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When Stocking Grocery Shelves Turns Dangerous

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 20, 2020 - 2:35pm
Grocery stores have been deemed essential businesses, meaning their employees are worried about being exposed to the coronavirus.
Categories: Food

Breakfast for Dinner

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 20, 2020 - 2:20pm
The days we plan to sit down to a meal can be better in these worrying times. Pancakes can help, so can a comforting marinara sauce.
Categories: Food

T’s Guide to Staying at Home, and Making the Best of It

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 20, 2020 - 1:49pm
Hunkering down in isolation? Keep the stress at bay with a delicious meal, some self-care and a riveting read.
Categories: Food

Craft Beer Fans Know Hops. But What About Yeast?

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 20, 2020 - 12:21pm
In search of distinct aromas, brewers are embracing bacteria and yeast strains from across the globe.
Categories: Food

What to Cook This Weekend

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 20, 2020 - 10:30am
Make some pizza dough, peanut butter cookies and some freezer-friendly meals, balms to these anxiety-inducing times.
Categories: Food

Restaurants Cling to Delivery During Coronavirus Crisis

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 19, 2020 - 12:50pm
Reinvented menus, lowered prices, fire sales and the good old telephone are enlisted in the fight to survive the coronavirus crisis.
Categories: Food

The T List: Five Things We Recommend This Week

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 19, 2020 - 8:00am
A good-looking way to get organized — and more.
Categories: Food

Food, a Basic Pleasure, Is Suddenly Fraught

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 19, 2020 - 12:08am
The coronavirus has forced Americans to rethink how to feed themselves, from cooking to shopping to ordering in.
Categories: Food

The Face of Houston’s Diverse Dining Scene Is a White Guy From Nebraska

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 18, 2020 - 6:51pm
The chef Chris Shepherd has promoted immigrant restaurateurs and the city, and become a big name himself in the process.
Categories: Food

Danny Meyer’s Restaurant Group Lays Off 2,000 Workers

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 18, 2020 - 2:38pm
Union Square Hospitality cuts 80 percent of its work force as restaurant companies around the country shed workers.
Categories: Food

A Wholesale Grocery Will Deliver Directly to the Public

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 18, 2020 - 1:00pm
Baldor Specialty Foods in the Bronx has opened its inventory to the general public during the coronavirus crisis.
Categories: Food

Deliciousness Matters

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 18, 2020 - 10:30am
It improves moods, and inspires hope, so cook as much as you can in these trying days.
Categories: Food

This Mysterious Ancient Structure Was Made of Mammoth Bones

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 17, 2020 - 7:41pm
The ring of skulls, skeletons, tusks and other bones was too large for a roof, scientists say, so what was it for?
Categories: Food

A Not-Quite-Restaurant Faces the New Reality

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 17, 2020 - 2:45pm
Mirna’s Pupuseria is one of the city’s many small, family-owned enterprises, struggling to stay in business in the time of coronavirus.
Categories: Food

Wine Is for Sharing. What Does That Mean in Self-Quarantine?

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 17, 2020 - 10:00am
At a time of public health challenges, self-imposed isolation does not require you to forgo good food or good wine, despite the social stigma.
Categories: Food

Cheese Takes a Beating

Planet Cheese - March 16, 2020 - 11:00am

Travel woes: (clockwise from upper left) Camembert au Calvados; Clochette; Burrata; French ashed cheeses

Maybe cheese wasn’t the first thing you thought about when President Trump announced a 30-day ban on flights from Europe last week. But cheese is, indeed, a victim. It won’t be getting on planes, either. All those lovely soft spring goat cheeses from the Loire Valley…fresh mozzarella and burrata from Campania…delicate robiolas from Piemonte…these cheeses and many others have effectively had their passports revoked. “Trump said it’s not going to affect cargo, but it doesn’t work that way,” says Stephanie Ciano of World’s Best Cheese, a major importer.

Many cheeses, especially those with short shelf lives, are air-freighted to the U.S. and they don’t come on cargo planes. “Air-freighted cheese comes on passenger flights,” says Ciano, vice president of international purchasing for World’s Best in Somerville, MA. “And airlines are not going to run flights without people.”

Frequent flyer: Mothais sur Feuille

Ciano estimates that the flight ban will cost her company hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue. Guffanti’s baked lemon ricotta, a popular choice for Easter, will be MIA, at least temporarily, along with lightly ripened cheeses like French Couronne de Touraine and Mothais sur Feuille and Italy’s La Tur.

The ban is arguably even more burdensome for Michele Lanza, whose Bay Area-based import and distribution company, Fresca Italia, brings all of its European cheeses by air. (Most other importers get hard cheeses by boat, which is slower but cheaper.) “Our strategy has always been to fly everything,” says Lanza. “Even if it’s a cheese that could go by boat, we’ve always believed that flying is best.”

Like Ciano, Lanza was caught off guard by the President’s announcement. “If we had had this conversation a couple of days ago, it would have been ‘business as usual,’” Lanza told me last Friday. His Italian suppliers were still making cheese and filling orders, exempt, as food producers, from the lockdown devastating other parts of the economy. Last Thursday, the day after the President’s speech, Lanza thought his cheeses might still catch one of the last flights out of Rome. On Friday, he learned they would not.

Ban victim: Michele Lanza

Lanza began scrambling for alternatives, such as flying the cheese out of Heathrow or on a cargo plane, but congestion pricing quickly kicked in. “To give you an idea, the cost per kilo to ship our products would be higher than the cost of the products,” says Lanza. Ciano had the same experience. “There’s a lot of price gouging going on,” says the importer. “The rates are like 350% of what they were.”

To make matters worse, the flight ban comes on top of plunging cheese orders from restaurants as Americans drastically curtail dining out.

“The situation is unprecedented,” says Bob Stonebrook of Aniata Cheese Company, a Southern California-based importer and distributor of fine cheese. Aniata’s European partners are trying to find transport for the perishable cheeses that U.S. shops have ordered, but whatever they arrange will be costly, says Stonebrook.

Ciano is hopeful that the U.S. government will quickly address the flight ban’s collateral damage. In the meantime, Lanza will likely be forced into shipping harder cheeses by boat. As for more fragile cheeses, “we can find alternatives,” says Lanza, “but the cost is going to be outrageous.”

UPDATE (March 16): From Stephanie Ciano: “The situation changes hour by hour. We are working with our freight consolidators to be able to get the freight out. We are going to get our Guffanti shipment and Alta Langa [La Tur and others]. Pomella mozzarella shipments are blocked through mid-April. French and Swiss air shipments are completely blocked. All flights by United Airlines and Air France are canceled between France and the U.S. American Airlines has canceled 75% of its flights and not allowed any cargo. Passengers and their belongings are the priority. Unlikely to arrive: Epoisses Berthaut, Chaource, Munster AOP, Camembert and all fresh French cheeses; from Switzerland, no Moser Truffle, Moser Screamer or Petit Vaccarinus. Hopefully an avenue will open up, but things are looking bleak right now, particularly from France.”


Categories: Food

Learn to Pair Wine With Food

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 12, 2020 - 1:30pm
In this exercise, readers will make their own selections, consider how everything goes together and report back.
Categories: Food

When Thin and Bitter Are Welcome Wine Words

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 12, 2020 - 1:30pm
These descriptions of the classic style of this light red wine might seem pejorative, but maybe it’s time to reconsider the assumptions loaded into the terms.
Categories: Food

How an Ecuadorean Soup Inspired a Restaurant

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 12, 2020 - 12:11pm
Before El Encebollado de Rossy opened in Brooklyn, the chef’s cooking had a loyal following.
Categories: Food

Could an Invasive Snail Save Your Morning Coffee?

NYTimes Dining and Wine - March 11, 2020 - 6:59pm
Coffee leaf rust has long been the enemy of coffee growers, but a snail from Southeast Asia may give them hope.
Categories: Food