Virginia B. Wood explains the swapping going on at the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival and updates readers on local culinary news.
Two of Austin's busiest chef/restaurateurs are trading places, so to speak. In order to devote his full attention to his first personal restaurant project, Wm. Emmett Fox resigned as president of the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival in July. Fox will remain on the Festival board, replacing Kevin Williamson, who will take over the president's position. Fox and wife Lisa are the proprietors of Asti Trattoria & Wine Bar (408-C E. 43rd, 451-1121), opening this week in the Hyde Park neighborhood. Williamson and his partners Sharon Gerhardt and Darryl Sneary operate Ella's Restaurant & Bar (#1 Jefferson Sq., 458-2148), Ranch 616 (616 Nueces, 479-7616), and the new Little Ranch Bakery (814 W. 12th), opening in early August. In addition to his duties as president of THCWAFF, Williamson is also the president of the Austin Restaurant Association this year. With three food service outlets and two time-consuming, high-profile volunteer jobs in the same year, Williamson certainly has his work cut out for him.
Austin's Loss, Oregon's Gain
One of Austin's most knowledgeable and respected wine merchants is leaving River City. John Roenigk, longtime manager of Austin Wine Merchant (512 W. Sixth, 499-0512), has accepted a position in sales and marketing with Beaux Freres Vineyards (www.beauxfreres. com) of Newberg, Oregon, and leaves Austin in early August. Over the years, Roenigk has built a very loyal following among Austin's most savvy wine buyers based on his expert personal service, commanding knowledge, and classy tastes. "Naturally, saying goodbye to friends and clients is the difficult aspect of leaving," Roenigk explained last week, "but this is such a great opportunity to learn about the growing and making of wine, I just couldn't pass it up." Beaux Freres is located in Oregon's Willamette River Valley, America's premier Pinot Noir production area.
Can I Get a Witness?
Homemade ice cream is one of my favorite summer pastimes. The reliable White Mountain electric ice-cream freezer I've had for over 25 years is one of my treasures. This summer, I noticed both Krups and Cuisinart were touting small tabletop models designed to make 11é2 quarts of ice cream in under 30 minutes. Out of curiosity, I ordered one of each as a birthday gift to myself and tested them with my Hill Country Peach Ice Cream recipe. Both machines have a bowl that must be frozen from six to 24 hours before using. The Krups machine has a motor that snaps into the top of the machine to rotate the paddle inside the freezing bowl, while the Cuisinart freezing bowl sits on a base and rotates around the paddle. I've followed the directions on both machines to the letter on two trials each, using a well-frozen bowl, cold paddles, and very cold custard each time. I have yet to produce anything thicker than a milkshake. When poured into plastic containers and frozen, the milkshakes have made fairly good ice cream, but photos on the brochures accompanying the machines led me to believe the machines themselves yielded a product the consistency of ice cream. If there are readers getting ice cream from either of these machines, I'd like to hear about it.
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