Posts tagged ‘Food and Wine’

February 5, 2019

Grevenmacher and Bernard Massard!

On a day calling for snow, well not seen any yet just a bit of rain and some wind all calm down by now; I like to go into one of  my favorites subject, wines. This time however, will not tell you about French or Spanish wines but those of Luxembourg and especially the sparkling wines of Bernard Massard.

We were vacationing in Germany, and doing some road warrior trips into Luxembourg, we tumble into the town of Grevenmacher and voilà just crossing the Moselle river we stumbled into a nice beautiful building that is the cellars of Bernard Massard. And of course, a visit was necessary lol!

grevenmacher

from Grevenmacher LU ,B Massard over the bridge and Germany

 

They are done in the Champenoise style as he learned the trades there, however, more on what the French call Crémants or a bit more creamy smooth type of “champagne”. We like the smoothness of them and a nice price to match so we not only tasted but purchase several bottles for home which we enjoyed and looking forward to a next visit.

grevenmacher

I like to tell you a bit about the town, very brief.  Grevenmacher is a town and the capital of the canton of the same name in Luxembourg. The city is bounded to the east by the Moselle, a tributary of the Rhine river which also acts as a border with Germany at this point. It is surrounded by well-known forests and vineyards.

My surprise was to find a sparkling wine maker of good quality and better prices in town. This is Bernard Massard,which is open from April 1 to October 31 every day from 9h30  to 18h. Out of season, by appointment only see webpage for contact. We came on regular hours and park right inside the premises.

You announce yourselves and wait in a nice lobby for the tour by a cellarmaster. He comes to pick you up and take you on the lobby showing some historical features of the House of Bernard Massard. Then, you go with him into the cellars, seeing all the production process and  ageing as well as at the end go up to a nice terrace restaurant with lounge chairs to have your tasting and hors oeuvres ,the price I believe if can remember was 7-9 euros per person. You get to try about 3-4 different bottle labels.

grevenmacher

The company was created in 1921 by a Luxembourg Oenologist who learned his craft in Champagne, France named  Jean Bernard-Massard. He led his project in the future by building his beautiful cellar of Grevenmacher on the banks of the Moselle river, these cellars produce sparkling wines in the Champenoise method. The visit of the lower cellars is complemented by the projection of a documentary film on the Grand Duchy, the Moselle river area, the work of the vine and the elaboration of sparkling wines as said.

Bernard Massard exploits in particular the enclosed areas of the rocks which stretches over 18 hectares, in Grevenmacher and Thill Frères which extends over 12 hectares, and Schengen, reputed especially for their Rieslings, Pinot blanc and Pinot Gris. The company is the first family producer of still and sparkling wines from Luxembourg with a total production of nearly 3.9 million bottles. Export wines in more than 20 countries, with a presence in Belgium since its foundation but also in many other markets such as Finland, Canada, Great Britain to name but a few. Total area is  38 ha,with  9 grape varietals, and  6.2 km of underground cellars.

grevenmacher

The historic building of the Bernard-Massard cellars, located in Grevenmacher, in the northern part of the Luxembourg vineyards, houses: a superb winery, ripening cellars, riddling tools, disgorgement and labelling, and ideal premises for organizing of events. Over the decades, Bernard Massard has become the first family manufacturer of sparkling wines from Luxembourg.  With its two partner domains, the Clos des Rochers and the Château Schengen , the company is one of the best producers of white wines of the appellation. In 1921, Jean Bernard-Massard, with the support of Luxembourgish and Belgian wine lovers, also founded a sparkling wine cellar in Grevenmacher, Luxembourg, and built a distinctive wine cellar right on the banks of the Moselle River. The brand Bernard Massard produces sparkling wine from Chardonnay, Riesling, and Cuvées in various flavors. The dry sparkling wine is made in traditional bottle fermentation in the naturally air-conditioned cellars.

grevenmacher

Previously, in 1919, the Luxembourg cellar master Jean Bernard-Massard founded a sparkling wine cellar in the Palais Pillishof, which was first mentioned in documents in 1447.  Thanks to its rococo façade of 1770, this building, in the middle of the city center, is one of Trier’s most important buildings in terms of art history. To this day, Bernhard Massard produces its sparkling wine in the basement vaults of the palace, which dates back to 1270. This is a different legal company of the family there.

grevenmacher

Some webpages to help you plan your visits here and it is worth the detour are

Official Bernard Massard Luxembourg

City of Grevenmacher tourist office

Tourist office of Luxembourg on Grevenmacher vineyards

Tourist office of the Moselle Luxembourg area on Bernard Massard

There you have a nice wine visit and lovely town as well. I had written mostly on the town before in my blog with brief mention of Bernard Massard, but definitively needed a post on its own, worth the visit indeed.

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

 

January 26, 2019

Classic wine of France and the world!

And I embarque again on the wonderful world of wines. I have written several posts on the subject, maybe not as much as I like;so no need to repeat on what has been my trail.

Needless, to say wine is part of my life since that frutiful day at age 8 my maternal grandmother gave me a sip of Spanish wines from then on, the fable story of them and me has continue. Prohibited to lunch or dine without wines in our home.

And what has become of me, well a fierce loyal customer of the Médoc of France. Been around, visit and tasted on site many of the world best known and some unknown wine areas, but after my mind takes me always to the Médoc. Oh yeah, many call it Bordeaux, but this is just a city, in which many varieties and areas can be call as such. My pinpoint concentration takes me to simply the Médoc.  Oh yes, need to tell you, the best in the world, the rest just tries to imitates. Now let me tell you about two properties that have been with me for many years, tasted, drank, purchase, and aged them some of my favorites of them all ,and I have already told you some others too in my blog.

Bruno-Eugène Borie evolves the Domaine Ducru-Beaucaillou at Saint Julien, Médoc. This is his story. ‘ It is a wine of gourmand, as can be the greatest crus of Bordeaux (Médoc), and gluttony is universal. Behind Ducru, the name of the owner in the 19C, and Beaucaillou, a reference to the thrusted rocks by the Gironde giving its specificity to the terroir, here is a beverage of character, full of aromas and flavors, which does not forget to remain light, aerial like a 1995(my first bottle of the property!) , excessively fresh, but very present, vibrant even, a rich, aromatic, fragrant cuvée that caused the American critics to succumb to it. Or the 2005, combining finesse and power, a lesson of balance derived from worthy grapes, it is said, of the most beautiful manuals of Ampélographie, these books dedicated to the study of the vine and often accompanied by superb illustrations. Or a 2009, a 2010, with your eyes closed. The 2011, with the garnet dress, with spicy and floral flavors, is not lacking in charm, and the 2012 is a sublime sweet. 2013, difficult year, shows solar and sympathetic, closer to an Italian sangiovese than a Bordeaux… The last harvest gave very nice cuvées. As such, 2018 is very promising.

The use of only new barrels while looking for the most neutral wood possible, which does not mark. Wood is not a stylistic factor in his domaines. They want a robust wine but not a carpenter. As a general rule, they do not want the new entrants to shape our cuvées. They seek precision, and want to find the purity of the original grape in the wine. For this, the selected grains do not support any disadvantaged. The matter must be impeccable. Hygiene helps to strive towards this, especially when one goes further and further in the extraction.

Mr Borie presides over the Executive Board of the company that manages the Pôle Saint-Julien of the family vineyards with Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, Château Lalande-Borie, (this was my contact with the house, back in 1992! )also in Saint-Julien, and Château Ducluzeau, in Listrac.   Fifty pairs of hands follow each other on their bottles. Wine is an addition of manipulations, know-how, hours of sunshine. In the end, it is an accumulation of care and details that make a great cuvee. The place of the machines increased during the arrival of the harvest, in order to improve the sorting. So their yard lines are longer. Here, the most sophisticated technology to refine the work of the vine. They now have several weather stations. Tools allow them to know the thickness of the moisture layer on the sheets, and all this is viewable from a smartphone. They are also looking to use less significant products for the plant and the environment. This means that it is necessary to use treatments with a reduced lifespan-mainly sulphur and copper. A culture which is worth the property of an esteemed certification ISO 14001 high environmental value level 3!

Today they are too often in dogma. He would like to go towards more pragmatism and above all towards more benevolence. They must both have faith in man and believe in the genius of science. A form of positivism adapted to contemporary viticulture.

They have gone from about 16 000 cases of first cru wine per year (192 000 bottles) to 8 000 now. This corresponds to a general evolution of Bordeaux, to a process that they may have pushed a little further than others. He noted in passing that he is proud and fan of what he see today in their vineyard, where the owners are driven by the pleasure of doing well and protecting their environment, whatever some think.    Because Mr. Borie is one of those rare Médoc growers who live in their vineyards, summer and winter!. Inactivity does not seem to be problematic for the one who was a great international nomad. After having travelled a lot and enjoyed this, in the United States, he consider that we make good wine when you are in its vineyards, in the midst of its teams. Nobody harvest in an airport lounge. You have to agree to make yourself available to nature. Maybe at one time we thought the opposite.

Since 2005, the La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou, a former second wine of the property, constitutes a full-fledged Cru, while the Le Petit Caillou, born in 2007, now takes the place of second wine. It is concocted from the lots that were not retained for the other two cuvees.

They offer each year a collection of 21 different formats of Ducru-Beaucaillou, customisable. Good to see that 90% of the first wine is destined for export, and Asia accounts for about half of these volumes, with Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Singapore and Macau on top. The Chinese love to banquet, drink and eat, celebrate the good bottles. The Americans are different, very tasters but perhaps less enjoyers. And those who take the time to take a break in Saint-Julien taste the cuvées in the best conditions. This is Ducru-Beaucaillou, go upper right hand side stripes menu to see more here: Official Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou

A century already that the Cordier family owns the Château Talbot. In the adjacent tasting room at the château, a long topped white table gathers a remarkable vintage of every decade for a hundred years: 1919, 1926, 1934, 1945, 1955, 1962, 1975, 1986, 1995, 2005 and the very young 2010. The silence welcomes the bottle of 1919. It is the minimum of respect that one owes to the elders. The wine should not be shaken by too many wrist turns; It must oxidize smoothly. The taster must understand their relationship to the air that wakes them smoothly.

The years 1926, 1934 and 1945 followed this first anniversary. Ah, 1945! As if the wine had kept in him the hot breath of the cannons, recalled by deep smoky notes, a minerality that draws on oil and which leaves room for a mouth still ample to the final peppery and ironstone. 1955 is very different, charming, the fruit is riper and dominates the spices by scents of strawberry filled with rose and sandalwood. The mouth is dense, sensual, held by an acid weft, spine of the wines of Château Talbot.

The vintage 1962 follows the 1975, very refined, with an Earth profile, pronounced aromas of pepper and a great dynamism. It is the one that performs best its final, of an astonishing length and elegance. The character of the 1986, (my first bottle of Château Talbot) ,the blood side of the 1996, the musculature of the 2005 and the finesse of the 2010, while juicy and spiced with a beautiful bite at the end of the mouth, are held.

If the production techniques used in the past century were very different from those which are today, the wines retain an air of family. The imprint of the terroir gives them a pronounced minerality, an invigorating acid weft, a flax grain and a peppery finale. Mr Désiré-Nicolas Cordier purchased the fourth Grand Cru Classé de Saint-Julien in 1918. In 1934, then mayor of the town, he organized the “Feast of longevity” in the presence of the President of the French Republic Albert Lebrun. If the longevity celebrated is that of the inhabitants, the diners drank with the centenary vintage 1834. Désiré Cordier, the man and his wife Nancy Bignon-Cordier are today the attentive guardians of Château Talbot, whom they gradually transmit to their three children; Philippine, Marguerite and Gustave, the fifth generation. The succession is assured. This is the Château Talbot : Official Château Talbot

And if these two powerhorses of the wine world and my world are not enough, we have more by Paris, capital of the world.

From February 11th to 13th , 2019, discover the first edition of Wine Paris, the first major international meeting of wine professionals to be held in Paris: World Wine Capital! Wine Paris was born from the union of Vinisud, the world of Southern wines, and VinoVision Paris, the International Exhibition of Northern Wines. Wine Paris will host from this first edition with more than 2000 exhibitors representatives the completeness of French terroirs and a variety of international vineyards.

These vineyards reps are

France: Alsace, Beaujolais, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, Corsica, Jura, Languedoc, Provence, Roussillon, Savoie, South-West, Rhône Valley, and the Val de Loire.

Algeria: Oran.  Croatia: Slavonia, Continental Croatia, Istria, Dalmatia.

Spain: Andalusia, Aragon, Castile-La Mancha, Castile and Leon, Catalonia, Extremadura, Galicia, Murcia, Navarra, Basque Country, La Rioja, and the Valencian Community.

Greece: Elide, Achaea, Korinthia.  Italy: Veneto, Piemonte, Friuli, Lombardia, Trentino Alto Adige, Emilia Romagna, Liguria, Il Lazio, Abruzzo, Puglia, Sicilia, Sardegna, le Marche, Campania, Basilicata, Calabra, Molise, and Toscany.  Lebanon: Bekaa Valley.  Israel: Golan Heights.  Moldova: Codru. And  Portugal: Douro, Dao, Bairrada, Valpaços, Alentejo, Madeira, Minho, and Bucelas

All this as per above dates February 11-13 2019 ; at the  Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles, 1 place de la porte de Versailles, Paris 15éme : Hours Monday and Tuesday 9h30 to 18h30 and Wednesday 9h30 to 17H30. Admission is 20€ reserving online or 40€ on site. More here on Wine Paris: Wine Paris

Also, at Vinosud : https://www.vinisud.com/index.php/en

And VinoVision Paris: https://en.vinovisionparis.com/

The above material translated and taken from my favorite wine journal Le Figaro VinLe Figaro Vin journal in French

Hope to enjoy it as much as I/we do. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

 

 

 

 

January 23, 2019

Pauillac, the ultimate!

So now that I am in the neighborhood on my memories of my belle France let me take you to my citadel! Needless to say written several posts on the wines of the Médoc (not just Bordeaux but more specific area). If read my previous posts than you know i love wines, diploma in wine knowledge from France and Spain and worked in the business selling and in store sales, distribution etc. I do work now for a multinational which a branch deals with distribution and exportation of French wines.

Pauillac is it for me. If fact, still on the books for possible retirement near in the Médoc. Needless to say I have tasted wines from many regions of the world and visited them, and also of France. However, do not know how to explain it, Pauillac is it. Period. I like to tell you a bit more on the town and relation to the wine and things to see in general. Hopefully, you too will get on the red boat of Pauillac ::)

Pauillac is located in the Gironde dept 33 in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. The town is located on the left bank of the Gironde estuary (river) in the Médoc, 50 km north of Bordeaux. The traces of Pauillac go back to the prehistory, but it was in the 18C, with the expansion of the trade in vineyards and fishing, that the city took the look that we know today.

In 1777, the Marquis de La Fayette sailed out of Pauillac on the shores of the Gironde to join the Americas, to rescue the American people during the American War of Independence. A bronze stele representing his ship La Victoire (victory)   is also erected on the edge of the city harbor on the esplanade de La Fayette. On the stele can be read in translation: “From here on March 25, 1777, embarked Marie Joseph Paul Yves Gilbert Motier, Marquis de La Fayette, with the hope of joining the Americas”.

pauillac

The vineyard of Pauillac Grand Cru of the vineyard of the Médoc stretches on nearly 1 100 hectares (my favorite wine in the whole world and the best of course!) .The town has no less than 37 wine domains including 18 Grands crus classés en 1855. My favorite bottles in black.These are: Premiers crus: Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Latour, and Château Mouton Rothschild (my fav and direct).   Second crus: Château Pichon-Longueville, and Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. Fourth cru ; Château Duhart-Milon. Fifth crus: Château Pontet-Canet, Château Batailley, Château Haut-Batailley, Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Château Grand-Puy Ducasse, Château Lynch-Bages, Château Lynch-Moussas, Château d’Armailhac, Château Haut-Bages Libéral, Château Pédesclaux, Château Clerc Milon, and Château Croizet-Bages.

pauillac

pauillac

The official vineyard territory goes on in the left bank of the Gironde river. It extends over the towns of Pauillac and encroaches on those of Cissac-Médoc, Saint-Estèphe, Saint-Julien-Beychevelle and Saint-Sauveur . The grape varieties recommended for the appellation are Cabernet Franc , Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot , Carménère and Petit Verdot.

The Pauillac is a red wine of ageing values. It presents a dark purple color, almost black with purplish shades when it is young. After a few years, even decades for the best, their tint softens towards the ruby with amber shades. The nose of a Pauillac is a highly concentrated and complex wine. Scents of red fruits such as blackcurrant, blackberry, plum.etc. Spicy such as vanilla, pepper, menthol, liquorice etc. , and woody such as cedar, grilled, toasted.etc. dominate. At the taste, the wine proves very robust. The ubiquitousness of tannins requires perfect maturity. If this were not the case, the mouth would be dried up and the bitterness would cover the aromas. With age, the tannins soften while supporting the aromatic power of the wine for a long time. The wine is balanced,  powerful and robust, it is also fine and delicate at the aromatic level.

Things to see, in some other than the wine domains of course!

The parish Church of St. Martin at place Maréchal Foch, its western façade is surmounted by an immense pediment. The Château Mouton Rothschild and its museum that exhibits wine-related objects from all civilizations. Chateau Pichon Longueville Countess de Lalande; the Orangerie of the castle is home to a remarkable private collection of old glasses and glasses from Venice, Bohemia and French and English glasses from the 17C to 19C. This collection comprises more than 700 pieces assembled by May-Éliane de Lencquesaing. The cave of Artigues, built by Anne-Françoise Averous in 1897 as a miniature replica of the Grotto of Lourdes, and overlooked by the statue of the Virgin. To allow the pilgrims to drink the water of Lourdes, she exchanged, with the chaplain of Lourdes, a cask of her wine from Château de Haut-Bages against a keg filled with water of Lourdes. And do not forget if little on time to stop by the Maison du Tourisme et du Vin de Pauillac a gift store, wine boutique with all the properties of the region at same prices.

pauillac

pauillac

Let me give several webpages to help you plan your trip here which is a must. These are

Official tourist office Maison du Tourisme et du Vin de Pauillac

Tourist office of Pauillac on heritage

Tourist office of Pauillac on its wines

Tourist office of dept 33 Gironde

Tourist office of Bordeaux on Pauillac wines

Tourist office of the Médoc on wines of Pauillac

An unofficial site, Caruso 33,  that I have enjoyed for many years full of good information on anything in the Médoc and of course Pauillac. In French of course. Unofficial site Caruso 33 on Pauillac

Hope you do indeed come to visit this area and Pauillac, even if not into wines, many sites of historical value, boat rides from the Gironde to the mainland even ferries, and of course the beaches! Enjoy it as we did,do and will again.

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

 

 

 

January 17, 2019

One personal touch ,Au Trappiste!

So on a cold wintery day in my neck of the Breton woods I like to come back to Paris again as I am lucky to do. If new to the blog, well worked for almost 10 years in Paris(75) while living in Versailles(78)…I now, live in the Morbihan (56) near Vannes, in Brittany for the last 8 years.

I used to hang out a lot in the city and written several pieces on shopping, eating, and drinking there. However, I sometimes become inspired or nostalgic about some spots very personal. I have been here to eat, drink, meet collegues and friends and participate in group organisations in Paris for many years at least since 2004. So let me tell you a bit more on the Au Trappiste. Too many to choose from in Paris but we all have our favorite even if just visiting.

First ,a bit on the history I like on this corner of Paris.

The rue Saint-Denis, located in the 1éme and 2éme arrondissements of Paris, is one of the oldest streets of Paris. Its axis is drawn from the 1C by the Romans, and it was the triumphant way of the Royals entrance in the capital. It is 1334 meters long, and was named because it is the road that leads directly from the Pont au Change bridge to the city of Saint-Denis, where is located the Basilica St Denis, necropolis of the kings of France.. This old road of Saint-Denis, was really named in honor of Saint Denis , who came from Italy around 250 or 270 A.D. with six companions to evangelize France. He was said to have been the first bishop of Paris (Lutèce), the Apostle of Gauls.

The street is line up parallel to the boulevard of Sébastopol and the rue Saint-Martin, and is part of the 1éme arrondissement or district in the quartier or neighborhood of Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois, for the part between the Avenue Victoria and the Rue de Rivoli, neighborhood of Les Halles for the part between the rue de Rivoli and the rue Étienne-Marcel and from the 2éme arrondissement, rue Étienne-Marcel in the Bonne-Nouvelle neighborhood of bd Saint-Denis. During the French revolution, it was called Rue de Franciade.

The brewery bar is closer to Place du Châtelet to the Seine river.  Au Trappiste, 4 rue Saint Denis, open from 11h to 02h Monday thru Sunday and from 11h to 04h on Fridays and Saturdays. Here you are in Belgium with the monks; lots of good beer, simple good portions of food, moules or mussels and fries,and grill sausages. The first or ground floor is more noisy ,the second or upper floor more calm and better views!of Chatelet. no web but its just by the metro exit and rue de Rivoli. Best way is the metro ,the RER is too crowded to get here. OF course, I came by car and lovely parking at Châtelet too. One of my showcase hangouts in Paris. You , also, can get here on RER B and RER D Châtelet-Les Halles, as well as Metro lines 1 ,4, 7, 11, and 14 and your nice above ground bus line 21,70,72,4,74,75,and 85 stop Châtelet.

Paris

Dedicated mainly to Belgian beers, the Au Trappiste, of course offers many beverages from all over the world. No less than 120 bottled beers (including the majority of Trappist beers that are brewed in the world) and twenty drafts beers. Rare beers are found here too. On the plate side, they work on classic but well made dishes such as choucroutte (saukraut), french fries, steaks, burgers, croque monsieurs (ham and cheese sandwiches), mussels,sausages, etc.

paris

dear memories of Au Trappiste with my dear late wife Martine my mamie blue!

The brewery bar resto Au Trappiste is on the south end of the street (near the river Seine) and is one of the most attractive beer bars in the city. There is breezy outdoor seating during the warm months of the year and beautiful light wooden decor inside with matching beams, walls, and tables. It has a nice clean modern yet traditional decor and has to be one of the best French styled bars for beer in Paris. The place is alive all day, until late at night, and a room in the upper floor allows to organize private events. Which I have been too ::)

Paris

Some of my favorite webpages found bottom of my main page in my blog roll give you plenty of more on the Au Trappiste.

Yelp on Au Trappiste Paris

The Fork on Au Trappiste Paris

Hope it helps your tracking here, lovely place, great service and great views from upper tfloor. Not to mention simple classic dishes with great selection of beers. Love it, at Au Trappiste, and many memories here.

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

 

 

 

January 6, 2019

A special Relais d’Alsace this one in Alençon!

So will dwell again on a nice chain that we have enjoyed since 1990 in France. A special post on one of them lately ate but all brings lots of memories to my family. We were last by Alençon in the Orne dept 61 of the Normandy region.

While looking up where to eat before reaching there, I notice a name Taverne Kalsbrau and quickly took a look and to my surprise was part of the Les Relais d’Alsace chain.

alencon

It started out as the Taverne of Maître Kanter that only are left that we had visited the one in Bourges for a total of 7 when once they were 35 (now part of Group Flo) ; webpage here! Taverne de Maitre Kanter

Here is the Groupe FLO webpage on Maître Kanter: Groupe FLO on Maitre Kanter

St Gervais

memories forever!!! Saint-Gervais-la-Forêt near Blois

Lorient

memories forever Lorient!!!

Some of these were change over time to Les Relais d’Alsace using the same methods, menus and deco in the restaurants.  The Relais webpage is here: Les Relais d’Alsace restos

These latest ones I have been to the one in Chasseneuil ,Angers, Le Mans, Metz, Mayenne, Laval, Pau, Tours, and Vitré!!! and now I add Alençon to my list. Always great and friendly service.

The one in Alençon direct webpage is at Les Relais d’Alsace taverne Karlsbau in Alençon

Les Relais d’Alsace are Restaurants specialize on seafood and deli meats. Brewery with a very good value for money. The prices for an adult menu are from 12.50€ to 23€. You can, also, order from the menu carte libre. Hours are open every day from 12h-15h and 19h- 22h. Located at 36 rue Maréchal Lattre de Tassigny, Alençon 61 tel +33 (0) 2 33 28 89 84.

alencon

If I try to translate their site it says; “The Relais d’Alsace Tavern Karlsbau of Alençon located near the city/town hall and the Halle au Blé, and only 100 km from the Normandy coast, welcomes you 7 days a week, with its specialties elaborated according to traditional recipes: sauerkrauts, trays of Seafood, fish, salads…etc.   In love with the simple and generous cuisine, this is the perfect place for you.  Alençon is a historic town with many 15C buildings. An essential visit to the Lace Museum and the haras or horse Stud. Come and enjoy the friendliness of our tavern after a small visit to this city.”

alencon

And these are franchises so their franchisor tells us translated into English as ” The brand Les Relais d’Alsace officially appears in 2008 and has had a great expansion since that date. Each Relais d’Alsace has been carefully designed to respect the tradition of the Alsatian taverns. The Relais d’Alsace welcomes in a pleasant and convivial setting the lovers of good tables.  Combining tradition and modernity, the Relais d’Alsace allows you to savour some of the great classics of French gastronomy: sauerkraut, flammeküches, dishes made with fish and meat, etc… the whole sprinkled with succulent beers to choose from a  variety of beers from the Alsatian tradition. Since their creation, the Relais d’Alsace have experienced an undeniable and increasing popularity throughout France with a clientele concerned with the quality of the dishes served and scrupulously respecting the Alsatian tradition. ”

alencon

alencon

 

What is in the name well cannot tell you officially but is something to do with the fact that the Le Relais d’Alsace was a Belgian crime novel by Georges Simenon, published in 1931 by Fayard.  Written aboard the Ostrogoth, moored at the Quai d’Anjou near the Pont Marie in Paris of July 1931.

The one in Alençon was immediately a pleasant welcome and funny guy Fréderic , we had a nice table not far from the bar area. The building has a feisty modern design and inside is all in rich wood and soft cloths with of course an Alsacian look. We opted for different things,, but mine was choucroute de grillardin (Grillardin Sauerkraut) all with potatoes , garlic sausage, and a big Andouille sausage (more typical of Brittany my area) and I was a hit with the staff lol!! and course plenty of sauerkraut!! Delicious. All was taken down with a nice Rosé wine from Saint nicolas de Bourgueil loire area of course! We opted for dessert without coffee so we had different ones again. I opted for the ice cream chocolate and coconut and meringue with flakes of chocolates very nice and rich.  All for about 29€ per person, nice if a bit high for lunch it was well worth it. We will continue to patronized these restaurants!

alencon

alencon

So it was another nice ride and great foodie trip , well the food was worth alone to be there. I could had stay longer but we had a short time and needed to see more of the city of Alençon. These places are worth it, of course you need to like the Alsacien taste buds!!! We love it.

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

 

 

 

December 31, 2018

And I show you again ,Meaux!

Once again I have to come back to this quant town of Seine et Marne dept 77 Ïle de France region , where Disneyland is located nearby.  There have been so many times here that I lost count, I know the town without any gps or google help and proved it again this time. Here began my French history when I met a young lady native of the town of Meaux back in 1990.

This young lady became my wife Martine, and mother of our 3 boys, over time we spent many times walking the streets of this town. This trip was to see the maternal mother, mother in law, maternal grandmother and the rest of the French family with sisters and nephews, nieces and cousins. It was something different this time, for the first time on our wedding anniversary (26 December) my young lady was not with me. She passed away from cancer last April 30 2018. It was a sad trip, but a must trip to relieve those times and gain strenght with the family for the future.

This is Meaux, Brie country, the king of cheeses, the cheese of kings, Vienna congress 1815. I like to show you a bit more on this memorable town always in my heart and soul.

We came to the inlaws house and immediately set out to walk the town with the boys and I. First stop was the house where I met her at 36 rue Noefort, a humble sweet home and a magical spot indeed.

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36 rue Noefort Meaux 77100

We passed by the cinema Majestic in which I saw my first movies in France at place Henri IV. Now part of the UGC cinema group, more here: UGC Cinema Majestic Meaux

Meaux

While there we realized they had a Christmas market at the Place Henri IV, where many times we did parking to walk into the old town area on Rue Général Leclerc. It had now an ice skating ring as in many years.

meaux

meaux

meaux

Walking along the Rue Général Leclerc we go into the old town direction the Cathedral (another post on it) , and we find many familiar spots still open like the wonderful La Fromagerie or cheese store!

meaux

Continuing on the Rue Général Leclerc you past by the historical Hôtel de la Sirene; built by 1740. It has change names until the a luxury hotel; this hotel was occupied by the Nazis in WWII and later by the American officers station in this region. The hotel closed in 1986, and its now private property.

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Our walk coming from rue Noefort along the Rue du Faubourg St Nicolas into old town past place Henri IV and the Rue Général Leclerc with the Cathedral in sight!!

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In the evening we came back after having lunch in the sister in law house in a village nearby;there is a Finnish sauna with a central barbecue which was awesome to do it with the family here.

Etrepilly

Etrepilly

etrepilly

We headed back to the city and parked this time by the boulevard Jean Rose right next to the old ramparts and behind the Cathedral of St Etienne (St Stephen)(see many posts on it), this is wonderful indeed, and here you walk all along first the Rue du Faubourg Saint Nicolas just around the house of my dear late wife Martine.

Meaux

You walked past the wonderful old hospital or Hôtel-Dieu where the historical archives of the city are now kept. Again on Rue du Faubourg Saint Nicolas.  A bit of history on this building is a must. The Priory of Noëfort (today modern headquarters of the gendarmerie French national police) ,and the General Hospital, founded in 1667 to intern the poor and vagrants in application of the great containment decided by the Royal Ordinance of 1662. A large part of the land of this district belonged to settlements. such as the Grand Hôtel- Dieu of Meaux. Also , here there is a large mass of archives, because these are always better preserved by religious institutions than by the laity.

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The Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Nicolas is none other than the Decumanus Maximus which crossed the ancient city from east to west. In the 5C, there was St. Céline, a friend of Saint Geneviève; On her tomb, placed extra muros in the ancient tradition, arose a church that had to endure until the French revolution. So along this wonderful street off my dear late wife Martine street, we found our bakery of old; and of course we purchase the baguettes, apple pie  ,chocolate flan, to take to the family as sharing is a French passion especially when food is concerned. The bakery is Le Fournil du Faubourg (under new owners) at 52 rue du faubourg st nicolas.

meaux

meaux

As I am on foood, let me tell you about another gem. I have another exclusive post on it but briefly, this is Meaux. If you know French gastronomy and you should simply the best always imitated but never better,then you should know about Brie. The Brie de Meaux cheese was elected by the leaders of Europe in the Congress of Vienna of 1815 as the king of cheeses and the cheese of kings! Here is the original anywhere else is imitation even if legally sold the milk for the original has to come from Brie country and only here you get the Terre de Meaux brie with cow milk from the Meaux region or pays de Meaux!! Enjoy it while here, short distance from Paris and Disneyland and none better than the Fromagerie Saint Faron, unique. Only in French of course, its original! Official tourist office of pays de Meaux region on the fromagerie Saint Faron

meaux

meaux

meaux

meaux

meaux

There you go another wonderful family trip to a memorable wonderful loving enormous city of Meaux for me. Thank you very much for following along and Happy New Year 2019 to all.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!! AND Happy New Year 2019!! Best wishes to all!!! Bonne Année et meilleurs vœux!!!

December 22, 2018

Champagne, wines, and liquors of Christmas 2018!

As we are getting into the season to be merrier and we will just hit the last weekend before Christmas , its time for me to come to you with some juices or the best for the season.

In my family, we have a tradition that we will keep even if one strong pillar of it is missing physically of sharing drinks, old and creating new ones, all with food all at home and with moderation ,never a problem.  So, therefore, let me give some last minute ideas from France (the root of it all) , that I believe can be adjusted to wherever you are for the holidays. Beware some of these bottles may not be available where you are but from the readings they should be easily replace with something locally available! Another thing, all of the below suggestions have been tried by myself or a trusted family member of the same line of tastes as I.

To accompany a festive fish, a poultry, seafood or for the aperitif, here is my selection of Champagnes at good value for money

With a nice cheese platter: Its graceful bubble, its slightly stewed fruit aromas will flatter the hard pasta. You’ll enjoy its refreshing finale. Coeur des Bar, Blanc de noirs, Champagne Devaux, 32€

With pineapple chicken skewers: This organic champagne with fine bubbles has a mineral frame. Very pure, it can support the associations of sweet and savoury feasts and bring freshness to these duets daring. Cuvée Brut bio, Champagne Duval-Leroy, 28€

With a creamy poultry: Its green-tinted dress announces the plant partition. White, hawthorn-acacia flowers, allied with roasted notes, hug each other in the nose. Mineral and frankly lemon, this champagne is lively. Propose it with creamy dishes to give the reply to the smoothness. Fleur de Craie, Blanc de blancs Champagne Bolieu, 21€

For an iodized appetizer: Ideal to accompany a cocktail of iodized feasts based on smoked salmon, fish eggs and crustaceans, this lively champagne has flavors of yellow fruits such as peach and apricot. Champagne Pannier, Brut selection,25.90€

With Christmas dinner: This low-dose champagne is complex and greedy. You will find a slight toast, notes of white fruit and even a hint of honey. Champagne Mandois, Brut Origine, 30€

With a bar filet in salt crust: This winemaker’s champagne in the pale yellow robe has fine bubbles and a bouquet reminiscent of acacia and fresh butter. The whole is aerial and delicate. Perfect with fish. Champagne Sanger, Terroir Natal, Blanc de blancs, 24€

With foie gras toast: Its bouquet flowers citrus fruits, such as grapefruit, but also very lightly pear. Fresh and well-balanced, this champagne has tenderly brioche notes. Beaumont des Crayères, Grande Réserve Brut, 25,70 €

With a stuffed young rooster with morels: In the nose, this champagne has pretty gourmet notes of vanilla, honey and roasted summer fruits. Complex, it is supported by its minerality. The dishes of character, with the flavors of undergrowth, have its preferences. Champagne Yves Jacques, 23.50€

With a dessert : Its dress is pink with coppery reflections and a string of fine bubbles. Intense, its bouquet develops aromas of rose, fruits of the wood and even of blood orange. To enjoy in the company of a red fruit log or a macaroon. Cuvée La Douce Folie, rosé Brut, Champagne La Borderie, 35€

With spice-marinated prawns: The white flowers and the notes of cut grass that this champagne develops are well-married with spicy dishes. But we also appreciate its gourmet amplitude in the palate. Champagne Philippe Gonet, Réserve Brut, 24€

To accompany a festive fish, a poultry, seafood or for the aperitif, here is my selection of white wines at good value for money.

With a stuffed poultry: The chardonnay cultivated on a limestone terroir gives a cuvée in the nose of stone with shotgun. Very complex, this wine offers a hint of grilled and exotic notes. A dense white that generously rugs the palate. Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, Lucien & Fanny Rocault, 10,90€

With a seafood platter: The Domaine Romy cultivates 25 hectares of vineyards in the extreme south of Burgundy. This floral cuvée comes from a plot of 4 hectares surrounded by a clos. Raised on fine lees for 6 months, this finely toasted cru will appreciate the flesh of crustaceans. Clos de la Chapelle 2016, Domaine Romy, AOP Bourgogne, 10€

With a fried foie gras: In homage to the goddess Sirona who watches over the river Ciron (responsible for creating the morning mists conducive to the appearance of Botrytis on the grapes), this cuvée 100% semillon is golden. We appreciate its balance between the white flowers, the quince and its vivacity. Sirona 2015, Les Vignerons de Tutiac, Sauternes, 15€

With a bar fish in salt crust: Mineral and focused on white flowers, this white wine offers a very representative extract of the typicités of its grape. With the fish but also with the goat cheese, it gives the replica. Domaine des Crêts, Climat “En Bout” 2015, Mâcon-Chardonnay, 14,70€

With a risotto with crustaceans: Products with the Aligoté grape variety, the wines of the appellation Bouzeron possess material. It is named after an assemblage of 3 plots; The nails, the tower, the Cordères. A hint of hazelnut, acacia blossoms, a note of stone and citrus flavours stand out at the palate. Les Trois 2013, Maison Chanzy, Bouzeron, 14,50€

With a stew of Lotte: Assemblage of Grenache Blanc, Rolle and Roussanne, this organic white is subtly woody. In the heart of the Alpilles, Mas de Gourgonnier is an environmentally friendly family winery. Reserve du Mas, Mas de Gourgonnier, AOP Les Baux-de-Provence, 12.60€

With a goat dung : This 100% Rolle high six months on fine lees in barrel has a pale dress. His light toast comes to underline the finesse of citrus fruits. A balanced wine to be tasted with simplicity. Vallon Sourn 2017, Les Vignerons de Correns, 11,50€

with roasted scallops: This sweet white fruit nose reveals a zest of citrus. It gives him freshness and pep. Perfect with scallops with aromatic herbs. Château de Rouquette 2013, Loupiac, 10.50€

With a sea bream with fennel : Her dress is shiny and her nose lemon. Oscillating between roundness and freshness this white of the Haut-Var is perfect in the company of the iodine dishes. Terres de Berne 2016, Côtes de Provence, 15€

With salmon : Very fine, this white wine has exotic notes of pineapple. Ample to the palate, it evokes the ripe fruits. He will know how to be subtle and discreet in the company of character dishes like smoked salmon. Vita Bella, Château La Mascaronne, Côtes de Provence 15€

Very well choose your digestif for your Christmas meals. This is the drink after the meal families here enjoy, less often in restaurant but in special family meals we still do. Spirits (eaux-de-vie) are liquors obtained by distilling wine, marc, cider or fruit. There are also numerous fruit spirits, alcohols derived from the fermentation of smashing fruit: cherries, mirabelles, plums or berries and obtained by distillation. What about fruit liqueurs? They come from a maceration or an infusion of fresh fruit .

So which ones to choose ? These are the spirits of wine or cider, type Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados which are the most sought-after consumers in the holiday season. While brandies or fruit. liqueurs would be more regional winks or would act as nice gifts This is according to the cellar master of the Galeries Lafayette Paris. It is better to have 2 to 3 references of digestifs to propose to your guests. The holidays, at home, are the opportunity to enjoy nice products as long as you do not take risks.

To second the good advise from Galeries Lafayette, here are some I have tried that are super! Maison Dudognon, Vieille réserve, Cognac. This small family house develops in all discretion a cognac of high quality, very balanced thanks to an exemplary outfit of the vines and a flawless ageing. Price France 48€. Château de Lacquy, Bas Armagnac 1995 ; the château de Lacquy is a traditional armagnac,who did not give in to the sirens of the white Ugni Blanc to favor the Baco, which gives it a lot of class. Price France 79€.

Let’s have a break from drinking and propose a nice gift idea for the Holiday and those in the mood. These folks I have followed for many years , lost count, always good notes and the book is a classic. One of my all time favorite wine experts Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson with their book World Atlas of Wine, publisher Flammarion,in France price 45€

And to finish this post ,a bit on those wonderful bubblies at little price that are coming strong all over and France will not be left behind. The Cremants and one of my favorite region Bordeaux. They can be an exceptional quality/value purchase for the Holidays!

With 80 million bottles sold in 2018, in constant increase of 5 to 7% in the last ten years, Crémant is present in eight appellations: Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Die, Jura, Limoux, Loire, and Savoie. Today, it manages in blind tastings to compete with Champagne and is particularly distinguished by its varietals and a different terroir. For Crémant, the minimum duration between circulation and marketing is 9 months, compared with 15 for Champagne and… one month for prosecco!; produced with faster and cheaper methods, this Italian wine extends in all markets: the harvest is mechanical and not manual as for Crémant, and the second alcoholic fermentation, which produces the effervescence, is made in vats and not in Bottle as required by the traditional method. For the last five years, the figures for Crémant de Bordeaux have exploded: 1,200 hectares, or 50% more in two years; 75,000 hectolitres foreseen this year, which is five times more than in the early 2010’s. In 2017, 20% of Bordeaux’s annual sales had taken place during the year-end celebrations. With an average price of between 6 and 10 euros, Crémant is mainly sold in large distribution and 20% exported, especially to northern Europe, but also to Japan and the United States, the world’s first sparkling wine market.  The Crémants has exploded with an increase in sales year to year of + 29% by volume and 35% in value between October 2017 and October 2018); to be served very cold between 6-7C (43-44F), they go well with aperitifs to desserts, especially with seafood, white meats or sushis.

Some of my bottles that had in the last couple of years are from names such as Bulles de Lalande-labatut, Domaine de Grava Jaillance, Chateau Turcaudn Charme d’Aliénor, Lateyron, Fleur de Rauzan, Domaine du Cheval Blanc , Jean-Louis Ballarin, Domaine de Laubertrie, and Grangeneuve. The ones to bring up as my best experiences were from Ballarin and Lateyron, their webpages are here:

Crémants of Lateyron

Crémants of Ballarin

For further dwelling into this fascinating world see below the two webpage, the first one is the Bordeaux wine council on crémants and the second one is the appellations of Bordeaux and specific the section on Crémants.

Bordeaux wine council on Crémants

Planet Bordeaux on territories and Crémants

Just go and ask your local wine merchant, cellar or distributor, to know the availability of these wonders of our world, and enjoy them fully with moderation of course! Merry Christmas to all !!!

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

PS And I could not leave without leaving some pictures of the bubblies been able to take photos and some like the Pommery and Pol Roger will be on for this Christmas 2018 in our house. You are welcome!!

 

 

December 1, 2018

Cap Hispania and Batignolles! Paris of course!!!

In my continuing dangerous saga of places to shop and eat in my eternal Paris, I shall bring you to two favorites of many years and still going strong. The time is nice mild weather at 12C and not so cloudy in my neck of the woods Breton as well in Paris. Just a lovely Autumn sequence so far.

We love Spanish food as well, and I mean Spain, so  searching for one I look up Spanish food sections in restaurants and webpages dealing with the subject in France. Here I found one Cap Hispania in the 17éme arrondissement of Paris and went for it. It has been a find ,a jewel, a precious location for all that is good from Spain.

As I look around for a parking on street nearby, I was led past the Pont Cardinet and over the railroad tracks leading to the Gare Saint Lazare and into the Brochart area where I end up parking underground of the Batignolles covered market and voilà another wonderful find. This is Paris, the more you walk, drive it the more you will find wonders!

They have become my staple ever since those 2003-2004 times and up to now when in the city I look up them up and stock up on goodies not well found in my Morbihan Breton. Let me tell you a bit about them and maybe you too will have your find in eternal Paris.

The covered market or Marché couvert des Batignolles, at 96bis Rue Lemercier 17éme of Paris by metro line 13 Brochart as well as bus lines 54 and 74, is a wonderful example of glorious shopping in seldom visited areas of Paris. We go here once in a while and it is our area of dear shopping see below. The market, built on the ground floor of a residential complex of the 1970’s, is undoubtedly one of the most bobos in the capital. Customers often seem to know each other and really feel a neighborhood spirit. There are about fifteen traders and organic product stalls. This market is mainly food-centered with an excellent butcher at reasonably reasonable prices, a well-stocked grocer, Breton terroir products, Mediterranean products, Lebanese, Moroccan, African, a Portuguese rotisserie and a wine cellar. The place, you will have understood, is very popular with the locals. It is open Tuesdays to Fridays from 8h30 to 13h and from 15h30 to 20h, Saturdays from 8h30 to 20h and Sundays from 8h30 to 14h.

Paris

Paris

Paris

Some webpages to help you find it and enjoy it fully are

City of Paris on the covered market of Batignolles

Tourist office of Paris on the Batignolles market

One of the biggest professionals at the same time wholesaler and retailer in the distribution of Iberian products since 1998.  Cap Hispania, our Spanish grocery store in Paris has approximately 180 references of duly selected savory and sweet gourmet products, including Iberian ham at a price-almost-friendly. The advice is second nature, conversations sometimes stretch, and we leave the arms charged with the latest goodies.

Cap Hispania, it is simply the paradise of lovers of Iberian charcuterie. You can go there to catch a sandwich at lunchtime, to buy ham at retail or wholesale, to fill up with tapas for the evening. Beautiful whole hams are hanging from the ceiling. And not just any of them.. The Serrano arrives directly from the Salamanca region and has been refined 12 to 14 months. The Pata Negra comes from a particular breed of pork, the Iberian pork, and patiently waited more than two years before joining the stalls of Cap Hispania.  When a Bellota, the rolls of hams, it is derived from pigs raised in the open air and exclusively fed to the acorns from autumn to spring. After more than 30 months of refinement, it is particularly tasty and melting.

Paris

My dad at Cap Hispania

The stalls of Cap Hispania also abound with first-choice deli meats, like the lomo, made with pork loin, all kinds of chorizos, or the delicious Cecina de Leon, this meat of salted beef, dried, smoked and then refined . Besides, the Spanish cheeses, less well known, only asking  to be discovered, but do not overlook the Manchego from Castilla La Mancha Don Quijote quarters!. The right side of the store is reserved for the fine grocery section. Cap Hispania has brought quality gourmet products from Spain: Olive oil from Andalusia, Jerez vinegar, canned white tuna from Biscay or anchovies from the Cantabrian coast… this is a good way to revise your geography of Spain!  On the sweet side, one feasts of course of the Turrón (nougats), which some like hard and crunchy (that of Alicante), and that others prefer fondant and tender (that of Jijona), but also of marzipan or polvorones. The common point between all these sweets? The almonds!

Paris

paris

Cap Hispania, 23 rue Jouffroy d’Abbans, 17éme/ Metro line 3  Malsherbes, and  Wagram Open Monday  16h-19h, from Tuesday to Saturday 10h-14h and 16h-19h30. Tel. +33 (0) 1 46 22 11 60.

Official Cap Hispania Spanish groceries deli

Yelp reviews on Cap Hispania from my Blog Roll

And there you go two off the beaten path sights that will make your mouth watered and enjoy the culinary choices of my eternal Paris. After all, is it that one big reason you are here visiting or as me living lol! bon appetit!

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

November 30, 2018

My best 1-2 punch of restaurants in Paris! Gare and Paix!!!

So will go into uncharted waters here as usually just post in a general sense about places to eat in France. However, these two restaurants have a lot of history, mines too! They are my sentimental all time favorites places to drink and eat while in Paris for many years ,and still do stop by when visiting.

My fav in Paris , La Gare, this superb restaurant of the 16éme district or arrondissement of Paris, which was once the train station of Passy- la Muette running on the  Auteuil line and the Petite Ceinture.  It has been totally transformed and it is my favorite spot in Paris for a drink or eating; already taken many visitor friends here including those from defunct travel forum like VT. A wonderdul oasis in Paris in the chic 16 district near the Monet Marmottan museum.just behind it passing the jardin du Ranelagh. Bear in mind it is again under renovation to open later in 2018 see the link below.

paris

paris

The beautiful staircases whose walls are gilded with gold leaf to access the spectacular room that hosts the restaurant. Giant columns, design glass chandeliers, light canopy, large brass mirrors and 18C wall decor of the Maison Zuber: The place is remarkable. The sensation of grandeur reminds us of the first function of this space an old train station of the Petite Ceinture.

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In a timeless place, come and ask yourself to have a coffee in the summer garden or to dine in the huge restaurant under canopy, extended with a beautiful terrace of 500 m2 of surface and 185 seats. Hallucinating of space, height of ceiling, walls in red brick, this is what makes the interest of this place to the clientele very 16éme-West Parisian!

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When you go down the stairs to get to the quays and now dining room!, the place reveals a huge restaurant of 1 000m2 , revisited in a colonial style with vintage furniture. One has the impression, going down the steps, to be aboard the Titanic and its huge restaurant less thinking of the sinking but rather the train. Chic and refined atmosphere, pretty mural paintings and period columns contribute to the displacement.

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At the bottom of the room, we discover a beautiful terrace in the quiet, which will make your happiness on the days of good weather. Regarding the menu, the restaurant offers French cuisine to the most famous revisited. Located at 19 chaussée de la Muette metro line 9 La Muette out and turn left you see the restaurant ahead of you. Open every day and a delicious all you can eat Brunch on Sundays.

More on this wonderful icon of Paris is on the following webpages as usual to help you plan your trip here…

Official Restaurant La Gare

Tourist office of Paris on La Gare

Yelp for reviews as in my blog roll

Another of my fav places in Paris is the  Cafe de la Paix in the quartier or neighborhood of Chaussée-d’Antin in the 9éme arrondissement or district of Paris. Close to the Opéra Garnier, it is located on the corner of the 5 Place de l’Opéra and the 12 Boulevard des Capucines. . The Café de la Paix opened its doors in 1862. It was then the Cafe restaurant of the Grand Hotel de la Paix. In 1896, film projections are organized. In 2002, the Café de la Paix is renovated.

Paris

It was built in the purest Napoleon III style, on the ground floor of a luxurious Haussmann building, which now houses the InterContinental Paris le Grand Hotel (former Hotel de la Paix, then Grand Hotel). It is one of my previous job in Paris in management and always with fond memories of it, visit now for the old days sake and friends still there.

Paris

The imperialists (emperor) gathered at the Café de la Paix, on the Boulevard des Capucines, which then received the nickname of Boulevard de l’île d’Elba.

One could not choose a more beautiful location, as a meeting place, than the Café de la Paix, in one of the splendid buildings built during the reign of Napoleon III, this property is decorated with a great luxury. Painted ceilings, moldings, elegant columns, superb chandeliers, huge glazes concealing the walls, it is a wonderful palace where everyone can enter. Beside rises the immense mass of the opera; Opposite, on the other side of the boulevard, you will open the Avenue de l’Opéra, which stops at the place du Théâtre-Français, and the Rue de la Paix, built by the leader of the Imperial dynasty. At the end of this road, place Vendôme. Where we can see the column of Austerlitz.. Everything in this neighborhood recalls the memories of the two empires; Instinctively as much as in taste, Napoleon’s friends and supporters will walk there, reminding of the great past and future hopes.

Paris

One sees the Café de la Paix in the cartoon movie The Aristocats.

Again, some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Café de la Paix

Tourist office of Paris on Café de la Paix

Yelp on reviews as in my Blog Roll

And, there you go ,if you come to Paris and want to experience the real Parisian feel in historical surrounding with great company and food, then by all means these two should be in your list. And not to worry about Michelin, these can beat any there in my opinion, there are just too refined for the list….. Cheers

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

November 14, 2018

Thanksgiving France 2018!

So once again another major celebration and out of the USA, and to boot this year won’t be even in France as will be on a trip to Asia during that week. Anyway, this is major and we will do away earlier as usual. It is not a Holiday in France so we usually go the weekend before or after out and on the day at home we had some leftovers or snacks and drinks. But it is mark in our calendar. I love the meaning and the festivities around it always since childhood.

I am talking about Thanksgiving, the big American tradition and traffic jams and airports loaded and even Amstrak trains lol!! The works all in one, but is repeated every year with love and tender family and friends gatherings all over. Here in my belle France, it is not well known but it is celebrated by the American community in major towns where it is available by restaurants or place that have the ingredients to do it. In my neck of the woods of Morbihan there is nothing.

I have done one blog post on it way back, little yes but heck so much abound can’t cover it all, I try ok. Here is the old blog post: Thanksgiving Americana in Paris

As to the Thanksgiving, well in 2018, Thanksgiving falls on Thursday November 22nd (always on the fourth Thursday of November). At this American holiday, it is customary to enjoy a turkey with the family. American expatriates compete with ingenuity to perpetuate the tradition of Thanksgiving abroad. A large number of Parisians as well have now converted and celebrate this Thanksgiving Day with family, friends, home or church.  We do our best to gather the ingredients or go if possible to a place that has setup the meal for the celebration.

A bit of history I like

The first commemoration of Thanksgiving dates back to 1621. One year before that date, precisely on 26 November 1620, the separatist Pilgrim Fathers  landed in the Plymouth area of Massachusetts colony, fleeing the persecution of the bad King of England and the actions of the church in their country. When they arrived in the colony, their survival was quite complicated, as many of them ,more than half ,were attacked by scurvy and died. The survivors were saved only by the intervention of the Wampanoag, a local tribe. They agreed to a bilateral agreement where the native tribe taught visitors new cultures, fishing and hunting, and in return the Pilgrims fathers defended them from their assailants. This agreement bore a great deal of fruit, because in 1621 the first harvest was a very successful one. Governor William Bradford therefore decreed three days of thanksgiving to thank God, the land and the native Indians. It was historically the first Thanksgiving. It was in 1789, on October 3, that it was declared for the first time officially a United States National Day by first President George Washington.

The ingredients have not change much over time. On the table, we find the products of the season crops: corn, green beans ,squash, sweet potatoes, onions, green salad ,spinach , but also,  the cranberries, pecan nuts ham, not forgetting of course the traditional turkey. Many Americans also like to watch the Thanksgiving parade, on television or in town. Big stores in several major cities organize these parades. The best known is Macy’s in New York city which is huge and very famous for its magnificent chariots, huge flying balloons and celebrities.

Over the years while living in Versailles and working in Paris, I have attended many Thanksgiving there and have some of my favorite still going on below as well as some popular new ones not yet tested. Here are the essential addresses in Paris to get into the tradition of Thanksgiving USA!

 Joe Allen,  the oldest American brewery in Paris, opened in 1972, and one of my favorites spots. Since then,it has never ceased to be the home of many American Parisians or Parisians in love with the Big Apple.  At a rate of 50€, the special Thanksgiving menu includes pan-fried wild mushrooms, homemade duck terrine, roast turkey, marinated and grilled tuna steak, pumpkin pie, apple and cranberry crumble with vanilla ice cream.Still located at .30 Rue Pierre Lescot, 1éme. More here:. https://www.joeallenparis.com/

Hard Rock Café Paris , the famous institution invites all American culture fans to enjoy an authentic Thanksgiving dinner. On the menu: corn soup, turkey with cranberries sauce, pecan nut tart… Price: check for latest details, to be at a more festive party ambiance. Located at  14 Boulevard Montmartre, 9éme. More here: https://www.hardrock.com/cafes/paris/

The Harry’s Bar is the oldest American bar in Paris, it has recently celebrated its 100 years. As much to say that the atmosphere will be festive! A special Thanksgiving lunch is served usually need to check it out for 2018.I have come here for drinks and chat only. Usual Thanksgiving meal set up included  Pumpkin soup, club sandwich, cole slaw, pecan pie, brownies, drink and coffee. Located at 5 Rue Daunou, 2éme. More here :  https://www.yelp.com/biz/harrys-new-york-bar-paris-2

Le Drugstore, famous restaurant of the concept-store Publicis on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, proposes to us on Thursday 22 November 2018. Again not here for the feast but nice place to be in  indeed. To honor this great American celebration, chef Eric Frechon has concocted a special menu for the occasion. On the menu that evening, corn fritters followed by  pumpkin soup  with chestnut chips and roasted hazelnuts to open our appetite. Next is the must-have stuffed farm turkey and roasted in casserole, accompanied by a sweet potato purée with foie gras, all sprinkled with the juice of the roast. The festivities would not be complete without the traditional Pecan Pie that finishes this hearty meal on a sweet note and a bit regressive. To water all this, the chef chose a selection of wines on the notes of a playlist “tribute to US Music” which will pace the atmosphere the time of this special and unique dinner .  At 19h ,60€ without drinks. More here: https://www.publicisdrugstore.com/fr/le-drugstore

And for the day after the feast: Breakfast in America, a very good address for breakfast and  American burgers, American owned.Locations at 17 rue des Écoles, Paris 6éme and at  4, rue Malher, 4éme. More here:  http://breakfast-in-america.com/thanksgiving-2018-reserve-now/?lang=en

Promenade Newyorkais , this is new place never visited but very popular with my Paris American friends nowdays.  The exiled Americans find themselves there… with the Parisians who want to have a good evening!  Located at 44 rue du Louvre,1éme. The Parisian hotel also offers authentic US spirit milkshakes and ice creams: everything to attract girls! And in the early evening, the restaurant is transformed into a bar and the music lounge goes up in fun. A young and trendy place to eat, have a drink  !More here:  https://www.yelp.com/biz/promenade-newyorkais-paris

Verjus , French-American Restaurant famous for its cuisine.  Again newer comer never visited but popular with the American community of Paris. Thanksgiving Dinner from Monday 20th to Friday November 24th. Two services every night.  The Thanksgiving tasting menu is at 68€.  Located at 47 Rue Montpensier, 1éme. More info here:  https://www.verjusparis.com/

The Real McCoy, 49 avenue Bosquet  7éme . One of my first encounters with buying American goodies in Paris way back then… Open every day from 10h to 20h. Turkeys done or not in pre ordering, cakes,  pecan pies, cheesecake etc …This is a small grocery store here for over 25 years. More here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/the-real-mccoy-paris

La Grande Epicérie de Paris Passy ,16éme _at the 1st Floor (2nd Fl US); you can find small turkeys here on pre orders. Yes my dear late wife Martine purchase small turkeys here very juicy and nice for home cooking. Open Mondays to Saturdays from 8h30 to 21h. More here : https://www.lagrandeepicerie.com/en/rive-droite

Les Viandes du Champs de Mars, 122 Rue Saint-Dominique, 7éme . Butcher shop , open from 7h to 13h and from 16h to 19h30.  You can order your turkey right now and until November 22nd. You can also order a farce (classic or according to your own recipe and the desired ingredients).  A clientele of regulars has trusted Jean-Marie Boédec for years. My dear late wife Martine tried and it is good indeed!     https://www.yelp.com/biz/les-viandes-du-champ-de-mars-paris

Le Lafayette Gourmet , 40, boulevard Hausmann  9éme. Open from Mondays to Saturdays 9h30 to  20h – Night opening on Thursdays to 21h. Very nice stuff here but never purchase turkeys here. More here:. https://haussmann.galerieslafayette.com/en/food-shopping-at-lafayette-gourmet/

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Rachel’s Grocery, 20 rue du Pont aux Choux, 3éme. An American in Paris. Better known for sweets and cheescakes but also has ingredients for Thanksgiving. Also , at  72, quai de Jemmapes, Paris 10éme. More here :  https://www.yelp.com/biz/rachels-grocery-paris

American Church Paris  65 Quai d’Orsay, 7éme. Every year the Church offered persons in the neighborhood the opportunity to meet around a Thanksgiving meal. I have participated with the family here for Halloween as well over the years and visits , very nice place. The ticket for the table are sold on site for 20€ adults and 12€ children. More info here:  https://www.acparis.org/

For the nostalgic of Paris like me, the American grocery store Thanksgiving  was the place to find American products in Paris for yeears…including the Thanksgiving ingredients, however, unfortunately it has closed. It was the spot for the American community to get a piece of Americana while in Paris. It was located in the neighborhood of  Saint-Paul district 4 at  20 Rue Saint-Paul. Just for the memories ok.

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There you go, if in town you now know where to go, and if not, remember these places serve all year around à l’Americaine or Ricains lol! As Americans are known here nicely! Enjoy your Thanksgiving wherever you are and happy family times.

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

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