Festive eats

Author: fraise

Wednesday 23 December 2009, in La France

While at my local supermarket this morning, I noticed they’d put escargots at the end of an aisle. Some French people — not all, many wouldn’t touch them if their lives depended on it — eat snails, more specifically the Burgundy snail, escargot de Bourgogne. They’re usually served in a fragrant butter-based sauce called beurre à la bourguignonne (Burgundy butter), seasoned with garlic, shallots and parsley. I happen to love snails, but have never cooked them at home; they’re for very special occasions. I didn’t buy any today, although I will admit to being tempted. That said, there are better places to buy snails than canned from a supermarket.

Also tempting were the rows and rows of bottles of champagne. This year, however, I’m eschewing my usual bottle of holiday champagne for other wines: Sauternes to go with foie gras (and because I love Sauternes), Blanquette de Limoux brute, Crémant de Loire rosé (pink), and a Côtes du Rhône red. I’ve already had the blanquette, which was delicious. I found it to be smoother and with a better body than champagnes, which are more ethereal.

Living in France, it’s hard to avoid getting to know wines. Over the years I’ve discovered that I like fuller-bodied, earthier wines, which is interesting since my home state of Oregon produces one of the best examples of that taste: Willamette Valley wineries make gorgeous pinot noirs! As for French wines, my favorites are from Burgundy, Rhône, and Patrimonio (in Corsica). While there are Bordeaux wines that I enjoy, generally I like them less; there are several Bordeaux I dislike that other people find very good. As a result, when TV shows or movies have a scene where someone orders a Bordeaux to admiring oohs and aahs, I’m left cold! (Give me a Châteauneuf-du-Pape any day. Or an Eyrie Vineyards or Domaine Drouhin Oregon pinot noir. Help, I’ve become a wine nerd.)

4 responses to “Festive eats”

  1. zuleme Says:

    Merry Christmas, Fraise,
    Zuleme, Harper and Ramona (purrs)

  2. fraise Says:

    Thanks Zuleme! Joyeux Noël to all of you too!
    (I’m about ready to rename Kanoko and Grey “Ball of Mischief” and “Ball of Purr” :) Kidding, of course, but the little one keeps scooting around and getting into things, whereas Grey is just happy to purr!)

  3. delaïdo Says:

    My To Try list now includes Blanquette de Limoux brute and something from Willamette Valley wineries. Thanks for the suggestions!

    I hope you’re enjoying a happy holiday.

  4. fraise Says:

    Definitely try an Eyrie Vineyards pinot noir – they were the first in the valley, are less expensive than Domaine Drouhin Oregon and very good. Some of the other Willamette Valley vineyards can be more of a crapshoot, I’ve tasted some completely bland and/or super-sweet wines at times (especially pinot gris, urgh, I’ll never forget one I tried near Portland where I said “this is grape juice,” and they told me it was “the American style”, yeesh). But I must say, the Domaine Drouhin pinot noir was quite possibly the best wine I’ve ever tasted… it was like exquisite velvet, and with an incredible range.

    The Blanquette de Limoux I had was an Aimery “la bulle de Limoux”. I’d like to try others, I was surprised at how good it was!

    Hope you’re having good holidays too!

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