Entries in charles blackstone (2)


Blackstone's Vintage Attraction

Charles diligently chronicling Santorini for what will someday become his Vintage Attraction

After being married to a writer for six years, I've come to the conclusion that there is very little fiction in fiction. Authors pull from their lives, and the people that surround them are fair game as points of insipiration for their stories. When I met my husband, he certainly enjoyed wine but really couldn't tell you the difference between Pinot Noir and peanut butter (to be fair, at one point, neither could I). Each year I visit two or three wine regions and probably taste well over one thousand wines, and Charles has been there for much of it since the inception of our relationship. The world of wine is rife with fascinating characters and situations, and for a writer like Charles, it was only time before he put pen to paper (or, rather, keyboard to screen) to capture these moments.

He began working on his novel about four years ago based on a premise close to home: a young academic by the name of Peter Hapworth who meets and marries Isabelle Conway, a sommelier who happens to work for a French chef and is host of a popular local television show. Sound familiar? Hapworth gets hurled into the world of wine, restaurants, celebrity chefs, and sommeliers, and he soon realizes a dark-as-Syrah side lurks behind the glitzy facade, food festivals, and endless flows of Burgundy. What Charles has been able to capture is a real look at what it's like to live and work as a sommelier, and many of my sommelier friends who have had a chance to preview the novel agree. The novel is also coming at an interesting time, considering the recent attention given to sommeliers from the likes of Eric Asimov, Jay McInerney, and the soon-to-be released documentary SOMM, which profiles what it takes to pass the grueling Master Sommelier exam. Sure, there are a lot of books on the market about wine, but how many of the authors have this much access to the characters who inspire the stories? 

Well, I am so pleased to announce that Charles's novel will be published as a lead title for Pegasus Books for next fall. It will be titled Vintage Attraction, and I sure hope you read it!

Announced in Publishers Marketplace: FICTION:

Charles Blackstone's VINTAGE ATTRACTION features a young English teacher who falls, glass first, into love and wine, when he meets a famous sommelier, and the two embark on a journey through Greece and navigate the mysteries of wine and the heart, giving insight into the real world of sommeliers and expert wine pairings in the process. To Jessica Case and Pegasus Books, on behalf of Ryan Harbage at The Fischer-Harbage Agency. (World).

Special thanks to Charles's agent extraordinaire Ryan Harbage for working tirelessly to get this book to print and Jessica Case from Pegasus Books for believing in the story. It's going to be a vintage year!





I do all the cooking at home and most of the time, I don't mind since I find cooking to be a very relaxing activity and it's a superb stress reliever for me. But there are those times when I come home after a long and hectic day at work and I find that I barely have enough energy and motivation to open the refrigerator door let alone concoct anything edible on the stove. On one such evening, I muttered something to my husband about how I wish he knew how to cook so I didn't have to. It was mostly the exhaustion talking but he took it to heart and felt bad that his inability to cook was such a burden for me at times.

A few weeks go by and he brings up an idea - he wanted to learn how to cook and he wanted me to teach him. I figured this could be a good experience and way for us to do something together so I agreed. But there was a catch (when you're married to a writer, there's always a catch) - he wanted to know what fundamental lessons he could pick up via the cookbooks and recipes of great culinary masters such as-Robuchon, Keller, Trotter, Ducasse, Boulud, e.g.. We have over 200 hundred cookbooks, some of which I don't think I've ever opened so at first I though - ok, cool, maybe I can learn something as well but then I realized, Charles can barely tell one end of a knife from the other and now he wants to replicate advanced cooking techniques and preparations? There's no way, he could hurt himself. But then, I wondered what would it be like for someone such as him to approach these recipes and techniques from such a novice perspective and what lessons could we all learn from what he perceives? It could certainly be interesting - so I agreed.

We've gone through two chefs so far - David Chang and Thomas Keller. David Chang's ramen recipe was extraordinary. It took 20 lbs of meat and two days to make which is quite remarkable when you consider ramen is mostly associated (at least in the US) with something that you can make in your microwave in 60 seconds. Thomas Keller "taught" us how to make fried chicken and I learned finally how to make mayonnaise from scratch.

If you get chance, I hope you can follow us, the blog is called homecookingschooled.There are links to photos on a flickr account as well. This weekend, we're doing recipes from Chef José Andrés who we absolutely love and adore.