Oh Marta …

Dear Reader,

No worries, I did not fall in love with a woman. The Marta mentioned in the headline is my recommendation for the upcoming winter.

But first, sorry for the silence over the last couple of days. I was traveling, working, having fun with friends. Like the people abusing Glynsky Towers for accommodation, I dislike hotels a bit. Whenever I can, I stay with friends. Or as I call it: couch surfing. The usual deal is, they provide a mattress, futon, or guest bed, and I invite them out for dinner. Some of my hosts consider themselves a chef and prepare dinner. Then I provide wine and drinks at least.

On one of those couch surfing events we got to know Marta’s parents. And now I’d like to introduce her to you.

Her full name is Amarone Classico DOC Marta Galli. And this is what she looks like:


Marta comes from the La Ragose Winery, and you should give her – or any of her sisters – a new home.

Frederick Wildman is the US importer, and here is a retailer, Astor Wine & Spirits.

I mentioned Amarone a while back on diablog. And from La Ragose came my very first Amarone. It is one of the very best, and you can be certain, it is not adulterated. Which sadly has started to happen at other vineyards.

At 15-16% alcohol, for me Amarone is winter wine. Perfect for that evening in front of the fireplace, after dinner, with a cigar, some great music playing, staring into the flames, ignoring all troubles, and enjoying the good things in life.

And since “I’m not in Love” here is 10cc, perfect fireplace music:


Engine Room


Small French meal

Dear Reader,

When I feel like celebrating with a little meal, the choice of food places is tremendous. Always a safe bet is one of my three favorite brasseries. And a good selection for a small meal is


sautéed Foi Gras with a slice of an apple on brioche as an appetizer, with a nice glass of cidre. Follow that with


Steak au Poivre with French fries as a main course, with a nice bottle of red wine. And


Crepes Nougat with caramelized banana as dessert.

Finish your meal with a delicious Calvados and an espresso, and you are pretty close to heaven.

On cloud #9,

Engine Room


The spirits of Life #6 more Rum

Dear Reader,

Summer is the season of cocktails, many of which are rum based. Now I am not much of a cocktail drinker – I prefer my drinks neat. But I had promised here, to educate myself more about Rum. And so I did.

During my (too?) many bar visits, I sampled another 10 or so rums. Naturally, I will not bother you with the disappointing experiences, but provide you with something worth trying.

Occasionally when having a meal, I substitute dessert with a digestive. Or more accurately, I skip dessert and go straight for the drink. And then it can be fun to combine the two, having a drink that works as a dessert. The following rum is a prime drink for that:

el_dorado_rum_12_yearsEl Dorado 12 years old

El Dorado Rum is produced in Guyana. It is a blend, the youngest rum being 12 years old. Considering the climate, the angel share must be substantial.

The El Dorado is a taste explosion in your mouth. It is like taking a big bite of a honey and sugar dessert.

Certainly, you do not want to have two. But as a digestive and/or substitute for dessert this is a great drink.


Engine Rum


Inner peace

Dear Reader,

Along the lines of Glynsky’s post here, I found some good advice on And since it is the weekend, you might want to go along, and find some inner peace. This quote is slightly edited.

A doctor on TV said, in order to have inner peace in life, we should finish things we started.

So I looked around the house for things I had started and not finished yet.

First I finished a bottle of Los Vascos, then a bottle of Frapin, a bodle of Macallan, a butle of wum, an the mainder of a box of choclutz.

Yu has no idr how fablus I feel rite now.

And here is the peaceful music to go with this, Adiemus by Karl Jenkins:

Have a peaceful weekend,

Engine Room


burning bridges 3…

Dear diablog,

Continuing on our way we arrive at


(safely avoiding the ditch at Freddie’s Curve) and travel a few kilometres more to


the home of Bernard Boutinet one of the best (for me) independent distilleries of excellent Cognac. He grows his own grapes and produces superb Cognacs including


his XO (my favourite). For those who may be interested, Cognac labelling has to be:  VSOP, up to 5 years old, Napoleon up to 10 years, XO up to 18 and Extra anything above that – unless you are seeking a particular year where the date is shown on the label.

Bless him, Bernard is always there to help with tasting (he gets seriously pissed off if you wont!! – don’t just arrive to buy a bottle and then go). And he will teach you loads if you listen – carefully as he has little or no voice.

The Cognac producer is not selling you alcohol –


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Europe the American way

Dear Reader,

By now you know, everyone at diablog is somewhat nuts.

To fit in properly, I did a typical American thing. A European tour, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Tirol, Italy and France in a bit more than a week. You want crazy? We got crazy. Four countries in one day, usually that is reserved for our beloved


Smiles. He does that on a regular basis.

Anyways, it was great fun. It confirmed, I do not like mountains and narrow valleys. I need an overview and the sea. It also confirmed, I do not like the French.

Almost all of them pretend to not speak or understand English. And their prices are plain robbery. Ten Euro for an espresso? You got to be kidding me. 100 Euro for 1,000 km on the highway? Do I want to buy the damn thing?

But the worst was a hotel manager, again claiming not to speak English, also claimed 120 – 107 = 3. When I insisted on getting all my change, he had to consult a calculator. Yeah, right. Never mind that my room had been paid in advance and the whole procedure was a scam anyway.

Yet, I had a tremendous time even in France. Partially because I was allowed to stay in a 11th century fortress:


freshly restored, and refurbished to maximum luxury. The outside of the building isn’t what you would call pretty.

But have a look at one of the bedrooms:

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