2nd Annual East Bay Wine Trail, April 4

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On Saturday, April 4, the East Bay Vintners Alliance presents the 2nd Annual Passport to the East Bay Wine Trail, a rare opportunity to taste wines from almost all the East Bay's wineries, some of which are not regularly open to the public. Participating food purveyors are to be announced. Tickets are $30 in advance ($10 for designated drivers), and the event runs from noon to 5pm.

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Snacktion: Madeleines, Plain and Fancy

Categories: Alameda

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By Meredith Brody

Is there a more famous baked good than the one that inspired Marcel Proust’s seven-volume, several-thousand-paged novel, called, variously Remembrance of Things Past or In Search of Lost Time?

It’s “one of those squat plump little cakes called ‘petites madeleines’, which look as though they had been molded in the fluted valve of a scallop shell,” a bit of which which Proust drops in an herb tisane made from linden flowers. “I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure invaded my senses…”

Yikes! The first instance, perhaps, of the “I’ll have what he’s having” phenomenon. The tea-soaked madeleine crumb has unleashed a memory of the same treat that he tasted on Sunday mornings in his aunt Leonie’s bedroom at Combray – “and the whole of Combray and its surroundings, taking shape and solidity, sprang into being, town and garden alike, from my cup of tea.” And from that the many pages of A la recherché du temps perdu sprang.

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