Five Ways to Love Winter

Comté Fondue. Photo by Comté Cheese Association/Nicki Sizemore

Yes, it’s been brutal. Still, winter has its own kind of pleasures. Here’s how to put a little joie-de-vivre into the season:

1. Flame Up Some Fondue.

As my all-time favorite cheese writer Steven Jenkins says in his wonderful book, The Cheese Primer, “A proper fondue is a wonderful thing. You’ve simply forgotten.”

Yes. It’s time. Get out the fondue pot you have in the back of your cupboard, gather some friends and  have a fine old time. Here’s a video wherein I talk about how to make fondue into a great meal. And here’s a  brief explanation on my favorite cheese to choose.

2. Drink Some Port. 

To paraphrase Steven Jenkins, a proper port is a wonderful thing. You’ve simply forgotten.

Indeed, the other night, my husband (Mr. Sportcoat) and I wanted a little something to finish up the evening. We popped open a bottle of Warre’s Otima 10-Year Tawny. With just a couple ounces of the port and a piece of chocolate, we were in heaven, especially as we made the move toward the fire. For a brief overview on Port and more about Warre’s Otima, read an article I recently wrote for Food Riot.

Beef Burgundy in my Le Creuset Braiser. Photo by Richard Swearinger.

3. Braise, braise, braise, braise, braise, braise, braise. 

Sorry to keep banging on that drum, but I’ve been braising up a storm this season, taking those big, inelegant, (often inexpensive), Fred-Flinstoney cuts and making them into warming and gratifying, boldly flavored, succulent dishes. Yesterday, I bought a brisket and some country-style pork ribs, and today, here I go. I’ll report back if I come up with anything noteworthy. But meanwhile, there are some good recipes already on this site. And in my Braiser Cookbook, of course.

4. Eat Somewhere Cozy:

It’s easy to stay home and burrow during winter. Yet consider this: I recently ran into one of my favorite local chefs (a James Beard nominee, in fact), who said that this winter has been especially tough on them, as people just won’t go out.

So I encourage you–support your fave local restaurateurs during these lean weeks. It will feel good to get out, and they’ll be happy to see you. And always remember: Any city gets the restaurants it deserves, the restaurant it supports. You want great restaurants? Support them.

5. If all else fails, dream about your summer/fall vacations.

One of my favorite things to do in winter is to plan my travels later in the year. Researching destinations, perusing websites for hotels and self-catering apartments, and general armchair traveling and day-dreaming.

And if you’re looking for a great organized tour to join, check out my recent post on European Market’s Shopping Trips to Tuscany and Paris. Here, by the way, are the accommodations in Tuscany:








I’ll leave you with those images…..Enjoy a cozy weekend, everyone.

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