September 28, 2010

Château de Gourgazaud

Château de Gourgazaud

Last night I took a sip of Chardonnay that knocked my socks off.

In the past, I was not, repeat not, a big fan of Chardonnay.  Too much butter, too much vanilla, often too oaky.  Like licking a strip of bark slathered in butter.

Then came my Chardonnay revelation in the form of a white Burgundy that was included in the Tour de France of Wine tasting at Ô Château in Paris. 
That Chardonnay was an entirely different creature, with its bright aromas of apple and almond, and hints of pineapple, tangerine and cream.  Nothing like the over-oaked abominations from California.

So I've happily sought out bottles of white Burgundy, all the while carefully avoiding any bottle that includes the words élevé en fût de chêne*.

Wine Barrels

Then the other day, thanks to a local vigneron and her family, I learned that oak barrel aged Chardonnay can be a sublime experience.

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September 22, 2010

Languedoc Cheese Course

Château de Gourgazaud

Sometimes you just have one of those perfect days... Pin It

September 20, 2010

La Fête du Fromage - Beaufort d'Été

Beaufort d'Été

There's still a bit of time left to get a hold of Beaufort d'Été, but you better hurry! 
And you'll have to find a Fromagerie that will sell it to you.

The friend who carefully transported this generous slab from the Alps to the Languedoc a couple of weeks ago told us that the Fromagerie where he bought it refuses to sell this seasonal cheese after September 15.
The rules state that Beaufort d'Été must be made from Tarine and Abondance cow's milk produced between June 1 until the end of October, however this particular Fromager thinks the cheese is past its prime after mid September. 
So if you don't care to follow the Fromager's advice, you still have a chance to try it.  And you'll be happy that you did.

Beaufort d'Été is packed full of fruity and zingy yeast flavors, and has a delightful, slightly crumbly, dense texture.  Much less complex, buttery and grassy than a more mature Beaufort, but equally delicious. 

White wines from Burgundy or Beaujolais pair well with this cheese. Pin It

September 15, 2010

Things Making Me Smile This Week

Cochon de Lait Farci

The window of la Boucherie in Olonzac

The discovery of a cheese-themed restaurant in Tours. L'Affiné is most definitely on the top of my list for our trip to the Loire Valley in October.

Fig Walnut Pesto with Honey.  Yes, please!

Two old friends and their family have embarked on a new adventure and their rental home comes complete with a pink kitchen and a pink oven!  Pass the pearls, a frilly apron and a pair of high heels!

Camille vs. the bees.  


Another gorgeous September evening. Pin It

September 10, 2010

The Color Purple



Figs in late August

Lavender shutters

Spring Garlic

Day at la Pépinière

Village Vineyards in August

December Sunrise

Wisteria at Chateau Ventenac

Tasting at Château Combebelle

Rich and regal, strong and saturated; purple has always been my favorite color.

Icy wisteria hanging in clusters.
Deep purple figs plucked from the trees and unavoidably squashed underfoot. 
Shutters in a light shade of violet always capture my attention.
Ripening grapes thriving on the vines.
Amethyst tinted garlic, lush, juicy plums and heavy globes of eggplant.
Pale violet skies at sunset.
A glass at the end of the day.  Santé!

Its presence is appreciated all year, but these last days of summer are infused with all shades of purple, violet and lavender.  So gorgeous. Pin It

September 6, 2010

La Fête du Fromage - Tome de Provence

Tome de Provence  
Tome de Provence, or Tome à l'ancienne as it is sometimes called, has a notable history.

For more than 7000 years, farmers in Provence have been making a simple fromage de chèvre like this one.   
7000 years.  Think about that.

7000 years ago the wheel had just been invented in Mesopotamia.
7000 years ago the Neolithic era was about to begin in western Europe.
7000 years ago two of the world's major religions hadn't even been invented yet.

Pretty amazing if you ask me.

Tome de Provence

And this cheese's history isn't its only notable characteristic. 

Tome de Provence has perfectly balanced flavors that are slightly salty, slightly tangy, and rich and mushroomy.  I also detected hints of rosemary and thyme. 
The rind is dry and nutty and the texture of the pâte is wonderfully soft, creamy and chewy.  It is produced from unpasteurized milk and affinage takes between 10 days and 3 weeks.

A truly memorable little fromage that goes on my list of favorites.  I recommend it highly!

Wine recommendations include Chablis, rosé from Provence or Châteauneuf du Pape.

Tome de Provence
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September 4, 2010

Feeding My Addiction

Saint Nectaire Férmier

Almost 2 kilos of fragrant, unpasteurized deliciousness was delivered to me today, direct from a farm in the Auvergne.  Add to that the giant slab of Beaufort d'Eté (so perfect looking that I hesitated cutting into it) and the generous wedge of Tomme des Bauges that a friend hand delivered from his trip to the French Alps last week.

It's great to have friends who will willingly feed my cheese addiction. Pin It