Laura Winter Falk is a certified sommelier and wine educator who also holds a Ph.D. in food and nutrition. She and her husband Alan live in Ithaca and run Experience! The Finger Lakes, a touring company that offers engaging, educational, and immersive tours of Finger Lakes wineries, waterfalls, and food destinations. TripAdvisor has recognized Experience! the Finger Lakes as one of the Top 10 wine tours in the United States, and as the #1 tour in the Finger Lakes region. The company also offers virtual Finger Lakes wine pairings experiences that feature products including local artisan cheeses and chocolates! These virtual experiences have helped, to date, around 33 small businesses dealing with the difficulties of COVID-19. We hope you enjoy Laura’s responses to our Frequently Asked (Foodie) Questions!
EFL: What is the most interesting thing you always keep in your fridge?
My wine fridge right now is packed with Finger Lakes wine for my virtual wine pairing experiences, the Experience! The Finger Lakes fridge is filled with water bottles and chocolate, and our main home fridge contains our family essentials that include: Finger Lakes cheese (right now, some Muranda and some Lively Run, Alan’s weekly allotment of olives, and always a jar of ba tampte half-sour pickles (they have to be fresh, so they taste just like a NYC kosher deli pickle—you can take the girl out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the girl).
EFL: What’s the last meal you cooked for yourself?
I’ve been crazy busy lately, so Alan and my son Jackson have been cooking for the past couple of days, but the last time I cooked I made Bulgogi flank steak with baby boy choi.
EFL: What’s the one kitchen tool you couldn’t live without?
Hands down, my Coravin (If you don’t know what it is, google it, because everyone should have one!)
EFL: What’s the one food or beverage you couldn’t live without?
Unless I find a new profession, it’s the beverage for which I need the Coravin 😉.
EFL: What was the first Finger Lakes wine/beer/spirit you ever tasted?
Oh geez, you are really going back there! I definitely remember going to the wineries when I was a senior in college in 1983. I specifically remember having a Riesling, which at the time they were using Johannesburg Riesling on the label (can’t do that anymore). I can not say with 100 percent certainty, but I know we were on Seneca Lake, and I am pretty sure it was Wagner’s.
EFL: If you could add one item to the Finger Lakes food shed that doesn’t grow here, what would it be?
Wow. Olive trees would be so cool! Then we can add a fresh olive oil tasting and pressing demos to our tours, and that would be fantastic!!!
EFL: What does it mean to you to be a part of the Finger Lakes food shed?
For me, it’s a very earnest feeling of responsibility to share the stories, products and creations of the amazing Finger Lakes growers, producers and taste-makers. It’s a commitment that I take very much to heart, especially this past year.