Elanthian Vogue/Phoenatos 5122 EXTRA!

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This is a creative work set in the world of Elanthia, attributed to its original author(s). It does not necessarily represent the official lore of GemStone IV.

Title: Elanthian Vogue: Phoenatos 5122 EXTRA!

Author: The Looking Glass


Editor-in-Chief: Rohese Bayvel-Timbertree

Editor's Thoughts

Some years ago we introduced the concept of Elanthian Vogue EXTRA as an additional publication to our regular editions and supplementaries. In it, we take an in-depth look at specific aspects of Elanthian lifestyle or the latest fashion trends. With the rising popularity of large-scaled weddings and society events in general, we thought it was time to take a closer look at entertaining and the most important part of any social gathering - the refreshments!

It also seemed appropriate as we recently celebrated the publication of our 50th edition and marked the occasion with a party of our own. Invitations were sent to the 50 people who have featured over the years and who have helped to make Elanthian Vogue the success it is. The Fabulous Fifty party was held on the magnificently appointed ship, The Perseverance, as part of the Vogue Regatta in Solhaven, effectively bringing the summer season to a close. But more of that in the next regular edition!

With regard to this EXTRA, it would take rather a long time to go into every aspect of entertaining, and we do not claim to know everything, so we have drawn on the expertise of a few of Elanthia’s gourmets in what, we hope, will be the first of several gastronomically themed supplements to help you throw your own memorable soiree.

As always, don't forget to send us your comments on any of the articles in this month's publication or suggestions for future editions!


The Three C's: Cheese, Charcuterie, and Chocolate

Entertaining with cheese, wine and charcuterie is one of the simplest ways to make a lasting impression for a party but the secret is knowing your guests' tastes and sourcing the best products.

First, let's start with the cheese! You want to ensure your guests have an assortment of tastes and textures at their disposal. The best boards usually offer a variety of hard and soft cheeses, as well as cheese that ranges from mild to sharp in taste. Try to include a soft cheese, a hard rind cheese, an aged cheese, a blue cheese, and a couple of fun flavoured cheeses.

The Annatto Rations Shop, run by Master Chef Jillyahna, offers a Vaalor Gold and Vaalor Pepper cheese, both of which are of good enough quality to grace any buffet table, and look no further than the Legendary Rest for some delectable blue cheese wedges. Across the lake in Ta'Illistim, the Shimmarglin Inn has managed to source a rather delicious Double Glydemar to compliment the Vaalorian cheeses.

Avoiding larger establishments, the small family run Grocer's shop in Wehnimer's Landing sells a very commendable mild goat's cheese, as does Suniel's Pantry in Kharam Dzu, if you happen to find yourself out that way. The Mist Harbor Bistro is also a reliable source of smoked and artisan cheeses.

Just like picking your cheese options, it's important to give a variety with your meat. Try to incorporate a combination of spicy, garlicky, flavoured, and plain meats as everyone has different personal preferences. For the perfect introduction to charcuterie, stop by Charcuterie Weyr in Ta'Illistim and ask Fainial if you can sample his wares.

Meat and cheese boards are savoury. Compliment this with an assortment of salted snacks, nuts, pickles and even herbs. Two good sources of such delicacies are the Zul Logoth Salt Exporters and Moomph's Picklesmithy in River's Rest. A particular favorite of the team are the colorful salted mushroom chips and garlic-dill pickles

Try and balance this all out by adding a little sweetness with fruit such as figs, grapes, peach and pear slices. They help to neutralize the heavy salt flavour in the cured meats and cheese. Fresh honeycomb, for example, adds a beautiful presentation to your board, as does chocolate or confectionery. Remember, everyone eats with their eyes first so aim for a mouth-watering display.

When it comes to wine and food pairings, there is an abundance of advice and many people will gladly offer their own suggestions - look no further than this publication! Generally speaking though, white wines are perfect for spring and summer entertaining. White wines with a fresh peach-citrus finish or rich fruity reds go well with a mild or creamy cheese, while smoother, more flavorful whites, pair well with a goat's cheese. Brighter, crisper wines with hints of juicy red fruit and citrus, pair with a great aged or sharp cheese.

A great place to sample a variety of wines is Wisteria Winery in Mist Harbor or even the Stacked Vintners, located in the Burghal Gnome Enclave beneath the fortress city of Ta'Vaalor.

Know your Cheese

A brief look at elven cheeses through the eyes of a gnomish gourmand.

You see Garaet Rozentoll. He appears to be a Burghal Gnome of the Winedotter Bloodline. He is tiny in stature and has a long-limbed physique. He appears to be of a ripe old age. He has large chocolate brown eyes and fair skin. He has a mostly bald head, save for uncombed wisps of silver hair which fence his outer crown. He has a round, delicate face, a red nose and a prominent paunch. His bushy silver eyebrows stand guard over his face like prominent hedgerows.

My first encounter with Garaet was memorable and highly entertaining. His reputation as a gourmand and elven cheese aficionado preceded him, so I was keen to seek him out for his insights into the offerings at the newly renovated Illithien Aerie, where he currently resides.

Hurrying to greet me at the spot where we had arranged to meet on Whistler's Pass, he was clutching his hat somewhat protectively from the powerful alpine gusts and huffing in general about his tardiness. Being only a few minutes late, it was easy enough to reassure him that I was enjoying the scenery as the estate boasts a rather picturesque waterfall. I was soon escorted up the cobblestone pathway but he somehow managed to maintain his heedless babbling, not leaving time for an edgewise word. Despite this rather disconcerting introduction, what followed was a gastronomical tour of grand proportions that I have great pleasure in sharing with you all!

"It is an honor to guide you on a tour through our little selection of imports! I've prepared a special platter just for you, and we can settle in the Petrel room, and I've got it all ready for you, Lady Rohese!"

Upon finally reaching the Parlor, Garaet hustled me over to a settee and fussed over it, ensuring that it was spotless before urging me to sit.

"Now you sit right here and don't move a muscle, I've got everything ready."

He rushed over to the tanik sideboard and returned with a heavy platter featuring a wide array of cheeses and accompaniments. He was positively gushing now but with occasional looks of panic crossing his features from time to time.

"I hope you've brought your appetite! Not that I meant anything by it, my lady, you understand, it's only you know, they're all very delicious!"

Suddenly startled, he rushed back to the sideboard, taking up a glass of red grenache and returning quickly to hand it to me - notably not spilling a drop in the process despite much chortling and hand clapping. He plunged on with eyes sparking.

"I nearly forgot, you'll need your wine for this adventure. Now, we've imported a whole assortment from the five edges of the East and I am sure you'll agree that we ought to begin of course with the gouda. Now, this is the Glimaerstone Gouda, which is made right in our neighboring fortress of Ta'Vaalor. Note the little crystalized bits! They give it such an interesting texture, don't you agree? Oh, do try it dipped in the fig jam! Moving on now – in the proper order of cheese firmness, of course – we have the famed Lazuline of Ta'Loenthra. This is a young cheese and you see the lovely marbling? That's done with a port pressed of traesharm berries! Isn't it something! I think you can taste that Loenthran sea air in that one, on the finish. This one's a favorite around here, for certain."

Garaet glanced back at the sideboard longingly for a moment - I think he was eyeing the root beer - but mastered himself and continued without barely catching a breath.

"Next, my lady will agree, we simply must try the stuffed artichokes – these are stuffed with a lightly herbed Barley Fog, which is made in the northern reaches of the lands of House Nalfein. Have you ever been there? I've always wanted to go and see their goats, but you know I've so many duties here to attend to - perhaps one day they'll do a tour, do you think?"

Fanning himself unconsciously with one hand, Garaet's high speed tour of the platter continued.

"Now I think we come to one you will already be familiar with, being a Lady of society – the beloved Teorainn Dale of Ta'Illistim! Of course, we've prepared it in the traditional way, baked with a saffron-wine sauce, we would not dream of disturbing perfection. Did you know that their tanik encasements are useful as trinket boxes when you've made it through the cheese? Yes indeed, I keep many treasures in Dale boxes! Would you like one? Oh, yes, there's the dipping bread there!"

Clearing his throat, Garaet came to the last cheese on the platter and I grabbed the opportunity to put down all the samples I had been given.

"Finally, a controversial cheese! I had to argue for weeks with Wilver about including an Ardenai Blue! But I said to him, I said, 'Master Wilver, the Compleat Fromagerie clearly states that the wild flavors of our northern cousins' cheese are not to be missed! Do you want to be the only pantry in the Elven Nations that commits this grave offense!' Well, you know of course he had to agree with me after I pointed it out in a book, Lady Rohese!"
"I'm sure you're quite stuffed after all that, and our dinner hour has not yet arrived, but perhaps I can interest you in a tour of the kitchens? I'm sure Master Wilver will be there and he would so love to see you before you depart..."

Garaet somehow managed to keep chattering as he urged me to stand and drove me forward in the direction of the kitchens,

"By the way, did you happen to notice the fireplace restoration? You simply must see how lovely it turned out."

Drawing my attention to the fireplace, he surreptitiously stole a glass of root beer and took a grateful swallow before secreting it behind the sideboard. I pretended not to notice.

"Delightful, is it not? Well, let us depart now before Master Wilver moves on to his inspections..."

A Gentleman's Guide to Hosting

The first in a series by Lord Teveriel Anduin Vaalor

The pairing of wines with food has been well documented in these pages, celebrated by lords and ladies in like measure. But equally important to this delicate art is knowing the perfect complement to your favorite 75-year old Vaalorian rye or Ardenai braggot. And whether you are enjoying a pint at your local tavern, dining in your lady's company at a haute cuisine restaurant, or hosting a party at home there is always a time and a place for nearly every variety of beer and spirit. For the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on whisky and beer.

When it comes to whisky, know the basic differences between a bourbon, scotch, and rye. In general, bourbons tend to have a sweet, almost caramel-like undertone due to the corn mash used in its distillation. Scotches will have varying levels of smoky flavors depending upon the geographical location of the producing distillery. Rye whiskeys are known for their spicy, peppery finish. Again, these are only generalizations and it is highly recommended that you familiarize yourself with any whisky before choosing the ideal accompaniment. That being said, we recommend strong cheeses such as the Ardenai blue, blackened salmon, or spiced stews for the rye drinker. Bourbon pairs well with fresh berries of all kinds, marzipan, or chocolate, which makes it an excellent choice to sip with your dessert. Finally, the rich and smoky flavors of scotch thrive as a complement to grilled beefsteak, aged cheddar, or citrus.

Often overlooked by the upper-class gentleman, there is a boundless variety of beers ranging from the light lagers and fruit beers brewed by the halflings to the dark, malt-rich stouts and porters made popular by Loenthran dockworkers. These different styles of beer vary greatly in color, flavor, and mouthfeel and so it is important to understand how these interact with your cuisine.

Pilsners and light lagers are specially brewed to be refreshing. As such, they are ideal for pairing with spicy dishes, but truly they are so versatile that they are a passable complement to any food. Pale ales, such as the Ardenai pale ale served in Helgreth's establishment, tend to be bitter of flavor, often with undertones of citrus or pine. Due to this variety, it is difficult to outline a universal set of rules for this beer but in our estimation one can hardly go wrong with all manner of fried foods, potato dishes, and Coleesta's barbecued rolton ribs at the Legendary Rest. Porters and stouts have rich, dark-roasted flavors often reminiscent of coffee and chocolate. They also have a smooth, velvet consistency that makes them work perfectly with many desserts.

Using these recommendations as guidelines, we encourage the worldly gentleman to branch out and discover the plethora of flavors offered on Elanthia. Once you understand and are familiar with how the flavor profiles of food and beverages each interact with and accentuate the other, your reputation as a host will surely rise in the estimation of your peers.

For the Love of Chocolate

There aren't many foods around that involve all the five senses as much as chocolate does. Its beautiful glossy shine, the necessary touch, the anticipated snap or bite, the bouquet of aromas, and the taste of a thousand different flavours offer a complete sensorial experience. But this is not all.

Chocolate is a multi-textural journey. It starts as a solid and softens in the mouth as it melts, until it almost turns into a liquid and then finally disappears without leaving any trace. While other foods offer one steady consistency, chocolate inherently has a multi-textural journey ready to unfold second by second. When it includes other ingredients, chocolate brings an endless combination of crunchy, chewy, velvety, gritty, sticky and smooth mouth feels. And then there are the variety of flavours, which are often unpredictable, all contributing to our excitement and love for this food.

There are thankfully many outlets that cater to our passion for chocolate. The appropriately named Delicacies Chocolatier just off Briarstone Court in Ta'Illistim is stuffed with decadent treats all neatly displayed on lacy white doilies. The air itself is filled with the rich scent of chocolate and its matronly patron is keen to help you find just the right sweet whether that is a chocolate caramel, cherry-filled bonbon or her infamous honey-filled chocolate bunny.

Hidden away in the tunnels of Zul Logoth is a little confectionery gold mine. The chocolate shop boasts a breathtaking display of mouthwatering delectables that entices dwarven children often to its window. A particular favourite of this writer's are the chocolate dipped almonds. And speaking of dipped goodies, everyone should pay a visit to Krythussa's Confectionary Shop on Cheridin Avenue in Wehnimer's Landing; she has something to satisfy every sweet tooth in her quaint little shop. The array of glass jars are filled with treats such as chewy sour apple jellies and walnut-strewn fudge but, for the chocolate lovers, there are chocolate-dipped strawberries, and raspberry or lemon custard-filled confections.

For the true cocoa aficionados – the purists among you - why not make your own? Invest in a chocolate Confection Creator or Chocolate heater and some molds and you could keep yourself in a supply of beautifully designed and very delicious treats all year round. Just think milk chocolate treats carved into an amethyst-tinted seashell, coffee-laced and cherry cordial chocolates, squares of caramel-filled chocolate topped with a pinch of pink sea salt...