Thanksgiving Wine

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Dear Wine Guy,

I love it when you write Guest Blogs on your wife’s Antiques Diva blog. I have another “reader’s question” for you. I was reading a wine column on Epicurious.com and it recommended several wines for a turkey dinner. One of our guests does not like any sweet wines and another only likes white wine.

Which of these Epicurious recommendations would you choose to accompany Thanksgiving Dinner?

Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Pinot Gris

Thanks for the help!
The Contessa

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top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Dear Contessa,

I always enjoy reading your Guest Blogs on my wife’s blog as well!

For Thanksgiving dinner, I typically go with two options. I always serve a red wine for Turkey Day because, well, I’m a bit of a red wine snob and I’m hard pressed to find any large dinner where a good red wine won’t fit… Since Thanksgiving is a traditional American holiday, I always pair it with a traditional wine found only in America – red Zinfandel*. It’s a pretty robust red! For some people who prefer something lighter, I’d recommend a Pinot Noir from Oregon.

For whites, I would choose between a Chardonnay and a Sauvignon Blanc. Creamy chardonnay can go with the creamy potatoes, but a Sauvignon Blanc would go well with your stuffing, especially if it’s a bit spicy (flavorful, with herbs, etc). If the wines above are the only options, and there is a requirement to avoid sweeter wines, then I would go for the Pinot Gris or a Pinot Blanc from Alsace.

* A little side bar on Zinfandel…It’s a grape varietal (just as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are varieties of grapes) that is really only successfully grown in the United States, notably in California. Like most everything else in America, the Zinfandel grape itself probably has origins in other parts of the world, but nowhere does the successful production even come close to that produced in California. As I mentioned above, the red Zin you will find in the shops today will be big, bold and jammy with a rather high alcohol content. One of my favorites is “7 Deadly Zins” because it’s a value at around $12-14 and is one of the better names I’ve stumbled across! Another one I try taking as a hostessing gift here in Europe is Bonny Doon’s Cardinal Zin (another clever name!). This will run you a few more dollars per bottle but I find it’s worth it and gives me the chance to learn a little more about the Bonny Doon fascination (you may be surprised to learn that you will find nary a one cork in any of their wine…all bottles come with screw caps). So, crack open a bottle of Zin and celebrate two “American traditions” – Happy Thanksgiving!

~The Wine Guy

Desperately Seeking Delft Tiles

Dear Antiques Diva,

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Your husband WG told me about your blog and I was hoping you could help me! I’m going to be in Amsterdam on holiday this month and would like to buy some antique Delft tiles while visiting. Do you have any recommendations of where I should shop? Also, do you have any tips of things I should do while in Amsterdam?

Yours,

Desperately Seeking Delft

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Dear Desperately Seeking Delft,

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>WG told me you might be emailing! I am quite happy to give you some information on buying antique Delft tiles in Amsterdam! My answer to this question varies depending on the quantity of tiles you are interested in purchasing. The first place I send anyone looking for antique Delft tiles is to one of my favorite stores in Amsterdam!
De Weldaad is a charming shop located in the 9 Streets, my favorite shopping area in Amsterdam!

De Weldaad is an antique store that sells as many reclaimed salvaged goods as it does reproductions & home decorating goods. The shop is simply gorgeous and you’ll be happy to know they have an incredible selection of Delft tiles to choose from. Prices start at about 15E per tile and move upwards to 150E – 200E per tile! Needless to say, buying Delft tiles isn’t cheap! The owner of this shop happens to have a “farm store” located in Abcoude where she sells items at wholesale cost & has a much larger assortment of antiques & painted furniture. Sometimes she gets entire “Delft tile walls” in amongst the reclaimed building materials she sells. If you’re looking for a “wall of tiles” to use in a renovation project of a bathroom or kitchen, it would be worth emailing the owner at m.verheijke@weldaad.com to inquire on her inventory.

A second place I personally search for individual antique tiles within Amsterdam is De Looier Antiques Mall. This isn’t a gezellig sort of place like De Weldaad. It’s an antique mall and everything happens to be in a glass case. I personally find this antiques mall to be sterile, as I like to shop in places that look like a home, however it’s a favorite shopping destination of many A’damers. You won’t find “walls of tiles” here, but instead individual tiles in the same price range as above scattered around the mall. And if you like antiques you have about 200 vendors to choose from!

This shop is located on the Elandsgracht where there are a few other antique shops. Usually if I go to De Looier I take the Tram to De Looier, starting my day here I walk from this shop down the Elandsgracht towards the Prinsengracht. Turn left on the Prinsengracht and you’ll find tons of fabulous quirky shops lining the canal! When you are almost opposite the Anne Frank House there is a Delft Shop selling very good quality Delft products (both old & new). I don’t remember the name of the shop – but you can’t miss it!

I’m not sure how long you are in Amsterdam for holiday or what your plans include. However, a trip to Amsterdam is not complete without a visit to The Rijksmuseum. That would be like visiting Paris and not going to The Louvre! My recommendation would be that you pop into the antiques district – The Spiegelkwartier – which is located perpendicular to the museum’s front entrance. Here you’ll find a wide assortment of Delft tiles in miscellaneous antique stores. The Spiegelkwartier is the premier antiques district in Amsterdam and while they have “high end” stores, they have mid-range & low-end shops as well.

WG & I love taking a Saturday afternoon in this district. Not only do you have the antique shopping & Rijksmuseum but also two of my favorite smaller museums are within easy walking distance from the antiques neighborhood: The Van Loon Museum and The Tassen Museum (Purse Museum). Also, I love nothing more than a casual lunch across from the purse museum at Stacey’s Pennywell Brasserie– the carpaccio salad with pine nuts & truffle mayonnaise with a chilled Sauvignon Blanc is to die for.

If you’re serious about buying tiles, then I’d recommend you get out of the city and go to Delft! It’s probably a 45 min train ride away and is a charming town worthy of a visit especially if you are a Vermeer fan as this is the city he is from! Perhaps the best resource for antique tiles is De Porcelijne Lampetkan Antiques. I just visited their store for the first time but I’ve known of them for years as they always have booths at upscale antique fairs. I’ve never seen “walls of tiles” in their display but as always it’s worth asking.

I had an interior decorating client from the USA who wanted to buy a large quantity of antique tiles for her kitchen walls (you can see tiles used in kitchen décor like this if you visit the Van Loon Museum). She was willing to pay the price and readily accepted that this was an expensive way to decorate her home as she & I agreed it was going to make a perfect country kitchen! Once she saw the antique tiles in person, however, she decided she didn’t want to decorate her walls with antique tiles but new ones instead! She thought that the antique tiles looked “too dirty”. And though I love antique Delft tiles, I could understand her point. Thus, instead of buying old, we went straight to the factories in Delft where you can buy giant tile murals or “wall pictures” where an assortment of tiles come together to make 1 picture. A tour through any one of the Delft factories is an interesting hour and educational as it will help “improve your eye” for quality when you’re out shopping for Delft…. I’ve been to several of the Delft factories but the one I remember liking best was De Porceleyne Fles (The Porcelain Jar). Online you will find a “tile catalog” of their inventory.

Hope this info helps! Please let me know if you have any other questions.
Enjoy Amsterdam!

The Antiques Diva™

PS: One more Amsterdam must-do is to visit “Our Lord in the Attic” museum! It’s a baroque cathedral hidden in the attic of a house in the red light district! Also, I don’t know if you are a “foodie” but if you are, one of the best dining experiences I’ve had in my life was in Amsterdam at Restaurant De Kas when WG & I booked the Chef’s Table on a double date with our friends The Gourmet God & Goddess! If you go to De Kas, sitting at the Chef’s Table is essential as from this seat you get to taste every single thing that comes out of the kitchen!