Posts tagged ‘Europe’

November 24, 2022

I bring you back to amazing Pleyben !!!

I have written posts on this town, and even surprise my collegues all Bretons with the information I gave them after my visit , Pleyben is a small town ,but loaded with architecture and history to take you a while. I lookup my vault and found some pictures not yet in my blog, and feel they should on this marvel of the Finistére dept 29 in my lovely Bretagne,  Let me tell you about the Parish Enclosure of Pleyben, and hope you enjoy as I.See my other two post on the parish enclosure.

I have written so much on the history and architecture of it, that will make the text brief just to show you new pictures in my blog. Actually, you know, I came here for the chocolates florentines (see post) but end up been amazed by the parish enclosure. This is their story as told by me on the Parish Enclosure of Pleyben , which brings together the Church of Saint-Germain, the monumental Calvary, the Ossuary and the Arc de Triomphe . This is one of the Seven wonders of Brittany, and you should see them all, this one is special been to it several times. Magical place! And I only give the basics, these is huge!

pleyben enclos Saint Germain l’Auxerrois back nov12

A typical enclosure is made up of 5 inseparable elements: the Church, the Calvary, the Ossuary, the Monumental Gate and the surrounding wall which closes everything and which gave its name to the parish enclosure. It is from the privilege granted by Henri II in 1548 to organize 4 annual provincial fairs and a local monthly that Pleyben will begin a significant economic development allowing it to erect a prestigious religious building. Brittany is living its golden age. In Pleyben, the inhabitants are rich and pious and show it by erecting this superb religious complex. Tanners and linen fabric manufacturers accumulated fortunes between the 16C and 17C, allowing them, in this very religious country, to build these treasures of granite and kersantite that amazed everyone. As for that of Pleyben, it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and above all the most complete in Brittany. Its construction dates from the 16-17C.

pleyben ch st germain l auxerrois ceilings mar14

The Saint Germain l’Auxerrois Church was built on the site of an old sanctuary, between 1530 and 1690 as evidenced by numerous dates inscribed in different places. The large porch is done to fully understand the function of this porch, it is necessary to know that the choir of the church is the territory of the ecclesiastics while the nave, the porch and the tower are the responsibility of the council of parishioners. This is why the porch is embellished with a small stone bench on the side walls where the council stood for its meetings.

Pleyben enclos Saint Germain l’Auxerrois main door nov 12

pleyben enclos entrance door mar14

pleyben ch st germain l auxerrois to organ ceilings mar14

The Calvary built in 1555 and moved in 1738 is one of the three important calvaries of Finistère. Built in the shape of a tetrapyle with 4 entrances, it looks like a triumphal arch where you can admire around thirty scenes from the life of Christ, carved in Kersanton stone and staged on two levels.

pleyben fr church to calvaire and pleyben mar14

The Ossuary was built in 1560, resembles a house. It takes on the architectural style of Flamboyant Gothic with very beautiful twin bays. Today it is a museum which contains a very beautiful statue of the Virgin and the Child of the 16C having the particularity of being in a nursing position, the bare breast, which remains quite exceptional.

pleyben ch st germain l auxerrois tresors mar14

The Monumental Gate or Arch de Triomphe, dates from 1725 and it is the door that symbolically separates the world of the living from that of the dead. A monumental semi-circular arch embellished with a niche on each side which houses statues, surmounted by a stone cross.

The town of Pleyben on its heritage: https://www.mairiepleyben.fr/index.php/fr/decouvrir-bouger/histoire-et-patrimoine/patrimoine-naturel

The Finistére dept 29 tourist office on the parish enclosure of Pleybenhttps://www.toutcommenceenfinistere.com/article/les-enclos-paroissiaux-en-finistere-nord

The principal Calvaries of Brittany on Pleyben: http://www.7calvaires.fr/en/pleyben/

There you go folks , I feel better now to tell you all about the beautiful parish enclosure of Pleyben , a must to see, something wondeful in my lovely Bretagne. Hope you enjoy it as I

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

November 24, 2022

My treasure watercolors of my belle France !!! Part 2

The Aquarelles or Watercolor is a water color on paper., so they tell me,,, In French, we distinguish watercolor, transparent, from gouache, of identical composition, but opaque. The binder that attaches the pigments to the support fibers is almost always gum arabic. Watercolor or gouache colors consist of pigments, a water-soluble binder and additives to aid in application and storage. Watercolors can only be exhibited in suitable conditions, low light and protected by glass. Which is how I keep them for many years already,

I have many so again , as the first one was well received here is more of my favorites out to show in my blog, Hope you enjoy this wonderful aquarelles or watercolors shots of wonderful monuments of my belle France as I.

The Luxembourg Garden Located on the edge of Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter, was inspired by the Florentine garden Boboli was created on the initiative of Queen Marie de Medici in 1612. Covering an area of 25 hectares, the garden is divided into a French-style part and an English-style part. Between the two stretches a geometric forest and a large pool. There is also an orchard with varieties of old and forgotten apples, an apiary to learn about beekeeping, greenhouses with a collection of breathtaking orchids and a rose garden. The garden has 106 statues scattered across the park, The view shows the Panthéon as well.  webpage :https://www.senat.fr/visite/jardin/index.html

Paris jardin du luxembourg vue sur le panthéon

Ainhoa and its beautiful houses of the main street, Located between the Nive valley and the Navarre border, Ainhoa is classified among the most beautiful villages in France. This 12C bastide-street created to welcome pilgrims on the way to Saint-James of Compostella, combines the green of its hills with the white and red facades of its old houses. Webpage : https://www.en-pays-basque.fr/en/territory-and-destination/nivelle-valley/ainhoa/

Ainhoa maisons basques dept 64

The Chaine des Puys is an alignment of 80 volcanoes that spans nearly 32 kms long and 4 kms wide. This natural site brings together all forms of volcanism and is a fascinating visual spectacle. Webpage : https://volcan.puy-de-dome.fr/volcans/chaine-des-puys.html

Auvergne volcans la chaine des puys

This is Beynac et Cazenac, between the Dordogne river and the immense rocky promontory, there is no longer any doubt that you have arrived! Stone alleys, blond stone houses… for a total immersion in the time of the Middle Ages. Webpage : https://en.sarlat-tourisme.com/discover-sarlat-and-the-perigord/villages-around-sarlat/what-is-there-to-do-and-see-in-beynac-et-cazenac-the-must-sees/

Beynac et Cazenac dept 24

Béziers old town is packed with historical monuments you’ll love exploring. Whether it be the Canal du Midi itself, its bridges and locks or Béziers Cathedral, Allées Paul Riquet and Jardin des Poètes. Webpage : https://www.beziers-mediterranee.uk/explore/city-of-beziers/visit-beziers-old-town/

Béziers dept 34

Located at the foot of the medieval quarter, the Marais de Bourges offer a space for relaxation  and discovery close to the historic center of Bourges. Thus, 135 hectares are  lovingly cultivated as family gardens by their owners and offer a  surprising nature walk in the heart of the city. In the Middle Ages, these marshy lands ensured the defense of the city and in the 17C,  the Jesuits bought the marshes and rented them to private individuals, who cultivated them. Market  gardening will last until the 19C. Webpage : https://www.bourgesberrytourisme.com/destination-bourges/best-of/les-marais-de-bourges/

Bourges les marais

Between beach, dunes, wet meadows, reedbeds and ponds, this natural site offers a very varied walk and viewpoints not to be missed. The Bay of Wissant is a magnificent link between the famous Cap Gris-Nez and Cap Blanc-Nez., webpage : https://www.lesdeuxcaps.fr/uk/Visit-the-Deux-Caps/Unique-life-experiences/Walking-between-Gris-Nez-and-Blanc-Nez

la baie de Wissant devant cap blanc nez dept 62

This natural Pont d’Arc is a geological curiosity which is one-of-its-kind in the world, it was created in the rock in the most natural way possible, by the passing Ardèche river. Located at the entrance of the Ardèche Gorges, it is 54 metres high, 60 metres wide, and at least 500,000 years old! Webpage : https://en.pontdarc-ardeche.fr/discovery/the-must-sees/the-pont-darc-natural-arch/

Le pont d'Arc dept 07

The Loire river by Gennes, Between the banks of the Loire and the wooded hillside, the natural wealth associated with the historical heritage, make this village an essential tourist stopover. Hiking or cycling is the ideal way to discover the megaliths, the Gallo-Roman amphitheater, the Memorial des Cadets de Saumur but also the preserved biotopes of the Joreau pond. Webpage : https://www.ot-saumur.fr/GENNES_a16444.html

Loire river not far from Gennes

The Saint Emilion monuments testify to this rich spiritual, commercial and wine-growing life inside and outside the city. The steep alleys make it possible to discover a village spread out in the shape of an amphitheater on the southern slope of the limestone plateau; from it were extracted all the stones used in the construction of houses, ramparts, churches and monasteries over the centuries. The underground part of the village presents as many testimonies of the past as its built part, in particular the monolithic church. Webpage : https://www.saint-emilion-tourisme.com/uk/

Saint Emilion

There you go folks, now I have another nice personal touch to my blog, again. These have been kept for many years do not even remember exactly but goes back to early 2004-06, and they are still in good condition. Hope you enjoy the aquarelles as I, and thanks for stopping by as always.

And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all !!!

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November 23, 2022

How about my favorite European beers !!

I like to tackle a special subject that can be travel related too. If reading my blog I am very much into wines , collector, drinker, and amateur lover of the grapes and my god Bacchus ! Certified connasseur by France and Spain. However, I do indulge in other drinks such as beers. For a friendly chat or apéro as we call it in France, sort of a happy hour US or after work UK, we tend to dwell into beers for the better and quicker conversation lol! Therefore, let me write something on my favorite beers, as have done in the past other than Breton, like the Duchesse Anne triple , we drink Belgians, Czech, Irish, or German beers at home and at bars. Of course, while in Spain , we do drink the beers there but only our favorite from Madrid Mahou, and unless in foreign territory we have drank CruzCampo::)

Belgian beers are among the most varied and the most numerous beer collections in the world. They vary from the very popular “pils” to the exclusively Belgian appellations of lambic (spontaneous fermentation), old brunette, red beer or raw beer through the famous Trappists! and other Abbey or seasonal beers.  Since 2016, Belgian beer has been inscribed in the intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO under the title: beer cultivation in BelgiumThe Guild of the Brewers of Bruges saw the day in 1308, that of Liège in 1357 and that of Brussels in 1365. In the 16C, the Maison de l’Arbre d’Or  (house of the golden tree) on the Grand-Place in Brussels was bought by the Brewers from the upholsterers. Restored in 1638, the Brewers ‘ House was destroyed during the bombing of Brussels by Marshal Villeroy in 1695. Rebuilt between 1698 and 1707, it is embellished in 1749. After the abolition of the corporations, it was sold as a State property in 1793 under the French occupation. A bit of more recent history, in 1934: the monks of Westmalle brew the first triple, yes! In 1954, the House of Brewers on the Grand Place of Brussels becomes a corporatist house. In addition to the Brewers Guild and the Chevalerie du Fourquet, it houses a brewery museum in the basement (yes very nice). In  2007, was the creation of the Belgian family brewers label bringing together the family Breweries of more than 50 years of existence. Authentic Trappist product at the moment, and six are located in Belgium: West-Vleteren, Westmalle (yes!) , Achel, Rochefort, Orval and Chimay (yes!). We know the doubles of the Trappist abbeys, but also the Sint Bernardus Pater, Maredsous (yes!)  and the Witkap Dubbel. The white beers, this type of beer, aged 400 years ago, had disappeared in the  1950’s, but was revived by Pierre Celis in his brewery in Hoegaarden.

plu-chimay-beer-may19

The Belgian beers tourist site on Belgian beers :https://www.beertourism.com/blogs/belgian-beer

The Guinness  is a dark Irish dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness at St. James’s Gate, Dublin, Ireland, in 1759. It is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide, brewed in almost 50 countries, and available in over 120. The Guinness is a stout, a black beer topped with white foam, known worldwide for its flavor and its special appearance. Guinness is strongly linked to the history of Ireland; it is one of the symbols at the international level. The brand uses a Celtic harp such as that of Brian Boru or Trinity College as part of its visual identity. This 14C harp model is one of the traditional symbols of Ireland since the reign of Henry VIII in the 16C. Guinness used the harp as a symbol in 1862 and then as a logo deposited in 1876. However, it is reversed compared to that of the national coats of arms. This beer is a stout, a type of beer of high fermentation from the beers porter that became famous in the 18C in London. It’s almost black brown color (but which is actually deep red; to be seen in the light) comes from the use for its design of highly roasted malts and roasted barley grains. The cream-colored foam layer that caps the beer is the result of a nitrogen addition during the draught . This latter characteristic poses the difficulty of obtaining an identical flavor and texture between the Guinness pressure and those sold in bottles and cans. In 2016, under the pressure of vegans, Guinness modifies its ancestral recipe; it renounces to use the traditional fish-native bladders to filter and lighten its beer and now uses a new filtration process. their beers are now Vegan, The Guinness draught is the flagship variety of the Guinness range; it is also the best-selling beer in Ireland. The extra stout is a separate range within the Guinness range of beers. Stronger, more “corsed”, with more pronounced bitterness, the extra stout is also exported abroad under the name foreign extra stout.

plu-guiness-stout-and-st-graal-beers-may19

The popular beers of Irelandhttps://content.kegworks.com/blog/irish-beer-guide

The German beer (we drink most) originates in the high Middle Ages. For centuries, beer has been part of German culture and gastronomy, and the country is studded of Bierpalast  (“beer Palace”), Biergarten (“beer garden”), Bierstube (“Brasserie”), Bierkeller (“beer cellar”), Bierhaus (“beer house“) and Bierzelt (” beer tent “) found at the many beer festivals.  In Germany there are a large number of types of beers but the immense success of the pilsener  dominating 70% of the market eclipsing many regional varieties, apart from the export and the Weissbier which occupy about 10% of the internal market.  In 736 in Geisenfeld in Bavaria, there is a mention of a fermented beverage based on barley. In 766, mention was made of the oldest beer delivery from Geisingen to the Abbey of St. Gallen (Switzerland). In 974, the first brewing authorization was given by the Emperor Otto II of the Holy Roman Empire to the Church of Liège (Belgium). The Thuringian have a document of 1434 (Wirtshausgesetz) written in Weißensee, which states the only ingredients allowed: water, barley, hops. Decrees in Regensburg in 1453 or Landshut in 1493 prohibit any aromatization except that of hops. In 1842 also arrives from Bohemia, the pilsener which was to be immediately successful. During the recasting of the Biersteuergesetz in 1993, the rules of the former are maintained as a preliminary law of beer and the tax provisions transferred. Now the regulation on the eligible ingredients is no longer valid only for the production of beer in Germany for the German market. Imported beer is not subject to these regulations; and German Brewers can also escape if they produce for export, unless they receive exemptions for special beers. Now the beers still adhering to its principles are classified among the traditional  Lebensmittel  (“traditional foods”) and protected also by European decree. The Reinheitsgebot (German Beer Purity Law)  is in fact the longest existing law ensuring the food quality of a product for health.  The German beers are legally classified according to their densities: Einfachbiere (“simple beers”) , Schankbiere (“consumer beers” at pressure), Vollbiere (” “complete beers”) , representing more than 90% of the production, Starkbiere (‘ strong beers ‘) or Bockbiere .  To which are added two genres apart: Lückenbiere, all beers banned before 1993 under the classification of the time ; Biermischgetränke, variegated drinks or cocktails based on beer and fruit juice, aroma or energizing. The beers are also classified by type or style so very many! Centrally and industrialized in the North, breweries are more artisanal and more localized in the South. Only Bavaria contains half of the 1 300 breweries in the country and 4 000 of the 5 000 beer brands produced. The largest concentration of breweries in the world is located next to  Bamberg, in the upper Franconia region of Bavaria.  The Weihenstephan Abbey founded in 725 holds the oldest brewery still in operation (since 1040).  In 2004 Oettinger dethrone Krombacher (my favorite!) from the top of the biggest breweries Since 1810, the Oktoberfest has been the largest party in the world for two weeks in Munich (invited twice and missed sadly). Almost as well known and famous in Germany, the Cannstatter Volksfest in Stuttgart is also a huge festival. The Deutschen Bieres Tag (“German beer day”) is celebrated on April 23rd since 1994 in honor of the famous Reinheitsgebot law.

german beers

The popular beers of Germanyhttps://www.deutschland.de/en/topic/life/germanys-most-popular-beers

Czech beer has a long and complex history. The first known brewery in the region dates back to 1118. The city of Brno had been recognized for brewing rights as early as the 12C, while the two cities traditionally associated with Czech beer namely Plzeň and České Budějovice, have had a brewery since the 13C. The history of modern beer in the Czech regions (Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia) dates back to the creation of the Pilsner Urquell in 1842 which revolutionized the brewing industry. Previously, Bohemia was famous for its wheat beers, known in Czech under the term “světlé pivo” (light beer), the equivalent of the German “weissbier” or the Belgian “witbier”. Most of the large and medium-sized cities owned at least one brewery. But the largest breweries were in České Budějovice , Plzeň , and Prague. Important breweries were also found in the towns of Rakovník, Žatec  and TřeboňThe two most famous (and most exported) Czech beer brands are Pilsner Urquell, the first and archetype of Pilsner beers and Budweiser Budvar . Other major brands include Bernard, GambrinusKrušovice, Radegast, Starobrno, Staropramen, Velkopopovický Kozel and Svijany. Budweiser beer produced in the Czech Republic (founded in 1795 and having begun exporting to the United States in 1871); American Bud produced in the United States since 1876. In the United States, since 1939, the Czech brewer cannot use the names Bud, Budweis or Budweiser. This agreement signed by Czechs threatened at the time by Nazi Germany leaves a bitter taste, like the beer made in Ceske Budejovice, which had to take the name of Czechvar on the North American continent. A verdict of the European Court of Justice of July 2010 stipulates that Budweiser Budvar beer has the exclusive use of the Budweiser brand throughout the European Union. According to the Czech law, beers are divided into the following categories, regardless of their style and colour: Lehké, a light beer that stands at 8 ° Výčepní, a table beer that is between 8 ° and 10 °  Ležák, a classic Lager beer which is between 11 ° and 12.99 ° premium, for beers exceeding the threshold of 13 °. Originally, Pilsner just meant that the beer was breated in Plzeň. By extension, the term now refers to a pale and hoppy Lager beer. The Czech Beer Festival in Prague is the largest beer Festival in the Czech Republic and is held for 17 days each year in May!. It is possible to taste more than 70 different brands of Czech beers. The Pilsner festival is a two-day beer festival held each year in October by the Pilsner Urquell brewery in Plzeň.

plu-budweiser-czech-beer-may19

The original Czech beers :http://www.originalczechbeers.com/

There you go folks, this is a sample of my favorite beers/countries of course they are all over in our world. We just take a few of their beers for personal and family enjoyment, drink in moderation ,it is all for fun as well as keeping the traditions! However, the beers of Ireland, Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic are all very good indeed!!! Hope you can enjoy them as I.

And remember ,happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

 

 

 

November 23, 2022

The beers of Bretagne and France !!!

Let’s talk about beers in the season to be merrier! Now I like beers too, and have consumed quite a bit of them over the years. As time passes and we gain a few years I tend to turn to the local artisanal beers and away from the industrial ones. This is the case arriving in Brittany or Bretagne or Breizh. I like to update this older post with new text, links and some beer labels.

However, what is a fact and you need to spent some time in the local bars and brasseries of France is that the beer is catching up. I know for a fact in my beautiful Brittany, the beer is king. The biggest tendance is the IPA beer ( India Pale Ale ) a style of beer that is as usual as asking for a mojito.   Almost all the breweries have an IPA. Leffe, was the first one three years ago with the Leffe Royale Cascade IPA. Raw materials and brewing techniques. Experiments and innovations take part in the dynamics of a brand while bringing new flavors. Beer aged in new oak casks or in casks having wine content (Sauternes, Pinot Noir, Meursault), rum, cognac, whisky or calvados. Beers brewed from stale bread, grapes, smoked malt with beech wood, wheat malt (or cheese), rye, buckwheat, oats. Beers flavoured with the addition of plants, fruit, fruit juices, non-alcoholic beers…You name it they are all innovating ideas and surprisingly there are markets for them!

Styles and large families: Lager: A generic term for low, blond, amber, brown, cold and refreshing beers, the most popular being pils, or pilsner. A blond, light, well-hopped beer. Ale (ale means beer): traditional beer from the United Kingdom, high fermentation, light in alcohol. It is available in Pale Ale (Claire), mild (mild), Brown (a bit sweet), bitter (very hoppy, so bitter), Porter (brunette), stout (black, malt-based very roasted barley), barley wine (meaning barley wine, with a lot of malted barley, strongly Alcoholic). Within this family of beers is the India Pale Ale (IPA), rich in very specific hops, with citrus, floral, earthy, fruity aromas…Abbey beer: Beer is named after an abbey but brewing is carried out by an outside brewery. Trappist: Beer brewed in the enclosure of an abbey or under the control and responsibility of the monastic community. Double or triple: Used in Belgium for Abbey Beers in particular, these denominations refer to the strongest beers in alcohol. The double is a dark beer measuring at least 6% alcohol. The triple is a blonde or golden beer that titles between 7.5% and 9%. I have tried the Duchesse Anne Triple 9% from Brittany, and Belzebuth at 8,5% blonde pilsners from the Nord -France. Specialty Beers: Those that are unclassifiable in other families, generally regional beers and high fermentation.

There are three types of beer fermentation, these are:The high fermentation beers : In the brewing, the yeast work at high temperatures between 15C and 25C ( 59F and 77F) transforming the sugars into alcohol and carbonic gas. The low fermentation beers : the yeast work at temperatures between 5C and 12C(41F to 54F).The beers with spontaneous fermentation: the yeasts work in the changing air climates making a natural fermentation putting the malt of the beers in open barrels.  This is the case of the lambics and  gueuzes beers of Belgium.

The best ones for me are the brasseries artisanales or homemade breweries that today are about 1100. This represent 3% of the beer market and to 2020 it will double. In France, the region that consume the most are Normandie, Grand Est, and Bretagne. The Normans drink 81% , Grand Est 79%,and Bretagne 78%. However, France is one of the countries in Europe that consumes less beer per person, in 2017 the brewers association or association Brasseurs de France, they drink 30 liters (about 8 gallons US) of beer per year.  This number is nothing compare with the Czech drinking 144 liters per year, the Germans 107, Austrians 104 liters.  Even if we have 1100 breweries with 3000 beer brands, France is the 8th producer in Europe behind Germany, UK, Spain, and Netherland.

La Cervoiserie began near La Rochelle in 2004 and now has more than 500 references of beers in stores of about 400 m2. They are gear to the « after works » or Happy Hour to from hours of 10h to 20h Mondays to Saturdays.  They are a franchises; we have one in Vannes. La Cervoiserie : https://lacervoiserie.com/les-cervoisiers/vannes/

Another one similar that we go often and buy more is V&B on a similar format as above. The stores has one in Séné, one in Vannes, and Auray. We have tried them all but we are comfortable and friendly with the store in Auray. V&B: https://vandb.fr/v-and-b-auray.html

The brewers association or Brasseurs de France: https://biere-tourisme.fr/brasseries/

Rate Beer ,beer rating worldwide: https://www.ratebeer.com/

Now let me give some names, places, the rest you can find online easy. La Brasserie du Bout du Monde at Rosnoen, Brasserie de Bretagne, at Trégunc; Brasserie des Deux Rivières – Coreff,  at Carhaix-Plouguer; Brasserie Lancelot, at Val d’Oust (Le Roc Saint André), Brasserie Mor Braz, at Theix-Noyalo; Brasserie la goutte d’or, 18éme arrondissement Paris; Brasserie Bière de Meaux at Meaux; and Brasserie de La Vallée de Chevreuse, at Bonnelles.

There you go folks, the beers are all very good, and I will again soon be tasting more in my beautiful Morbihan and lovely Bretagne. Drink with moderation of course, this is culture at its best and enjoy it with friends and or family even better.  Salut!!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

November 22, 2022

My memorable moments at the Intercontinental Hotels !!

I have written on them before, but just found me some brochures of those wonderful years spent at the Intercontinetal Hotels of France that made write again this new post, This was a great moment in my life as we had all the family together and had a blast, Memories that are still intact as well as the friendship of those collegues from yesteryear still in touch, Let me tell you briefly on this wonderful experience with especially the so called L’Inter hotel of Paris ! Hope you enjoy it as I.

Paris intercontinental hotel entr brochure

A bit of background to the newcomers to my blog, The Intercontinental Hotel or l’Inter (now the Westin Paris) on rue Castiglione near the Tuileries garden,  and the Le Grand Hotel Intercontinental and its wonderful Café de la Paix by the Opéra Garnier were my hangouts. The HQ handling all the hotels was at the Intercontinental Paris or affectionally called L’Inter. It was at the corner of the streets 3 rue de Castiglione and rue Rivoli. The offices were again in the mezzanine area off the general public but we could walk all over, and I did as my job will take me to see the restaurants/bar personnel as well as the rooms. The walks between the l’Inter and Le Grand were sublime passing by the Place Vendôme into the Place de l’Opéra!!  The Le Grand hotel is at the corner of 2 rue Scribe,and 12 blvd des Capucines.

Other IHG properties, I was responsible for was in Cannes, the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel in the Croisette!  I was, also, responsible for the Holiday Inn -pl de la République in Paris (now a Crown plaza hotel), and the Holiday Inn Disneyland ,(the hotel is now call the Vienna House Magic Circus Hotel), of course, I not only visited on business but also stayed with the family while going to Disneyland Paris (see posts).  So why I have good memories of it and always will remember them? Well , I used to worked in them, and was in charge of all intercontinental hotels in France that were owned by the group IHG at the time base in Windsor, England, with European hq in Brussels Belgium. Two wonderful years bouncing from one to the other in an top management position in the Accounting dept.Memories forever,thanks guys!!

Paris Christmas inter et grand hotels 2005

Paris intercontinental hotel Club level brochure

While at the L’Inter hotel had the distinct pleasure of helping out a fund raiser for the Hurricane Katrina (2005) in New Orleans, LA USA, It as an effort by the entire expat community on providing free host in the great salons (historical monuments of France) for charitable events , This was a huge success with more than 500 guest and musicians from the US and some base in France, All proceeds were to the American Red Cross.

Paris Inter Crescent city jam katrina hurricane 2005

Paris Inter Crescent city jam katrina hurricane program 2005

expats-paris-intercontinental-hotel-katrina-fund-raiser-2005

Paris inter hotel katrina fund raising 2005

We as a family and me employed there went thru wonderful Christmas parties for the employees, to welcoming and meeting some of the famous and known such as U2, Condoleezza Rice , Sec of state USA; Stéphane Bern , French actor, presenter and many many more. Working with the upper class of the French nobility including Princess Napoléon, to the marquis and dukes of France; and the famous brands who held many events in the hotels from Louis Vuitton, to Chanel, to the fabulous Fashion Weeks of Paris !! Never to forget and now fix into my blog for eternity,

Paris Christmas inter hotel 2005

Paris IC hotel Christmas party fam middle seats Dec2005

From the brochures that I kept as souvenir, this one is one of my favorites so will translate here for you and me, Another memorable brochures of a wonderful property and people, the L’Inter or Intercontinental Hotel Paris, (now a Westin Vendôme Paris hotel).

Paris intercontinental hotel winter garden brochure

Paris intercontinental hotel salon napoleon brochure

The first king of France to fall in love with Paris was Philippe Auguste constructed the Louvre dungeon around 1200, while creating the ramparts of the City, The huge tower which was destined to become the royal castle in the 16C was the starting point of the superb promenade whose central section leads into the Champs Elysées, this extends to the top of the Chaillot slopes and is crowned at the Etoile by the Arc de Triomphe, During the Renaissance, Queen Catherine de Médicis ordered the Tuileries Palace (gone see post) situated at the angle of the Seine river to complete the Louvre ensemble whose extremities form the great Marsan and Flore pavilions, The garden was designed and enlarged by André le Nôtre (see post) who previously had created the gardens of the Palace of Versailles,The Tuileries Gardens (see posts) bordered by the Seine river and the future place Louis XV constructed in the 18C, From the Louvre folks passed in front of the Capucins, Cistercians and the convent of the Assumption later the Polish church,

These monasteries emptied during the French revolution became meeting houses and felled quickly into decay, The Fall of the monarchy is marked as August 10th 1792 and from the Tuileries the king Louis XVI sought refuge in the Riding school which was razed to the ground during the construciton of the rue de Rivoli as the crossroads of the rue de Castiglione,It was decided to build a road from the rue de Rivoli to the place Louis XV (now place de la Concorde), The Rue de Castiglione running from the rue de Rivoli to the Place Vendôme commemorates one of Napoléon Ier victories during the Italian campaign of 1796, In May 1871 several areas were burnt to the ground by the great fire including the Rue Royale, Tuileries Palace, and the Ministry of Finance, good fortunes the blaze did not reach the Louvre and its precious collections,

The new parliament of the French Republic refused to replace the roof of the Tuileries Palace whose stone were removed to Corsica by the Pozzo di Borgo family rivals of Bonaparte, In 1878, the Continental Hotel rose up from its ashes, Its portals situated in the Rue de Castiglione were erected on the site of the monk’s former refectory, Gilded drawing rooms enriched by sculptures and mythological scenes , a Moorish style winter garden walnut panneled Henri II drawing rooms and an electric dynamo machine feeding the incandescent lamps from 1887, All the latest discoveries and developements made available by progress were incorporated from the very infancy and the five hundred rooms became the meeting place both for the members of the elite and heads of State, It is here on Saturday April 13 1889 while the inauration of the Tour Eiffel that a sumptous dinner was organised in honor of M, Gustave Eiffel, Some of the menu included gonale cream, Dieppe turbot with Mousseline sauce, Nevers-style lamb saddle, Russian-style lobster, Dombe orange and vanilla glazed cake punch, fruit basket, sweets, small wine ovens: Médoc in a carafe, Pommerol St Emilion, Champagne Frappé, coffee and liqueurs.

In 1883 ,Victor Hugo presided over the luncheon given here to celebrate the publishing of his complete works, From Peter 1st of Serbia, King Fouad of Egypt and on several occasions Empress Eugenie (Spanish wife of Napoléon III) , the last monarch to reside at the Tuileries Palace, all spent periods of time in the hotel, In 1940 Jean Giraudoux set up his information office in the drawing rooms of the last Empress, The Nazis later occupied the building for four years and the Continental Hotel once more renewed its normal activities continuing until 1968, With the Inter-Continental Hotel we witness the ultimate matamorphosis still sparkling from the recent beauty treatment, These lines of historical praise join together to form a magnificent bouquet of which as Montaigne puts it «  I am but the narrow ribbon to tie around » Sublime indeed,

There you go folks, a wonderful experience of many memorable moments never to be forgotten, You in eternal Paris, and in the marvelous area of beauty,luxury and high class, The hotel even today I say its worth a stay, eat in, visit anything there is worth it me think, Again, hope you enjoy the memorable post on the Intercontinental Hotels of France and especially on the L’Inter !!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

November 22, 2022

The wines of Portugal ,and then Porto !!

I will talk about the wines of Portugal and especially about Porto. I have tried several Portuguese wines over the years and in Portugal. My best souvenirs have been drinking the porto wines. This post is about them.The wine producing Douro region is the third oldest protected wine region in the world.  In 1756, during the rule of the Marques de Pombal the Companhia Geral da Agricultura das Vinhas do Alto Douro or C.G.A.V.A.D., also known as the General Company of Viticulture of the Upper Douro or Douro Wine Company, was founded to guarantee the quality of the product and fair pricing to the end consumer. I am updating this older post with new fresh text and some of my favorite bottle labels! Hope you enjoy it as I

Port wine  or vinho do Porto (Portuguese) are fortified wines produced exclusively in the Douro Valley in the northern provinces of Portugal. It comes in sweet red wine often served as dessert wine although it came come as dry semi dry and white varieties. The wine produced is then fortified by the  addition of aguardente (an eau de vie from sugar cane or grapes) in order to stop the fermentation, leaving residual sugar in the wine, and to boost the alcohol content.  The fortification spirit is sometimes referred to as brandy ,but it bears little resemblance to commercial brandies. The wine is then stored and aged often in barrels stored in a Lodge (meaning “cellar”) as is the case in Vila Nova de Gaia just across in the Douro river ,before being bottled.  Also, in the area around Pinhâo and Sâo Joâo da Pesqueira  considered to be the center of port production, and is known for its picturesque quintas estates clinging on to almost vertical slopes dropping down to the river.

The area is sub-divided into four official zones: the Baixo (lower) Corgo, the Cima (higher) and the Douro Superior. Over a hundred varieties of grapes (castas) are sanctioned for port production, although only five Tinta Barroca, Tinta Câo, Tinta Roriz (tempranillo of Spain), Touriga Francesa, and Touriga Nacional are widely cultivated and used. The Touriga Nacional is widely considered the most desirable port grape but the difficulty in growing it and the small yields cause Touriga Francesa to be the most widely planted grape. White ports are produced the same way as red ports, except that they use white grapes such as Donzelinho Branco, Esgana-Câo, Folgasao, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Rabigato and Viosinho.

Briefly as much as possible , the varieties are Ruby port is the cheapest and most extensively produced type of port. Aged tawny ports (my favorite) are wines made from red grapes that are aged in wooden barrels exposing them to gradual oxidation and evaporation. As a result of this oxidation, they gradually mellow to a golden-brown colour. The exposure to oxygen imparts “nutty” flavours to the wine, which is blended to match the house style. Colheita Port is a single-vintage wine fortified and aged in tawny style for at least seven years. Instead of an indication of age (10, 20, …), the actual vintage year is mentioned. However, Colheita Port should not be confused with Vintage Port : whereas a Vintage Port will spend only about 18 months in barrels after harvest and will continue to mature in bottle, a Colheita may have spent 20 or more years in wooden barrels before being bottled and sold. Garrafeira is an unusual and rare intermediate vintage-dated style of port made from the grapes of a single harvest that combines the oxidative maturation of years in wood with further reductive maturation in large glass demijohns. It is required to spend some time in wood, usually between three and six years, followed by at least a further eight years in glass, before bottling. In practice the times spent in glass are much longer. Reserve port is a premium ruby port approved by the official regulating tasting panel, Rose port is a very recent variation on the market; it is technically a ruby port, but fermented in a similar manner to a rosé wine, with a limited exposure to the grape skins, thus creating the rose color.

Late bottled vintage (or  LBV) was originally wine that had been destined for bottling as vintage port, but because of lack of demand was left in the barrel for longer than had been planned. Crusted port is usually a blend of port wine from several vintages, although single vintage crusted ports have sometimes been made in the past. Vintage port is made entirely from the grapes of a Declared Vintage year and accounts for about two percent of overall port production. Not every year is declared a Vintage in the Douro. Single Quinta Vintage ports are wines that originate from a single estate, unlike the standard bottlings of the port wine houses which can be sourced from a number of quintas. White port is made from white grapes and can be made in a wide variety of styles. Lagrima, meaning “Tears”, is the name for the sweetest style of white Port. When white ports are matured in wood for long periods, the colour darkens, eventually reaching a point where it can be hard to discern (from appearance alone) whether the original wine was red or white.

The drinking of it Porto, like other wines, should be stored in a cool but not cold, dark location (as light can damage the port), at a steady temperature (such as a cellar), with the bottle laying on its side if it has a cork, or standing up if it is synthetic or metal cap.  With the exception of white port, which can be served chilled, porto or port should be served at between 15-20C (59-68F). Tawny port may also be served slightly cooler. I served mine chilled without ice. Once opened, port generally lasts longer than unfortified wine, but it is still best consumed within a short period of time. Tawny, ruby, and LBV ports may keep for several months once opened; because they are aged longer in barrels, these ports have already been exposed to some degree of oxidation. Old Vintage ports are best consumed within several days of opening, but young Vintage Ports can be kept open for several weeks, if not months when very young.

The official  institute of wines of the Douro and Portohttps://www.ivdp.pt/en

The city of Porto tourist office on port winehttps://visitporto.travel/en-GB/savour-port-wine#/

Ok so now let me give some houses to look for them when buying porto as my favorites of course. Easy to look up their webpages online. These are Fonseca, Quinta do Noval , Sandeman, Ramos Pinto (my favorite see pics),Taylor’s , Graham’sCockburn ,Ferreira, and Rozes. 

There you go folks, enjoy the wonderful world of Porto or Port red or white, we drink both but much prefer the red. A world of their own, hoppe you enjoy the post as I. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

November 21, 2022

Parc Asterix, le French park !!!

As I was on themes park visiting again, I remember this memorable park we came with the family upon arriving in France, OF course, we came back a couple times more early on and then went away into the Morbihan breton, I like to update this older post with new text and using the old pictures, Bear with me and hope you enjoy it as I,

Let me tell you about the Parc Asterix, le French park !!! The quiensentional French attractions park. There are many themes parks in France but this one is as much French as any, therefore, if you come to France for all French  ,then you need to bring your children here, period. I know I took mine earlier, tiny kids of about 10-12 years old and they love it so much still today young men they still remember fondly of their visits here with Mom and Dad.  At the more French parc Asterix , a tourist complex including a theme park and now three hotels opened on 30 April 1989. The theme park is dedicated to the world of comics from Uderzo and Goscinny, and  it is located in Plailly, Oise, dept 60 about 30 km from Paris. It is not open all year, need to check their schedules online.

parc-asterix-roller-c-2005

I like to tell you a bit about their history as I like it,

From 1981, Albert Uderzo, after visiting Disneyland in California, imagines a project of an amusement park on the theme of Asterix. The summer of 1987 marks the beginning of the construction of the park ,the location is chosen among other things , because of its network of communications such as the nearby Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport at only 10 km away, a private interchange connects the park to the A1 highway and a shuttle service makes the junction with a metro line.

The 22-hectare amusement park is completed in 1989 with five thematic areas: Via Antiqua, the village of Asterix, the Rue de Paris, the Great Lake and the Roman city. In 1993, Great European Theme Parks was founded in response to the arrival of Euro Disneyland. Its members were Europa-Park, Alton Towers, Parc Asterix, Efteling and Liseberg. By 1994, it was already profitable, and in the same year, Parc Asterix SA was introduced to the Second market of the Paris Stock Exchange. In 1998,it bought the Grand aquarium Saint-Malo .In 1999, it merged with the Grévin-France Miniature Museum Group. The company then becomes Grévin & Compagnie SA. This year, 1999   the 3-Hiboux (owl) hotel with a capacity of 100 rooms is inaugurated in July. The Hotel des 3 Hiboux added in 2017 50 additional rooms to reach the number of 150. In addition, a convention and seminar center is in addition to the availability offered by the park. In june 2002 , the Compagnie des Alpes acquired Grévin & Cie via a takeover bid and created CDA Parks (Compagnie des Alpes ) ; in turn control by Caisse des Dépôts since same year, It now counting 12 parks and the current owners. Webpage : https://www.compagniedesalpes.com/en

There have been some innovations such as the “Lutèce Plage” or lutecia beach event which consists of a beach and entertainment on the shores of the Grand Lac in summer. Another event celebrating Halloween during the event “Fear on Parc Astérix” ,The new Attention Menhir !, , A new system named Filotomatix, a time slot reservation service is launched.

Today, the Parc Asterix park is officially composed of six universes, which are:

Via antiqua : This part allows access to the heart of the park. The public can find all the traditional services there, such as information points and cash desks. The “street” also contains many shops and food outlets such as the croissant de Diane, the large market of Lutèce, the Gallic galleries, the bonbon palace, at Rahazade, Numérobis, Gravedanlonix or even Le Bon Légionnaire. It is decorated according to the lands traveled in The Adventures of Asterix such as Belgium Gaul, Germany, Rome, India, Helvetia and Egypt. Lutèce can be recognized in various places. The attentive observer sees the Bocca della Verità, the Manneken-Pis, a Swiss cuckoo clock and the Nemean lion.

The Roman Empire: It presents itself as entirely decorated on the theme of the Roman Empire. True to the cartoon, the public will find humorous signs and inscriptions, including a sign pointing to Rome in all directions, in accordance with the proverb “All roads lead to Rome”. This district offers five attractions and one show: Romus and Rapidus: a Rapid river on board large buoys; Les Espions de César: aerial circuit where passengers board small, slow-moving vehicles, formerly equipped with pedals to increase their speed; Le Carrousel de César: carousel on the theme of the main comic book characters ; The Little Train: Children’s Train ; Caesar’s Challenge: Mad House on the Recruitment of the Roman Legion ; Gaulois-Romains: le match: show taking place in the 940-seat Roman arena located at the exit of Via Antiqua.

parc-asterix-rapids-c-2005

The Ancient Greece: The village was previously included in the Grand Lac district. Entirely dedicated to the theme of the Hellenic world and its mythology, it illustrates the humorous style famous in comics by Uderzo and Goscinny.Seven attractions and one show are located in this area:The Trojan Horse: a flying carpet-type attraction, The Flight of Icarus: roller coaster on the theme of the flight and then the fall of Daedalus’ son;The River of Elis: peaceful journey aboard small buoys in the typical Greek gardens in reference to Elis ; the Lernaean Hydra: octopus-like attraction in the image of the Lernaean Hydra; Tonnerre 2 Zeus: wooden roller coaster with a height of thirty-three meters and a speed of around 90 km/h ; Discobelix: Ancient Olympic Games-themed Disk’O Coaster attraction; Pegasus Express: Launched Roller Coaster , with the specialty of going back halfway; The Poseidon Theater It was named dolphinarium before the district became a clean zone it is redesigned and reopens in 2022 to offer Les Plongeons de l’Olympe, a diving show performed by athletes,

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The Vikings : The theme district is home to six attractions: La Galère: rocking boat type attraction; L’Escadrille des aces: merry-go-round of small planes ; The Mini Carrousel: carousel for toddlers ; Les Petits Drakkars: merry-go-round of small boats;Les Petites Chaises volantes: merry-go-round of flying chairs reserved for children ; Goudurix: metal roller coaster. Long holders of the European record for inversions with 7 elements, Aerolaf: Aerobar This bar which rises along a thirty-five meter tower is not considered an attraction. It is operated by a company external to Parc Astérix, the latter receiving remuneration from said company.

parc-asterix-my-kids-in-a-viking-boat

A travers le temps (Through time): Illustrating Paris, the first part of this universe focuses on the life of the Middle Ages and its knights. The area then evolves, moving from the Middle Ages to the 17C and 18C. It is within this zone that the majority of special events take place during the Halloween period. The visitor finds five attractions and three shows: Les Chevaux du roy: carousel similar to its Roman Empire counterpart, but oriented to a medieval theme ; National 7: circuit of clunkers through a small countryside evoking the blue route During the seasons of Peur sur le Parc,(Halloween) the course is redesigned and renamed Le Chemin des Sorciers;The Flying Chairs Carousel; The Oxygenarium: descent of buoys in a large slide. The script is summarized as follows: “Ferdinand de Teffélé, on the occasion of the Paris Invention Fair, offers a machine to take a breath of fresh air. Decontamination, expiration, arrival at the tops of the peaks and it’s the fall”. ; Attention Menhir: ten-minute film shown in a three-hundred-seat 4-D cinema. Named Les Studios Idéfix, this theater replaces the Cinématographe. The attraction lasts twenty minutes in total ;Hands down on the Mona Lisa: stunt show. A chase between thieves and policemen, with pyrotechnic effects ; The House of July 14: animated automata.

Bienvenue chez le Gaulois : (Welcome to the Gaul): This area contains twelve attractions and offers two shows: Toutatis: launched roller coaster, scheduled for 2023; Épidemaïs Cruises: boat circuit going around the village Passengers find characters from the main adventures of Asterix (Astérix chez Rahàzade, Asterix chez les Helvètes, etc.); The Cauldrons: Cup-type ride where visitors sit in cauldrons During the Halloween period (Peur sur le Parc), the attraction sees its decoration slightly altered as well as its name (Les Chaudrons infernaux); Menhir Express: log-type attraction. Course between the forest and the Egyptian zone ending with a fall of thirteen meters; La Trace du Hooray: bobsled roller coaster Nine hundred meters of descent at a speed approaching 60 km/h; Grand Splatch: aquatic circuit on the heights of the rock of Asterix – emblem of the park, visible from the highway – ending in a fall ; The Little Storm: music express ; The Little Bumper Tanks: Bumper Cars for Children. ; At Gyrofolix: Nebulaz-type ride, planned for 2023;  Chronos: magic show taking place in the 600-seat Panoramix Theater ; Du Rififi dans la basse-cour: show at the Bard’s theater featuring a Roman soldier accidentally catapulted into the Gallic village, Transgénix (the soothsayer).

parc-asterix-boat-c-2005

There is ,also, the Forest of Dogmatix (Idéfix) with Énigmatix: Small waterfall, Challis: Barnyard, Lavomatix: Jump around; Hydrolix: Aérodynamix Junior logs: Magic bikes.. Egypt : his 2.5 hectare Ancient Egyptian themed area offers visitors two attractions: OzIris. The course includes five inversions as well as a passage under a pool after a lift of 40 meters. ; and SOS Numérobis: junior roller coaster with a length of two hundred meters.

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The Parc Asterix had one hotel ,the Hôtel des 3 Hiboux , and now has two more, the la Cité suspendue, and the Les Quais de LutèceAnd how you get here! Be early and if you are like we come by car and got on the A1 autoroute:highway/motorway, and between exits 7 and 8 ,there is a private ramp to come into the park at approx. 40 min/30 km from Paris. Parking paying now 15€. By shuttle at CDG T3 ,and from RER B station “Aéroport Charles de Gaulle”, But never taken these public transports fyi.

The official Parc Asterixhttps://www.parcasterix.fr/

The Paris tourist office on the Parc Asterixhttps://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/72750/Parc-Asterix

The Chantilly-Senlis tourist office on the Parc Asterixhttps://www.chantilly-senlis-tourisme.com/en/la-destination/le-parc-asterix/

There you go folks, you can read it is more European, French and an enjoyable part of living here with children. The Parc Asterix is a must to visit especially with children to teens, Hope you enjoy the post and the parc as I.

And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all !!!

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November 20, 2022

The wines of my Tenerife !!!

Ok so let me tell you a bit about a loving subject of mine and my deep roots. I will tell you a bit on the history and wineries of my beloved grandparents home of Tenerife. The story is a condense article out in the El Mundo newspaper of Madrid on the wines of Tenerife. My grandparents on both father and mother’s side used to tell me that their wine may be sour but it is our wines! Well, they have improved enormously over the years and now they are very good indeed. Hope you enjoy the story on the wines of my Tenerife as I. 

The absence of phylloxera has allowed to preserve more than 80 vine varieties, many of them endemic, nonexistent in other lands. That makes it possible to name the lucky wines. The importance is not the years of the vineyard but the quality with which the vineyard is worked; The braided cord in La Orotava; the glasses in Vilaflor, in Güímar and in Santiago del Teide; the trellises in Ycoden; the low grapevines in Tacoronte; the free system (margullón) in Taganana … But the most important thing is that our vineyards are not born from the nursery, they are planted either from my neighbor or from the same vineyard, in this way the genetic material of each zone is the same for five centuries !

For centuries the vine is also one of the main crops of the island. The vineyard came to Tenerife with the first Europeans in the 15C,more precisely in 1497, when  the Portuguese Fernando de Castro planted the first vineyard on the soil of Tenerife, attracted by the fertility of its volcanic soils. Little suspect then that their crops would be the beginning of a whole wine culture that remains today. In 1985, the first denomination of origin was born that is granted to the island, more specifically to the wines of Tacoronte-Acentejo, which drives the wine sector in Tenerife again and since then it has become an indispensable part of its agriculture. Here it is produce wines with aromas and special flavors that are the ideal companion for the dishes of Tenerife’s cuisine. It is a question of elaborations of great typicity, result of the volcanic and atlantic character of Tenerife. The Island has five distinct wine regions: Tacoronte-Acentejo, Ycoden-Daute-Isora, Valle de la OrotavaValle de Güímar, and Abona. In these areas, the rich volcanic soil in which the vines are grown gives them a special character and different nuances. A special mention deserves the wine made with the Malvasia grape. Its demand during the  16-17C was incessant on the part of Europe and the main royal houses of the continent tasted it with assiduity. Even William Shakespeare or Walter Scott talked about them in some of  their works.  And many others came to taste in addition to the latter two were  Herman Melville, Lord Byron or Robert Louis Stevenson; with him they surely celebrated the victories, and tried to drown their defeats, Captain James Cook, Admiral John Jervis and the navigator Horatio Nelson. There are historians who point out that Malvasia was raised in Tenerife and not in Madeira with which Benjamin Franklin offered the signing of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America.

In Tenerife you can find different ways of growing the vine depending on the region and the type of grape. In the region of Tacoronte-Acentejo, the low parcels (0.80 mts) prevails, supported by forklifts anchored to the ground. In the Valley of La Orotava, on the other hand, highlights the laborious braid or drag system. In the Ycoden-Daute-Isora region you can find several systems, such as trellis, irregular vase or low vine, and more recently trellis cultivation. In the south of the island by Guimar  the low parcels predominates supported on pitchforks in the perimeter of the plots, while in the higher areas (such as Vilaflor, in the county of Abona, or the Pelados de Güímar) can be found crops with vase driving .

One of the keys to the success of the Tenerife wines are the different native varieties of pre-phylloxera vine that are grown on the island, which can not be found in the rest of the country. Listán Blanco, Malvasía, Gual, Albillo Criollo, Vijariego, Moscatel, Marmajuelo and Verdello are the grapes used to make white wines, while the rosés and red wines come from the Listán Negro, Negramoll and Tintilla grapes. The Malvasía grape stands out in white. It is an especially aromatic berry, one of the oldest known, and which was already used in the past to make Canarian wines so appreciated in Europe. It is a different strain to the one elaborated in the rest of Spain or in Lanzarote and reaches in these latitudes all its quality and potential of expression. The Listán Negro variety, very resistant and vigorous, is recognized by its medium size and dark color clusters, produces aromatic and fruity wines of great typicity. The Negramoll grape is also very appreciated for transferring a velvety touch to the wines.

The first wines produced in Tenerife were white. Malvasia wine production was, for several centuries, the main economic engine of the island of Tenerife. Their quality and taste made them one of the most sought-after in the world, especially in Europe: In the Old Continent, these famous wines known as Canary Sack were highly valued. Especially appreciated are the dry whites made with white varieties Listan Blanco, Albillo, Verdello etc. and even Malvasia, as well as mono-varietals either in mixture or blend  between them. Although the rosé wines of Tenerife enjoy a careful production, this is less than in the case of white and red wines.

White wines are the star of the wine production of the Valle de Güímar Designation of Origin, since they account for 80% of the production. Its color presents tones between pale yellow and straw, even golden, and is characterized by a fresh and fruity taste. The aroma of these white wines is medium intensity, with touches of fruit and fresh grass. Rosé wines are highly appreciated for their aroma of red fruits, while red wines are recognized for their earthy notes. Other varieties are the sweet wine, with hints of honey; sparkling wines with a very fine bubble and persistent crown, slightly acidic; and needle wines with notes of nuts and slightly spicy. The Valley of Güímar Designation of Origin covers the town of: Arafo Candelaria (paternal grandpas from here !!) ; and Güímar. My family background from grandparents and older generations! The denominations of origin are the best wines from the regions of Abona, Tacoronte-Acentejo, Valle de Güímar, Valle de La Orotava and Ycoden-Daute-Isora holding this distinction. They benefit from the richness of the volcanic soils of Tenerife, the excellent Atlantic climate of the island and the care and professionalism with which they are made.

Some of my best Bodegas and wines from my dear Tenerife are:

The first Canarian wine scored with 97 points in Robert Parker’s guide is Táganan parcel Margalagua 2017, The Táganan from the Margalagua plot is born in red basalt soils, it is an elegant, complex, saline, deep wine. In the limestone soils, more structured wines are born, elegant, with depth; in the vertical granite, longer than wide, with lower middle palate, direct; in basalt soils they are direct, fresh towards the end of the mouth and the wines of the sandy volcanic soil are … We have very young soils in Taganana: they are from two to three million years old. Maybe a Listán Negro grape because it is a well adapted variety and is the one that best expresses the soil in the Canary Islands and is the most widespread.webpage: http://www.josepastorselections.com/envinate.html

Bodegas Monje (the best) try their Listan Negro or Dragoblanco Seco (dry). The winery occupies 17 hectares of a beautiful estate of stony but very rich soil, fruit of the volcanic action and its strains grow on the slope of a hill facing the Atlantic Ocean, so that its grapes directly receive the sea breeze and the rays of the Sun almost permanently creating a perfect microclimate for the maturation of the strains. Visiting Bodegas Monje is an unforgettable experience because, in addition to producing magnificent wines, its structure responds to this cultural concept in the broadest sense of the word. Along with large stainless steel tanks where they ferment the wines, other artistic manifestations coexist in full harmony with the wine. More than 60 barrels of American and French oak, some with more than 200 years, alternate with scenic spaces where poetry, literature, theater or music are part of the life of the winery. There is also a fine restaurant and combi of tapas and glass of wines for tastings. webpage: https://bodegasmonje.com/

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Comarcal de Guimar or  Sociedad Agrícola de Viticultores or  Agricultural Society of Viticulturists created in 1989. The winery was built in 1993 and a year later the Brumas de Ayosa and Pico Chomarcial brands were created, with a range of dry and simian, pink and red whites. The surface of the vineyards is more than 1,500 hectares, located between 200 and 1,500 meters high. Its excellent Sparkling Wines stand out. Webpage currently in maintenance: http://bodegavalledeguimar.com/

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Bodegas Insulares de Tenerife.  The winery has 660 viticultural partners from the Tacoronte-Acentejo region. The red wines or Tintos are made with the Canarian varieties Listán Negro (95%) and Negramoll (5%) The whites: the harvest is done since the end of August. They are made with the Listán Blanco variety, with soft pressing of the whole clusters. The rosés are made with the Listán Negro variety. After six hours of cold maceration, a gentle pressing is carried out. Webpage: https://www.bodegasinsulares.es/index.aspx

bodegas-insulares-de-tenerife-vina-norte-tinto-barrica

More information on the wines of Tenerife are to be found in

The Casa del Vino or house of winehttps://www.casadelvinotenerife.com/en/

The Repsol Guide (the Michelin of Spain) on Tenerife wines, especially those Benjamin Franklin toast to celebrate the signing of the US Independance! https://www.guiarepsol.com/es/comer/vinos-y-bodegas/vinos-de-tenerife-denominaciones-de-origen-y-bodegas/#

The official Tenerife tourist office on its wineshttps://www.webtenerife.co.uk/tenerife/gastronomy/wines/

There you go folks,hope you now have a grasp of the wonderful world of the Tenerife wines as view from a wine enthusiast and local point of view. Hope you get to taste and enjoy the wines of Tenerife!

And remember ,happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

November 19, 2022

A re visit to Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil !!!

I come to the end of my road warrior trip, and again I needed to stop by Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil ,in the department 37 Indre et Loire of the beautiful Centre Val de Loire region. This one is a familar one as been here a couple times for the wines but had time to see some. This time was again invited to the property open house , and could not say no. As was doing my road warrior visits in the department 37 planned perfectly on our way back to stop by the open house of Vignobles la Rodaie again.  These again proves the choices are endless and each time we enjoy a bit more of my belle France. Therefore, let me tell you a bit more of Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil.  Hope you enjoy the post as I.

Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil Dom Cousseau-Boireau wines side open house nov22

 I was invited again to an open house of one of our favorite house wines in the wonderful wine town of Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil. Therefore , again, we could not refuse!!! As said , we planned our road warrior trip to stop by here on the way back home. The town is 293 km from my house. A few years back while attending our now favorite salon de la gastronomie et vins in Vannes,(see posts)  we met a couple owners of EARL Cousseau-Boireau from La Rodaie neighborhood of Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil. It has been an ever increasing good relationship. They have even delivered themselves to our house!!! 

In the open house, again we met Le Canard Roi direct from the farm of  114 Montquartier, Vivy 49680 Maine et Loire dept 49 , no web, and got our magret de canard and aiguillettes de canard,and rillettes de canard or duck by able men Pascal ! Delicious!! We met again, the wonderful red Chinon Vignobles du Pressoir, Daguet family and able Julien where we got our Tradition fruity red grenat pleasant in the mouth ! They are at Le Pressoir, Panzoult 37220.no web but shown in the Val de Loire wines webpage: https://www.vinsvaldeloire.fr/fr/domaine/manoir-du-pressoir.  We took this time the Le Fumoir de Maryse with great saucisson sec and cow milk cheese passing on the salmon, They have a Facebook page :https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100057550003901 .  And we took home a Vouvray brut sparkler from Martine and Jean-Louis Rougebec, more on them here:  https://www.vintouraine.com/domaine/domaine-jean-louis-rougebec/

And of course , our reason to be there the Cousseau-Boireau vinyards . Heck, here we tried them all again. Starting with our favorite Tradition 2021 vintage, nice again and great price/quality ratio. We tried a new one done by the daughter and son in law as continuation of the tradition, that looks very promising. We got a case of each!  The wine town of Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil showcasing the property and a picture of the owners Christel and Claudine :https://stnicolasdebourgueil.fr/en/vignerons/vignoble-de-la-rodaie/

Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil Dom Cousseau-Boireau wines entr open house nov22

Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil Dom Cousseau-Boireau wines bibs open house nov22

Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil Dom Cousseau-Boireau wines stock open house nov22

A bit of background on the wines of Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil appellation follows the contours of the eponymous town. The vineyard is located on the borders of Touraine and Anjou, on the high terrace of the right bank of the Loire river. Cabernet Franc dominates, and only Cabernet Sauvignon is tolerated within the limit of 10% of the grape variety. The sandy-gravelly soils, with a clay bottom with some clay-limestone slopes, give gourmet and fresh wines, with lively notes of flowers, raspberries and cherries that will brighten up your table.

There you go folks, always nice to be back in Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil. There is so much to see here and so much architecture and history in the valley of the kings of France! And with great wines too; I am king here too. Hope you enjoy my return to Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil as I.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

November 19, 2022

A re visit to Bourgueil !!!

I am coming to the end of my road warrior trips, and again I needed to stop by Bourgueil ,in the department 37 Indre et Loire of the beautiful Centre Val de Loire region. This one is a familar one as been here a couple times for the wines but had time to see some. This time was no exception and was able to re visit the Church Saint Germain that was in renovation on the exterior and the halles or covered market. These again proves the choices are endless and each time we see a bit more of my belle France. Therefore, let me tell you a bit more of Bourgueil.  Hope you enjoy the post as I.

The town of Bourgueil is located in the Indre-et-Loire department 37 in the Centre-Val de Loire region. It is located in the heart of the Loire-Anjou-Touraine regional natural park. The town is located in the Touraine Angevine, formerly the province of Anjou. It is at 20 km from Saumur and 12 km from Chinon as well as 301 km from my house.

The Church Saint-Germain has a Romanesque nave contrasting with a Gothic choir. The choir was rebuilt in the 13C in the Plantagenêt style. The front door was renovated in the 12C. It is a rectangle whose vaults rest on four monolithic columns. The keystones are decorated with bas-relief and painting. The old 11C nave was rebuilt in 1888. However, the church was recorded as early as 1002 by a papal bull of Pope Sylvester III. 

Bourgueil ch Saint Germain belltower nov22

The bell tower dates from the beginning of the 12C, it is Romanesque, it is pierced by two semicircular bays on each side.  The original gable is still visible, it is composed of small stones forming a reticule.  The nave as a whole was restored and the side aisles redone by 1887-1888. The Choir comprises three naves of three bays, it is an example of Angevine architecture from the end of the 12C. The arches of the vaults rest on four columns forming a square and surmounted by carved capitals. The keystones and those of the doubleaux are decorated with sculpted figures.  Outside, the corbels bear sculptures of the heads of grotesque figures.

Bourgueil ch Saint Germain nave to altar pulpit nov22

The Halles or covered market constitute the heart of the city, they are surrounded by the main shops and services of the city center. On its south side, the building of the old city/town hall is attached to it, it is from the beginning of the 19C and overlooks the north side of the Saint Germain Church. Les Halles were rebuilt at the beginning of the 19C on the site of an earlier halle. Bourgueil market has long been known to be one of the most important in Touraine.

Bourgueil covered market halles front nov22

Bourgueil covered market halles side nov22

The city of Bourgueil on its heritage: https://www.bourgueil.fr/patrimoine-2/

The Touraine Valley of the Loire tourist office on Bourgueil heritage trailshttps://www.touraineloirevalley.co.uk/natural-heritage/patrimonial-trails-of-bourgueil-bourgueil/

There you go folks, always nice to be back in Bourgueil. There is so much to see here and so much architecture and history in the valley of the kings of France! And with great wines too; I am king here too. Hope you enjoy my return to Bourgueil as I.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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