Virginia Phillips

Virginia writes for newspapers and magazines about food. She translated the cookbooks of French pastry chef Christine Ferber, made popular in this country by Martha Stewart. She is active with Slow Food, an international organization working through agro-ecology for a better food supply and to restore the ceremony of the table. She was founding editor of Mt. Lebanon Magazine.

Wine ‘Em Up

Plan ahead with a guide for comprehensive tasting. I used to say I hated tasting wine with the milling hordes. I am recanting. Decanting. Pouring myself right in and trying to tip you in with me. Why? The Pittsburgh Wine Festival, May 3-8, sprawling over acres in Heinz Field House lounges, offers opportunities few ordinary mortals would otherwise …

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Bet the Farm

Selected by owners Jack and Dale Duff from a small field of candidates, they have been operating the venerable Blackberry Meadows Farm all summer under a lease/purchase agreement. With heads full of “green” theory and their own, seemingly endless renewable energy, the four entrepreneurs have passed the halfway mark in the growing season and are …

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Home is Where the Hearth Is

The walk was maybe a half-mile switchback up the side of a mountain in semi-freezing drizzle, past a slate-colored pond, through a covered bridge, beyond a clearing with a few austere frame buildings, and up and up. I can tell you I’ve never been so happy in my life to see smoke from a chimney. …

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Wine tips from the Heinz-Kerry cellar

With her easy tact and predisposition to agree, she might be a diplomat or a counselor—if it weren’t for the one-liners that slip out, almost as if they’re sneaking up on her, and the highly contagious laughs that follow. She should be laughing. Diane Martz, 43, in black jeans, tennis shoes and zero makeup, is …

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Salt, Air, Time and a Pig’s Hind Leg

In a food world where cured pork products have been catapulted to sexy heights of connoisseurship by chefs like Mario Batali, Pittsburghers blithely accept, take for granted and plain underappreciate the elegant—and bargain-priced—sausage and prosciutto made here in a fourth-generation family business in the Strip. “Parma is the best kept secret in town,” says Chef …

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