Raymond Blake’s book, Breakfast in Burgundy, will be published in the United States in autumn 2014. Burgundy is his spiritual home, where he and his wife, leading violinist Fionnuala Hunt, realised a long-time ambition by buying a house a few years ago. The book relates the highs and lows of renovating the house, the great meals and great wines, the festivals and the harvests, the market visits and the faltering attempts to learn French. His presentation at this year’s Litfest will be based on those experiences.
Raymond Blake is Wine Editor of the highly regarded Food & Wine Magazine, a position he has held since its launch in 1997. He studied at Trinity College Dublin and in a previous life was a schoolmaster at Clongowes Wood College. For a number of years he juggled the contrasting challenges of teaching by day and writing by night (and very early morning) before giving up quadratic equations and Shakespearean plays for the joys of the freelance life in 2000.
His enthusiasm for wine is boundless and while he freely acknowledges that there are some who have more expertise than himself, he has yet to meet a fellow wine lover who tops him in the enthusiasm department. He writes as a consumer for fellow consumers and, as an independent voice, his judgement and opinions are widely respected. Not for him the tinder dry tasting note. Rather, he likes to get behind the wine, tell of people and place – who made it and where it comes from.
He also writes for numerous other publications and is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers. In 2006 he was inducted as a Chevalier du Tastevin in Burgundy. In addition to his writing Raymond is much in demand as a speaker at wine dinners and he is also co-presenter of the weekly RTE Lyric FM show, Intermezzo, with Tomás Clancy.