How would you like to take a trip to the birthplace of wine, the Republic of Georgia? As a bonus, you can travel with internationally recognized food and wine expert Darrell Corti of Sacramento (pictured here at the Alaverdi Monastery). Of course, this is all vicarious.
For five days in September 2011, Corti and Corti Bros. Market director Rick Mindermann traveled with a group of 60 international food and wine writers, scholars, scientists and media personalities. They were in Georgia to attend the first International Quvevri Wine Symposium, sponsored by the Georgian National Wine Association.
After that, Corti and Mindermann struck out on their own to tour the famous Tokaj wine district of Hungary, stopping at wineries and sampling as they went.
"We tasted the sweet wines of Tokaj," Corti said on the phone today. "Before the communists took over Hungary after World War II, those were the wines of which it was said, 'The wine of kings, the king of wines.'"
Accompanying Corti and Mindermann were videographer Esther Ritter and sound engineer Jimmy Bell. The four have assembled a day-by-day blog site of the Georgia trip, with the complete Hungary package still "a work in progress," Mindermann said. "Half of it is up on the site, the other half will be there by the end of March."
Go with the Corti entourage to Georgia at https://sites.google.com/site/tvcorti/home/georgia---hungary-september-2011 to see 81 videos and 487 photos, with commentary.
"The blog site captures what it's like to travel with Darrell," Mindermann said.
Also at that link you will find Corti TV, an audiovisual blog window into Corti's world travels and the business of his store. In less than a year, 22,000 viewers in 104 countries have tuned in.
What were some of the highlights?
"Being in Georgia was very moving," Mindermann said. "It's a country whose wine culture and history date back 8,000 years. That's 4,500 years before the first settlers went into Egypt's Nile Valley."
What was his best meal in Hungary? "We ate veal schnitzel that was amazing, the dumpling soup was off the charts, and the wines spoke for themselves.""
On the subject of Hungarian goulash, food scholar Corti said, "What we know as goulash in this country is more like a soup than a stew over there. And what we call goulash here is called 'porkolt' in Hungary."
Corti added one last thing: "The trip wasn't a blog - it was a real job."
Corti Bros. Market is at 5810 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento, (916) 736-3800, www.cortibros.biz.