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A Taste Of Food And Wine 2009

Originally Posted: December 29, 2009

The bill before the New York State Legislature would have changed the state liquor laws and allowed the sale of wine in grocery stores, as is the case presently in 35 other states. Hamptons.com stock photos

Southampton - Food and Wine was certainly the tastiest of all sections this year. We visited with old friends and welcomed new ones to the Hamptons and North Fork, celebrated bringing home the gold and wondered at the persistence of blue laws. Here are the top five stories from this year.

After adding the rennet, Art Ludlow skims off some of the milk fat that floats to the top of the whey and uses it at home instead of butter.

No Wine On Local Grocery Store Shelves
By Douglas Harrington
Although grocery stores and other food outlets are permitted to sell beer in New York State, the sale of wine has been the exclusive domain of independent liquor stores and the vineyards themselves. With the exception of the recent change in the "Blue Laws" permitting the sale of hard alcohol on Sundays, the liquor laws in New York State have essentially remained unchanged since the end of Prohibition. The last time it was seriously considered was when it was proposed by then Gov. Mario Cuomo in 1984 to try and close a budget gap. Proponents were optimistic that the rbill would pass this time around, despite the fervent opposition to it by the liquor lobby, because of the need of the state to close an estimated $15.4 billion shortfall in the 2009 budget. Alas, the bill failed.

Artisinal Cheeses Of Mecox Dairy
By Colin M. Graham
If you ask Art Ludlow why he started the Mecox Bay Dairy gourmet cheese line, he'll grin and tell you, "I lost all of my senses," before relating the story of how he went from being a third generation potato farmer to a first generation artisanal cheese maker. Ludlow took us through the long, delicate process of making organic cheese and the art of creating his own textures and flavors.

In order to make sure that when the Blue Parrot reopened it would be just as everyone remembered, managing partner Andrew Chapman, said he'd been talking with former patrons and staff, asking them what they liked best about the establishment.

Ina Garten and The Barefoot Contessa
By Colin M. Graham
Chef Ina Garten opened up her backyard this past June for the East Hampton Historical Society's third annual new members party. Garten's East Hampton Village bakery may no longer exist, but the cheery chef has kept her East Hampton roots and opened the doors of her historic home for the event.

The Blue Parrot
By Colin M. Graham
Rumors began to swirl in early June of the return of the Blue Parrot in East Hampton Village under a new slarlet management team. Ronald Perelman, multi-millionaire investor, part-time East Hampton resident and Blue Parrot fan, was one of the principals and the main face of the reopening. Jon Bon Jovi, Renee Zellweger and Larry Gagosian were among the group of silent investors that helped along with the rebirth of a village staple.

Southampton Publick House Brings Home The Gold
By Brett Mauser
The Southampton Publick House took gold at this year's Great American Beer Festival (GABP) in Denver with their Berliner Weisse, a German-style sour ale known for its complexity and difficulty in brewing. Brewmasters Phil Markowski and Spencer Niebuhr discuss the painstaking process of crafting an award-winning brew, which at times can be "temperamental" (Markowski), but the result is "magic" (Niebuhr).

Phil Markowski, the brewmaster at the Southampton Publick House, waited many months for the award-winning Berliner Weisse to mature, and it paid off at the Great American Beer Festival.

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