New York Times food and wine columnist and cookbook author Florence Fabricant, aka “Flo Fab,” is “thrilled and a little overwhelmed” to be honored at Dan’s Harvest East End celebration on Saturday, August 23. Fabricant has been spending time on the East End since she was an adolescent and she now owns a home in East Hampton. She has been an advocate of Long Island wine since the 1970s. North Fork wines made by Alex and Louisa Hargrave were the first Fabricant sampled—and she was hooked.
What are some of her favorite Long Island wines today? She begins, “I love Wölffer rosé,” and then goes on to rattle off a list of stand-outs: Bedell Cellars’ blends, Corey Creek Vineyards’ rosé, Channing Daughters Winery’s Tocai Friulano, Lieb Cellars, Lenz Winery, Paumanok Vineyard’s cab franc. And adds, “I’d love to see more local wines on local restaurants’ wine lists and in Brooklyn and New York. They’re not cheap because of the real estate situation, more should be done to encourage them.”
She’s most looking forward to trying wines at the Harvest celebration that she’s never had before—though she asserts that she’d like to see Long Island wineries focus on particular wines. She applauds the hard work and experimentation going on but says, “A sense of local identity is missing; if you can do everything it disputes the notion of terroir.”
Fabricant’s 11th cookbook, Wine with Food, Pairing Notes and Recipes from the New York Times (Rizzoli), written with fellow New York Times columnist Eric Asimov, was released earlier this year. Wine with Food is an expansive collection of suggested wine pairings, featuring details about particular wines coupled with Fabricant’s famous recipes. Some examples include: German Spätlese Rieslings and Moroccan Carrot Soup; Cotes du Rhone and Black Olive Gnocchi with Tomatoes and Basil; Valpolicella and Arctic Char with Prosciutto. These suggested pairings are outstanding both in their erudition and in Fabricant’s flowing, yet highly detailed, recipe style—but it’s not intimidating. To quote a popular axiom—it’s not rocket surgery. In the book’s introduction, Fabricant reassures readers, “Selecting a dish to accompany a particular wine, or category of wines, is not like falling in love. It’s more like friending on Facebook…rarely, if ever, is there a single dish that can flatter a wine to the exclusion of all others.”
In addition to her works in print, Fabricant is an accomplished interviewer whose popular series at Guild Hall, “Stirring the Pot: Conversations with Culinary Celebrities,” has been going strong for four years.
Her most recent interviewee, on August 17, was Martha Stewart. Next up will be Chef Daniel Boulud on August 31. She says that she still has a long list of interview subjects in mind. When asked who some of her dream guests—living or dead—would be, she named French culinary luminary Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, British food writer Elizabeth David and Francophile American President Thomas Jefferson.
What is Fabricant cooking in her East Hampton kitchen these days? “Seafood: striped bass, blue fish, I’m a big promoter of porgies and blow fish tails!” She often shops for local seafood at the Seafood Shop in Wainscott.
Fabricant was mum on what her next book—already in the works—will be about. But I’ll buy it!
Dan’s Harvest East End is Saturday, August 23, from 7:30 to 10 p.m. at McCall Vineyard & Ranch in Cutchogue. To purchase tickets, including Vin-IP entry (starting at 6:30 p.m.), and for more info, visit HarvestEastEnd.com.