Chelsea Green Publishing

Libation, A Bitter Alchemy

eBook: 9781603582254
Pub. Date June 02, 2009

Libation, A Bitter Alchemy

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
June 02, 2009

$25.00 $20.00

For many years, Deirdre Heekin has been creating an unusual, revitalist wine archive of rare and traditional Italian varietals at Osteria Pane e Salute, the nationally celebrated restaurant and wine bar she shares with her chef husband, Caleb Barber. Self-taught in the world of Italian wines, she is known for her fine-tuned work with scent and taste and her ability to pair wines and food in unexpected yet terroir-driven ways.

In Libation, a Bitter Alchemy, a series of linked personal essays, Heekin explores the curious development of her nose and palate, her intuitive education and relationship with wine and spirits, and her arduous attempts to make liqueurs and wine from the fruits of her own land in northern New England. The essays follow her as she unearths ruby-toned wines given up by the ghosts of long-gone wine makers from the red soil of Italy, her adoptive land; as she embarks on a complicated pilgrimage to the home of one of the world's oldest cocktails, Sazerac, in Katrina-soaked New Orleans; as she attempts a midsummer crafting of a brandy made from inherited roses, the results of an old Sicilian recipe she found in a dusty bookstore in Naples.

Musing on spirits from Campari to alkermes, Heekin's writing is as intoxicating, rich, and carefully crafted as the wines, liquors, and locales she loves.


"Deirdre Heekin sets a bountiful table for her readers. Libation is like the best of meals, in this case one with plates full of delicious memories and ruminations on passion and curiosity. And, finally and most importantly, there is a most satisfying dollop of love, a fine dessert which leaves us with an almost unimaginably sweet regard for life."--Neal I. Rosenthal, author of Reflections of a Wine Merchant

"There will be obvious comparisons between Deirdre Heekin's thoughtful observations, musings, and distillations of Italian culture and those of other writers of expatriate life under the Tuscan sun, clouds and beyond, but Heekin incorporates an entirely other essence largely overlooked in that genre: the alchemy that fuels all of those glorious meals and recipes she recounts, not only in Italy, but Vermont, Paris, New Orleans, and Belfast. From jug wines to Brunello, rosolio to Campari, Sazeracs to Murphy's Irish Whisky (neat, please!), Heekin rightly discovers along the way that the true recipe for great alchemy demands the magic of memory, and all the wonderment and discovery that come with it."--Anthony Giglio, author of FOOD & WINE's Wine Guide 2009 and 2010, Cocktails in New York, and several Mr. Boston Official Bartender's Guides

"The combination of travel, the alchemy of liqueurs, and her sheer joie de vivre make Heekin's book as delicious, intriguing, and warming as any of the recipes she pursues."--Joseph Olshan, author of The Conversion

"The alchemy of Deirdre Heekin's beautifully evocative memoir, her libation in tribute to the art of making wine, spirits, and other 'waters of life,' is not only the alchemy of grapes as they ferment, or that of an American couple falling in love with French and Italian cordials and spirits, or that of the pungent taste of liqueurs, whiskeys, and eaux de vie remembered on snowy Vermont evenings with such intensity that fervent, joyful, sun-filled memories of love, friendship, pleasure, and bliss come alive. It is also the alchemy of a prose transformed into a spirited and intoxicating poetry."--Richard Stamelman, author of Perfume: Joy, Obsession, Scandal, Sin; A Cultural History of Fragrance


Deirdre Heekin

Deirdre Heekin is the author of An Unlikely Vineyard. She is the proprietor and wine director of Osteria Pane e Salute, an acclaimed restaurant and wine bar in Woodstock, Vermont. Heekin and her husband and head chef, Caleb Barber, are the authors of In Late Winter We Ate Pears (Chelsea Green, 2009), and she is also the author of Libation: A Bitter Alchemy (Chelsea Green, 2009) and Pane e Salute (Invisible Cities Press, 2002). Heekin and her husband live on a small farm in Vermont, where they grow both the vegetables for their restaurant and natural wines and ciders for their la garagista label.


In Late Winter We Ate Pears

In Late Winter We Ate Pears

By Deirdre Heekin and Caleb Barber

More than a cookbook, In Late Winter We Ate Pears is a love affair with a culture and a way of life. In vignettes taken from their year in Italy, husband and wife Caleb Barber and Deirdre Heekin offer glimpses of a young, vibrant Italy: of rolling out pizza dough in an ancient hilltown at midnight while wild dogs bay in the abandoned streets; of the fogged car windows of an ancient lovers' lane amid the olive groves outside Prato.

The recipes in In Late Winter We Ate Pears are every bit as delicious as the memories. Selections such as red snapper with fennel sauce, fresh figs with balsamic vinegar and mint, and frangipane and plum tart capture the essence of Italy. Following the tradition of Italian cuisine, the 80 recipes are laid out according to season, to suggest taking advantage of your freshest local ingredients.

Whether you are an experienced cook looking for authentic Italian recipes or a beginner wanting to immerse yourself in the romance of a young couple's culinary adventure, In Late Winter We Ate Pears provides rich sustenance in the best tradition of travel and food writing.

Cheers to Chef Barber and writer Deirdre Heekin for sharing these marvelous recipes from Osteria Pane e Salute (Pane translates as bread and Salute as health) and for sharing the story of a most inspired year spent in Italy. In Late Winter We Ate Pears is a testament that bread and health are the things that make a good life.

Available in: eBook

Read More

In Late Winter We Ate Pears

Deirdre Heekin, Caleb Barber, Rowan Jacobsen

eBook $25.00

An Unlikely Vineyard

An Unlikely Vineyard

By Deirdre Heekin

An Unlikely Vineyard tells the evolutionary story of Deirdre Heekin’s farm from overgrown fields to a fertile, productive, and beautiful landscape that melds with its natural environment.

Is it possible to capture landscape in a bottle? To express its terroir, its essence of place—geology, geography, climate, and soil—as well as the skill of the winegrower?

That’s what Heekin and her chef/husband, Caleb Barber, set out to accomplish on their tiny, eight-acre hillside farm and vineyard in Vermont.

But An Unlikely Vineyard involves much more. It also presents, through the example of their farming journey and winegrowing endeavors, an impressive amount of information on how to think about almost every aspect of gardening: from composting to trellising; from cider and perry making to growing old garden roses, keeping bees, and raising livestock; from pruning (or not) to dealing naturally with pests and diseases.

Challenged by cold winters, wet summers, and other factors, Deirdre and Caleb set about to grow not only a vineyard, but an orchard of heirloom apples, pears, and plums, as well as gardens filled with vegetables, herbs, roses, and wildflowers destined for their own table and for the kitchen of their small restaurant. They wanted to create, or rediscover, a sense of place, and to grow food naturally using the philosophy and techniques gleaned from organic gardening, permaculture, and biodynamic farming.

Accompanied throughout by lush photos, this gentle narrative will appeal to anyone who loves food, farms, and living well.

Available in: Hardcover, eBook

Read More

An Unlikely Vineyard

Deirdre Heekin, Alice Feiring

Hardcover $35.00


Holiday Cocktail Camp

A public reading by Deirdre Heekin, author of Libation, A Bitter Alchemy

Caleb Barber and Deirdre Heekin Discuss Slow Food Heirloom Recipes from Italy

Deirdre Heekin discusses her path to writing Libation

Caleb Barber and Deirdre Heekin Discuss Slow Food Heirloom Recipes from Italy - Full Version


Wild Flavors

Wild Flavors

By Didi Emmons

The minute Didi Emmons, a chef from Boston, met Eva Sommaripa—a near legendary farmer whose 200-plus uncommon herbs, greens, and edible “weeds” grace the menus of many famous restaurants in the Northeast—something amazing happened. Not only did Eva’s Garden become Didi’s refuge and herb-infused Shangri-La, the two women also forged a lasting friendship that has blossomed and endured over time.

Wild Flavors follows a year at Eva’s Garden through the seasons. It showcases Emmons’s creative talents, featuring herbs (African basil, calaminth, lovage) and wild foods (autumn olives, wild roses, Japanese knotweed). The author provides growing or foraging information for each of the forty-six uncommon garden plants profiled, as well as details on prepping, storing, preserving, and health benefits. The wide-ranging recipes reflect the shifting seasonal harvest and are easy to follow, but best of all, Emmons shows us how these herbs, greens, and wild foods improve and transform the flavors in our food.

Emmons also shares some of the valuable lessons she has learned from Eva about maintaining a healthy, satisfying lifestyle, putting the emphasis on community, thrift, conservation, and other time-honored virtues. Wild Flavors is a cookbook that celebrates the interconnectedness and beauty of nature, farms, animals, and ourselves.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Wild Flavors

Didi Emmons

Paperback $24.95

The Bread Builders

The Bread Builders

By Alan Scott and Daniel Wing

Creating the perfect loaf of bread--a challenge that has captivated bakers for centuries--is now the rage in the hippees places, from Waitsfield, Vermont, to Point Reyes Station, California. Like the new generation of beer drinkers who consciously seek out distinctive craft-brewed beers, many people find that their palates have been reawakened and re-educated by the taste of locally baked, whole-grain breads. Today's village bakers are finding an important new role--linking tradition with a sophisticated new understanding of natural levens, baking science and oven construction.

Daniel Wing, a lover of all things artisinal, had long enjoyed baking his own sourdough bread. His quest for the perfect loaf began with serious study of the history and chemistry of bread baking, and eventually led to an apprenticeship with Alan Scott, the most influential builder of masonry ovens in America.

Alan and Daniel have teamed up to write this thoughtful, entertaining, and authoritative book that shows you how to bake superb healthful bread and build your own masonry oven. The authors profile more than a dozen small-scale bakers around the U.S. whose practices embody the holistic principles of community-oriented baking based on whole grains and natural leavens.

The Bread Builders will appeal to a broad range of readers, including:

  • Connoisseurs of good bread and good food.
  • Home bakers interested in taking their bread and pizza to the next level of excellence.
  • Passionate bakers who fantasize about making a living by starting their own small bakery.
  • Do-it-yourselfers looking for the next small construction project.
  • Small-scale commercial bakers seeking inspiration, the most up-to-date knowledge about the entire bread-baking process, and a marketing edge.


Available in: Paperback, eBook

Read More

The Bread Builders

Alan Scott, Daniel Wing

Paperback $35.00

The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center Cookbook

The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center Cookbook

By The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center and Olivia Rathbone

Celebrating biodiversity through the Mother Garden’s collection of rare, open-pollinated varieties and wild edibles from OAEC’s ecological preserve

More than anything, food brings us together—as families and as communities. So there is no better place to begin creating a healthier and sustainable community than around a shared table.

The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center Cookbook is a beautifully illustrated collection of 200 unique and delicious vegetarian recipes from the renowned California-based farm, educational retreat center, and eco-thinktank.

OAEC has a passionate ethos about eating seasonally, and this book shows readers how to cook based on what is available in the garden. This unique cookbook incorporates ingredients from all seasons, including weeds, flowers, herbs, nuts, fruits, mushrooms, and other forages. The recipes also include the quantities and measurements necessary to cook for a crowd—making each dish perfect to cook at home, or to share at parties, potlucks, and community events.

With sample seasonal menus to inspire cooks throughout the year, The OAEC Cookbook offers a wide range of recipes such as: Carrot and Chamomile Soup, Summer Squash Ribbons with Purple Shiso, Roasted Asparagus and Nettle Risotto with Pea Tendrils, and Pepita-Encrusted Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Mint. There are cold vegetable plates for warm summer picnics, and readers will learn how to create delicious salad dressing recipes for garden-fresh greens, including Loquat Ginger, Golden Tomato Cumin, and Preserved Lemon Brine. There are comfort foods like pots of savory Biodiversity Beans and Winter Sourdough Pizza, and warming snacks like Toasted Hazelnuts with Thyme. Readers can top a plate of veggie sides with a generous dollop of one of OAEC’s famous sauces and pestos, and learn how to infuse their own Honey Syrups for homemade cocktails. Last but not least, delicious standout desserts like Fresh Fruit Fools, a Dark Roast Winter Squash Tart with Hazelnut Crust, or the Cardamom-Rose-Plum Bars.

This informative cookbook will help gardeners find new ways to cook with their vegetables, farmers’ market shoppers looking to expand their repertoire, home cooks who want to cook healthy for their family or host a big dinner party, chefs looking for inspired recipes using weeds and perennial fruits and vegetables, and community-based organizations who cook for crowds on a regular basis.

Available in: Hardcover

Read More

The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center Cookbook

Alice Waters, Olivia Rathbone, The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center

Hardcover $40.00

The Art of Fermentation

The Art of Fermentation

By Sandor Ellix Katz

Winner of the 2013 James Beard Foundation Book Award for Reference and Scholarship, and a New York Times bestseller, The Art of Fermentation is the most comprehensive guide to do-it-yourself home fermentation ever published. Sandor Katz presents the concepts and processes behind fermentation in ways that are simple enough to guide a reader through their first experience making sauerkraut or yogurt, and in-depth enough to provide greater understanding and insight for experienced practitioners.

While Katz expertly contextualizes fermentation in terms of biological and cultural evolution, health and nutrition, and even economics, this is primarily a compendium of practical information—how the processes work; parameters for safety; techniques for effective preservation; troubleshooting; and more.

With two-color illustrations and extended resources, this book provides essential wisdom for cooks, homesteaders, farmers, gleaners, foragers, and food lovers of any kind who want to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for arguably the oldest form of food preservation, and part of the roots of culture itself.

Readers will find detailed information on fermenting vegetables; sugars into alcohol (meads, wines, and ciders); sour tonic beverages; milk; grains and starchy tubers; beers (and other grain-based alcoholic beverages); beans; seeds; nuts; fish; meat; and eggs, as well as growing mold cultures, using fermentation in agriculture, art, and energy production, and considerations for commercial enterprises. Sandor Katz has introduced what will undoubtedly remain a classic in food literature, and is the first—and only—of its kind.

Available in: Hardcover, eBook

Read More

The Art of Fermentation

Sandor Ellix Katz, Michael Pollan

Hardcover $39.95