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4 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t S. IRENE VIRBILA writes about food, wine and travel. For 20 years, she was lead restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times and won a James Beard Foundation Award and American Food Journalists Award for her reviews. She also wrote a weekly wine column and in her freelance career has written for numerous magazines and newspapers. She lives and gardens in Los Angeles. In other lives, she trained as a sommelier in Paris, edited cook- books and was part of the culinary scene in Berkeley when Chez Panisse changed everything. DIANE DENHAM'S love for wine emerged during her four years living in France and led to a ca- reer in the wine business. Her tenure with Robert Mondavi Winery included domestic, export and im- port sales before starting her own import wine company. Her ex- perience also includes co-owning a Napa vineyard where she gained first-hand knowledge of the value of deer fences. Leigh Castelli, Robert Chicoine, Ferenc Dancsecs, Mike Dawson, Dylan + Jeni, Allison Edrington, Christine Havens, Jake Lindeman, Kelly Mag- yarics, Roger Morris, Jason Myers, Rebecca Peplinski,Felicia Perretti, Charlene Peters, Roese Photography, Grace Stufkosky, Evan Sung, Fred Swan, Nikki Unger-Fink, Jane West, Todd Westphal, Joshua White Selected Contributors Jeremy Ball, Michelle Ball, Cal Bingham, Jessie Birschbach, Jeff Cox, Diane Denham, Diane Henschel, Karen MacNeil, Meg Maker, Dianne Porchia, Alexander Rubin, Mona Shield Payne, Merrill Shindler, John Terlato, Becky Tsadik, Deborah Parker Wong, Doug Young Contributing Editors Contributors THE CLEVER ROOT MAY ONLY BE A THREE-DIMENSIONAL OBJECT—and we don't (yet!) offer a scratch-and-sniff feature for our glorious food layouts—but I think you'll agree that the content of each issue expands into many other dimensions as one reads. Our palate memories and taste buds can be switched into high gear (I know it happens to me) when one turns the pages. This isn't a magazine about recipes. On one level, it's a colorful, ultra-sensory publication that acknowledges our search for flavor—and how flavors match up (wine with food, food with spirits). On another plane, in each issue we celebrate life through a quest for positive stimulation in its myriad forms, but without diving into the pitfalls of sheer hedonism. As you can see from this issue's cover story—as well as from the other international food, wine and spirits stories throughout the book—we scour the world to develop our connection with flavors wher- ever they may be found. With varietal Furmint, a modern dry wine made from Hungary's iconic grape from Tokaj, we connect with aromas and tastes that are new to many of us (page 56). At our amazing cross-cultural dinner at Washington, D.C.'s newly opened Museum of African American History and Culture, we see through the eyes of an up-and-coming chef, experience his challenges and celebrate his talent (page 90). And in Jalisco, tequila comes alive through our tour of the Cazadores distillery in Arandas, as we rediscover an area of Mexico distinct for its culture and charm (page 48). With winter behind us, immerse yourself in all the flavors The Clever Root has to offer in this Spring issue: a time of the year when aromatics and tastes abound in floral displays and in new crops of fruit (see "Anatomy of a Strawberry" on page 46). After all, Spring is a celebration of new life. Eleanor Roo- sevelt said it well: "If life were predictable, it would cease to be life and be without flavor." LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER Flavor Profile Meridith May with Chris Costas, F&B Director of Napa's Silverado Resort & Spa (see page 34 for the story). ■cr

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