Thanksgiving at The Girl and The Fig A snap of winter brings out comforts of the cellar or cabinet – some served warm or at least in front of a warm wood-fire or stove. Although modern methods can mean a world of difference to the results achieved in a distillery or winery, the human piece of this is the magic – the dozens or hundreds of decisions that made something remarkable and special. That people continue to find ways to improve and create is an inspiration. Maybe even in difficult times, the role of the artisan perfectionist is coming back in value. I certainly hope so as I feel lucky to have stumbled on some people making a difference, sharing their enthusiasm and perhaps making the world a little nicer.
Traveling a bit north, we are easily with reach of outstanding eaux de vie and handcrafted vodka, unusual selections of wines from Greece and elsewhere in Europe or exquisite cabernets without all the overblown winery experience, but with an amazing history and future. What is striking to me is that at each of these individual winemakers or distillers you will encounter fresh passion, perfection and vision, just as the artisan roasters bring to so-called third-wave coffee roasting and espresso.
So at the end of the evening, I will toast all of these folks with some lovely fine alambic brandy from the team at Germaine-Robin, which bests most any authentic cognac I have tried. In fact the circle of distinguished folks there seem rarely to put a foot wrong. Like the master distillers on Islay, they do it out of a drive and will to be reckoned with.
If only my own creative ventures were a fraction as inspired…