Archive for ‘Food and Wine’

May 13, 2018

The Quib continues at Esplanade Café

Ok so Saturday we did our errands with the boys always remembering mama we had some thirst so decided to go down south of us to our family favorite Quiberon. So many trips here, it was our best beach and a place to unwind with my family. Today, we are missing one physically, but we came to remember the better days.

The owner is very friendly and talkative and already had a good rapport with us,my wife loved to come here and chat and drink at lunch time. The evening is something else a real meeting place if you are young and restless lol!

It has sports TV all over showing the matches in football/soccer, rugby, basketball, tennis ,motor racing etc all sports are covered. The layout is a tropical place with far away places on posters and deco, from the Pacific to the Caribbean. There is a big terrace given to the big square Esplanade Hoche so therefore the name of the place is l’Esplanade Café. Just steps away from the big beach at Quiberon, Grande Plage. It is ,also, in the middle of the plaza where the big market is held especially on Saturdays until 13h really good one. The city page has info on getting here and telephone; Esplanade Café on Quiberon

We had our usual beers here the Belzebuth beer at 8.5% and accompany by many tapas like dishes from saucissons of many kinds we love the provençal and nature as well as a full line of wonderful cold meats from breton maker Henauf, we love the tuna in basilic or orange etc etc. You ordered the sausages pre cut and the can comes with a basket of slice bread and spoon to put it on your slice from the jar of paté, terrines etc.

Quiberon

Belzebuth pint at Esplanade Cafe

All while viewing the square buzzle with people coming and going to the beach. This is the city on beaches so many so nice one but we prefer the big one at Grande PlageBeaches at Quiberon

Quiberon

Grande Plage Quiberon

The official site for the brasserie Goudale de la Belzebuth, Brasserie Goudale

For a popular place on the beach, the prices are reasonable and the company even better. The owner has been good to us as we have gotten beer mugs from the favorite Belzebuth beers 6 of them for free. My late wife was so happy to get this gesture to us.

Quiberon

menu carte Esplanade Café

We love to come here and do often, it is about 45 minutes from our house and if we were closer probably would visit even more often. I post a lot and usually leave it to the wind for those to come, this is one of the few places I will definitively tells you to come when in the area.

We had our couple pints and the usual munchies and left, free parking for an hour and then is metered at Vazquez parking where the market is held but we come just at the end to get the parking here. You have other car parkings but we love our place du Vazquez; here is the city on parking in English: car parks Quiberon

This is a pdf map you can print it at home: map parking Quiberon

The route by car is sublime as this is a peninsula of  Quiberon, and the passage by the wild coast or côte sauvage is fantastic. Part of the wonders of my area just south of me about 45 minutes by car I said, lovely, and plenty of family memories especially thinking of my Frenchie who is still with us in ashes at home.

Enjoy your Sunday, and remember, happy travels,good health,and many cheers to you all.

May 9, 2018

The wine news of France!

What better way to start my regular posts in my blog than talking about a favorite of mine all my life. The wines if you tap wines in my search front page you will see the history of my involvement with it. There has been some good news and interesting facts about it lately.

First, on this day May 8 1945 WWII ended in Europe and it is celebrated here in France as a holiday, so we are all off and some use the bridge on Monday too. Then May 10 Thursday is Ascension Day off and the bridge off on Friday 11th; a great long week.

A great men of wine I have followed for several years and enjoyed his wines is Bernard Magrez, owner of four Grands Crus Classés in Bordeaux, and about 40 other domains in the world. Taking aim at developing new vineyards and also to take position in new territories. Recently, he purchase the Château de Sartre and its 33 hectares in the appellation Pessac-Léognan. The castle was owned by the Perrin family, and produces 140000 bottles two thirds red and one third white each year. Now, it will allow Bernard Magrez to offer a complete line of Pessac-Léognan wines of high quality such as Château Pape Clément, Clémentin, the second wine and now Château Le Sartre of which the bottle price sits around 18€ in France. This latest purchase will allow a domaine of land of 54 hectares in the Haut-Médoc bordering his other property the Château La Tour Carnet that has itself 180 hectares. The idea is to increase the production of the second wine of La Tour Carnet. He had also made an acquisition of a property of 1,5 hectares in Pomerol as well to add to his portfolio which includes one hectare of Châteauneuf-du-Pape as well as a sign promise to developed wine in the country of Georgia. More here: http://www.bernard-magrez.com/en

A bit on the outlook for the year 2017 wines from several sources I use. Last April 20/21 and later April 27/28 there were very cold temperatures in the Pessac-Léognan area going down to -3C and even lower in the Médoc at -5C. The grapes were so advance that the bunches were not only burned by the cold but also some early developing bunches of grapes too. The return to Spring in May allowed the flowering to be fast and unison as well as the heat of June helps the growth of the vines in the areas touch by the cold weather. The conditions were very helpful especially to the white grapes varieties such as the Sauvignon blanc that started in August 16 under the sun, a record of early heat and those of Sémillon were extended to September 15. The reds the situation is more unique as the merlots early ripers got the full of the precipitations of early September, and the harvest in many needed to be advance to avoid the rotten phenomenon.  The Cabernet Sauvignons the maturation is slower and were help by the return of the dry and sunny weather from September 20th and were able to be harvest in good conditions.

Finally, the consensus is that 2017 will produce very yummy , fresh, and cracking wines with a lot of body. OF course, the quality is not for all. On the left bank or rive gauche north of Médoc the wines were spare the cold, such as Saint-Estéphe, Pauillac and Saint Julien will get very good wines.  The situation is mix in the Margaux with a quality production and some wines bearing the effect of the cold with vegetable notes and hard tannins. It is the same with more important proportions in Listrac and Moulis . More on the south, at Pessac-Léognan we have a double situation; Pessac was spare but not Léognan.  The appellation gives excellent whites even more superiors than 2015 or 2016, while the reds are ok on the properties save from the cold. On the right bank or rive droite, the situation is more complex. The grand crus were little impacted by the climatic incidents of April , except the area between Figeac and Cheval-Blanc. Pomerol had a double vintage with great wines on the plains but those properties in the beltway of the appellation had less luck.

The world wine production was affected by the climatic waves in Europe and had a reduction of 8,6% in 2017. This is their lowest level in the last 60 years! Total production was 250 millions hectoliters against 273M in 2016 according to the numbers provided by the International wine organization in French OIV. In Italy, the first world producer it came down 17% in value and 19% in France the second producer due to the cold spell in the Bordeaux area, but also, Charentes, Jura ,and the Alsace pain in third place went down 20% as ell while the USA came down only 1%, been the 4th world producer . China going up to the 7th world position just behind Australia, and Argentina. The best movers were in Latin America with an increase of 25% in Argentina and a reduction of 6% in Chile (9th world producer).  However, the consumption of wine was stable with about 243 million hectoliters in 2017, against 242 millions in 2016. Here in world consumption the USA is first with 32,6 million hectoliters in front of France with 27 millions (bear in mind the total country population) On the export market, Spain is in first place with 20,5% of the market while France is first in value amount worldwide with 9 million euros exported.  The total world exports figures were 107,9 million hectoliters in 2017 and increase of 3,4% from 2016, and a value of 30,4 million euros or 4,8% increase from 2016.

More reading on the above here: http://www.oiv.int/en/oiv-life/oiv-2017-report-on-the-world-vitivinicultural-situation

Coming up. Onjune 6 2018, the most prestigious houses of Champagne will be in Paris on the tastings Grands Champagnes pour l’éte or great champagnes for summer.At the rive gauche of Paris in the heart of the neighborhodd of Saint Germain des Prés in the renovated HotelLutetia finding itself on the luxury ranks and a new chapter in its history. Gorgeous hotel had dine and drank at the bar there. The event hours start from 20h. Hôtel Lucetia 47 boulevard Raspail 6éme. A cheese buffet will be available to accompany the tastings admission for 39€ . There will be Champagne Castelnau , Champagne Cattier, Champagne Charles Heidsieck, Champagne Drappier, Champagne Gosset, Champagne Henriot,Champagne Joseph Perrier,Champagne Lanson,Champagne Laurent-Perrier,Champagne Moutard,Maison Mumm,Champagne Perrier-Jouet ; Champagne Philipponnat ;Champagne Piper-Heidsieck; Champagne Pol Roger Champagne Ruinart, Champagne Tattinger, Champagne Thienot, Champagne Veuve Clicquot , and Champagne Waris Larmandier. Just in time for the reopening of the hotel; more info here: https://www.hotellutetia.com/en

Tom Sullivan , an American story in purchasing the Château Gaby in Fronsac just over the Médoc in Bordeaux. The vineyards descend to the Dordogne river. There he and his wife owns a mansion that they enjoy spending time in . In little time Mr Sullivan has acquired four properties there, The Château Gaby appellation Canon Fronsac, also Château Moya appellation Castillon côtes de Bordeaux, Château du Parc, appellation Saint Emilion Grand cru and Auguste appellation Bordeaux Supérieur all in bio or in the process of conversion. All total about 20M euros in investments for this American millionaire who has made his fortune in the parquet and removable energies as well as real estate in Florida. The commercial strategy is to sell his wines in the UK and the USA/Canada markets only. He finds the wines from Napa very tannic and pre fabricated so he turns to France and especially the Bordeaux. He was looking to invest there but found the prices too high.  Today, 90% of his 320K bottles are produce in his properties in France and the wines are exported with good recognition in the USA especially on the west coast but also in Miami and New York. Do not know let me know readers please. One property is here Gaby: https://www.chateaugaby.com/

With my curiosity for wines, I have spent quite some time in the Luxembourg country.  There I have come to know very good bottles . The country produces about 6 million liters of wine in 2016 (last figures I got) , it has about 1280 hectares of vineyards and 42 km long of planting going from the famous Schengen to Wasserbillig all along the Moselle river. I was by the town of Remich name the pearl of the Moselle for its wines and scenery; but my best impression was the bubbly or sparkler (cannot be call Champagne) at Grevenmacher and the Caves Bernard Massard. Worth a detour and pretty town we visited with the family a short while back (search)it here: https://www.bernard-massard.lu/fr/

And if in France and need a quick wine, any prices and good advice search no more go to my reliable Nicolas stores all over France. I have a customer for years and never a problem or bad wine; the local store in Vannes is very friendly and so is the one in Lorient. The fair on them on the 2016 year is here. https://www.nicolas.com/fr/Notre-selection/Bons-Plans/c/1101/?q=%3Arelevance%3AmadeInCountryCode%3AFRANCE%3Avintage%3A2016&text=#

And if on this neck of the woods a local one with stores in Guérande, Vannes and Plescop (we go here) is the Les Chais Saint François, good advice and bigger selection too. More here: http://www.leschaissaintfrancois.com/nos-magasins/ploeren/

And finally, one wine.  While in 1815, the the cards of the kingdom of France were done by Cassini and on No 58 the review on Narbonne and its surrounding there was an auberge with the name of La Cendrillon; in the 17C Charles Perrault give it famous to the oral legend with a book play on the little princess (Cinderella). The Juyeux family owns it since 1750 just south of the Orbieu river and north of the village of Ornaisons, the owners dream of making it one day with the mention of Grand Cru on the bottles to make due the name of Corbiéres. Here they have good name neighbors such as the Boutenac, Caraguilhes, La Voulte Gasparets, Ollieux Romanis, Villemajou, and the closest neighbor Fontfroide, all very good names of wines here. Here you must taste the Classique a blending of Grenache, syrah and mourvédre fruity with long on the mouth. The bottles are only sold at maturity. Do find it and try wherever you are, red corbiéres 2014 16,50€ the bottle at La Cendrillon. More here: https://www.lacendrillon.fr/en/the-story/

Enjoy in moderation but do drink it, it is heavens. Happy travels good health and many cheers to all. Life goes on now stronger and more closer than ever.

April 30, 2018

Travels in Rabelaisie; François Rabelais!

So on this long weekend, let me tell you about something personal. I love wines and drinking them, and also ,the French literature like one of my favorites François Rabelais. And now he is so close to me, past by it and stop of course several times, drinking on the road such evangelists tell you is not good, but with a prudent men it is always a tradition worth keeping. In Vino Veritas!!!

Chinon

chateau de Chinon from across the Vienne river

Chinon

view of city from castle of Chinon

A bit on Rabelais I like

It all began near Chinon in the Loire Touraine area in the middle of vineyards and where the waters of the Vienne river meet the Loire river.  It was here in the end of the 15C in a farmhouse called “La Devinière”,(now a museum to his memory) attached to the parish of Seuilly and close by the abbey of Sully that came to our world  a literary genious call François Rabelais.  He offered the world the picturesque and funny stories of Pantagruel that his father Gargantua brought from the women Badebec, daughter of the king of the Amaurotes in Utopia. His books gave a tremendous popular following which was not to please the theologians of the Sorbonne in Paris. François Rabelais was accused of heresy and his book prohibited.  We have to say that François Rabelais was a humanist and his stories accompany the movement of the thinkers born in Italy and that marked the Renaissance. A humanism that the Church denounce as pagan.

Who is this guy? François Rabelais (aka Alcofribas Nasier, an anagram of François Rabelais, or that of  Séraphin Calobarsy) was a French writer of the humanism of the Renaissance period , born in 1483 or 1494 according to the theories and died in Paris on April 9 1553. His infant years was spent in a bourgeois level benefitting of a medieval schooling such as the Trivium (grammar, rhetoric, dialective etc) and Quadrivium (math, geometry, music and astronomy etc) . According to the accounts of history, Rabelais starts as a Franciscan in the convent of the Baumette before joining that of Puy Saint-Martin in Fontenay-le-Comte.  While writing articles not to much to the liking of the Church he gets a waver by Pope Clement VII to have permission to entered the Benedictine order of monks.  At the Abbey of Saint-Pierre-de-Maillezais, he meets the bishop  Geoffroy d’Estissac prelate name by king François I. The bishop d’Estissac takes Rabelais as his secretary and under his protection.  Rabelais takes a trip to Paris in 1528 or 1530 to study medicine as well as his first love relationship with a widower that makes him father of two children in 1540.

Chinon

Francois Rabelais from wikimedia commons

By September 1530 he entered the Medical faculty of Montpellier where he received a bachelor degree in six weeks in the spring of 1532. He then goes to Lyon a great cultural center where the library business is booming. By November 1st he is name doctor of the hospital of Hôtel Dieu de Notre Dame de la Pitié du Pont du Rhône where he works in intervals.

The book of Pantagruel come out in 1533 was an immediate success as well as an almanac Pantagrueline Prognostication that makes fun of the superstitions. The bishop of Paris ordered Rabelais in 1534 as his secretary and doctor while he was on a trip to Rome for serious business of convincing Pope Clement VII not excommunicate king Henri VIII.  The re edition of Pantagruel in 1534 is accompany by various orthographical ,syntax and typographical corrections and very innovating at the times , and shows the fight against the Sorbonne.

By January 1536, on a brief of Pope Paul III authorized Rabelais to reach the Benedictine monastery of his choice and the exercise of medicine so he joined the Abbey of Saint Maur de Saint Maur des Fossées. By 1540, Rabelais departs for Torino Italy while on the same year the Pope Paul III declares legitimes his sons François and Junie born out of wedlock.  By September 1545 , Rabelais is given a privilege for the printing of Tiers Livre (third book) edited in 1546 by Chrestien Wechel that he signed with his own name; the theologies of the Sorbonne condemned him for heresy. By March 1546, Rabelais escapes from France  until 1547 or early 1548 in Metz at the time an imperial free town. He entered at the service of the city as doctor and adviser living by Estienne Lorens in the district of the Old town, the building still has his name. The Quart Livre  (fourth book)  still has souvenirs of this stay in Metz by introducing the language of the town, his costumes, and city stories like the Graoully. By 1551, Cardinal du Bellay bequest on Rabelais the priesthood of Saint Martin de Meudon and of Saint Christophe du Jambet. Rabelais does not lived in Meudon but maybe in Paris or in the castle of Saint Maur.

In 1548, eleven chapters of the Quart Livre are published and by 1550 Rabelais is given by the King the right to print all his works without been copy or reproduce without his approval (sort of the first copyrights ruling ).  At the same time, the printing controls becomes stricter and the law of Chateaubriand gives the rise on one of its clauses that every book printed a copy needs to go to the library of prohibited books by the Sorbonne. And of course, the three novels of Rabelias are on the list.  This prohibition does not stop the circulation of works benefiting of a Royal privilege. The integral version of the Quart Livre out in 1552 has a dedication letter by Odet de Châtillon thanking for his support.

On January 7 1553 , Rabelais  stop his treatment, he died in Paris in a house on the street or rue des Jardins-Saint-Paul (reach on metro line 1 Saint Paul or Line 7 Pont Marie or even line 7 Sully-Morland), there is a commemoration plaque on the street.  His death gives way to several stories and rumors  such as saying like « Je n’ai rien, je dois beaucoup, je donne le reste aux pauvres » something like I have nothing I give a lot, and the rest I give to the poor’s or this other one  « Tirez le rideau, la farce est jouée » something like bring down the curtains the farce is played.  He is buried at the old cemetery of the Church of Saint Paul des Champs in Paris. The Church is now call St Paul St Louis ,however, some parts of the old Church still can be seen, like part of the bell tower you can still see in the house of no 32 rue Neuve Saint Pierre at the corner of rue Saint Paul. The cemetery was closed in 1791 with many bodies in the wells some executed during the French revolution. The body of Rabelais is there below the houses that were built later, and never care to find his and others remains.

You can come and see his museum (farmhouse birth)  in plain Touraine vineyards here: http://www.musee-rabelais.fr/

To recap his most famous works and I love them all!

Pantagruel published in 1532, the publishing under the name of Alcofribas Nasier and some estimates it was published in 1533-34 or even 1535.  The déuxiéme livre or Gargantua is a follow up on the first one. Published in 1546 under his real name with the benefits of king François I and Henri II for the 1552 edition of Tiers Livre. The first edition of Quart Livre came out in 1548 with eleven chapters and many typos, the book printed by Michel Fezandat tells of the trip of Pantagruel and his friends to questioned the sayings of the Dive Bouteille.  By 1562 after his death it came out in the L’Isle Sonnante a partial edition of Cinquiéme livre (fifth book) that had 16 chapters. There was another version of 47 chapters coming out two years later. There is a manusciprt well preserve in the National Library or Bibliothéque Nationale ; since the 17C the authencity of these documents has always been questioned.

The information on the books , publications and history of François Rabelais in French is at the National Library site here: http://classes.bnf.fr/dossitsm/b-rabela.htm

And, of course, been in wine country Touraine, Loire, Rabelais finally comes to mind the title of my post. The information in French is here:  Chinon has the travels of Rabelais: http://www.chinon.com/voyagez-en-rabelaisie/

First, the area I am talking about is one I passed several times and get my wines from, at least most of them. One of the oldest AOC in France that of Chinon from 1937 covering 26 towns, 2400 hectares of vineyards, 2300 of those planted with Cabernet Franc, 74 ha with Chenin Blanc, a total of 173 winemakers producing 13 million bottles of wine each year with about 1,3 million exported of which 50% to the United States (my figures from 2015).

Chinon

map appellation Chinon from the syndicat de vins de Chinon Touraine

The vineyards are about 8 towns of the Rabelais spirit on the left bank of the Vienne river including his birthplace area of Seuilly that are all in the Chinon AOC wine denomination area.  One of the most ardent defender of this Rabelaisiens and Chinon is the Domaine or Château Joguet (my favorite buy a must to buy) own by Anne-Charlotte Genet ,that has the bottles since 1957 decorated with the Rabelais. The humanism in a bottle with 550 hectares of vineyards. Here the Vienne river cuts the appellation in two while the Loire river helps with the climate escaping the clouds…

Here the black grapes do battle even if minorities providing 17% of the red wine in other areas, while at Chinon itself they do 85% of the production, later Rosé and only 3% of whites.  Fruity , gourmand wines simple and well digest and limited keeps. The underground cellars of the Chateau de Chinon are huge and at 12C constant they can be visited. The dominant grape here is the Cabernet Franc fleuron after WWI in the area producing from it wines of fine tannins, ripe as well.  The tradition continues thanks to the amazing fraternity of wine lovers of Rabelais or the Entonneurs Rabelaisiens webpage here: http://www.entonneurs-rabelaisiens.com/

Some biased choices, sorry, but they are good seek them out and tell me what you think.

Domaine Charles Joguet Clos de la Dioterie 2015 32€  here rated 18.5 /20!! absolute a must trust me.Only 2 hectares here but sublime bio cultivation; and les Charmes 2014 is awesome; anecdote Charles Joguet is a painter but seldom does interviews;in the property you can see his paintings which are well known .

Chinon

domaine Charles Joguet and its wines in Chinon

Another one Beatrice and Pascal Lambert ,La Croix Boissée 2014 , 20€ 18.5/20 bio in chalk lands black grape with minty and sweet spices it can be keep as the one above. For all budgets, Jourdan et Pichard , Les 3 Quartiers 2014,from parcels over 50 years old in bio too, mint coffee, muscadet nuts very nice at 15€ 16,5/20. Domaine Eric Hérault, La Poiteviniére 2016 10€ 16/20, high in the quaint town of Panzoult near the castle of Chinon, strawberries, black olives, and liquorice. All good!!

A webpage with properties information in the region, in English, have it on Chinon: http://uk.vignobles-chinonbourgueilazay.com/cellars-wines/chinon

Enjoy the Touraine, a lot more than castles I am telling you ::) Happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all. Life goes on.

 

 

April 20, 2018

How about the history and things in Jerez de la Frontera!

Here we are again with a piece of my beloved Spain. This is deep Spain, in fact when visitors comes to Spain or hear about it, what they really see / hear is Andalucia. Not bad to wandered around Spain, as we say Spain is everything under the sun ::)

I came here to see the history as told abroad with the famous sherry ,horses,  and flamenco all in one, mind you as Spanish these are not my traditions been from Tenerife. However, all refer to Spain with these Andalucian treasures. So, therefore, lets talk about Jerez de la Frontera.

Jerez de la Frontera is in the province of Cadiz, autonomous region of Andalucia ; frontera comes from the frontier between moors nazari Granada and the Crown of Castilla. Only about 12 km from the Atlantic ocean and 85 km from the Gibraltar strait. It can describe in four words, wine/sherry ,horse, flamenco and motorcycles. The city is known for centuries as the capital of wine or sherry. Another trait is the horse or cartucian horse or jerezano a line of the andalucian horse from the 15C. The city is also known as the birthplace of Flamenco. The motorcycle Grand Prize of Spain is run here along the neighboring El Puerto de Santa Maria.

The name of Jerez is from the denomination Xera of the Phonecians in the area where the city id found today; later the Roman called it Ceret or Seret and after the  Visigoths it was called Seritium or Xeritium. After the Moorish invasion it was called Sherish and when the kingdom of Castilla took Jerez in 1264 the city came to be known as Xerez, and later added de la Frontera as it was in the frontier with the kingdom of Granada. It is said the origins go back to the city of Asta Regia founded by the Tartessos at about 8 km from the current location and could have been their capital. After the discovery of new world and the conquest of Granada in 1492 Jerez goes thru a tremendous growth period with trade with nearby ports of Sevilla and Cadiz. This made that king Felipe II ordered built a navigable estuary so the ships can reach the port in the city such as El Portal to the city of Guadalete,and that the city was included amongst the 480 cities of the world part of the  Civitates Orbis Terrarum  or panoramic cities of the world. By 1890, Jerez  was the first city to have public electricity at least for the lighting together with Haro in La Rioja . From the 17C, time where Sherry was famous all over the world, many British companies settled here such as Garvey, Gonzalez Byass, William & Humbert as well as Spanish Bearn such as Domecq; the strong close link to the  British remained constant.

I have written a piece in my blog a while back and will remind you to see the more touristic side of it here: My post on Jerez de la Frontera

Then, the city of Jerez has excellent information in Spanish here: Jerez city info on heritage

Tourist office of Jerez de la FronteraTourist office of Jerez de la Frontera

Tourism in the province of Cadiz on Jerez de la Frontera: Cadiz Province tourism

Some of the things to see from a religious standpoint are huge, some of my favorites are:

Convento de San José, now housing Franciscans Clarisas descalzas or no shoes ; Capilla de los Desamparados, Capilla de San Juan de Letràn, Capilla del Calvario, Convento de Madre de Dios, very good pastries here!!! with sisters of the Franciscans Clarisas , Church Madre de Dios (mother of God) Sanctuary San Juan Grande, Church of Santa Ana, and Capilla de Santa Marta.

The city has several castles/palaces some in not so good shape, again many, so my favorites are:

Palacio, Duke of Abrantes, here is the home of the Royal school of Andalucian Equestrian art. By the nice Plaza Benavente you have the Palacio de Camporreal, and Palacio de Bertemati, Palacio de Riquelme, 16C, Palacio Domecq baroque style built in 1778 with Italian red marble and decorated arches. Palacio Dàvial renaissance style, in the Plaza Rafael Rivero come to see the Palacio de Luna (moon palace) baroque style built 1777. Palacio Pemartin, home of the Flamenco Andalucian center. Palacio de Villavicencio inside the Alcàzar, the curious can see now a store but this is the Palacio del Marqués de Villamarta in Calle Larga! At the Calle Pozuelo see the Palacio del Conde de los Andes; Casa Palacio de los Ponce de Léon, now the home of the sisters of the Savior ; in the Plaza de Belén see the Palacio de los Condes de Montegil, and the unique Casa de los Basurto built between the 16C and 19C is now part of the Bodegas Domecq sherry house.  Plenty more I told lots of palatial homes here.

There are several museum spread all over the city, my favorites are:

The Archeological museum or Museo Arqueologico in nice Plaza del Mercado with a corinthian center unique in the western world found near the Cartuja and the Guadalete river. Museos de la Atalaya, includes the mystery of Jerez (wine museum) and the Palacio del Tiempo ( watches museum). Museo Taurino on the bullfights and matadors! The Museum of the Andalucian costumes :dresses or Museo del Traje Andaluz. A unique museum for all is the Museo de la Fundacion Espinosa de los Monteros, with guitars, and musical instruments on strings; interesting indeed.

Some other interesting building in my opinion worth a detour are: City hall or ayuntamiento in Renaissance style. The Zoo and botanical garden, Alcazar old arab fortress and as mentioned inside it has the Palacio de Villavicencio and a hidden camera; as well as the ramparts walls with pieces of it on several streets, open or encrusted in buildings today.

Jerez de la Frontera

walls tower of the Alcazar

And of course other then the horse, the best to come here is the sherry , or Jerez; in many forms. Many houses but in my opinion the best from a historical , architectural and wine perspectives are:

The Gonzalez Byass (visited), Domecq (visited), Grupo Garvey, Williams & Humbert, Sanchez Romate (visited), bodegas Lustau, and Bodegas Tradicion with wine cellars from 1666. Other aspects of a visit to this city is the vineyards festival or Fiestas de la Vendimia, celebrated since 1848, oldest in Spain, the first foot step of the grape is done the first 15 days of September. Another huge event here is Holy Week or Semana Santa, the biggest in Andalucia! with 42 processions averaging six per day, and several nativity scenes in town. The Festival de Flamenco de Jerez is considered the best in the world​ by many and including the prestigious Flamenco magazine, Flamenco magazine

Jerez de la  Frontera

Domecq and the horse Casimiro in the patio of the house

Jerez de la Frontera

Gonzalez Byass bodega los Apostoles barrel aging

There you go a full version on Jerez de la Frontera, Province of Cadiz, autonomous region of Andalucia, Kingdom of Spain. Enjoy your visit here, it is all worth it; happy travels, good health, and many cheers!!! and Weekend is here again lol!

February 25, 2018

The shopping in Vannes, market and else!

I  have written several articles on market shopping especially in my new area of the Morbihan Breton. They never stop amazing my family, we just simply love them. We do most of our food shopping in them, and the misc extra in the supermarket.

Yesterday and today morning (Saturday and Sunday) we did some wonderful shopping in our capital city of Vannes; where most of the shopping is located, and I work just outside in a castle ruins (1504) complex.

We get up and go by 9h and always find parking at the parking République that for less than 3 euros a day will do nicely across the market.  Down across rue Thiers we head to rue Le Hellec into the place du Poids Public , a great space of delicious goodies. Also, many stores like bakeries, butcher, fish market and the wonderful Halle aux Poissons fish hall now under renovations. Right into the Place de la Poissonnerie/rue de la Poissonnerie. This goes back into rue Saint Vincent,now under renovation of the brick stones on the street.

Vannes Vannes

However, the best is to go up from Place du Poids Public into the Place des Lices; another wonderful square full of shops even Belgian chocolates, souvenirs of Brittany, and fish canning store,not to mention anything to outfit your family and house.  This continues into the Place Lucien Laroche with stands all over.

We got our mangos, avocados, raspberries, bananas, red/green peppers, clementine, dates, prunes, and next door to the stand a farmer’s hen roasted to perfection. Salads greens, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin.

In my opinion is the best market in Brittany and we have been to all if not most of them already. Very well can match our beloved market of Notre Dame in Versailles… and that is saying a lot ::) The market here in Vannes are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8h to 13h30 ; the city page in French has better information for the open air market or “Marchés de plein air” ;  http://www.mairie-vannes.fr/vannesdecouverte/marches/

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And as the link above tells you in “Halles”, there is a wonderful covered market that is open every day with over 30 merchants inside. This is the Halles des Lices as it is right in the Place des Lices; the back street is the ramparts of the old town.  The hours here change with some holidays ,but usually they are open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays (until 19h), and Sundays from  8h- 14h, closed Mondays.

We had here our oysters and shrimp on the Les Viviers des lices in the covered market Halles des Lices, nice folks, the oysters were open for us !!! Here they are in the webpage for the covered market under Poissonneries ; http://www.halles-des-lices.fr/   If you are staying in the area and need to buy already done even cook to order, the contacts are here:  David LANAU Tel mob +33 (0) 6 64 19 60 50; E-mail :lesviviersdeslices@orange.fr

We, also,got our breads au fournil Breton in the covered market slices to order with sesame seeds! and of course the baguette!

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Right behind the Cathedral St Pierre (St Peter) at 4 rue des Chanoines you have a wonderful store for home decorations and furniture  with 300 m2 of space of changing modes according to season, call simply NOX; more on the store here: https://noxdeco.com/vannes/

Another nice one we go and long time here is Olivier Desforges at 22 rue Saint Vincent right by the market.  The accessories for the house from towels to linen, all tops. More even in English here: https://en.olivierdesforges.fr/storelocator/vannes-14.html

Another for home deco we like is L’échoppe at 15 rue des Halles off the place des lices into a laberinth of middle ages wooden houses! lamps,sofas, furniture in general, table décor in an ali baba bazaar (their words). More here: http://www.lechoppevannes.fr/

We came back on way home to finish our shopping in our favorite hypermarket Carrefour at Avenue de la Marne, where we purchased the misc groceries like papers, cleaners, shampoos etc webpage here: http://www.carrefour.fr/magasin/vannes

And just recently with even a Facebook page lol!!! https://www.facebook.com/centrecommercialvannes/

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Now ,we do eat most of the time out. We did stop to try a new place here for us. Columbus Café, I figure from the name it had an international feeling for it, but is a complete French chain. The one in Vannes is very nice , right on rue du Mené and right next to a couple usual stores for us , Monoprix department store !, and Bouchara (old eurodif stores) home deco stores. Their local links to follow.

https://www.bouchara.com/boutiques/vannes

https://www.monoprix.fr/mono-vannes-vannes-56000-s

vannes Vannes

More on Columbus Café; the service was very nice,and the products of high quality and reasonable price. We had our old time favorite pastrami bagel sandwich, a huge chuck of raspberry cheesecake and coca cola, we each had different menus, we end up with a huge mocha coffee all came to about 12.50€ per person. There are square tables by the counter area and then lounge low tables and seat on a side room all facing the street. We sat on a window facing the Monoprix store. Their official webpage is here: http://www.columbuscafe.com/columbus-cafe-vannes/

And,also, a good Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/columbuscafevannes/

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Some other nice places to eat I can tell you here are the Lecocq & Folks restaurant at 5 rue Saint Vincent ,almost at the foot of the gate or porte Saint Vincent to entered old town. This is a bistronomic style restaurant held by brother and sister! Here is their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/LeComptoirVannes/

You have the Di’Vin, at 15 bis rue Noé right by the place du poids public in a wooden house  very fesh cuisines and great deco on the old town quaint place. http://www.restaurant-divin-vannes.fr/

Moulin du Roy at 14 place Gambetta ,just outside the Porte Saint Vincent facing the port marina , the Breton cuisine with burgers and chip and fish and great people watcher place ! http://www.lemoulinduroy.fr/

Next to it is the L’Atlantique, facing the  port marina Le Port, and a seafood lovers heaven !!!https://www.facebook.com/Restaurant-latlantique-vannes-345170025543195/

Anna & Paul, 23 place du Général de Gaulle, in the old town section too near the government building prefecture, this is a couple and the name is after their kids. very homey welcome and good food, most is made in house, and good prices for a gourmand dinner or lunch. http://annaetpaul.com/

Bibovino at 18 Emile Burgault right up in old town on the way to the Cathedral. Great combination of food and wines!  Wonderful planchas of seafood, and great wines choices. https://www.bibovino.fr/content/45-bibovino-vannes

And of course, if coming my homey way then come to the winner (recognize by TF1 French tv as one of the best deals) The Crêperie du Château in a castle yes Château de Rimaison right at the entrance to my town entrance by the 7 rue de Landaul, Pluvigner. Great galettes Breton, beers and cider of the country all especially chosen by the owners who are from Vannes ! http://lacreperieduchateau.blogspot.fr/

And the Chateau info here: http://chateauderimaison.blogspot.fr/

There you go, a wonderful day and is not over yet. Wishing you and yours a happy Sunday, happy travels and especially great health. Cheers!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 18, 2018

Salon des Vins et de la Gastronomie , Vannes 2018

Here we have another year and another wonderful food and wine fair at Vannes. This is touted here as the Salon Vins et Gastronomie, and this year proves to be an even bigger success, this is the 26th edition.

Vannes Vannes

For this edition it was once again the opportunity to meet some of the providers we shop while in our adventurous ways thru the French countryside and some new ones met here. You have the real France here nothing industrial, supermarket type but the real deal straight from the farms and the artisans who produces the marvelous things we all came to know France for and still is. You have them here from different regions all defending their land and product. The Salon is open February 17-18-19 from 10h to 19h except Monday to 18h. Admission is 5€ or 4€ if purchase on the internet; once you receive and invitation from a producer is free as it is for us. All is held at the exposition center Chorus in the parc du golfe of Vannes; webpage for the event here:  http://www.lechorus.com/salon-des-vins-et-de-la-gastronomie

We were there Saturday morning at about 11h15, and right away got into a sweets /sugar pastries shop by renown pâtissier or pastry maker Alain Chartier who has store in city center Vannes as wall as pastrychef school and teams up worldwide with many organisations as well as French chocolate maker Valrhona (as in valley of the Rhône). Their webpage is here:  https://fr.valrhona.com/
That of Alain Chartier is here:  https://www.alainchartier.fr/

Pluvigner

There are others sommeliers, local chefs , pastry makers, and cuisine bloggers who will come here too and show their skills and new specialties as well as pots and pans makers! All is to be tasted and tried. Other than Alain Chartier, the group Caravin of wine stores also will present their wine tasting techniques. All of this is included in the admission price.

France Ouest newspaper of western France ,publish several different forms of cooking, drinking experimenting with the Breton cuisine in mind, and this is the magazine Bretons en Cuisine, that is also given away during the presentations to the lucky winners by answering questions from the chefs. And you can follow the magazine newspaper in Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/BretonsEnCuisine/

We got in right away with free producer’s passes, and got our tasting glasses which you can rent for one euro return the glasses gets your money back, however, we always keep them as souvenirs, they are real wine tasting glasses. We , also, take a hand trolley  you give an id they keep it you return the lift you get your id back, simple. And you are ON!

The salon is set up in aisles mixing food stands, sweets, and wine tastings presenters, on the right side wall you have the food court where you can eat and or bring what you buy to eat on tables. At the end back , you have the presentations , and the pans and pots stand.  All will make you buy the whole darn expo center !!!

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We went to our regular of many years and even have visited in their locale, this is the Maison Gastellou originally from Saint Jean Pied de Port in French Basque country. Wonderful Bayonne hams, sausages, and ready made sandwiches of Bayonne ham and ewe milk cheese. Also , the famous basque cake and jellies. WE got them all, spending here alone 235€. For more on this wonderful generational family farm/store here: http://www.maison-gastellou-jambon-de-bayonne.com/

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We came back to see Christel and now his wife Claudine of  the Domaine Cousseau Boireau wonderful rose and red wines of Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil in the Loire valley : This are very good wines at affordable prices (who said French wine is expensive?) the wines here are from 5-8 euros per bottle all made from Cabernet Franc for the red and rosés.  Here is some info on these farm workers and the photo is that of Christel ; http://www.stnicolasdebourgueil.fr/en/61/winemakers/winemaker/domaine-cousseau-boireau.html

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We stop by an old reliable Domaine de Lamothe, Gaillac red , whites, roses, moelleux etc . The story here is that on my wife’s father side they are cathars from this region, Lavaur, Toulouse, Gralheut, Montans, Gaillac, and the family used to sent us this wine to us back while living in the Florida. We came to live permanently in France in 2003, and got this wine in the property with the owners directly that knew the family; now here at Vannes their daughter is send to showcase the wines of the property. Of course, we got a caseload of dry whites and old vines red.  They are direct no webpage this is the essence of France and Gaillac wines from Independent growers: https://www.tourisme-vignoble-bastides.com/degustation/domaine-de-lamothe-sainte-cecile-du-cayrou

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We try a new find, closer to us get to know the neighborhood.  A while back we stopped by Saumur and tasted their wines on site (always better than away on a bottle ::)) They turn out to be pretty good and good prices. Here at the salon we stopped by Domaine Sanzay, and were pleasantly surprise by their Domaine 2016 and Vielles Vignes reds of the appellation Saumur-Champigny. Thy were there with the owners Didier and Céline, and the property can be visited and tastings done on site as well. The webpage here in English:  http://www.domaine-sanzay.com/vins.php?categorie=1

We try some saucissons of the Saveurs Catalanes on their stand for the good price and had them before here in Brittany ,in fact they have a depot by Rennes even if the family of he recipe is from Girona Cataluña Spain.  More on them here in French: http://www.saveurscatalanes-keesbo.com/vente-jambon-saucisson-chorizo-salaison-bretagne.aspx

We, also got some nice sticks of chocolates from the Le Comptoir du chocolat who are nearby at Quimper and were in the salon as well; great varieties on the tablets just delicious; more here in French : http://www.comptoir-du-chocolat.com/

We got our dry fruits at the by now usual place who also have a store in Rocheport-en-Terre in the Morbihan 56 (our dept). L’Art Gourmand, and of course here we got a bushful and tastings galore ::) We had them there and we got to meet them up close and personal here at the salon. Here they are on the town tourist office long…. https://www.rochefortenterre-tourisme.bzh/ln/en/know_more/shops_and_services/?tif_r=3facc9a4-f69a-4994-9d28-b7a6ec16df30&L-Art-Gourmand

Vannes

We got out and went to do some household items at the Carrefour hypermarket in Vannes and then to Morbihan Motos as one of my sons got a scooter Mash City and needed a anti theft lock for the insurance.  Our Saturday was booked and very efficiently done. Now relax , tomorrow is Sunday and plenty of goodies to eat and drink! The temps are ok only 11C and even sunny no rain, just perfect for a weekend, oh enjoy yours ,happy travels and well bon appétit,,,,,,,cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

February 13, 2018

Beaune is special for more than wines!

Why not tell you about one of my favorite cities even if rather small it hold it’s charm of Burgundian style ! There are many to see in my belle France, but Beaune is very nice.

Let me start you off with my post on my blog a few years back with info and photos on it.  https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/?s=beaune

Beaune is a Burgundian city located in the department of Côte’d’Or in the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comte. It can be considered as the capital of the burgundy wines. It is ,also, a flower city with four flowers designation and winner of the Gold Medal at the National grand prize in the European floral entente of 2006. The city is recognized as one of Art and History designation in France.

A bit of history as I like it. Beaune was the residence of the dukes of Burgundy until the 14C.
Duke Eudes III of Burgundy allows Beaune to exist as a city since 1203. The famous Hospices de Beaune, tells us that in 1422 Nicolas Rolin was named counselor by Duke Philippe the Good of Burgundy. He marries in 1421 Guigone de Salins that was part of the nobility of the Comte and founded the Hospices of Beaune in 1452 a new religious order was founded the sisters hospitaliers of Beaune .He ,also, ordered the polyptique painting of the Last Judgment by flemish painter Rogier van der Weyden for the Hospice.

The city went thru the revolts of Beaune in favor of Marie of Burgundy vs the King of France Louis XI, the war of religions ; the city was occupied in 1814 by the Austrians fighting Napoleon Ier. The department of the Côte-d’Or was created in 1790 during the French revolution as no 21. The Viti school of agro and vines was created here in 1884. During WWI Beaune is host to the American Expeditionary Force AEF and its 2 millions men in France. In 1918 , the American military hospital was built at the doors of the city with 20K beds one of the most important in Europe The military hospital is transform into an American University , the University of Beaune opened in 1919 with 15K military students and 600 teachers. French troops of the 2nd regiment entered the city and liberated it finally on September 8 1944.

Some of the sites that I like, well most of them are:

The auction sale of the Hospices of Beaune are done every year on the third Sunday of November and the first sale goes back to 1859. In 1934 the Confrérie des chevaliers du Tastevin creates the Trois Glorieuses, a cultural event that is now part of the auction of the Hospices of Beaune Between 1720 and 1750 the negotiators houses begins to see the day in Beaune with the first one been the Maison Champy followed by the Domaine Chanson Père & Fils. The tours and ramparts were done in 1477 and still there!

Beaune

Other things to see are the musée du vin de Bourgogne (house in the old palace of the Dukes 15-16C) , Musée des Beaux Arts (founded in 1850 with collection from the 12-20C), Musée Marey, Musée Dali, the Maison des Templiers end of rue Jacques de Molay, the lavoir on the Bouzaise river ,the halles de Beaune facing the hotel-dieu where the market is held on Saturdays and the the auction of the Hospices of Beaune are held.

Church of Saint-Baudèle is in old town near the source of the Belenin river that gives the name to the city. The first Church here is from the end of the 5C on the ruins of a temple to Apollo. It houses the relics of Saint Baudèle or aka Saint Boil that was a contemporary of Saint Martin, and was a soldier that was martyred in Nîmes around 395AD. Church of Saint-Flocel is outside the old town against the ramparts. The Church was dedicated in 965AD and received the relics of Saint Flocel ,and Saint Herné in the presence of Duke Otton. Church of Notre Dame , texts tell us that the first Church was established in the old town from 976AD, the western portal of byzantine style of the current Church dates from the 12C. This last Church is the best in my opinion created by the daughters of Cluny around 1120 inspired by Saint Lazare in Autun. The exterior  has three nerfs from the 14C that hides the façade some destroyed during the French revolution but some still there from the 15C . The interior  is nice and ample ,in the choir you see the Black Virgin from the 12C, the second chapel paintings from the 15C representing the resurrection of Lazarus, a pieta from the 16C and on the third chapel  two altars from the 15C , on the south side you see the Chapelle Renaissance. The tapestries are gorgeous behind the main altar  on the life of the Virgin marking the passage from the middle ages to the renaissance.  Five panels trace the history of the Virgin in 19 paintings ordered in 1474 and offered to the Church in 1500.  The cloister dating from the 13C and the capitulary room have been renovated.  just a nice Church.

You have plenty of information on these webpages:

The city page in French on tourism here:  http://www.beaune.fr/spip.php?rubrique1

The tourist office in English here:  https://www.beaune-tourism.com/

The site in French of the metro area of Beaune with 53 towns including Beaune of course;  http://www.beaunecoteetsud.com/-Les-53-communes-.html

The dept tourist office in French :  http://www.cotedor-tourisme.com/bourgogne/art-de-vivre

Transports on getting there and around are plenty for a city this size is tops.

It is a crossroad of many highways such as the A6 only 312 km from Paris and 157km from Lyon giving birth to the highway A31 direction Dijon at 47 kms, Nancy at 258 kms, and Metz at 308 km, as well as the highway A36 direction to Besançon at 108 km and Mulhouse at 232 km.

Two TGV lines runs by it such as the line Paris Gare de Lyon Dijon, and Châlon-sur-Saône and the line Dijon Lyon Marseille and Nice.

Regional service is done on the TER Bourgogne-Franche-Comte and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes with webpages here:
https://www.ter.sncf.com/bourgogne-franche-comte
https://www.ter.sncf.com/auvergne-rhone-alpes

Wines are at the center of the city it’s heartbeat goes with the harvest and the auction sale of the Hospices of Beaune, and the wonderful Trois Glorieuses. Only the charity piece is done with a candle is given the name of the auction of candles or enchéres à la chandelle.
The Hospices of Beaune  as said were started in 1443 in the Hôtel Dieu we see today. The building has it’s now famous roof  and a wonderful interior courtyard. Inside you find the Grand Salle  or room of the poors with 50 meters long by 14 meters wide  and 16 meters high upon entering you see the 28 beds . You go see the Chapelle  flamboyant style and renovated in the 19C as well as the stained glass. There is a plaque here remembering Guigone de Salins founder and how she took care of the hospital.   You come into the Salle Sainte Anne or Sainte Anne’s  room that was reserved at the time to the noble sick persons. Continue into the Salle Saint Hugues ,it has been renovated with it’s décor of the 17C, the paintings are of nine miracles of Christ, Saint Hugues, a bishop and a Carthusian monk.  Go on to the Salle Saint Nicolas the old nursery of the sick in danger of dying , renovated thanks to a donation by king Louis XIV; it houses today an expo on the history of the Hospices. You can see the Cuisine/Kitchen with an automates figure from 1698. The pharmacie is very curious freak with many pots from the 18C. You now come to the Salle du  Polyptyque built to house the painting of the Last judgment of Rogier Van der Weyden; done between 1445 and 1448. Here in the center you see the Christ  presiding the last judgment  with a throne of heavens showing paradise  on top of Saint Michael  looking on ; around it the Virgin and John the Baptist imploring the forgiveness of Christ; behind them the apostles  and some important personages  imploring for the poor the damn and the saivours . The lateral figures are of Nicolas Rolin  and his wife with grilles showing Saint Sebastian and Saint Anthony, and the scene of the annunciation. Here you finally reach the Salle Saint Louis, built in 1661 housing the tapestries of Tournai showing the Child,  from early 16C and some from Brussels end of 16C showing the history of Jacob, there is a vault and fountain on this room too.

Beaune Beaune

There are other nice things to see like the Hôtel de la Rochepot, on the place Monge dating from 1522 with a gothic façade and a gallery in three levels facing a belltower and the statue of Monge, the oldest of four children of Gaspart Monge creator of the geometry, founder of the school polytechnique and participate in the expedition to Egypt as well as been Prime Minister. You go on to the Place de la Halle in old city center with plenty of quaint stores and architecture delights. The ramparts going for 2 km with some private niches with some towers and bastions.

In wines one of the best AOC Beaune of the villages of the Côte-de-Beaune obtained in 1936. Between Savigny-lés-Beaune on the north and Pommard in the south with 42 premiers crus or 70% of the total vineyard producing each year about 15 500 hectoliters of wines on its 420 hectares. If you traveled along the Route 74 you will see heavens before you and of course a car is best. Really ,the area is split into the Côte de Nuits going from Nuits-Saint-Georges to Chenové and including Corgoloin; and the Côte de  Beaune starting from Corgoloin and towards Beaune.  The Côte de Nuits is known as the kidney of Burgundy due to its many taverns around with the center in the Place de la République. My favorite here is Joseph Faiveley. Then, you have the Hautes-Côtes-de-Nuits with white wines and aligoté white very good. Road goes down to Aloxe-Corton  with Domaine Daniel Rion & Fils; and more affordable the Caves de la Reine Pédauque ; the Corton-Charlemagne region has my favorite chateau Corton-Grancey where Louis Latour ages its wines.  Moving on to Pernand-Vergelesse and the Domaine Bonneau du Martray and Domaine Rapet Pére & Fils; getting to Savigny-Lés-Beaune and the castle  and Maison Doudet-Naudin. At Chorey-Lés-Beaune, just north of Beaune  you see another castle  and the wines of Jacques Germain.

Apart, we reach Beaune. I have stayed in hotels for business trips, however, with the family we have stayed at  Hostellerie de Bretonniére, 43 Faubourg Bretonniére in the city center/downtown to ask for a room at the rear. More here: http://www.hotelbretonniere.com/en/

Actually, most of the times we rented a house around the region and as far south as Buxy. This is from Gîtes de France; info here:https://en.gites-de-france.com/search/holiday-rentals-cote-d-or-21.html?dep=21&region_adm=4&critinit=o

The producers here are many , hard to chose really. However, over the years of indulging in the wines of the region we like best these: Bouchard Pére et Filsdomaine Albert Morot, Chanson pére & FilsPatriarche Pére & Fils , Maison Louis Latour , Maison Louis Jadot ,and Maison Joseph Drouhin. Across from Patriarche and the Hôtel Dieu you have a wonderful place to taste them all and buy all kinds of local souvenirs, this is the Athenaeum de la Vigne et du Vin, more info here: https://www.athenaeum.com/

Beaune Beaune

Another wonderful place that I can recommend is the wine store of Denis Perret, right in city center surrounded by many houses where you can taste wine too. More here: http://www.denisperret.fr/fr/

If you can stop over Saturday, you will enjoy a wonderful market by the Hôtel Dieu , info in French best here: https://www.beaune-tourisme.fr/que-faire/agenda/beaune-le-marche-605923

History of wine in Burgundy here:  https://www.bourgogne-wines.com/our-winegrowers-our-expertise/a-living-history/immerse-yourself-in-the-history-of-bourgogne-wines,2515,9382.html?

And the others wine makers of Beaune here : https://www.bourgogne-wines.com/our-winegrowers-our-expertise/renowned-signatures/the-producers-behind-the-reputation-of-the-wines-of-bourgogne,2507,9363.html?

Beaune Mersault Beaune Beaune Buxy

Do not missed the Moutarderie Fallot, mustard traditionally done following the Dijon tradition. More here: https://www.fallot.com/en/

Nearby at the Chateau de Savigny-Lés-Beaune you have a wonderful wine tasting and purchase in addition to a wonderful museum of Abarth automobile, tractors and about 80 airplanes of different types . On the second floor, you see modele cars, airplanes motos, and having over 250 motocycles from many countries. Wonderful, more here:  https://www.chateau-savigny.com/

Savigny les Beaune

To eat again , we have been to Le Bistro Bourguignon 8 rue Monge and the La Ciboulette 69 rue Lorraine, and I have been to others on business trips.  However, we come with family mine and my wife’s family so we rent houses, and do our own cooking and picnic for the trips around Beaune , using the wonderful markets here.   You can get some idea on the restaurants above in Yelp that I recommend on my blogroll bottom of my front page in my blog. These are

https://www.yelp.com/biz/le-bistrot-bourguignon-beaune-2

https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-ciboulette-beaune

There you go ,hope it helps plan your trip to the beautiful Beaune, Burgundy and the Wines routes, all wonderful in my belle France. Cheers!!!

ps. Seems to found some photos from photos to add to the collection of Beaune in my blog. Enjoy it.

February 11, 2018

My new home of Pluvigner in the Morbihan Breton XXIIII

So here we are after getting out some souvenirs of old in my last post, I come back with something more French or rather international as in us. This is Sunday , and usually or most of it is a family gathering here , so we stay at home. Outside is cold , about 5C or 42F ,grey, humid ,and a bit of rain, nothing to it right lol! We are also on alert for mor snow tomorrow Monday. Paris is at 40F cloudy too but more snow announce and temps will go down to 30F tonite.

My , should say by far one of the most important decisions to come here was the food and wines, better than the tour Eiffel… However, as we are an international family mixing three languages at home and coming from roots deep in the Cathar region of France, the Meldois region of France, and Tenerife, Spain in addition to Havana , Cuba,  as well as 31 years of US living, we can get away with many mixing of foods and drinks as well.  As I come to repeat, when the USA is often call the melting pot of the world, France is call the melting pot of Europe. One out of four Frenchmen are immigrants or sons of immigrants like Edith Piaf and Yves Montand, Sylvie Vartan, Charles Aznavour, even Johnny Holliday , the step father who raised him was a Holliday, American. The world is bigger!

We started with some serious Apéritif oh yes this is French. The Apéro is a ritual even at work the only time you get to mingle with your collegues outside of work is doing the apéro route. And we had today a typical day at home, our apéro.

I open with a Kings porto red fine tawny house porto of Nicolas, the wine merchant we get our wines when not in the wine areas. This is sweeter wine rich, and great going with paté and spreads. My sons had a mix of whiskey Jack Daniels and coca cola or Cuba Libre , and Tequila Silver Jose Cuervo with orange juice or a Tequila Sunrise. My wife had her Guignolet Kirsch cherry liquor.

Of course with the drinks we had baguette and brioche breads with a delicious Hénaff terrine de canard au miel or duck cold meat with honey. Also, a Bernard Marot, Gourgettes grillés chévre et miel or zucchini grill with goat meat and honey.

Then, we had a simple country meal from Spain/Cuba that is red beans potage (thick soup) with meats and potatoes over white rice. This accompany by a light red from the Loire, Domaine du Grand Air cabernet franc 2016.

To finish, we again had a light pain perdu or torrijas that is an old dessert we all share, old bread fry pan and then spread with guava jelly from Guadeloupe ,French territory in the Caribbean and honey. Delicious.

We will give a break and then had our Nespresso coffee in different themes mine café au lait, coffee and milk; good too. And much later at night some chocolates will end the day.

It is then , that we think about the work week leading to Valentin day! and right in the morning one of my son is delivered his scooter just purchase; then we go out at night to try a new American place in Vannes that started in Paris and now has reach us here more of that in later post.

Some webpages for references:

http://www.jackdaniels.fr/Legal.aspx
https://www.mundocuervo.com/eng/
http://www.lemercier.com/guignolet-kirsch-36.html
http://www.henaff.com/fr/produits-et-recettes/les-produits/165-henaff-selection-terrine-de-canard-au-miel
https://www.facebook.com/latelierbernardmarot/
http://www.marmiton.org/recettes/recette_pain-perdu-rapide_20935.aspx
https://www.spain-recipes.com/torrijas.html
http://www.cubanfoodmarket.com/blog/recipe/potaje-frijoles-colorados-cuban-red-bean-stew-with-chorizos/
https://www.nespresso.com/fr/en/

Enjoy your Sunday , mine is heading to prime time TV lol!! Cheers!

February 8, 2018

Wines and the Loire = Pleasure!!!

If you have read my posts, you know I am a wine enthusiast of many many years and have diplomas from both France and Spain on wine knowledge courses. I do not write enough on wines as it is a heavy duty task and with many subjective tones; I like to stick to the easy subjects.

Valley of the Loire

Valley of the Loire wines

And here is something at you ! If you drank a new wine each night, it would take 8 years to drink your way through France. Lol!!

Well let’s give an overview of the wines of the Loire valley , of course you know it would be impossible to cover all in one post even if just one region of France. See phrase above!

The Loire Valley  has about 65 383 hectares of vineyards or about 161 561 acres. It is home to more than 4000 wineries producing an array of wine styles and colors from racy whites to refreshing rosés and fruit over force reds while sumptuous sweet and sparkling wines  It is here in the garden of France that you can reveling beautiful summer days, stunning Castles, and several of France’s most underrated wines. Today it has 69 AOP designations which make up about 75% of the wine production. The Loire river valley  runs from Mont Gerbier-de-Jonc to Nantes is more than 1000 km long (about 609 miles), and together with its tributaries represent the longest wine region of France.

Some of it’s famous grape varieties are the Sauvignon  Blanc  a lean herbal style with flavors of thyme, lime peel, honeydew melon, and grass. Wines are labeled  Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, Touraine, Reuilly, Quincy and Cheverny (for classic 100% Sauvignon Blanc). There is the Chenin Blanc in the middle Loire Valley that range in style from dry to sweet and still sparkling. Flavors are from notes of flowers and apricots from Vouvray and Montlouis-sur-Loire to rich applesauce flavor from aged Savennières. Go into my favorites the Muscadet whites, the perfect match for fish and shellfish; wines are bone try with subtle notes of sea shell, lime, green apple and pear skin.  The Muscadet Sévre et Maine is the most and best appellation of the area. You do get red from the Cabernet Franc, a very herbaceous and rustic style but simple light nice with spicy notes of bell pepper, tart red cherry and stony mineral; look for labels from Chinon and Bourgueil.  Other used grapes are the Melon de Bourgogne (here call Muscadet), Folle Blanche found in Gros Plant de Pays Nantais AOP; the Pinot Gris.

The sub regions are: Anjou, Centre, Muscadet, Orléanais, Saumurois and Touraine. It, also , has many regional denominated areas or appellations such as :Crémant-de-Loire, Rosé-de-Loire, Vin de Pays d’Indre-et-Loire, Vin de Pays d’Urfé, Vin de Pays de Creuse , Vin de Pays de Haute-Vienne, Vin de Pays de l’Allier, Vin de Pays de l’Indre , Vin de Pays de la Sarthe, Vin de Pays de la Vienne, Vin de Pays de Loire-Atlantique , Vin de Pays de Vendée, Vin de Pays des Coteaux Charitois, Vin de Pays des Coteaux de Tannay , Vin de Pays des Coteaux du Cher et de l’Arnon, Vin de Pays des Deux-Sèvres , Vin de Pays du Bourbonnais, Vin de Pays du Cher, Vin de Pays du Jardin de la France , Vin de Pays du Loir et Cher, Vin de Pays du Loiret, Vin de Pays du Maine et Loire , Vin de Pays du Puy de Dôme, and Vin de Pays du Val de Loire. Now you might know why is difficult to write in details in one blog ! The above are very simple inexpensive wines that can be good depending on the producer.

We will cover in general the main regions such as the:

AOC Anjou, located around the city of Angers in the department of Maine-et-Loire, to the west of the Touraine region. The vineyards extends to both sides of the Loire river to the mouth of the Vienne river in Ancenis . The area extends for about 9000 hectares or 2471 acres; and compose of 27 appellations producing light rosés, dry whites, and light or medium reds wines. The grapes use here are for the rosé and red the cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon , and the grolleau, for the whites are the chenin, sauvignon, and chardonnay. They do a number of sub regions as well these are the Anjou, Anjou Mousseux, Anjou Pétillant, Anjou-Coteaux-de-la-Loire, Anjou-Gamay, Anjou-Villages, Anjou-Villages Brissac, Bonnezeaux, Cabernet-d’Anjou, Chaume 1er cru des Coteaux-du-Layon, Coteaux-d’Ancenis, Coteaux-de-l’Aubance, Coteaux-du-Layon, Coteaux-du-Loir, Jasnières, Quarts-de-Chaume, Rosé d’Anjou, Rosé d’Anjou pétillant, Savennières, Savennières-Coulée-de-Serrant, Savennières-Roche-aux-Moines, and Vin-du-Thouarsais.

If you are looking for my recommendation generally speaking ,I will have them in black throughout the post. These are my choices in the general area, the main thing here is to find the good producers in all.

The next sub region of the Loire are the Centre-Loire located south east of the Paris Basin. The area is difficult to determine here as it is cutoff into smaller parcels and isolated. The area is ideal for the sauvignon that gives the white wines and the pinot noir for the reds less known. The appellation for this sub region are : Blanc Fumé de Pouilly, Châteaumeillant, Côte-Roannaise, Coteaux-du-Giennois, Côtes-d’Auvergne, Côtes-d’Auvergne-Boudes, Côtes-d’Auvergne-Chanturgue, Côtes-d’Auvergne-Châteaugay, Côtes-d’Auvergne-Corent, Côtes-d’Auvergne-Madargues, Côtes-du-Forez, Menetou-Salon, Pouilly-Fumé, Pouilly-sur-Loire, Quincy, Reuilly, Saint-Pourçain, and Sancerre.

We move in closer to me, and my best. This is the sub region of the AOC Muscadet, occupying an area south of Nantes from the lake of Grand-Lieu to Ancenis, with a point to the south in Vendée ( near town of Saint-Etienne-du-Bois). It covers an area of 11 900 hectares or about 29406 acres), and extended to different terroirs along the banks of the Loire. The grape for this region is the melon de Bourgogne, a very low production grape that gives a white wine to drink young and very good with the fish/seafood platters. Some of them are done with the conservation of the fine Lies which are my favorites, and provides more complex aromas and vivacity of freshness to give more grease and roundness to the wine.

The number of sub regions of Muscadet are : Fiefs-Vendéens-Brem, Fiefs-Vendéens-Mareuils, Fiefs-Vendéens-Pissotte, Fiefs-Vendéens-Vix, Gros-plant du Pays nantais, Muscadet, Muscadet-Coteaux-de-la-Loire, Muscadet-Côtes-de-Grandlieu, and Muscadet-Sèvre-et-Maine.

We come now to the sub region of Touraine . The area here is about 13 000 hectares or about 32134 acres) producing more than 700 000 hectoliters per year (about 18,5 m gallons US) in the cellars dug in the cliffs of the region. The principal grape here for the red and the rosés is the gamay, with the addition of the cabernet franc and pinot noir. The whites are done from chenin, and cabernet-sauvignon. The dry whites are generally light and fresh, the reds light fruity and the rosés medium. There is a production of sparklers call mousseux done in red, white ,and rosé as well.

The sub regions here are : Bourgueil, Cheverny, Chinon, Coteaux-du-Vendômois, Cour-Cheverny, Haut-Poitou, Montlouis-sur-Loire, Montlouis-sur-Loire Mousseux, Montlouis-sur-Loire Pétillant, Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, Touraine, Touraine_ Chenonceaux, Touraine Mousseux, Touraine Pétillant, Touraine-Amboise (love it), Touraine-Azay-le-Rideau, Touraine-Mesland, Touraine-Noble-Joué, Valençay, Vouvray, Vouvray Mousseux, and Vouvray Pétillant.

The next sub region is that of the Saumurois (Saumur) on the left bank of the Loire river south east of Angers. The area has about 1 500 hectares in hilly terrain just east of the hills of Anjou and of Layon. The production is about 85 000 hectoliters (about 2,2 million gallons US) per year with exceptional red wines and whites of interest; both very good. The principal grapes are the chenin for the whites and the cabernet franc and cabernet-sauvignon for the reds. Very good inexpensive sparklers are done here for the whites.

The sub regions here are: Cabernet-de-Saumur,Coteaux-de-Saumur,Saumur,Saumur Mousseux,Saumur Pétillant,Saumur Puy-Notre-Dame, and Saumur-Champigny.

Finally but not saying least are the AOC Orléans located around Orléans, of course. The area has 150 hectares located on both side of the Loire river, more uniform on the left bank and the total production is about 5 200 hectoliters per year. The Orléans-Cléry AOC is of reds from the cabernet franc only . The area has 25 hectares and the vineyards are located between the Loire river and the forest of the Sologne.

There you have it in a nutshell. The wonderful Loire Valley of France. It is a lot more than castles and kingdoms; the wines flows beautifully as the Loire river. Enjoy it as I do, it is our house wine of many labels.

I will put up a couple pictures of these properties the ones I buy direct, and will post a few of the pictures here.

Clisson Limeray Limeray

In a couple of weeks ,I will be going to the gastronomy and wine fair in Vannes that I do every year and will have more surprises. Enjoy your week, we are almost there for the weekend. Cheers!

ps. As a footnote two publication I get all I need to know about wines in France. One is at the bottom of my blogroll here La Revue du Vin de France magazine, webpage here: http://www.larvf.com/,vins-rouge-blanc-rose-vignoble-vallee-de-la-loire-muscadet-saumur-sancerre,10355,4025942.asp

And the other one is the newspaper Le Figaro Vin or wine section, loaded in Franch of course.Webpage here: http://avis-vin.lefigaro.fr/connaitre-deguster/tout-savoir-sur-le-vin/guide-des-regions-et-des-appellations/vallee-de-la-loire

February 6, 2018

The art of cuisine Française, and Michelin

For those in the culinary sense, and one of the big reason for me been in France ,not necessarily on super expensive meals but the food preparation the basis is the most important thing and of course a good chef. WE have been to some (in black) over the years but most important we see their recipes and immitate at home : Once in while I indulge telling you about it on my tag Food and Wine in my blog ::)

This year’s edition of the Michelin guide for France has a total of 621 restaurants !!! 5 more than last year with more and more foreign chefs especially the Japanese.
guide michelin 2018 by credit Michelin

The one star winners and losers are:
In the region of Ile-de-France ,and first Paris with their district or arrondissements are : Mavrommatis (5e), Emporio Armani Caffè (6e), Quinsou (6e), Loiseau Rive Gauche (7e), Pertinence (7e), Copenhague (8e), L’Ecrin (8e), Le Chateaubriand (11e), Table – Bruno Verjus (12e), Montée (14e), Alan Geaam (16e), Comice (16e), Etude (16e), L’Arcane (18e), Ken Kawasaki (18e) ; then outside of Paris with their department number are : Jean Chauvel (Boulogne-Billancourt, 92), Le Quincangrogne (Dampmart, 77),and Le Domaine de la Corniche (Rolleboise, 78). Those losing the star are : L’escargot 1903 (Puteaux, 92), Les Fables de La Fontaine (7e), le Relais d’Auteuil (16e) and Sola (5e).

In the region of the Northwest ,the winners are : L’Essentiel (Deauville), l’Auberge de Bagatelle (Le Mans), Ima (Rennes), L’Hysope (La Rochelle), Intuition (Saint-Lô), and Le Pousse-Pied (Tranche-sur-Mer). One who takes it back this year is Christophe Le Fur, at the Auberge Grand’Maison, in Mûr-de-Bretagne (22). However, those losing the star are : Le domaine la Bretesche , Missillac (44) , château de Noirieux, Briollay (49).

In the region of the NorthEast we have one stars such as: Jérôme Feck (Châlons-en- Champagne), Château de Courban (Courban), La Merise (Laubach), Le Marcq (Marcq-en-Baroeul), L’O des Vignes (Fuissé) , and Transparence ‘La Table de Patrick Fréchin’ (Nancy. The losers are : Château de Germigney, Port-Lesney (Jura), La Maison des Cariatides, Dijon. Also, Laurent Peugeot , Charlemagne, Pernand-Vergelesses, Pascal Boulanger , La Laiterie, Lambersart (69) , and Thomas Debouzy, La Briqueterie , Vinay (51). And the biggest loser after 30+ years with one star now losing it was Christian Germain, Château de Montreuil (62).

In the region of the Southwest, the winners of one star are : Garopapilles ,and Le Quatrième Mur (Bordeaux), Le Barbacane (Carcassonne), Le Grand Cap (Leucate), Chapelle St-Martin (Limoges), Auberge de la Tour (Marcolès), Château de Cordeillan-Bages (Pauillac), L’Almandin (St-Cyprien), SEPT (Toulouse), La Promenade (Verfeil), and Le Jasmin (Villeneuve-sur-Lot). The losers are Octopus (Béziers), l’Auberge Labarthe (Bosdarros), le Domaine d’Auriac (Carcassonne) ,and L’Oison (Chancelade).

In the region of the Southeast the winners are : Louison (Aix-en-Pce), Table de Manville (Baux-de-Pce), L’Emulsion (Bourgoin-Jallieu), Les Fresques (Evian), L’Atelier Yssoirien (Issoire), U Santa Marina (Porto-Vecchio, Corse), La Table de la Ferme (Sartène, Corse), and Lou Cigalon-Maison Martin (Valbonne). The losers here are : Bacon (Juan Les Pins), and Chez Charles (Lumio, Corse). In Lyon, l’Alexandrin as well as La Ciboulette (Annecy).

For those with two stars ,numbering 85 we have five reaching it this year and moving up ; these are : Masafumi Hamano, « Le 14 février », Saint-Amour-Bellevue (71); Takao Takano, « Takao Takano » Lyon (69); Jean Sulpice, « L’Auberge du Père Bise » Talloires (74) ; Bruno Cirino, « L’Hostellerie Jérôme » La Turbie (06); Gaël et Mickaël Tourteau, « Flaveur » Nice (06). The two star losers down to one start are: L’Amphitryon , Lorient 56. le Trianon of Gordon Ramsay in Versailles 78! Bateau Ivre, in the hotel Ombremont , Bourget-du-Lac (Savoie).

Two new three stars restaurant on this year’s edition of Michelin are : Marc Veyrat, La Maison des Bois, Manigod, Haute-Savoie, and of Christophe Bacquié, l’hôtel du Castellet (Var).

The group of three stars numbered 28 ,even after the request of not participating of Le Suquet in La Laguiole,upon request of chef Sébastien Bras. The winners for this distinction are : Jean-François Piège (Le Grand Restaurant, Paris 8e), Jean-Georges Klein (La Villa René Lalique à Wingen-sur-Moder, Bas-Rhin), Olivier Bellin (l’Auberge des Glazicks à Plomodiern, Finistère), Christopher Coutanceau (La Rochelle, Charente-Maritime) , and Alexandre Couillon (La Marine, Noirmoutier-en-l’Île, Vendée).

The guide will be available for purchase from February 9 , and this year’s edition count as patron the chef Anne-Sophie Pic, only women with a three star restaurant in France.

Keep an out in your neck of the woods for it. It’s still the bible ,even if some have begun to question the selections and other guides are more and more around. Bon Appétit, Salut A+ au revoir and Kenavo ::)

France

guide michelin 2018 by credit Michelin

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