Everything comes to an end, even the good things ! We are pleased to announce the last event related to the French semester that will help to answer the most complicated and controversial question in France : Which wine to drink with my cheese ?
When : Tuesday 14th June from 7.00pm to 9.30pm
Why : To pair cheeses with wines from France
Where : At the Club House (to be confirmed)
What will we eat ? : More than 12 different types of cheeses with different intensities to introduce the diversities of the french production. All the cheeses will come from the fromagerie “Les Alpages” in Grenoble, with the support of Bernard Mure Ravaud Meilleur Ouvrier de France 2007.
What will we drink? : We will propose 5 types of wines to taste depending on the cheeses.The cost of this event is 30 euros/pers.
To book tickets please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org, we will confirm your booking and will inform you how to pay. See you soon
Brittany will be on stage! dinner, presentations on local fun facts, and dance
Brittany will be on stage! dinner, presentations on local fun facts, and dance…
There’s a lot to learn about Brittanny, where you can be away from the fast pace and life comes with wind in your hair and feet in the sand….and where food is a long tradition with the ocean in the front seat !
So why not join us for an evening of fun facts, good food,the sense of partage (sharing) and good time together..
Here is what we have in store for your evening..
Conference on cider by Mark Gleonec (President of CIDREF )
Degustation of ciders
Dinner based on the tradition of sea products from Brittany
Live comments by Pierre Ley on the tradition of conserverie in Brittany
On Monday May 16th at 18:30, we shall have in the Club House a wine tasting of aged Crus Classés of Bordeaux presented by our colleague Javier Gallego.
The price to participate in this event is 30 €. The whole fundraising will be dedicated to an “Europa Terzo Mondo” project, except the amount due to the Club house (3e/pers).Here are the list of wines :
Férrière 2005 Margaux 3rd Cru Classé (3CC)
Fieuzal 2005 Pesssac Leognan Cru Classé (CC)
Léoville Poyferré 1995 St Julien 2nd Cru Classé (2CC)
We shall taste three wines, less than the usual number in the French Semester tasting events, because aged wines require a longer time to explore.
In parallel, there will be an auction sale of a few prestigious other Crus Classés. Again all the money will be donated to ETM.
List of bottles that be auctioned:
Average market price
St Estèphe CB
Grand Corbin Despagne
Saint Emilion CC
La Tour Blanche
Sauternes 1 CC
H Médoc 5cc
Pavillon rouge-Ch. Margaux
St Estèphe 2CC
All the bottles have been aged in a conditioned cellar (13° in summer)
We have to limit the number of participants to 50. For registration please send a message to email@example.com See you soon TWC
Created back in 1896 with a concept of providing hot wholesome French food at a reasonable cost, this still stands true today within a building that has been classed as a historical monument where you can get a main course for only around €10
About the Bouillon Chartier Restaurant
The Bouillon Chartier was first founded back in 1896 by two brothers, with a very simple concept of being able to provide a decent meal at a reasonable price for local workers, where the patrons would come back time and time again.
And along with its ornate architecture and the unique Belle Epoque interior, which has remained the same and been preserved over the years, this building became recognised as an historical monument in Paris in 1989, and to date, well over 100 years later, there have still only been four owners who have all kept the same philosophy as the original founders of the restaurant.
Having a wooden frontage, glass roof and very high ceilings supported by columns, along with exceedingly large mirrors adorning the walls, there is also a mezzanine area for dining. And with paper tablecloths, which is what your order is written on, along with paper napkins that are used to write out your bill, this is a very traditional restaurant in Paris that still carries on the original quirky features from all those years ago.
Cuisine at the Bouillon Chartier Restaurant
You will find traditional French cuisine with a wide variety of dishes served at the Bouillon Chartier restaurant, still with very reasonable prices and you can have a three course meal for around €20, plus the wines are also very good prices.To give you an idea, for starters you could have snails, tomato salad, vegetable soup, hard boiled egg or prawn mayonnaise, Foie Gras, grated carrot vinaigrette or a lettuce salad with bacon to name a few choices.
Main courses could be grilled rump steak and French fries, roast chicken, spaghetti bolognaise, Sauerkraut from Alsace, baked sea bream, duck confit with new potatoes and many others.
You could then opt for a choice of cheeses such as Camembert, Goats cheese, cottage cheese etc, but even having a few will not break the bank. But there is also a fantastic selection of tempting desserts to choose from such as peach melba, prunes in wine with vanilla ice cream, sorbets, rum baba, fresh pineapple, and many others you could choose.
We are extremely pleased to announce new events related to the french semester.
The wine club together with the french semester committee will organize a series of 6 events. Four of them will be held at the club house and will focus on the most famous French appellations, and two large tastings will be held at the Mensa (one to present French wines and the second on wine and cheese pairings). We will come back to you for the other events.
Let’s start with the first one:
Monday 28th March from 6.30pm to 8.00pm, at the club House:
“Under the sun of the Rhone Valley, 2 whites and 3 reds from Lyon to Avignon“
To book tickets please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The cost of this event is 15 euros/pers.
For technical reasons, we have to limit participation to about 40 persons. First come, first serve !
Le Crêmet d’Anjou, this evocative name well defines this emblematic Angevin dessert.
Made from fresh cream and known for a long time, it echoes the “douceur angevine“.
“The delight of God”, according to Curnonsky (Maurice Edmond Sailland, Angers 12/10/1870; † Paris 22/07/1956) who brilliantly praises it: “Le Crêmet d’Anjou is a delight of God. No whipped cream equals this frothy, fragrant, creamy and light little heap”.
Taste the cream according to your desires, plain, accompanied by honey, syrup or even accompanied by red fruits.
Le Crêmet d’Anjou, ce nom évocateur caractérise bien cet emblématique dessert Angevin.
Fabriqué à base de crème fraîche et connu de longue date, il fait écho à la « douceur angevine ».
« Régal des dieux », selon Curnonsky (Maurice Edmond Sailland, Angers 12/10/1870 ; † Paris 22/07/1956) qui en fait un brillant éloge : « Le crêmet angevin est un régal des dieux. Nulle crème chantilly n’égale ce petit mulon mousseux, parfumé, onctueux et léger », le crêmet se déguste au gré de vos envies, nature, accompagné de miel, sirop ou encore accompagné de fruits rouges.
Caris is not exactly curry but both are related since Reunionese cuisine has several roots, mainly Indian, French, Malagasy, Chinese. No recipe is the ‘property’ of any ethnic group, for instance samosas are mainly sold by the Chinese despite their Indian origins.
Here are simple recipes of Reunionese caris and rougails. These dishes are accompanied by rice, legumes (beans, lentils, etc.) and also brèdes, i.e. green leaves or shoots, sautéed or in broth, such as chards, turnip shoots or catalonia (in Italy), while in Reunion, it will be more shoots of chayotes (chouchous), pumpkins etc.
It is also possible to accompany these dishes with mango or tomato rougail or achards (a version for the dummies is presented here).
These recipes may be found in many books (in French) including, for example, Le grand livre de la cuisine Réunionnaise (sorry for the advertisement on Amazon): some Reunionese will not agree with the addition of tomatoes in the poultry cari and the use of turmeric (curcuma) in the rougail sausages can be discussed… Lovers of séga (one of the two local musics with maloya) will listen to “the assassin put turmeric (curcuma) in the brèdes mourongue” (translation of the title) which demonstrates the culinary differences on such a small territory (50 kms x 50 kms). You could also watch with profit the videos of the late Christian Antou.
Generic sauce base
Garlic: 4->6 cloves
turmeric (curcuma): ½ -> 1 teaspoon. The best turmeric (curcuma) is obviously from Reunion, falsely called ‘saffron’ over there
Ginger -> 20g -> 40g
oil (ex: olive): 3 tablespoons, a little more if the onions stick
The onions are browned in oil. Garlic is then added, followed by turmeric (curcuma) and herbs (allspice leaves or bay leaf or thyme). 30 seconds maximum after adding the turmeric (curcuma), add 25 cl of water and crushed ginger, if necessary. Everything cooks gently for 20 minutes. No salt or pepper.
The sauce can then be frozen. Each block is enough for 4 people and is suitable for the following quantities:
400 to 600 g of meat or fish
A small can or even a large can of beans
250 g of homemade lentils or legumes.
To use a block, simply pass the box under a trickle of warm water. The ice cube of sauce will then be used as is.
Rougail sausages – boucané (smoked pork)
Count 400 to 600 g of material for 4 people. Montbéliard sausages (French specificity) are suitable. The smoked pork does not come from the belly but rather from the ribs, the loin or even the blade. For those who live in the south of Paris, the best Reunionese sausages can be found at the Charcuterie Vayaboury (the owner is the daughter of my brother’s charcutier in Saint-Denis, Réunion).
Allow 5 minutes in boiling water for Reunionese sausages, probably less for Montbeliard. A second desalination is possible, depending on the sausages. In both cases, the sausages will be desalted whole and not pierced. They will then be cut into sections (two to four depending on the size). You can press it down with a fork to remove excess fat. Boucané that is still frozen can be desalted directly.
The boucané will be desalted in blocks for 5 minutes, possibly at the same time as the sausages. Then, it will be cut into small pieces of 2 to 4 cm and desalted again for 5 minutes.
Start the sauce
While desalting the sausages and boucané, you can prepare the sauce as described above or use a frozen sauce base. In the latter case, pour the still-frozen block of sauce stock into a small pot, along with a small or large tin of tinned tomatoes (for example from the Cirio brand), depending on whether you like a rougail with a lot of sauce or not. Cut the tomatoes into pieces.
In season, you may prefer fresh tomatoes (count 400 to 800 g, preferably peeled).
Fresh or canned tomatoes can be cooked gently until the bottom of the sauce has defrosted (approximately 10 mins). You can mash the sauce using a potato masher.
Adding sausages and/or boucané
The sausages and boucané will be added to the sauce and cooking will continue for another ten minutes. Add water if necessary. Check their cooking.
Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary (reminder: no added salt or pepper so far, at any time, since the sausages and boucané are already salty). It is possible to add bird peppers (remove the seeds if you are too sensitive to the hot spicy taste).
Leave to stand for 20 minutes to 2 hours and reheat before serving. This rougail should not be prepared too much in advance (it is possible but brings nothing, if not the possibility of degreasing it a little).
If just-made sauce stock is used, the legumes will be cooked directly in it, adding water or not, depending on whether canned legumes is used or not. Crush the legumes a little bit (see photo below). If using frozen gravy stock, follow the instructions below.
Use the sauce base or pour a block of still frozen sauce base and a small box or a large box of canned beans into a small pot. Pepper. Add water if necessary. Cook for 10 minutes after the sauce base has thawed. Taste before salting because the boxes are often already salted. Red beans go best with meat and white beans with fish, shellfish and seafood, but this is not an absolute rule.
It is possible to use beans (fresh or dried), lentils or other legumes that have been cooked beforehand. Avoid canned lentils or coral lentils.
Crush the sauce using a potato masher (a little) to thicken the sauce and soften the beans (less important for lentils)
Fish or shrimps cari
Count 400 to 500 g of material for 4 people .
Start the sauce
Use the sauce base or pour a block of still frozen sauce base and a small or large can of canned tomatoes into a small pot, depending on whether you like a curry with a lot of sauce or not. In season, you may prefer fresh tomatoes (allow 400 or 800g, preferably peeled). Cut the tomatoes into pieces.
Fresh or canned tomatoes can be cooked gently until the base of the sauce has defrosted (about 15 to 20 minutes). You can mash the sauce using a potato masher.
It is possible to add bird peppers (remove the seeds if you are too sensitive to them). Add water if necessary. Taste and salt and pepper.
Adding fish or shrimp
They will be added to the sauce, even frozen, and cooking will continue depending on the fish or shellfish. Check their cooking.
Serve fairly quickly.
Poor man’s vegetable achards for dummies
A bag of about 250g of an assortment of vegetables in a bag, for example, in France, with the crunchy plate of Florette with white cabbage, carrot (these two ingredients being essential), frisée, red pepper (the latter being recommended)
You can add a few sprigs of raw cauliflower or a few raw or lightly steamed green beans, preferably slivered (cut in half, or even more, in the direction of the length).
For the seasoning:
a small or medium onion, finely cut
two cloves of crushed garlic (you can add more if you like)
two to three tablespoons of neutral oil (not olive or rapeseed)
fifteen grams of crushed ginger ( you can add more if you like)
a tablespoon of vinegar (preferably red)
a teaspoon of Hilly for instance Espelette pepper (it is still a spicy recipe…). Normally it is recommended to add some ‘real’ hot pepper but OK most of these recipes readers will be European ….Nevertheless, it is also possible to put some hot pepper cut in pieces without the beans and to take it out before adding the vegetables to get a spicy oil
Half a teaspoon of turmeric (curcuma)
A level teaspoon of salt
Fry the onions over medium or low heat WITHOUT BROWNING
Reduce the heat
Add the garlic
Add more oil if necessary
After 30 seconds, add the ginger and the turmeric (curcuma)
After 30 seconds maximum (turmeric burns easily), turn off the heat
Add the vegetables in a bag, the cauliflower (optional), the chilli and the salt and mix well
Pour everything into a deep dish
When the dish is cold, refrigerate
Add the vinegar at least two hours before serving (you can add it after the salt if you want)
Adjust the seasoning if necessary before serving
It should look something like this.
We’ll keep it simple here, “Italian style”. Roughly chop the shoots or leaves, peel two or three cloves of garlic and cut them in half. Fry the garlic cloves in the oil and just before they brown, add the leaves. Cook covered or not (up to you). You could also use some cari sauce and put the bredes in it.
Fill the plate with rice, evenly: the rice must absorb the sauce from the cari or rougail, legumes and brèdes. Serve the other preparations, each one having to occupy its own space on the rice.
For example, don’t serve as below.
Below goes roughly:
No great wine for these dishes. For example a basic Bordeaux, a Beaujolais, red for sausages or boucané or a beer. In Italy, an everyday Barbera, even frizzante. Maybe a Dolcetto. But nothing sweet.
For fish or shrimp, not too strong dry white or a light red.
No rum, consumed only as an aperitif or digestive.
Current research highlights the fact that “For the canut, a silk worker who was not very wealthy, this dish replaced the lamb’s brains that his means did not allow him to afford”. This is confirmed by a gastronomic chronicler: “The brains of a canut often constituted the essential part of a canut’s meal. Its name claqueret (the brains of the canuts are also called claqueret) comes from the fact that the white cheese must be well beaten (claqueret) for the recipe to be successful”.
Experience a Fourme d’Ambert and you will discover a Grande Dame that has survived through the ages. A traditional cheese from the Monts du Forez in Auvergne (the AOP region), today La Fourme d’Ambert is accredited with an AOC and an AOP that safeguard it beyond the region’s borders.
LA FOURME D’AMBERT, MILD, ELEGANT, REFINED, MATURE…
La Fourme d’Ambert stands upright, displaying its light, blue-grey garb, which looks like stone. This protective exterior yields to the touch and releases the soft, subtle scent of woodland undergrowth.
It is impossible to foresee that cutting into La Fourme d’Ambert will reveal a soft core, and a bright ivory centre with a supple, smooth texture, which is the culmination of the long alchemy between blue and white, that has taken place during maturation.
Naturally, this balance is revealed on the palate with the fragrant notes, delicate aromas, and smooth, rounded taste that make this the mildest of all blue cheeses.
LA FOURME D’AMBERT, A TRUE STORY!
Production of La Fourme d’Ambert in the Haut-Forez region undoubtedly dates back to the Middle Ages when an agro-pastoral system was kept – and preserved right up to the end of the Second World War.
Nevertheless, legend avows that at the time of the Gauls, the druids observing their cults in the Monts du Forez knew this cheese. According to M. MAZE, former Director of the Pasteur Institute, La Fourme d’Ambert was already in production during the Arvernes period, before the Roman conquest.
Since the VIII century, traditional narratives agree that La Fourme d’Ambert existed and was consumed. To this day, built heritage shows us that La Fourme d’Ambert was present. For example, carved in the shape of regional products of the time (sausages, ham, eggs, ‘fourmes’), the ‘pierres dîmales’, on the church of La Chaulme (Puy-de-Dôme), are a living testimony as to the existence of La Fourme d’Ambert. La Fourme d’Ambert was even used as currency when renting ‘jasseries’ during the XVIII century.
During this period, production is exclusively farm-based. From June to October, when cattle was put out to pasture, women and children would go to the ‘jasseries’ (mountain structures that were simultaneously stables, dairy and dwelling), while the men stayed in the valleys and tended to the hay.
At the beginning of the century, following a decline in farming in the Forez pastures, dairies were established in the Monts du Forez, particularly on the eastern slope. In 1950, there are around fifteen dairies collecting milk within a sometimes very narrow area.
Also at the beginning of the century, La Fourme d’Ambert producers first appear outside the Monts du Forez – first west of the Puy de Dôme (Laqueuille and Rochefort Montagne) then in the Cantal (Murat) and the valley of la Dore (Thiers – Puy de Dôme). Last of all, in the 1950s, producers set up in Saint-Flour (Cantal).
Since being awarded the AOC, La Fourme d’Ambert’s production has kept growing. In 1900, 200 tonnes were produced, but in the space of one century, this has increased 35-fold to 5,300 tonnes in 2012. More than 1,200 milk farmers, six dairies and four farms (that is, 300 direct employees) secure the continued existence of this exceptional cheese.
For 8 people Preparation: 30 min Rest of the dough: 1 h 30 Cooking: 45 min for the onions, 20 min for the Pissaladière.
INGREDIENTS Bread dough:
500 g of flour,
10 to 15 ml of water,
10 g of salt,
15 to 20 g of baker’s yeast,
15 ml of olive oil.
2 kg of straw onions,
100 ml of olive oil,
1 bouquet garni (thyme, bay leaf, rosemary),
10 g of garlic (1 clove),
8 anchovy fillets in salt,
Black olives from Nice,
25 g of pissalat The pissalat can be spread over the dough before putting the onions in or mixed directly with the cooked onions before spreading them on the dough.
REALIZATION Peel the onions, finely slice them and put them in a pot with the olive oil, the dressed garlic cloves and the bouquet garni, salt and pepper, cover and cook over low heat for 45 minutes (while allowing water to evaporate). Remove the garlic at the end of cooking.
Prepare the leaven: on a work surface, put 125 g of flour, dig a fountain in it and add the yeast dissolved in a little lukewarm water. Mix everything to obtain a ball of dough and leave to rest in a terrine covered with a cloth. In half an hour, the dough should double in size.
Arrange the rest of the flour in a crown, add the water, olive oil and salt to the middle. Work the dough, adding water to a consistency. Add the sourdough to the dough and knead everything. Let stand for an hour, covered.
Oil a pie plate or baking sheet, roll out the dough to 1/2 cm thick, add the onions, garnish with anchovies and olives.
Put in the oven, previously heated, for 20 minutes at 180/200 °. Pepper when removing from the oven. Let it cool down to serve it.
One of Lyon’s most famous traditions is undoubtedly its gastronomy. Since 1935 and thanks to Curnonsky, famous food critic, the city bears the title of “world capital of gastronomy”. From the 19th century, when you come to Lyon, you want to “eat”: first with the Mothers, those excellent cooks who have helped make Lyon cuisine a real institution; today in the “bouchons“, these typical restaurants where you are served, in the conviviality, these dishes so typically Lyonnais, that we like… or not… The history of the gastronomy of Lyon has long been characterised by these two trends: the first from bourgeois tradition, the second from popular culture. But today, even though Lyon has managed to preserve and promote its traditions, the gastronomic landscape of Lyon is diversifying and opening itself up to new trends.
Les Bouchons Lyonnais
Any visitor who comes to Lyon wishes to eat in a “Bouchon”. A great symbol of Lyon’s gastronomy, the “bouchon” comes from the tradition of “mâchons” established by the “canuts”, silk workers. Associated with Guignol and Gnafron, it offers simple dishes, composed mainly of pork and all generously washed down with Beaujolais or Côtes-du-Rhône.
If nowadays the “Bouchon” is a restaurant where you can taste Lyon specialties, originally the term refers to a place where you can “mâchonner” (chew). In the 19th century, the canuts, who started their day very early, organized a sort of “snack” around 9 or 10 am: The “mâchons”, strictly speaking, is not a meal, but a snack, often made up of leftovers from the day before and taken outside of traditional restaurants, in a bistro, a wine merchant, at the restaurant or at workshop of the canuts. Shared between men, they were often a pretext for discussing business between the various players in the silk industry.
“Mâchons” can be considered to have definitely become part of the Lyon tradition when the Halles de Lyon was founded in Les Cordeliers (at the site of the current Cordeliers car park). Since the 19th century, the organization of work has evolved, but the “mâchon” is still practiced in some restaurants.
The term “bouchon” has several meanings: it can refer either to the bouquet of ivy or broom that was hung, in the old regime, at the doors of cabarets to differentiate them from inns; either with the straw that travelers had available in the inns so that they could “bouchonner” their mount before the meal; or, more simply, by the bottle stopper, even if in Lyon, the custom is to serve wine in a jar and not in a bottle.
The”bouchons” were originally installed in the Croix-Rousse district, where the canuts live and work. According to custom, the wife is in the kitchen, while her husband takes care of the cellar and the dining room. The dishes offered are often composed of leftovers from the day before, which the cooks arrange to avoid waste. Over time the dishes have diversified. Today, the bouchons offer dishes made with traditional Lyonnais products. Mention may in particular be made of rosette, grattons, quenelles, gratin of cardoons with marrow or even local cheeses. All these dishes are accompanied by wine, usually Beaujolais but increasingly Côte du Rhône
Some Lyon specialties
“Les bouchons” offers simple cuisine, tasted in a friendly atmosphere. The menus offer a wide range of dishes to taste, but a few are part of the great Lyon tradition.
Les grattons: their notoriety has largely exceeded the Lyon region. Often eaten as an aperitif, grattons are small pieces of grilled pork rind. To taste in the Lyon style, in the conviviality, with a pot of Côte du Rhône or Beaujolais!
Les charcuteries: and first and foremost the sausage. The Lyonnais sausage manufacturing technique gives it all its qualities. It is made with a mixture of chunks of fat cut into small cubes 5 to 6 mm on the side and lean very finely chopped. The preparation is then seasoned and then enclosed in natural casings. On the butcher’s stalls, sausages are mixed with other specialties such as rosette or cervelas (cooking sausage), which is better when it is truffled and pistachio.
Le tablier de sapeur: offal, such as tripe, liver or double fat occupy a special place in Lyon cuisine. Le tablier de Sapeur is a typical Lyonnais dish. Its name comes from the Maréchal de Castellane who compared the double fat (beef strawberry) to the leather apron of the firefighters. It is prepared with beef strawberries cut into cubes and marinated in a preparation based on Mâconnais white wine, mustard, lemon, oil and salt / pepper. The strawberries are then rolled in bread crumbs and toasted in oil and butter and served with a Gribiche sauce.
La quenelle: a true tradition in Lyon since the 19th century, the quenelle is a preparation made from flour or semolina, butter and milk. The quenelles can be flavored with poultry, veal, or even, more traditionally, pike. The quenelles are served with a sauce, often a bechamel sauce, or for the pike quenelle, a Nantua sauce, made with crayfish butter.
Les Cardoons: this vegetable whose ribs are tasted, similar to chard rib. The Lyonnaise recipe offers it in the form of a marrow gratin, which can be enjoyed during the Christmas holidays.
The cheeses: the best known is the “cervelle de canut”, or “claqueret”, which is not strictly speaking a cheese, but a way to accommodate cottage cheese. To prepare it, choose a “male” white cheese, that is to say not too soft that you beat according to the “guignolesque” expression “as if it were his wife”. Then add salt, pepper, a drizzle of vinegar and olive oil, a shallot, chives, garden herbs and garlic “to keep the tongue cool.” Finally, a little crème fraîche and a drop of white wine (preferably Mâconnais) can complete the preparation.
Saint-Marcellin is also the cheese that can be found on all the cheesemongers’ stalls: originating in the town of the same name in Dauphiné, this cow’s cheese is eaten very matured.
Les Bugnes: Originally, the bugne was linked to the religious calendar. It was indeed a tradition to make them on the first Sunday of Lent because they were the only delicacy allowed. Its name comes from the old French “donut” which itself comes from “beigne”, a term that recalls the inflated shape of the bugne. Bugne is made from a mixture of flour, butter, sugar, a little salt and sometimes orange blossom. The resulting dough is cut with a knob (or spur) and then fried in oil.
Between Auxerre and the Mâcon region, and covering just 28,715 hectares, the Bourgogne winegrowing region produces exactly 84 Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée wines. Among the most prestigious wines in the world, they are created by winegrowers and négociants from six different wine-producing areas, each with highly distinctive characters. Come and discover these exceptional terroirs between beautiful valleys, monumental cliffs and hilltops bathed in sunshine.
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay: the Bourgogne region’s two noble grape varietals
The vineyards of the Bourgogne region are home to some celebrated varietals. With more than 80% planted with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the Bourgogne winegrowing region is also a showcase for Gamay and Aligoté. Find out about the varietals grown in the Bourgogne winegrowing region before savoring your favorite wines.
The Bourgogne winegrowing region is home to some very old varietals. The region provides ideal weather conditions and a terroir that is perfectly suited to bring out their very best.
Bourgogne’s winegrowers favor four varietals:
• Chardonnay (white), accounting for 51% of land under vine • Pinot Noir (red), with 39,5 % • Gamay (red) and Aligoté (white) which account for 2,5% and 6% respectively • Sauvignon, César, Pinot Beurot, Sacy, Melon, and a few other minor varietals make up the remaining 1%
An ideal climate for producing great wines
The Bourgogne region’s geographical position is fundamental to the identity of its wines. The region is at the confluence of three major influences: southerly, oceanic and continental. These unique conditions have, over time, dictated the choice of varietal. The climate of the Bourgogne winegrowing region is mainly temperate, and has a positive influence on vine growing:
• Morning sunshine, helped by the aspect of the vines, which in winter helps limit the risk of frost damage, and in summer helps ripen the grapes (the vines receive around 1,300 hours of sunshine between April and September) • Summer temperatures around 20°C in July and August (average from 1981/2010) • Ideal precipitation for encouraging vine growth, with an average of 700mm annually, mainly during the months of May and June • A northerly wind that limits the humidity in certain plots
Planting the vines on slopes also ensures good ripening. Located at between 200-500 meters above sea level, the plots enjoy the best hours of sunshine. This aspect also protects the vines from westerly winds which can bring humidity. Another advantage of hillside planting is that the water drains away more easily. These good conditions, combined with unique geology give rise to some inimitable wines.
Beyond the general growing conditions, there are two zones on the edges of the Bourgogne winegrowing region which present some characteristic nuances: • The southeast part of the region, in the Mâconnais, on the western edge of the Saône plain, enjoys a hotter and dryer climate coming from the South of France • To the northwest, the winegrowing regions of Chablis and Le Grand Auxerrois enjoy a more semi-continental climate that is wetter, and are often susceptible to springtime frosts
Jura is a small wine region in eastern France which is responsible for some traditional and highly idiosyncratic wine styles. It is close to, but quite distinct from the Swiss Jura.
The region is sandwiched between Burgundy in the west and Switzerland in the east. It is characterized by a landscape of wooded hillsides and the twisting topography of the Jura Mountains.
Jura’s vineyards cover just over 1,850 hectares, forming a narrow strip of land measuring nearly 80 kilometers from north to south. The total acreage is steadily increasing, but still represents less than one tenth of the area under vine here two centuries ago, before phylloxera decimated the region’s vineyards.
Jura’s wines are sold under five core appellations . The most quantitatively important of these are Arbois, Etoile and Côtes du Jura.
Key Jura grape varieties and wine styles
Five main grape varieties used in the region’s wines – three traditional and two more-modern imports. The first of the local varieties is Poulsard (or Ploussard as it is known in the communes of Arbois and Pupillin), a red grape which accounts for about one-fifth of the region’s plantings. Poulsard is used mostly in dry reds, but also in sparkling rose wines.
Trousseau, the other local red variety, requires high sunshine levels to mature properly and covers only the warmest five percent of Jura’s vineyards. It is grown mostly around Arbois, where it produces a small quantity of varietal wines.
White Savagnin (known locally as Nature) is used in all of the region’s appellations. It is responsible for the idiosyncratic vins jaunes (‘yellow wines’). These are long-lived, bone dry wines aged in barrels under a layer of flor/yeast known as le voile.
Vins jaunes may be made under the Arbois (including Arbois-Pupillin), L’Étoile and Côtes du Jura titles appellations. However they are at their best under the more exclusive Château Chalon title.
Along with its unique vin jaune, Jura has been known traditionally for its sweet vin de paille made from dried grapes. They are produced under the same appellations, Château Chalon excepted.
However, despite the relative isolation of the Jura region, Chardonnay has made inroads here, as it has elsewhere in France, and now accounts for nearly half of Jura’s total vineyard. Known locally as Melon d’Arbois and Gamay Blanc, it is most often used to make wines in a fresher, fruitier, modern style.
Sparkling wines have been made here since the 18th century. They are now produced from around 210 hectares (520 acres) of vineyards, under Crémant du Jura, appellation introduced in 1995.
Jura vineyard conditions
The Jurassic period was named after Jura because the region’s limestone mountains are representative of the geological developments which occurred between 145 million and 200 million years ago. Ergo the key soil types here are Jurassic periof limestone and marl.
The name of L’Etoile, the village which is home to one of Jura’s most distinctive appellations, is said to be derived from the star-shaped marine fossils which characterize its limestone-rich soils (etoile is French for ‘star’). Chablis and the upper Loire Valley are built on a similar geological structure.
Jura’s climate is not dissimilar to that of the Côte d’Or, or even southern Alsace, with warm, relatively dry summers and cold winters. The variation between valley and hillside locations is quite pronounced.
While the eastern, more mountainous areas of Jura reach heights above 1,350m, the main wine-growing belt is restricted to the slightly lower-lying land in the west, averaging 300m. The majority of Jura’s vines are planted on south-facing slopes, to make the most of the sunshine in this cool climate.
Loire Valley wines flourish in a unique cultural landscape, classed as a UNESCO World Heritage site from Chalonnes-sur-Loire (Maine et Loire) to Sully-sur-Loire (Loiret).
With over two thousand years of history, the Loire Valley vineyard area is made up of a mosaic of different climates, soils, geographical features and locations – all of which contribute to the diversity of the Valley’s wines.
THE LOIRE VALLEY – A MAJOR WINEGROWING REGION
The Loire Valley is France’s 3rd largest winegrowing region. Stretching from Atlantic coast to Auvergne, it is a point of equilibrium, where north meets south, sophistication meets freshness, art meets literature, and tradition meets modernity. These contrasts – plus the generally temperate climate and extraordinarily varied terroirs – have created the most diverse winegrowing region in the world.
THE LONGEST WINE ROUTE IN FRANCE
The Loire Valley Wine Route is the longest in France – 800 km winding through the Loire Valley vineyards – making this a prime wine-tourism destination. There are plenty of well-placed signposts to guide visitors on their way, and the route includes some unique cultural heritage sites along the Royal River, including the famous Chateaux and a vast range of diverse landscapes.
The Loire and its many tributaries have a significant moderating effect on the vineyards. By creating a large range of microclimates all of which promote vine growth, they contribute to the widediversity of the region’s wines. They also have a buffer effect, which is crucial notably for the production of rich, sweet wines.
In the Nantes vineyards, oceanic influences temper seasonal variations. Autumns and winters are mild, while summers are hot and often very humid.
The Anjou vineyards enjoy an oceanic climate with mild winters, hot summers, plenty of sunshine and small variations in temperature. Some of the very dry microclimates promote the growth of Mediterranean plant life.
In the Saumur vineyards, the hills provide a barrier to winds blowing from the west; the climate becomes semi-oceanic and seasonal variations are more pronounced.
The vineyards of Touraine are at the crossroads of oceanic and continental influences.
The rapport between varietal and terroir, where diversity goes hand in hand with unity, is all the more unusual when one considers that some of the region’s great varietals are native to the Loire Valley – while others come from the east or south west of France.
Loire Valley wines are unusual in that they are, for the most part, produced from a single varietal: Melon de Bourgogne for Nantes area; Chenin, Cabernet and Gamay in Anjou, Saumur and Touraine; Sauvignon in Touraine and the Centre; and also Grolleau, Pinot Meunier, Pineau d’Aunis, Romorantin etc.
This breadth of variety is completely unique, and gives a very diverse, highly expressive range of wines.
There’s no other word for it, Mont d’or cheese is unctuous, so much so, and here is a weird cheese fact – it’s one of only a few French cheeses you have to eat with a spoon!
Gooey, runny, sticky and liquescent (and that’s not a word you’ll often see applied to cheese) Mont d’Or or Vacherin Mont d’Or or Vacherin du Haut-Daubs is so French it should be wearing a beret and carrying a baguette. It’s named after Mont d’Or (Golden Mountain) in the Jura region, Franche Comté, department of Doubs.
In France it is revered as the best of the raw milk cheeses and when you taste it for the first time – you’ll understand why.
It was a favourite fromage of King Louis XV and is the only French cheese to be eaten with a spoon. It is only made between August 15 and March 15, and derives its unique nutty taste from the spruce bark in which it is wrapped and only eleven factories in the French Jura region are licensed to produce it. It’s a protected cheese and there’s nothing else quite like it.
If you get a really ripe Mont d’Or you can eat it straight out of the pot – dip in a hunk of fresh baguette and scoop it up, or slather it on with a spoon! Its’ got a delicious nutty, earthy taste.
Or bake it – a really popular way to eat it in France as it brings out even more flavour
How to bake Mont d’Or Cheese
Preheat the oven to 200C
Remove the lid and pop the box on a baking tray.
There are different ways to cook it, plain, with a dash of pepper and/or some sea salt, a drizzle of olive oil, some garlic, truffle shavings, herbs or wine. You can dip bread, croutons, sausage, whatever you like as with a fondue. But, here is one of the most loved recipes for mont d’or chaud, baked Mont d’Or:
Take a knife and poke a few slits in the cheese and pop some thinly sliced garlic in to the holes.
Grind some black pepper over the top, pour over a splash of white wine
Pop in the oven for about 8 minutes until completely soft
Remove and eat with crusty baguette, or new potatoes and wash down with the rest of the white wine!
Extra tips: Cut a cross in the top, spread, and pour in some Kirsch, Armagnac, or liqueur of your choice, warm through, and serve with bread sticks
The Saucisse de Morteau and Jésus de Morteau PGI are pork meat sausages in natural casings.
The production area of Saucisse de Morteau or Jésus de Morteau PGI covers the departments of Doubs, Jura, Haute-Saône and Territoire de Belfort, in Franche Comté region.
The mix is obtained starting from ham, shoulder, breast, lard, loin and trims. From 65 to 85% of meats used for the mix have to be lean, whilst the remaining percentage can consists of pig lard. The cuts are crushed together roughly and then salted, and some spices may be added (pepper, garlic, cumin etc.). The mix obtained is put in pig natural casing (chaudin, suivant or intestine) and then dried in suitable rooms. The fundamental phase is surely smoking: indeed, the sausages have to be smoked slowly using conifer wood, with a constant and careful check of fume.
APPEARANCE AND FLAVOUR
Saucisse de Morteau and Jésus de Morteau PGI have both a cylindrical shape, but the second is a particular representation of the first, as it is more uneven and with a minimum diameter which is higher (respectively 40 and 60 mm). The ends of these sausages are generally sealed, one side with cord and the other with a wood stick, even if the wood stick can be absent in the case of Jésus de Morteau PGI. The colour is amber, but not uniform. The dough has a rough grain, and the taste, after cooking, is smoked but rather well-balanced.
The agricultural farming tradition of Franche Comté region is ancient and closely linked to the region. The practice of cattle breeding for the dairy production found here a very good development area putting the basis for a later spread of pig farming. Indeed, in this region the milk whey produced by many dairy factories was, and still is, used as a basic food for pigs, as it is rich in useful element for the growth of these animals. The region, in addition to meat production, has specialised in drying and smoking products, a practice of which the highest expression is Tuyés, which are rooms thought for the double function to smoke the meats and to heat the houses or farms where they were produced.
Saucisse de Morteau o Jésus de Morteau PGI has to be stored in a fresh and dry room, protected from direct light, even better in refrigerator. It is eaten after cooking: boiled, pan-fried, roasted in oven or barbecued. This versatile product can be used as an ingredient for many recipes, from aperitifs to first and second courses or side dishes. A traditional dish is the potato gratin which includes cheese, onion and Saucisse de Morteau PGI. It has to be served accompanied by a glass of white wine.
The product is sold as Saucisse de Morteau or Jésus de Morteau PGI. It is packed in suitable bags and can be sold also precooked.
Saucisse de Morteau or Jésus de Morteau PGI owe their characteristic amber colour and peculiar taste to the smoking with conifer wood, which is a local practise of Franche Comté region which, thanks to a big forest, has good amounts of this species of trees.
1.5 kg stewing beef (chuck or shin), 200 g lean salt pork or thick cut bacon, 40 g butter, 350 g pearl onions, 350 g small button mushrooms, 1 onion, 1 carrot, 3 garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 750 ml red wine, preferably Burgundy, 1 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste, bouquet garni: 1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 sprig rosemary, 6 sprigs parsley, 750 ml beef broth, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, Salt and pepper.
1- Bring a pan of water to a boil, and drop in the pearl onions. Let them boil rapidly for 2-3 minutes, then plunge them into cold water, and peel them. Cut the mushrooms in half if needed, they should match the size of the onions. Tie together the herbs for the bouquet garni.
2. Cut the beef into 2 inch pieces and dice the salt pork or cut the bacon crosswise into thin strips.
3. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet and fry the onions over a high heat, stirring frequently and shaking the pan, until they are golden-brown. Remove onto a plate. Add another tablespoon butter to the same skillet and sauté the mushrooms for 5 minutes until golden, then set aside with the pearl onions.
4. In a Dutch oven or a large heavy pot, cook the pork or bacon over medium heat until golden brown, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add enough meat to the pan to fit easily in one layer and sear on all sides until well browned. Transfer the beef to a plate and continue browning the meat in batches.
5. When all the beef has been browned, pour off any fat from the pot and add the remaining butter. When the butter has melted, add the chopped onion, carrot and garlic and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until just softened, stirring frequently. Sprinkle over the flour and cook for 2 minutes, then add the wine, tomato paste and bouquet garni. Bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan.
6. Return the beef and bacon to the pan and pour on the broth, adding more if needed to cover the meat and vegetables when pressed down. Cover the pan and simmer very gently over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 3 hours or until the meat is very tender.
7. Add the sautéed mushrooms and pearl onions. Season to taste and cook, covered, for 30 minutes more. Discard the bouquet garni. Stir in the parsley before serving with steamed potatoes or mashed potatoes.
Wine paring tips
People often wonder what type of wine to use in the preparation of Boeuf Bourguignon. The dish originating from Burgundy, the obvious choice is a generic red Bourgogne AOC, nothing too fancy as the prices can quickly escalate. Save your budget for the wine in the glass, in which case, a more complex red from the Côte de Nuits is the appropriate choice, whether it is one of the regional appellations or a specific village such as Vosne-Romané or Morey-Saint-Denis for special occasions! If regionality is not a priority for your wine selection, some prefer to serve heftier wines, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Syrah, or a slightly riper “new world” Pinot Noir.
Burgundy snails, or “escargots de Bourgogne”, are usually seen on the table at festive family gatherings as a plate of twelve, or a plate of six in restaurants (or for those just looking for a taste). We’re going to tell you all about this rather unusual speciality, including its history and traditional recipe.
They’ve been on the menu for thousands of years!
The history of the snail
Eating snails is not a recent trend. In fact, the Romans and Gauls used to eat them grilled or fried, in preparation for periods of famine. What more proof of their nutritional goodness do you need?
The Burgundy snail is also called the “Roman snail” or “Vineyard snail” (a good reference to Burgundy), and the scientific name is Helix Pomatia. It is the most popular snail (mostly imported as French breeders prefer the Cornu Aspersum) It is a highly protected species in France, and it is forbidden to collect them during the reproduction period.
A product that was made famous after a political meal
1814: Napoleon was defeated by Emperor Alexander I of Russia. Louis XVIII then became King of France and the Emperor decided to come and visit this new king, who did not give him a warm welcome. To avoid any political conflict, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Talleyrand, who had helped Louis XVIII take over the throne, intervened and invited the Emperor to a dinner. Talleyrand called upon his chef to find an original dish to impress the Emperor. The chef came up with the idea of preparing snails stuffed with butter, garlic and parsley. When the Emperor was presented with this dish, he was surprised but enjoyed these tasty “escargots à la bourguignonne”. The incident with the King was forgotten and this recipe became popular all over the world!
How should they be eaten?
Preparing and tasting them
For this dish, you’ll need to make a “beurre d’escargots” (butter, garlic, parsley), then put this, along with the snails, into the empty snail shell and then bake them in the oven. Then you’ll need snail tongs to hold the shell, and a snail fork to remove them from the shell to eat. And because a delicious speciality of Burgundy wouldn’t be complete without wine, this dish can be paired with a glass of white wine, such as Chablis for example!
It seems only fitting that the beauty of the Massif du Jura would match that of its most treasured produce, Comté. Fruity and savoury notes take turns caressing your palate, with sweet and salty undertones bursting through in waves. Like the conversion of woods to countryside, the texture transforms from dense to open as it lingers, while aromas of roasted hazelnuts and caramelised butter spread like clouds on a clear sky.
The flavours are clean and greatly influenced by their surroundings. Dotted with charming villages and luscious pastures, the mountains of Jura in eastern France provide fresh grass for the Montbéliarde and French Simmental cows during the summer. From their milk, the local creameries produce the iconic flavours and aromas that characterise Comté.
Inspiring awe wherever it finds itself, Comté is an outstanding product of the highest level.
How Comté is made?
Renowned for its complex flavours, the production of Comté is not just down to workmanship and skill.
Raw milk is delivered straight from the farmhouse to one of the local creameries, the fruitiére. At this point, it is filtered and poured into large copper vats and rennet is added. This helps the milk coagulate and form a firm curd, which is then separated. Closely monitoring the consistency of the curd lets workers know exactly when to drain it. Large wheel-shaped moulds are lined with the broken curd and pressed for an entire day to squeeze out any excess whey. Coarse sea salt from Guérande, along with a yeast solution, is brushed onto the rind, making the wheels ready for aging.
Taking full advantage of the surroundings, the cheese is aged in the cool and humid caves of the Alps. Absorbing the naturally filtered moisture from cracks in the walls, the Comté achieves its unique taste and aromatic nature. Anywhere from 4 to 24 months can be spent maturing in the dark caves of the Massif du Jura mountainsides, finally creating a picture-perfect wheel of Comté cheese.
With the full benefit of wholesome milk, Comté is unpasteurised, unadulterated in flavour and entirely free of gluten. The addition of animal rennet, however, makes this cheese unsuitable for vegetarians.
Prestigious AOC status since 1958
Due to its distinctive nature, cultural value and economic importance for the region, Comté was deservedly granted Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) status in 1958. This ensures that Comté follow a large set of stringent rules and requirements which guarantee the specificity of their unique cheese. The Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée also guarantees that the production of Comté remains based on traditional methods and stages which have been in place for over 1,000 years.
You could say that it acts as a contract between farmers, fruitières, affineurs and their customers to maintain the taste and natural character of Comté.
This prestigious status was further recognised in 1996 when Comté was awarded the exclusive Protected Origin Nomenclature (AOP) status which recognises and rewards Comté’s remarkable reputation throughout the whole of Europe, and not only in France.
In Burgundy, a Climat is the name for a specific vineyard site combining vine plots, grape variety and know-how.
The word « Climat » should not be misinterpreted. It is not related to meteorology but is a specific term, unique to Burgundy, designating a specific vineyard site.
Each Climat is a vine plot, with its own microclimate and specific geological conditions, which has been carefully marked out and named over the centuries. Each of them has its own story, produces wines with a distinct character and taste and keeps its own place in the hierarchy of crus (Regional Appellation, Village, Premier Cru, Grand Cru). Over one thousand named Climats extend along the 60 kilometres of the thin strip of vineyards running from Dijon to Santenay, just south of Beaune, and among them are some of the most famous names from the world of wine ; Chambertin, Romanée-Conti, Clos de Vougeot, Montrachet, Corton, Musigny…
In Burgundy, when we speak of a Climat, we do not look up to the sky, we keep our eyes to the ground.
Climat : a term dating from the 16th century
The word « Climat » first appeared in written texts in the 16th century. At that time it was synomynous with a place-name or locality. A century later, use of the term became widespread in the region as a new reference to place, highlighting the differences and the hierarchy among the wines of Burgundy’s Côte. However, it is thought that the notion of « Climats of Burgundy », was generally used to describe land suitable for winegrowing and dates back to the Early Middle Ages.
Climat, from the Greek term « klima-atos »
“Klima-atos” in Greek describes the angle between a place’s location on the earth’s surface and the sun. The word became “clima-atis” in Latin, with the same meaning. Over the centuries, the term has become more precise: during the Renaissance period, it came to mean a land, a region, then a collection of vineyard parcels and finally a specific, delimited plot of vines. It should be noted that during the Classical period the Greek term “klèma-atos” was used to describe a piece of supple wood, and more especially vine shoots and stocks. In contemporary Greek “ta klimata” specifically designates vines.