The wine that has its own special day

Most French wines can be drunk any time (although breakfast wine is frowned upon) but there is one that has its own special day.

The third Thursday in November is a special day in the wine calendar – the day that the year’s Beaujolais nouveau wines become available.

Beaujolais nouveau is a primeur, a ‘young’ wine that is produced quickly and hits the shelves just a couple of months after the grapes are picked.

There are many types of primeur, but only Beaujolas nouveau gets its own special day – and this is due to nothing more elevated than a marketing campaign from the 1980s set up to popularise and promote this type of wine.

Beaujolais nouveau can be shipped earlier, but only goes on sale around the world on the third Thursday of November, and most years there are festivals to promote it with local events and ‘wine races’.

Hugely popular in the 1908s, especially in the UK, Beaujolais nouveau suffered a backlash from wine purists who labelled it an imbuvable (undrinkable) wine that tasted of bananas.

While it’s true that a lot of distinctly dodgy bottles were on sale during its heyday, especially abroad, these days many small producers in the Beaujolais region are working hard to ensure that their better-quality products get the recognition they deserve.

Within the Beaujolais area of eastern France, around a third of the grapes go to producing Beaujolais nouveau, while the rest produce wines with a longer and more traditional production time. However many prefer to be known by the name of the village or commune where they are produced, rather than Beaujolais.

Source: French figures: The wine that has its own special day – The Local

For Holiday Pleasures, Try The Easy Pairing Of French Wine With French Cheese

French Cheese and Wine Pairing

Whether you’re planning on doing some socially distant entertaining or if you’re just planning an intimate celebration with members of your own household, a simple pairing of French wine and cheese adds an elegant touch.

Whether you’re planning on doing some socially distant entertaining or if you’re just planning an intimate celebration with members of your own household, a simple pairing of French wine and cheese adds an elegant touch.

“Each of these products are about pleasure and enjoying them,” says Charles Duque, managing director of the Americas for the French Dairy Board. “There’s an intimidation factor, and my job is to raise awareness of how people can enjoy French cheese – how they can pair it (with wines and other beverages), teach them where it comes from and how people can use these wonderful cheeses.”

While Duque recommends many different cheese and wine pairings, he outlined three simple pairings of French cheeses and French wines that are readily available at many grocery and liquor stores throughout the United States. “I really want to make these cheeses as accessible as possible,” he says. “I want to show people how they can incorporate them into their daily lives. One thing many people don’t realize is that imported French cheese are often more economical than many artisan American cheese just because of scale. France has been able to produce high quality cheese industrially while keeping the quality.”

For a simple wine and cheese pairing, Duque recommends the magic number of three – three wines with three cheeses.

The first pairing Duque recommends is Brie , a traditional, bloomy rind cheese with DOMAINE DES PINS LES PIERRES SAINT AMOUR, a Beaujolais Villages red wine. “This wine is fruity, light in tannins and high in acidity,” Duque says. “This combination works, as the fattiness of the Brie coats your tongue, and it goes with the acidity in the wine. The rind also matches the brightness and the fruitiness of the wine, and I actually enjoyed both with a fresh raspberry.”

Continue reading “For Holiday Pleasures, Try The Easy Pairing Of French Wine With French Cheese”

10 Most Popular French Seafood Dishes

What seafood dishes to eat in France? 10 typical traditional French national and local seafood dishes, original recipes, pairing tips, and the most popular, famous and iconic authentic restaurants with French cuisine. Must try dishes, the ultimate bucket list for seafood lovers.

Moules à la marinière

(Moules marinière)

Moules à la marinière is a classic French dish that consists of mussels cooked in cider or wine-based sauces. The dish is typically made with shallots, garlic, and herbs such as parsley, thyme, and bay leaves, which are sweated in some butter before being combined with white wine or cider.


Fresh mussels are then added to the mixture and cooked until they open up. The dish is usually enhanced with freshly minced parsley, lemon juice and (optionally) mayonnaise or crème fraiche. Simple and flavorful, this mussel dish is typically enjoyed warm with slices of crusty bread and a glass of French wine on the side

SERVE WITH

Baguette

PAIR WITH

Picpoul de Pinet  Savennières  Entre-Deux-Mers  Jasnières  Pouilly-Fumé  Saint-Véran  Witbier

Moules farcies

(Stuffed Mussels)

Moules farcies is a French dish in which mussels are stuffed and baked or grilled. The dish is prepared with mussels, butter, parsley, garlic, shallots, black pepper, nutmeg, parmesan cheese, and breadcrumbs. The butter is combined with garlic, shallots, nutmeg, and pepper.

The mussels are steamed until opened, and the empty halves of the shells are discarded. The butter combination is spooned into each shell, and the mussels are then sprinkled with breadcrumbs and parmesan before being baked or grilled until bubbling.

For the best experience, moules farcies should be sprinkled with parsley before serving it with a crusty baguette on the side, which is used to mop up the melted butter mixture.

SERVE WITH

Baguette

PAIR WITH

Picpoul de Pinet  Sancerre  Tavel

Bourride

Also known as bouillabaisse’s cousin, bourride is a popular fish stew originating from the French region of Languedoc-Roussillon, unlike bouillabaisse, which originated in the city of Marseilles. Most commonly it is made with white fish such as mullet, mackerel, or sea bass, but the original and most traditional recipes primarily include monkfish [ . . . ]  Continue at : 10 Most Popular French Seafood Dishes – TasteAtlas

How To Pair Bordeaux Red Wines With Food

Food Pairing for Red Bordeaux Wines allows for a number of different dishes that serve to compliment and enhance both the food and wine. We take a look at both Left Bank and Right Bank Red Bordeaux Pairings, in addition to the recipes needed to make these delicious and savory dishes.

The Bordeaux region of France is one of the most noteworthy winemaking regions in the entire world.  It’s prized by both wine aficionados and newcomers alike due to its rich flavor, complexity, and refined characteristics.

While both red and white wines are produced in Bordeaux, it’s typically the red blends that are most prized by consumers.

Bordeaux red wines are complex, with rich mineral flavors, earthy tones, and refined red, black & blue fruit. Today, we’ll be looking at the best Bordeaux food pairings & recipes for various styles of Red Bordeaux Wine.

A “Bordeaux” red blend (also called a Claret) is typically made from at least two grape varieties, however, there are up to 5 grape varieties that are approved to be utilized when making red wine in the Bordeaux region. Those grape varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec.

The Best Food Pairing for Bordeaux Red Wines – Left & Right Bank Red Blends

Also worth noting is that there are several sub-regions within the Bordeaux winemaking region of France.  Depending on location, some red wines may be more Cabernet Sauvignon heavy, while others may be more Merlot dominant.  For simplicity’s sake, we’re going to split Bordeaux in two and discuss two typical winemaking styles in the region that most commonly utilized

Continue reading “How To Pair Bordeaux Red Wines With Food”

A Thanksgiving Dinner That Longs for France 

Recipes for a small but still lavish holiday meal.

Between 2008, when I moved with my family to Lyon, and 2013, when we moved back to New York, we celebrated Thanksgiving with a loose confederation of American acquaintances. Many were there because they had fallen in love with a French partner and settled in the city. Some had married people of other nationalities. For us, the city was an appealing mix of what seemed like everyone from everywhere, and no Thanksgiving ever felt simply American, except, possibly, the one we hosted. I had to order a bird well in advance (the French rarely eat turkey in November) and planned an unapologetically kitschy menu, including classics from childhood: marshmallows on sweet potatoes, canned cranberry sauce (which our son Frederick decided was the best food he had tasted in his life), and pumpkin pie made with Carnation condensed milk, bought at the nearby “American” bagel store (where you also found Coke in a bottle, Froot Loops, and Welch’s grape jelly). The pie troubled our French friends: a sweet tart confected from a savory ingredient? They were also uncomfortable with so much cinnamon, a spice that they mysteriously loathed to the point (in one case) of gagging. For many years, our son George didn’t understand why you would add cinnamon to anything.

Our other Thanksgivings never took place on the actual day (Thanksgiving, obviously, is not a French holiday, and on the Thursday in question people work). Our friends Victor (American) and Sylvie (French) hosted one on a Saturday night, buffet style, where French was the principal language spoken. My wife’s friend Bridget hosted another where she provided the turkey and asked guests to provide everything else. The evening was relaxed—no stress about traditions or obligatory dishes or family members in a low-blood sugar moment (although Frederick was disappointed not to have any jellied cranberry)—and featured some extravagant displays of exceptional French cooking. I have trouble remembering the exact dishes, though, because there was also an abundance of fine Beaujolais. (We drove to the dinner; we returned by public transport.) For my part, I arrived with three dishes instead of one, including pumpkin pie made with a butter pastry, a Port sauce for the turkey, and ingredients for whipping up buttery mashed potatoes in the style of the late, great chef Joël Robuchon. My wife has ridiculed me to this day—was I trying to show off? But I had got excited by what France had taught me about cooking, and by the challenge of applying it to traditional American fare. (And I was probably showing off.)

The menu for this year’s Thanksgiving is one I could imagine making if we were in France now, hosting friends. It is also informed by a longing to be there among them. Since leaving Lyon, we have returned to visit every year. This year we didn’t. Also, after we returned to the United States my mother died, and, for my sister and me, her death has changed how we observe Thanksgiving. Always a family holiday, at least theoretically, it is now a family extravaganza, celebrated with as many family members as possible, and with exuberant quantities of food and wine and game-playing and outright jubilation, as if to shout down our buried feelings of sorrow. This year, we, like many others, won’t be seeing those relatives. The menu I’ve devised is a lot for a family of four, and it is lavish (it includes a truffle!), because we’re celebrating nonetheless, and maybe, too, because we want to keep busy and make a lot of noise so that we don’t notice all the people who are not with us. I’ve made food for six, though, just in case a pair of cousins happen, against all odds, to drop by.

French Thanksgiving Dinner

Serves 6, with leftovers

Menu
  • Cranberry Sauce with Banyuls
  • Quince Sauce with Quince Nectar and Calvados
  • Turkey Legs Braised in Red Wine
  • Roasted Turkey Breast with Madeira Sauce and Mushroom-Truffle Stuffing
  • Purée de Pommes de Terre, à la the Late Chef Joël Robuchon
  • Sautéed Fennel with Orange Glaze
  • Brussels Sprouts with Poitrine
  • Pumpkin Pie

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry and quince sauces.
Quince with calvados (left) and cranberry sauce with Banyuls.

Cranberry is one of the great American flavors, and the sauce made from it is perfect with turkey. But it is also perfect with just about anything else you will cook this winter, including scallops, pork roast, even omelets. If kept from being too sweet (there is a tendency in most recipes to counter the fruit’s sharp, sour bite with an excess of sugar), the sauce has a brightness and a zing that are like nothing else you will find easily on a winter plate. It is also naturally gelatinous and surprisingly full in the mouth. It is just an outright happy sauce. Make it in abundance. Make it for now and later and for February. You can store it in containers in the freezer.

The French touch: a bottle of Banyuls and a fresh vanilla pod. Banyuls is one of the several fortified sweet wines that you find in southeastern France. The alcohol is high at 16.5 per cent, it costs fifteen to twenty dollars a bottle, and, like the cranberry, it has bright, zingy flavors. (The cook also found it to be a perfectly sound refreshment while finishing the turkey.) Vanilla is one of the fundamentals of the French palate, and not only in pastry; perhaps only the shallot is more pervasive.

Ingredients
  • 1 lb. fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, whole
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup or more Banyuls wine
Directions

1. Wash cranberries and toss with sugar. Add to a saucepan.
Continue reading “A Thanksgiving Dinner That Longs for France “

Back to Black: The Charcoal Trend in French Cooking

Black Bread

A local baker and a Michelin-starred chef have mastered the dark force of charcoal. Patrice Bertrand finds out more. 

On a beautiful autumn morning, at the market in the picturesque spa village of Montbrun-les-Bains, in the Drôme Provençale, baker Norbert Jouveau cuts a few slices of a deep black-coloured bread in front of a group of intrigued onlookers. He hands out some slices to them, saying, “Taste this. It’s made with vegetable charcoal. It’s delicious and it’s good for your health.” At first sceptical, a woman tastes it, and then says: “It’s really good. I’ll take a loaf!”.

Eye of the Beholder

“It’s often like that,” jokes Norbert. “The visual effect is very important. Sometimes people are first repelled by the colour but when they taste the bread, they quickly change their mind. Charcoal is known for its many virtues: it reduces cholesterol, it regulates intestinal transit and balances kidney function. In addition, it’s good for the breath!” he says.

Norbert started making charcoal bread five years ago, in the tiny village of Curel, near Sisteron, where he also runs a guesthouse called L’Auberge du Vallon des Amoureux (The Lovers’ Valley Inn). “I was curious to use this ingredient,” he says. “I first tested it on myself and I realised that it was very effective for the gastric system. Then I started selling it.

“Of course, the charcoal I use is not the charcoal we use for grilling,” says Norbert, who makes about 30kg or a hundred loaves a week. “It is made from light wood, in my case poplar, which is purified, controlled and does not contain indigestible elements. I use 10g per kilo of flour and mix directly. This is enough to give the bread its black colour. Any less, it does not provide any benefit for digestion and, any more, we get a doughier bread that bakes quite poorly.”

Artisan baker Norbert Jouveau wows market-goers. Photo © Christophe Constant

Marvellous Monochrome

Known since Antiquity for its purifying and digestive properties, vegetable charcoal has recently been making a real comeback in French bakeries, pizzerias and upscale restaurants.

Further north in the Alps, at Le Chabichou-Courchevel, an upmarket Relais & Châteaux resort in the Tarentaise Valley, vegetable charcoal is more about colour. With this ingredient, Stéphane Buron, the chef at its two Michelin-starred restaurant, creates dishes as delicious as they are spectacular-looking.

 

Stéphane Buron uses charcoal to create breathtaking dishes. Photo © Chabichou-Courchevel

“In terms of taste, vegetable charcoal does nothing but, in cooking, I love everything that is monochrome,” he explains. “For example, it allows me to make black truffle tartlets with a thin and crispy charcoal dough. Or tricoloured ravioli of poultry liver, black trumpet mushroom tartlets with black jelly, smoked mozzarella with charcoal in the breadcrumbs.”

Added to this list are, among others, a puffed bread with vegetable charcoal, a fera (local lake fish) foam smoked with Ossetra caviar and black radish cream. The effect is stunning.

Stéphane Buron says: “I have been using charcoal for three years. Before, I used squid ink which has strong colouring power but coagulates and is sticky. However, vegetable charcoal is a completely dry ingredient. You can mix it with bread dough and get beautiful monochrome colours. The customers love it.”

Chef Stéphane Buron. Photo © Chabichou-Courchevel

Source: Back to Black: The Charcoal Trend in French Cooking