The word tapa means “cover” or “lid” and was said to referred in the early days to the slice of serrano ham or cheese laid across the tops of narrow sherry glasses handed by innkeepers to coach drivers, to keep insects out and to keep them from spilling.  Fortified sherry wines are produced in the so-called Sherry Triangle of southern Spain.  Fino produced around the port of Sanlucar de Barrameda is called manzanilla.  A culinary highlight of Spain is sitting in a legendary tapa bar with a glass of manzanilla and a few plates of tapas.

Membrillo and manchego are one of our favorite tapas.  Membrillo is a Spanish-style quince jelly and can be ordered from, if you cannot source locally, which is increasingly easy to do. You can buy it in blocks, which you slice thinly, or in softer pastes like jelly, but the blocks are traditional. This is traditional tapas food, all on its own, but some tapas bars (“tabernas or tascas) jazz it up with jamon and piquillo peppers, or marinated anchovies and sliced manzanilla olives.

See all of our tapas recipes to serve after an afternoon of park drag coaching:

Caracoles (“snails”)
Chorizo and charcuterie
Esparragos blancos (“white asparagus”)
Gambas al ajillo (“shrimp with garlic”)
Membrillo and manchego
Pan tomate
Roasted almonds
Pimentos con Anchoas (“roasted red peppers and anchovies”)
Roasted Almonds
Roasted Tomatoes

By |May 28th, 2012|Cuisine, Travel|Comments Off on Tapas

Check out the new recipe pages

We have added recipes from our favorite travels, near and a far, on the Sporting Road.  As the Sporting Road is too vast to feature only French cooking, we have added some our favorite recipes discovered along the Sporting Road, from various cuisines.  Please check out our new pages:
Argentine Recipes
Asian Recipes
Hungarian Recipes
Moroccan Recipes
Spanish Recipes

By |October 11th, 2011|Cuisine, Recipes, Travel|Comments Off on Check out the new recipe pages

International Adventures in Cuisine Along the Sporting Road

Recipes sometimes have as much to do with imagination as it is with flavor.  A dish is more than a collection of ingredients.  Ingredients come from food and food comes from somewhere.  That somewhere may be in the snow or the sun may be a sign of a particular season, and more often than not that somewhere may show through in the final dish.

Yet, with my cooking, as everything in life, I make comparisons and find it difficult to settle for second best.  I like dishes that are the best—or, at least the best of what that dish can be.  Hence, my life-long quest for adventures to find the best recipes and to replicate them in the kitchen, after days spent on the Sporting Road.  Because ultimately, no one cares where the ingredients come from, whether they are flown half-way round the world or grown in your own back yard, it simply comes down to this—do I like this or not?

Our friend in Paris pointed this out to me one time as I started to debate French pinot noirs with Californian ones.  I was arguing that the French ones are better and pointing out the balance of fruitiness, acidity and chalkiness that the French traditionally strive for in Bordeaux wines, while American wine makers often emphasize only the fruitiness.  He said he didn’t know enough about Californian Pinot Noirs to say.  And, he said, “There is no argument, when it comes to matters of taste.  Either you like it or you don’t?  It doesn’t matter if you can explain why, it doesn’t make it taste any better.”

Like with wine, food stuffs are affected by seasons, growing conditions, harvest times, the amount of water, the terroir, etc.,  and […]

By |October 9th, 2011|Cuisine, Recipes, Travel|Comments Off on International Adventures in Cuisine Along the Sporting Road

Ten Tips for Becoming A Better Grouse Hunter

Have an Uncle Who’s Part Indian.  I am not being cute or clever.  My heritage is part Sioux Indian and there is something to be learned from our Native Americans when it comes to forest craft, it’s not just all folk-lore.  While Indians have a legendary reputation for being quieter and more stealthy in the woods, it’s for good reason, but we could argue whether that is due to nature or nurture.  Whatever the reason and if you weren’t born with it, see what you can learn from someone skilled in this manner of stealthy stalking and it doesn’t matter if it is applied on big game or upland birds, it’s better than the alternative of bashing through the woods scaring every grouse out of the other end of it before you even step foot in the beginning of the other end of the woods.  Better yet, adopt an “uncle” born or skilled in these crafts.
Learn to shoot a shotgun and learn to shoot it well.  We attended Buz Fawcett’s Wingshooting Workshop many times now, in efforts to become Master Shotgunners.  If you hit what you can see and learn to shoot instinctively, you will be a better grouse hunter.
Bring a picnic on the grouse moor.  You never know when you will need fortitude from the elements or simply from your own psyche, if it’s a less than stellar day.  We always bring a French picnic, complete with some red wine, pate’ from birds gone by, cheese course, salad and other treats.
Stuff enough shells in your bag, but not too many to begin to think you you have enough to afford to miss.  My friend, Paul, grew up in rural Nebraska and his father was a professional assassin for coyotes and other predators, working […]

By |October 8th, 2011|Cuisine, Picnic, Recipes, Travel, Wingshooting|Comments Off on Ten Tips for Becoming A Better Grouse Hunter

Hunting Wedding in France

December 2004

The XVth century château, venue of this outstanding celebration
Friends from America, England and France, gathered to celebrate a wedding and enjoy an afternoon’s hare hunting in the foggy countryside of the Sologne-Berry regionof France.  Probably, no doubt, the best wedding party ever attended by all the guests who were keen hunters.  For Nick de Toldi’s page on the wedding please click here.

Special thanks for the excellent  pictures courtesy of Ben Eden Wedding photography – London – Paris – Rome – New York. The wedding was featured in Grace Ormonde Wedding Style Magazine.

The bride, the music, and members of “the field”, getting prepared for the ceremony…

The escorted bride walks to the chapel…

Just married, and the new husband soon shows his real personality chasing the poor bride !

A well deserved (but solemn) cup of champagne, eventually sealed the alliance…

and soon it was time to join the kennel to meet the participants of the second ceremony…

it is a special day, but things must be done seriously says the Master, explaining plans of attack…

To do things seriously, a good start in France, is often a good picnic…

And no worries ! Things ARE done seriously !

but the stirrup shot is soon swallowed…

and the count says, “Mesdames et messieurs, we will attack behind ‘la Garenne’…”

“En selle!”  (It’s time to be in the saddle).

To line the forest road in pursuit of the quarry…

The hunt has started rather quickly, producing a moment of uncertainty…

not an uncommon situation afield, and the party is not loosing hope…

though things may not be as easy as expected…

Tally Ho!  I think I hear the hounds!

Taïaut ! The field joins the hunt again, but will the hunt join the quarry soon ?

Congratulations monsieur le comte!  It’s been really tough in this weather, but it went […]

By |October 3rd, 2011|France, Travel|Comments Off on Hunting Wedding in France

Fly Fishing La Loue in the Jura

The French Jura region bordering Switzerland are beautiful and amazing, even for those of us living in the shadows of the  Rocky Mountains.  The streams in the Jura deserve their reputation as the best in France. Excepting the fame created by Charles Ritz’s writings of the chalk streams of Normandy, the Jura is one of the rare regions in France with an international fly fishing reputation. There are many places that I fell in love with in France, but the Jura has something special and unique–the landscapes, the rivers, trout and grayling, the fly fishers and even the flies. Add the hospitable nature of the people, warm welcome at the hotels, and the rich and original gastronomy, lexapro.

It is one of the few regions which produces both good cheese and good wine, which is rare to have both in France due to the differing climates required for dairy cattle versus grape production.   The scenery is spectacular, from the river valley to the high plateaus.  Sightseeing the source of the Loue is worth the short drive and hike.  Also, the trips to the neighboring towns along the valley, prove to have enough to interest everyone from shopping, sightseeing, gourmet shops for the famed Comte cheese, local wine suppliers offering great wines at very inexpensive prices, and quaint outdoor cafes for a anise-flavored pastis to cool ourselves and warm our hearts.  Parts of the valley reminded me of Venice where the river meets the houses built on stilts.

Enough of the setting, let’s get down to fishing.  The only downside to fishing the Jura is that the local fishing rules are impossible to understand, even for the locals (even Nick de Toldi, who guides there regularly, promised they would be “complicated […]

By |October 2nd, 2011|Fishing, France, Travel|Comments Off on Fly Fishing La Loue in the Jura

The International Fario Club

Charles Ritz, of the Ritz hotel fortune, spent considerable time studying the art of fly fishing in the American West, England, and France.  His book, A Flyfisher’s Life, is one of the few books in the English language discussing fly fishing in France. In the 1930’s he became an authority on fly fishing in France and invented the parabolic fly rod, which is still used, and which was commercially produced by ABU Garcia.   Mr. Ritz was an advocate of the high speed – high line style of fly casting.

He founded the “Fario Club”, which was the most select fishing club in the world during the later part of the twentieth century and remains so today.  We enjoy regular gatherings in Paris and around the world, to enjoy the camaraderie of others similarly suited.

The Club’s website is presently being revamped, but it can be found at 

The “Pays d’Auge” region is made up of the port towns two hours north of Paris, including Honfleur, Deauville and Trouville. It takes like two small hours to drive from Paris.  After driving through the lush fields where dairy cows are milked for production of Camembert, Pont-Lévèque & Livarot, and passing apple tree after apple tree, so it is no surprise that Calvados is offered at every turn in the countryside, we followed in Charles Ritz’s footsteps staying the same place he did at the mill of Aclou on the river Risle.  The “Aclou reach” is often mentioned as his favorite fishing spot, home to the brown trout.

By |October 2nd, 2011|Fishing, France, Travel|Comments Off on The International Fario Club