Wednesday 23 December 2009
Posted in La France at 16:04
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.)