Bold Flavors and Big Wines at Luxe Domain Hudson

New owners Michael and Beth Ross redirect this fine-dining mainstay on the Wilmington restaurant scene.



The sweet corn agnolotti with morels and fava beans.

Domaine Hudson 1314 N. Washington St., Wilmington, 655-9463, domainehudson.com
Recommended Dishes quail terrine, black garlic cavatelli, grilled lamb loin
Prices Appetizers/small plates: $10-$14, entrées: $24-$36

No restaurant in Delaware embodies Wyeth-country elegance so pitch-perfectly as little Domaine Hudson.

The worldly opulence. The love of fine art, fine wine, and fine horses. The melding of Victorian and country grace that feels equal parts inviting and private. All the signifiers we connect with Brandywine Valley polite society were woven into the restaurant’s fabric since its inception nine years ago in a back pocket of Wilmington’s business district. For the DuPont trustee with the 900-bottle cellar, or the 9-to-5er with a box of Franzia sweating in the trunk, Domaine Hudson has been there to impart high-end excellence and sophistication.

In new owners Michael[1] and Beth Ross—who took over in 2011—the restaurant gained new life and direction straight from its wheelhouse. Renowned veterinary horse doctors and world-travelers from Chadds Ford, the Rosses seem like natural fits. Though the couple slimmed down and un-busied some of the dining room’s more ornate decorative flourishes, they remain devoted to sharing great wine from a seemingly endless cellar, and robust, forward-thinking cuisine[2].

In-between the plates of cloth-bound Cabot with oaked honey and shaved apples, and the glass of 2008 Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia [3]“super Tuscan”—nary a beat feels missed. The Rosses know and love their wine, and the restaurant’s legendary list—a staggering 475 labels long at last count—is now sensibly organized in an iPad by variety, year, price, and origin, with sommelier and former-chef Roger Surpin acting as its encyclopedic tour guide.

Together with recently installed chef Dwain Kalup, the team keeps Domaine Hudson buzzing. Kalup is no stranger to treating the region’s literati, having served dutifully in all three kitchens of Xavier Teixido’s Harry’s Hospitality Group[4]and winning the praises of culinary school instructors and Zagat raters.

Left to right: Executive chef Dwain Kalup; The grilled New York strip steak is served with roasted eggplant purée, cashew-cilantro pesto, cured kohlrabi and a balsamic-soy reduction; The white sangria Riesling sorbet is served with a pear-melon compote,
crispy crepe and strawberries.

 

His challenge at Domaine Hudson is crafting a menu that suits the restaurant’s lofty reputation and atmosphere—without succumbing to stuffiness or pretentiousness. So far so good. In Kalup’s hands, French slow-cookery and hyper-prepped arrangements tessellate into works of beauty, and big flavors crash like waves under even bigger flavors. With ambition and artistry, the young chef embraces and harnesses forceful flavors like black garlic, date confit, caramelized endive, and Saba vinegar into a neatly composed, visually striking foil for housemade cavatelli. Here, as in many of his plates, Kalup tiptoes precipitously close to the deep-end, where huge flavors can engulf and overpower any palate. But he knows just when to pull back, and stop the dial on a bold, but balanced note.

Usually.

But even in Kalup’s wilder moments—the rich, woodsy quail terrine, for instance, with its dense and subtle flavors, scents and textures, he wallops with a vivid orange smear of spicy chorizo emulsion—the results are still interesting.

I loved the sweet-smoky veneer of curry and molasses imparted into a bowl of fresh, tender bay scallops, tossed with crunchy candied sesame seeds, and the clean, bracing kick of red snapper crudo, layered with blood orange, fennel and capers, and drizzled with black olive oil. Elsewhere, it was perfectly deployed caraway seeds whose soothing essence helped bridge morel mushrooms, white asparagus and serrano ham in a tasty antipasti.

For all his deft work with delicate arrangements, Kalup seemed most at ease when plying big, protein-rich entrées, especially when it came to red meats, like a fat New York strip steak or a husky spring lamb loin. With such pristine springboards, Kalup could augment flavors and textures set to seasonal poses, like a swath of fairytale pumpkin purée and whipped goat cheese, or creamy farro dotted with wilted escarole and crisp pearl onions. A beautiful hunk of fall-apart tender braised kid goat arrived lacquered in sinful maple-infused agrodulce[5], whose sweet nectar dripped onto charred cabbage and toasted hazelnuts.

Left to right:The olive oil-poached shrimp with red curry yogurt, radish and pineapple; The dining room. 

 

No meal at Domaine Hudson is complete without wine, and when Kalup and Surpin[6] work in lockstep, the real fireworks commence. Kalup’s kaleidoscopic use of ingredients gives Surpin a wide spectrum of flavors to enhance and mutate with a carefully selected pairing, so when Kalup gives him smoked[7] linguini with black garlic-hazelnut pesto, Surpin answers with 2010 Scarpa Monferrato Rosso Piemontese blend, whose masculine, bittersweet tones helps deepen the pasta’s dark flavors. Before long, one begins to wonder how they ever ate green-tea cake with yuzu caramel and Thai-basil gelato without a glass of Surpin-recommended Hungarian Tokaji, whose musty sweetness fits the cake like a white-chocolate coated glove.

It’s a high-wire act that’s much trickier than it looks. But Kalup and Surpin—who find themselves on the business end of $145 tasting dinners and some of the region’s loudest and most conversant wine experts—are settling into a show-stopping groove. In a time where recession-triggered belt-tightening gave rise to Delaware’s gastropub, localvore and food truck explosion, Domaine Hudson’s lavishness could’ve easily faded out of fashion.

But with a new team hitting its stride as the economy slowly recovers, Domaine Hudson feels as vital as ever. So long as the food keeps pace with the wine, as well as with the region’s rapidly evolving dining whims, Domaine Hudson will maintain its lofty perch, lending modern context to the centuries of tradition and wealth that blossomed along the nearby creeks and riverbanks.



[1] A professor of surgery and Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, Dr. Ross often treats some of the country’s elite racehorses, and has operated on Breeders’ Cup champion “Da Hoss”—twice.

[2] Founders Tom and Meg Hudson set the standard with a wine list that simply outpaced everyone else in town.

[3] Judging by the reactions in the room when this wine was brought out, you’d have thought Pope Francis stomped the grapes himself.

[4] Scoring the hat trick of Kid Shelleen’s, Harry’s Savoy, and Harry’s Seafood.

[5] The Italians’ answer to sweet and sour sauce.

[6] The highly-entertaining Surpin is also a trained chef, and preceded Kalup as executive chef at Domaine Hudson.

[7] This was a new one for me: Kalup dumped a few pounds of flour into a hotel pan and left it in a wood smoker for a few hours before folding it into pasta dough. 

 

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January 2017

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

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The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Sports Card & Collectible Show at Aetna Fire Hall on Jan. 22—sign up now! -Sports Cards McFarlane Figures Comic Books Non-Sports cards Wrestling Items Vintage Starting...

Cost: $2

Where:
Aetna Fire Hall
400 Ogletown Road
Newark, DE  19711
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Sponsor: A2Z Promotions
Telephone: 302-983-2636
Contact Name: Bob Harper
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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Belly Dance Classes with Zahra Beginner & intermediate classes open to teens and adults Sundays in January starting Jan 8th Beginner: 2:30-3:30 p.m. Intermediate: 1 - 2 p.m (must get...

Cost: $15-$42

Where:
Take the Lead Studio
320 Lantana Drive
Hockessin , DE  19711
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Sponsor: Take the Lead
Contact Name: Zahra
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
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Cost: $29-$59

Where:
OperaDelaware Studio
4 South Poplar St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Sponsor: OperaDelaware
Telephone: 302-442-7809
Contact Name: Mary Wilcosky
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Cost: $35

Where:
The Pond Ice Arena
101 John Campbell Rd
Newark, DE  19711
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Sponsor: Diamond State Curling Club
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

More information

Notbybreadalone Ministries presents Feeding the Hungry Outreach. All are welcome to come and partake of food, fun and fellowship. Those who desire a better way of life through Jesus Christ are...

Cost: Free

Where:
2nd and 3rd Streets
Wilmington, DE  19801


Sponsor: Notbybreadalone Outreach Ministries
Telephone: 442-0440
Contact Name: Ministers Wayne and Stephanie Dumpson
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Guest speakers Patty Dailey-Lewis, executive director of the Beau Biden Foundation, and Delaware Family Court commissioner Loretta Young will discuss how participation in social media can too...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilmington University - Dover
Building A Auditorium
3282 N DuPont Highway
Dover, DE  19901
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Sponsor: Wilmington University College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
Telephone: 302-295-1164
Contact Name: Dr. Johanna Bishop
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, Dec 1st thru Thursday, December 15th Winter session: Tuesday, January 17th thru Thursday, March 30th   Drop in on Nature is...

Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
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East Coast Garden Center Indoor Farmers Market Nov 8, 2016 - April 11, 2017  11 am- 2 pm 25 vendors Location:  East Coast Garden Center 30366 Cordrey Rd Millsboro, DE 19966 302-945-3489

Cost: frr

Where:
East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Sponsor: East Coast Garden Center
Telephone: 302-945-3489
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East Coast Garden Center Indoor Farmer's Marke 25 vendors

Cost: Free

Where:
East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Telephone: 302-945-3489
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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

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A four-week series of ballroom dancing classes taught by teachers from the BlueBallroom. Tuesdays starting Jan. 10. Classes are $30 a lesson for Non-Members. Non-Member slots are limited. For...

Cost: $30

Where:
University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, Dec 1st thru Thursday, December 15th Winter session: Tuesday, January 17th thru Thursday, March 30th   Drop in on Nature is...

Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
View map »


Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
Website »

More information

Thursdays from 4:00PM-5:30PM Fall session: December 1st, 8th and 15th Winter session: Starts January 19th, every other Thursday until March 30th This program is based entirely outdoors and is...

Cost: Cost: $30 for TLC members / $40 for non-members

Where:
Bucktoe Creek Preserve
432 Sharp Rd
Avondale, PA  19311
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
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MARC BROUSSARD In 2004, Marc Broussard, then a precocious 22-year-old singer/songwriter, released his major-label debut; he called it Carencro, after the Louisiana town where he was born and...

Cost: $22 SRO- $32 SEATED

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

Show More...
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tutto Fresco has live entertainment every Friday night from 6:30–9:30 p.m. Call for details. http://tuttofrescode.com/

Where:
Tutto Fresco
514 Philadelphia Pike
Wilmington, DE  19809
View map »

More information

The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

Meeting every Friday, Bayhealth Kent General Hospital, 640 s. State Street, Dover, 7:30 pm., Private Dining Room #3 in the basement. For those who have, or think they may have a gambling problem....

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
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Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
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Cost: $12-$20

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
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Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-3396
Contact Name: Kathy Buterbaugh
Website »

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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

January 28 – Saturday – 1 to 4 p.m. Science Saturday – Truss Me, You Won’t Fall! Become an engineer for the day. Design a bridge to hold as much weight as possible....

Cost: Activities are included in regular admission and free for members.

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Hagley Museum
Telephone: (302) 65802400 x 238
Contact Name: Jessica Eisenbrey
Website »

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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

GRILLED CHEESE AND CRAFT BEER TASTING We have taken two of the best things on earth and paired them together – Grilled Cheese and Craft Beer – and paired them together in unexpected and...

Cost: $40

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
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Saturday, January 28, 2017 at  7:30 pm at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 763 Valley Forge Rd, Wayne, PA 19087 Sunday, January 29, 2017 at 3 pm at Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square...

Cost: Tickets are $25 online, and $30 at the door. Student tickets $10 at the door.

Where:
Church of the Holy Trinity
1904 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA  19103
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Sponsor: Lyric Fest
Telephone: 215-438-1702
Contact Name: Jessica Nelson
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Fan favorite, Dick Smith, returns to the Dickinson Theatre Organ Society concert stage on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 for a show that is sure to bring the house down! Dick Smith has been a...

Cost: $15 Adults; $10 Students

Where:
John Dickinson High School Auditorium
1801 Milltown Road
Wilmington, DE  19808
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Sponsor: Dickinson Theatre Organ Society
Telephone: 302-995-2603
Contact Name: Bob Dilworth
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The Dickinson Theatre Organ Society presents Dick Smith. For tickets, click here: http://www.dtoskimball.org/events-tickets/ticket-information/ For further information, please call us at...

Where:
, DE

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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

Cost: $12-$20

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
View map »


Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-3396
Contact Name: Kathy Buterbaugh
Website »

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MOTHERSHIP Mothership is the area's premier Led Zeppelin Tribute show. Composed of seasoned, professional musicians Mario Padovani - vocals, keyboards, Frank Ginocchio - drums, Chris Julian -...

Cost: 15

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Website »

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