role model for women seeking entrepreneurial success in a man’s world. Her company, Quintessential Chocolates is a major tourist attraction in the stunningly beautiful city of Fredericksburg in the fabled Hill Country of Texas. Visitors from packed tour buses to curious food journalists flock there to gaze at the hands-on production of liquid center chocolates through a process Ms. Duke learned in Switzerland.

There is excitement in Ms. Duke’s voice as the show opening approaches. “We are introducing the first certified organic liquid center chocolates,” she revealed, adding that the new organic flavors will include Ginger Liqueur, Spiced Rum, Vanilla Vodka and Wheat Whiskey. Honoring her Native American heritage, these new first-of-a-kind chocolates are connected with the economic survival of the Huichol Indians.

Lecia Duke
Quintessential Chocolates follows a business plan that, Ms. Duke explained, “confers a benefit on those who make our products and who enjoy them. This means more than just high quality ingredients. Specifically, ingredients that are nutritional, sustainable and fit into the overall responsibility of improving our community and our world.”

These certified organic liquid center chocolates, she added, were developed “to not only demonstrate we as a small business could do something no other company in this industry has done, but demonstrate that these represent an exciting array of new flavor profiles.”

Lecia Duke’s staff often hint that she seems to be aligned with an ascendant star. Her impressive career began in architecture and graphic design that included a stent at NASA where she designed for the space programs, re-purposing a de-sanctified church into a community center in Fiesole, Italy, the restoration of Nashville’s 2nd Avenue warehouse district and the restoration of the historic Strand in Galveston Texas.

Chocolates followed all this and today, Ms. Duke’s Quintessential Chocolates remains the only chocolatiér in America to use the centuries-old process known as Liqueur Praliné.

I enjoyed a sneak preview with some bites of what will be shortly unveiled at the show. These are chocolates with dramatic impact on the palate. Be prepared for an unforgettably indulgent taste sensation.

And everything, pledges Lecia Duke, comes with a big Texas-style welcome.
Quintessential Chocolates' exhibit is located at Booth #5119.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

A Tesla For Dad

Father’s Day Gifts
“It’s only when you grow up and step back from him-or leave him for your own home-it’s only then that you can measure his greatness and fully appreciate it.”
                                                             ~Margaret Truman

 By Doc Lawrence

Give him the Bourbon, Jack Daniel’s and wines, and there’s still the chance something is missing. Dad loves tools, gadgets, gizmos, implements, accessories, and supplements, things easily overlooked for Father’s Day.
Perhaps giving him a Tesla Model S sedan for Father’s Day isn’t in the mix, but a biography of Elon Musk, the force behind Tesla might entertain Dad. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future” by Ashlee Vance, tells the story about the man who embodies swagger, surprise and style along with visionary daring, prompting comparisons to Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie.

I can’t say enough nice things about Hedgren Duffle The OTR model is a medium-sized duffle with padded carry handles. It is available in a wide array of colors, with beautiful and very durable black lining. For travel, it’s almost like carrying a bag of goose down

The father’s I know like gifts they’ll use every day The Gillette Shave Club  ( is just that. Gillette Shave Club plans are fully customizable and can bring Dad’s favorite high-quality Gillette blades right to his doorstep this year. Convenience is cool.

No matter Dad’s age or level of fitness, he’ll welcome the ActivMotion Bar a highly-regarded and very simple program that brings more oomph to every workout  Everything is done at home. Rolling weights inside a long bar activate more muscles, helps improve balance and lets him know where he’s weaker and stronger. Confession: I use it and it works wonders.

Dad can enjoy great-tasting water with Zero Water’s 23-Cup Pitcher Dispenser 5-Stage Dual Ion Exchange Filter that combines five sophisticated technologies that remove virtually all dissolved solids from his tap water. This comes with the largest capacity filter dispenser on the market today, a patented Ion Exchange filter and a laboratory-grade water-testing meter. High quality construction. .

Klean Athlete is a line of nutritional supplements developed to help provide a safe and effective foundation to live healthy and workout productively. The Klean Athlete’s Foundation bundle, designed for everyday use, includes: Klean Multivitamin for enhanced nutritional intake, Klean Omega for joint and muscle support and Klean Probiotic to support GI health, nutrient absorption and a healthy immune system.

Dad likes his cocktails strong and stirred. He’s on the go and likes to relax with a good drink in the privacy of his room at his favorite places like the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. Everything’s there but one essential: bitters. The Bitter Truth Cocktail Bitters Traveler’s Set can be carried in flight hand luggage making it the ideal companion for globetrotting. It features different expressions for his personally crafted Old Fashioned and other classics. .

What Dad Deserves

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wines For Dad

The Elegant Connoisseur
“Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.”
                                                                Ernest Hemingway

By Doc Lawrence

He’s quite the entertainer, a maestro on the patio grill who knows more than you think about creating delicious dishes in the kitchen. He owns cookbooks going back decades and makes some fancy cocktails like the Sazarac and Old Fashioned from his well-stocked bar.

Wines almost always accompany the food served at his home. Not just something from the super market bottom shelf, mind you, but selected with knowledge and care.

You want to give him either some bottles of wines he will enjoy plus something extra that compliments your brilliant selections.

It’s getting hot down South and the very wise and savvy Dad will gravitate a little more to lighter wines, adding more whites into his entertainment menu. Here are some suggestions.

2015 Fume Blanc Sonoma County from Dry Creek Vineyards. Since 1972, this winery has produced wines modeled after the classics from the Loire Valley in France. Without even a hint of oak, this mouthwatering reasonably priced wine almost begs to be served with oysters on the half shell which Dad buys and skillfully shucks for dinner guests.

2014 King Estate Domaine Pinot Gris from Oregon is soft and balanced with some orange and lime zest flavors that will be delightful with his amuse-bouche before dinner or pair beautifully with that rainbow trout, obtained from his fly fishing adventure in the Blue Ridge mountains.

2014 Pierre Sparr Gewürztraminer is a dry wine from Alsace that Dad will find to be a nice companion with his favorite Asian dishes. This wine isn’t frightened by umami flavors and it is delicious on its own.

2013 Gin Creek Blanc du Bois not only will be a surprise to a wine-loving Dad, but he is in for a sensational experience. This is a dry Southern wine actually developed in Florida to be resistant to vine killing disease, but delicious enough to be served confidently. Gin Creek is located in deep South Georgia not far from Moultrie and Thomasville.

2013 - Z. Alexander Brown Uncaged: North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon is one of Zac Brown’s wines and it is a fine representative from this Georgia native. A powerful full-bodied wine of depth and character, with supple tannins and a long, silky finish.

Crystal Wine Glasses

Maximilian Riedel once told me that “nothing is sadder that a fine wine poured into a pedestrian goblet reeking with dishwasher residue.” Give Dad a set of Riedel crystal wine glasses or one of the other fine wine glasses like Waterford’s extraordinarily affordable Elegance Bordeaux edition that will become his personal treasure. There is a noticeable difference in taste and he’ll think of you each time he enjoys good Bordeaux or a Cabernet.

A box of Cabernet filled chocolates completes a gift that honors him.
Pressed for time? Go to a good wine shop and you should be able to find these wines or something comparable in style, price and purpose. Crystal wine glasses can be obtained in one day through Amazon Prime. Also, a high-end retail store will have just what you’re looking for.

These are gifts that send Dad a loving message that you understand him and appreciate what he has done so admirably with the leisure side of his life.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Gifts For Dad

Bourbon & Liquid Center Chocolates

"The father of a daughter is nothing but a high-class hostage. A father turns a stony face to his sons, berates them, shakes his antlers, paws the ground, snorts, runs them off into the underbrush, but when his daughter puts her arm over his shoulder and says, 'Daddy, I need to ask you something,' he is a pat of butter in a hot frying pan." — Garrison Keillor

By Doc Lawrence

It’s a day of celebration. Father’s Day allows us 24-hours to say something from the heart and toss in a gift or two that affirms love and gratitude. Over the years, I’ve discovered that these men have more varied tastes that perhaps commonly believed. Flowers? Men grow them, put them in vases and many artists and photographers I know do wonders with them using their cameras, canvasses and paint brushes.

Then, there are chocolates. I confess a desire for them on the hour and there are many special chocolates with built-in appeal to my gender. And, there’s no need to overlook Bourbon and Whiskey, a favorite of patriotic men since the days of George Washington.

Lecia Duke’s heralded Texas-based Quintessential Chocolates is the leading producer of hand-crafted liquid center chocolates. Many include wines, whiskies, bourbons, liqueurs and tequila. My favorites for Father’s Day gifts: The trifecta of Garrison Brothers Bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey and Kentucky Bourbon. They can be easily purchased online ( Combine a few boxes with a bottle of something exciting and watch the smiles begin.

Bourbon has never been more popular. Instead of giving Dad a commonly available bottle, try one of the more exclusive brands. Michter’s Single Barrel Bourbon is delightful. Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon and 1792 Small Batch Bourbon are noble products. Then there’s Garrison Brothers Bourbon, a Texas delight with stunning flavors. Combine a gift bottle with liquid center chocolates and season tickets to the symphony. (Don’t underestimate Dad.)

For the father who creates culinary treasures in the kitchen and is a wizard at the outdoor grill, consider these three cookbooks. A Confederacy of Dunces Cookbook: Recipes from Ignatius J. Reilly's New Orleans (LSU Press), Tujague’s Cookbook (Pelican Publishing) and Southern Thymes Shared (Pelican Publishing). Collectible Bourbon books are easily purchased through Amazon and here is a winner. Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage, by Michael R. Veach (University Press of Kentucky), is a masterpiece by one of the country’s top Bourbon authorities that merits a prominent place in dad’s library. 

Look for more gifts this year that mirror his love for originals whether art, garden tools, books by Thomas Jefferson or a beautifully restored and framed image of his grandfather.

Monday, June 6, 2016

With Ali in Miami Beach

“That was always the difference between Muhammad Ali and the rest of us. He came, he saw and if her didn’t entirely conquer-he came as close as anybody we are likely to see in the lifetime of this doomed generation.”
                                     -Hunter S. Thompson

By Doc Lawrence

MIAMI BEACH-After two days covering Art Basel, the global fine art event, and marveling at how so many people seemed to be able to purchase works by Warhol, Kahlo and Dali with an American Express card, I changed into a tuxedo for an evening with Muhammad Ali.

Both events were in the complex known as the Miami Beach Convention Center, the same venue that once hosted television’s “The Jackie Gleason Show.” This was my fairyland.
Donning a tuxedo, appropriate for this December 6, 2003 invitation-only evening, I walked over to the legendary Van Dyke Café on nearby Lincoln Road for dinner, drinks and live jazz. A prelude for a star-spangled evening.

Etta James Serenaded Ali
The event, part of the Art Basel itinerary, was a launch party for a book, The Greatest of All Time, a 2003 production by German-based Taschen Books. In the center of the cavernous room was an elevated a boxing ring, rigged to look like the one where a then Cassius Clay knocked out the reigning heavyweight champion Sonny Liston in 1964.

Standing in the middle of the ring was the emcee, actor Will Smith, who starred in the movie, “Ali.” Countless celebrities were there including Chris Rock. Etta James and her orchestra provided the music. Over the course of the evening, she built up to the finale, singing “At Last,” dedicated to the Champ. The coldest hearts melted.

Ali was there with family and friends, comfortably seated in the old bus he once used to promote his bout with Liston, driving through Miami’s lush mansion districts and housing projects, blaring a message: “Come see me whup Sonny Liston at the convention center!”

He wasn’t kidding.

I walked in, met him and departed with my book returning to my seat.

The Bus with a Prophetic Message
A very heavy fine art production, the book cannot be appreciated on Kindle or a computer screen. It sold for  $3,000. Some kind soul had pity on me and provided a copy. Like Ali, it is one of a kind.

After celebrity appearances, Ali took the stage in a mock boxing match with Will Smith. Ali was laughing and like the world had learned to do, the audience laughed with him. Almost on cue, the Champ could bring out that inner child.

The next day, on a South Florida Sunday morning I went to the living room coffee table confirming that the book was still there. The first page was signed Muhammad Ali. It’s my Hope Diamond.

A night of magic in Miami Beach with the highly principled kid from Louisville, Kentucky who was tough when he had to be and gentle enough to thrill small children and admiring adults.

Lighting the Olympic Torch
Thanks Champ.