Back to school - it's not just for kids anymore.
Remember this Staples commercial? Even if you don't think it's the most wonderful time of the year, it's a great time to learn something new.
Here are a couple of ideas for exercising the gray matter:
- How about wine school? Jonathon Alsop runs a "snob free" wine school (he guarantees it!) I can vouch for his easy going style, humor and his comprehensive knowledge. Classes run the gamut from single sessions to four weeks on a topic. There are intro and advanced level courses, courses on pairing, tasting, writing. They even have classes for singles.
Dubouef Beaujolais Nouveau, photo by Jonathon Alsop
- Check out his post Rethinking Beaujolais Nouveau he wrote for this blog last fall.
- He also writes a wine newsletter In Vino Veritas. Worth a look.
Cooking classes are another way to kick off the fall season.
- Williams-Sonoma at Copley Place hosts a series of classes taught by staff from America's Test Kitchen and local chefs, including Rene Michelena of Domani and Saint. Good fall topics likes braises and chowders. Hard to get the information from the website but you can call the store to register: 617-262-3080. Fees are $50 per class.
- King Arthur Flour has a pretty extensive Baking Education Center. Sure, it's a bit further than Copley (a little over 2 hours, according to Mapquest) but do take a look at what they offer. Classes, books, recipes, tips. They even have online classes - don't ask me how that works. Anyone interested in baking should check out their site, it's full of great information.
Culinary vacations are a hot new trend in travel. If you're planning a fall trip and love to cook, consider this option.
- New England Culinary Institute (alma mater of Alton Brown) offers a closer to home culinary vacation option. Check out their Chef Inn Training offerings.
My first wine class was at the Windows on the World. I poured for the class so I got to audit Kevin Zraly's excellent introductory course. It's surreal to imagine the WTC as it was then, and the hole in the hearts and psyches of the country now that it's gone. I lift a glass to all who lost so much more.