It is a pity that we have drifted away from some of the finer and simpler things in life.
Take bread for instance.
There are plenty of local bakers making top-quality, freshly baked, crusty bread. If you think American white bread is bread, please never speak to me again. Bread should have texture and flavor and should be good enough to be eaten on its own. Break it with your hands, pass it to your friends and enjoy a food that has been vital to mankind for centuries.
Cheese is another example.
Would you buy a block of Velveeta, spread out a nice tablecloth and invite your loved one to dine? Please! Almost all grocery stores now have a pretty good selection of cheeses, imported as well as domestic. Does it cost $19.95 a pound? Yes it does, but who needs a pound? If you are a novice, please buy a copy of Steve Jenkins’ “Cheese Primer” and quit complaining.
And, wine. You don't have to be an expert, but your wine merchant should be. There are plenty of them out there. Wine can be pricy, and the Willamette Valley Pinot Noir suggested below certainly is, but you get what you pay for. If you are on a budget, try an Italian bottle of Col Di Saso. Now you have no excuses.
1 bottle pinot noir from Oregon (Willamette Valley is best)
1 loaf locally made crusty bread
2-3 pieces of cheese (Roquefort, Taleggio, Emmental, Manchego)
A good friend and a lovely spot
Combine and enjoy each moment, sip and bite. Don’t forget to talk about it as you go.