Some of my most cherished memories of my time in France are from the kitchen. I was fortunate to learn about and taste all sorts of global cuisine prepared with love in the homes of remarkable women from all around the world. I was also lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend many delicious days shopping for fresh ingredients at the marché and then learning how to prepare them with the lovely Marie-Françoise and a great group of friends. Yes, when pressed, I would have to say that M-F’s approach to real French family cooking and hands on learning marks some of my most memorable days in Paris.
While in Paris, I also had the great fortune of meeting the marvelous and slightly mischievous Hélène, wine aficionado and friend. Not only has she taught me to appreciate good (and not necessarily expensive) wine, she has also taught me to appreciate life as it comes, warts and all, and to always strive to be in the moment. Those afternoons we spent nose in glass, swirling, slurping and spitting wine and strolling along the Seine were some of the best.
Here’s to my culinary friends: the ladies who (make) lunch and (sometimes) spit wine.
Vous-allez me manquer.
Marie Françoise and Hélène (perfectly bilingual) also cater private dinner parties, wine pairings, birthday and graduations parties in Paris. For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Even though I only have two weeks left before I have to leave my beloved France, I am still trying to squeeze out every last bit of everything from everything I do. To paraphrase DuBose Heyward and George Gershwin, “It is summertime and the drinking is easy,” or something like that. Besides being refreshing, these dandies are keeping the panic attacks at bay as we host our last visitors and I try to get through my ever-growing to-do list. Santé!
…kir royale with some of my very favorite people…
Pour 3 teaspoons (15ml) creme de cassis into each champagne flute; top with champagne and serve immediately; creme de cassis is a blood-red sweet liqueur made from blackcurrants…
rosé is always a good idea…
…panaché…beer plus lemonade…the perfect thirst quencher…
champagne or crémant, you can’t go wrong…
…et citron and pamplemousse pressés are the best cure for a hot summer’s day!
Qu’aimez-vous de boire quand il fait chaud?
Qu’aimez-vous de boire quand il fait chaud? What do you like to drink when it is hot?
So long charming beauty,
cobbled streets, steep, stone stairways and solitary cypress.
À bientôt windswept hill towns,
vast valleys, medieval ramparts,
and burnt Siena edges.
Ciao for now silvered olive trees,
Romanesque chapels, streaming sunlight and painted sunsets.
Arrivederci aromatic Brunello and salacious Chianti,
already missing the rustic Italian good life and countryside pace…
On my short visit to Tuscany I have discovered many things to love, not the least of which are the wine, and the lovely and genuine winemakers and sellers we have had the pleasure of getting to know. I have entirely enjoyed the Chiantis and the Vino Nobile de Montepulciano. I think what makes Tuscan wine so divine for me is the whole experience: the luminous young grapes, the tidy, leafy vineyards and the rolling vistas that scatter their blues and greens like waves breaking on the sand. It is nice to take the time to really taste and chat and feel the harvest’s link with the land—to be in the moment and greet the terroir.
terroir: the complete natural environment in which a particular wine is produced, including factors such as the soil, topography, and climate. “Literal-minded fundamentalists love to call terroir the soil and climate of a specific vineyard, but in truth it’s about husbandry, about sensitivity to place and its careful management so that the best of things can be delivered of it.”
France’s Major White Grape Varieties
Grape Variety and Region(s)
Chardonnay: Burgundy; Champagne; Languedoc
Chenin Blanc: Loire Valley
Sauvignon Blanc: Bordeaux; Loire Valley; southwestern France; Languedoc
Pinot Gris: Alsace
Pinot Blanc: Alsace
Marsanne: Rhône Valley
Muscadet: Loire Valley
Roussanne: Rhône Valley
Sémillon: Bordeaux; Southwest France
Viognier: Rhône Valley; Languedoc
France’s Major Red Grape Varieties
Grape Variety and Region(s)
Cabernet Sauvignon: Bordeaux; Southwest France; Languedoc
Cabernet Franc: Loire Valley; Bordeaux; Southwest France
Carignan: Rhône Valley; Southern France
Cinsault: Rhône Valley; Southern France
Grenache: Rhône Valley; Southern France
Merlot: Bordeaux; Southwest France; Languedoc
Malbec: Southwest France; Bordeaux
Mourvèdre: Rhône Valley; Southern France
Pinot Noir: Burgundy; Champagne
Syrah: Rhône Valley; Southern France
Source: Grape Varieties Grown in France – For Dummies
The ever perky Géraldine Lepère from Comme une Française TV lays out some important wine vocabulary, debunks a few myths about the French and wine, tells us how expats are easily identified at a café by the locals (Hint: Drinking wine without a meal? You clearly aren’t French, but possibly an alcoholic!), and gives us THE prickly wine phrase to use at a French dinner party to start an argument. Take a listen and consider subscribing to her weekly updates. She is adorable and spot on.
source: Comme une Française