They're Getting Warmer...

The most frequent suggestion for improving the quality of Texas wines is for Texas winegrowers to plant grape varietals more suited to their respective climates rather than just growing Chardonnay and Cabernet grapes whose wines are popular in the marketplace. To that end, Block Distributing's wine expert Woody de Luna recently held a Warm Climate Varietal Tasting for the Texas Hill Country Winegrowers Guild com-plemented by an authentic provençal meal at Jean-Luc's French Bistro. Guild members sampled warm climate vintages from Australia, Portugal, the Languedoc Provence, and southern Rhone regions of France made with marsanne, syrah, grenache, shiraz, cinsault, carignan, and mouvedre grapes.

Back Home and Cookin'

Stop in to Bottega della Pasta at 4201 S. Congress and ask chef/owner Rino Lanzalotti about his recent 12-day, 2,200-mile eating tour of Italy with his wife and son. Though they were fed incredible meals by family members, the trio still made room to sample seafood, pesto and olives in Liguria, seafood and handmade pasta under the cone-shaped limestone roofs of Apulia, and great pizza and affordable house wines all over Tuscany. Back at home, Rino is busy updating his menu and enlarging his charming S. Congress pasta shop.

Tastes of Summer

Rhode Island native and former quahog-er (clam digger) chef John Lucas of the Omni Hotel will present an authentic New England Lobster Boil at Central Market Cooking School on Thursday, July 11. Lucas will serve up everything but the cool breeze off the Atlantic. Call 458-3068 to register... Beat the heat with homemade ice cream Saturday, July 13 at a White Mountain Ice Cream Freezer demo in the original Breed & Co. on 29th St., 11am-2pm. They'll be demonstrating how to use both the hand-cranked and electric models, dishing up the results for customers to sample. The next afternoon, July 14, Austin's ice cream queen, Amy Miller of Amy's Ice Cream, will give a free ice cream-making class at Central Market from 2-2:30pm... For all the devout lovers of Larry Butler's Smoke-Dried Tomatoes, the first batch is off the smoker and available for sale at the farmstand at Boggy Creek Farm, 3414 Lyons Road. Check the farm stands from Dripping Springs to Georgetown this weekend for the only fruit crop that survived the drought: Watermelons!

Keep on Jammin'

Curious about how your very own jams and jellies would rate with the best in the state? Contact the office of the State Fair of Texas at 214/421-8744 for an entry form and full set of official competition rules for the Jam and Jelly Competition at the State Fair which runs Sep. 27-Oct. 20 in Dallas. Entry forms must be submitted by Aug.1 and entries are due by Aug. 25.

Beat the Heat

Home Shopping Alert! Austin cooking teacher and consultant Marie Claire Quittelier will appear on QVC-Home Shopping Network on Tuesday, July 16 at 2pm, demonstrating the GLOWMASTER Heat Induction Cooking System that she represents. For Texas cooks, the most attractive feature about induction cooking would be the lack of radiant heat generated by the cooktops.

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