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>> Diary of a Celiac

I was always the one with the cast iron stomach. I could eat everything, travel everywhere, and sample it all. I might pass on the sauteed sheep's eyeballs in Marrakech, or the mystery meat stew offered to me in a village in Southwestern Mali, but that was squeamishness not gastric sensitivity. Every once in a while, I'd pick up a bug, a little GI stowaway from my more exotic travels, and I'd use the three-day course of antibiotics I carried in my travel kit. It worked like a charm. Until the winter of 2007. Although my most exotic destination in months had been Santa Monica, California, I'd snagged a stubborn bug that wouldn't decamp, even after three rounds of the antibiotics. When I called my doctor for a fourth refill, he countered with a request that I come in for an office visit and a blood test. He won. (more)

>> Wine Clubs: Wine-savvy, not wine-snobby

Imagine 10 african-american women from Boston on a field trip to Alice Waters's Chez Panisse, the Berkeley, California, pilgrimage site for American gastronomes. The wine comes, and it's an adorable red from a local Napa Valley vineyard. They take a sip. Is it off? (more)

>> Pure Palate: say cheese

Few foods inspire the passion of a perfectly ripe cheese. A wedge of Brie, just at the cusp between eat-me-with-a-spoon and sliceable. Cheddar melting in your mouth like butter, followed with a crisp chaser of tart apple or a fruity red wine. A soft goat cheese that hovers between whipped cream and the sharp aroma of pasture. Blue cheese, arrogant in flavour but humble in texture. (more)

>> A Niagara State of Wine

Bear with me a minute. Just suppose that you heard about a legendary cluster of exquisite perfumes to be had in Paris, made in private ateliers by artisans with superhuman noses for blending flowers and aromatic oils. Much prized by true connoisseurs, jaunty Parisians and a few tourists who bumped into the shops by chance on their travels. But because of export regulations and minimal marketing, the only way for you to get vials of the fabulous scents was to go to Paris and buy them directly from the chemist in his walk-up workshop. That's pretty much the story with the wines of the Niagara Peninsula in Ontario, Canada. Great wine in a fabulous location, and almost nobody knows about it but the locals. (more)