Burgundy Road Movie

image.jpegView from A6 highway driving south from Paris: huge sky, tiny village on the horizon…near Milly-La-Fôret and Fontainebleau…

2 hours away, approaching Saint-Bris-le-Vineux, Burgundy wine country…

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Looking for Goisot winery that uses Rudolph Steiner’s Biodynamic cultivation methods (featured in a documentary on Arté on May 17th). Due to frost and hale damage, no tastings were scheduled when we were there. http://www.goisot.fr

End of April frosts made headlines in the area and local winegrowers like Daniel Étienne Defaix set out smudge pots to keep the vines warm through the night:

IMG_2485[4]Chablis area between Auxerre and Tonnerre (photo by Myriam Da Silva). http://www.danieletiennedefaix.com

Lunch on main street at Le Saint Bris: homemade jambon persillé (ham terrine), onglet de veau à la crème d’oignons (local veal steak with creamed onions), fries, sparkling white burgundy (Crémant de Bourgogne)…

image   Le St Bris, great food, good service…

http://lesaintbris.eresto.net

image Dessert, “Truffé au Chocolat”…

image  Artist’s studio, nearby… Dionysus no doubt, in honor of Côtes d’Auxerre, Chablis, Irancy, all Pinot Noir grapes…

Local people recommended La Cave du Maître de Poste winery (Domaine Sorin) so we dropped into their beautiful courtyard to taste and purchase.

http://www.domaine-sorin-defrance.com

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Next stop town of Irancy: jovial Vicount and Vicountess Colinot in their ancestral wine cellar…delicious!     email: earlcolinot@aol.com      Tel: 03 86 42 33 25image

We also recommend Domaine Thierry Richoux  wine cellar. http://www.irancy.org

Tel: 03 86 42 21 60

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Looking over the valley…

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image Educational tourism: vast, spooky 2000 year old d’Aubigny stone quarry, “underground cathedral” near Druyes-les-Belles-Fontaines

image Checked into the beautiful Domaine de Bouloy BnB, with infinite turquoise panorama on the rue du bon dieu jaune (street of good yellow god?)… www.domaine-du-bouloy.com

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image Short drive to medieval town of Clamecy, restaurant Deux Pièces Cuisine…www.2pieces-cuisine.fr

imageMille feuille de foie gras de canard (layered duck liver), asparagus, raspberry vinegar, morillons mushrooms, on a thin slice of ginger bread…

Baudroie des mers froides grillée (grilled northern ocean monkfish), creamy black risotto, wine: Bouzeron blanc cuvée Axelle Bourgogne, 2014, Domaine Briday)

image Lemon tart…end of Day One

 

Coffee with Kisses

Due to a WordPress malfunction, some of the visuals display sideways on certain devices! Trying to correct…

DSC01577Hesitate to divulge the location of my favorite café, want to keep it all to myself… How do I love thee Pavillon des Canaux, let me count the ways: When you first opened last year (above)…

“My” big chair as I first saw it…DSC01602

Seen from across the water:      DSC02315 (1)

View from my table:    DSC02593

Ordering my latte:  DSC02659 And most of all:

Marion and Alexandra:DSC02366DSC02680

DSC02660DSC02661Simon and Lucas (Mr. Bean)…

Upstairs, downstairsDSC02145 DSC02066

Looking west along the canal: DSC02136This is how I dreamed Paris would be…

http://www.pavillondescanaux.com/en

also on Facebook

xxxxx Aliss

 

(O)living the Life

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You haven’t (o)lived until you’ve been to La Tête dans les Olives, rue Sainte-Marthe, Paris  10th arrondissement, just up the hill from the dreamy Canal Saint Martin and Chez Philou (see previous post), at the entrance to a hidden passageway leading to secret Place Sainte Marthe (where you might think you’re inland from the Rivera, near Manosque). It’s the smallest restaurant/grocery you’ll ever encounter, but so full of deliciousness, you’ll never forget it. You must meet Mr. Andrea and see his tiny boutique with a view on a green courtyard. He will pour you tiny spoons of the best olive oil you ever put in your mouth, direct from his friends’ olive groves in SicilyDSC02649so you can choose the ones to take home from different varieties for cooking and salads (all in beautiful reusable bottles)…

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Every square inch is packed with salted ricotta and other seasonal cheeses, pasta, mushrooms, bread, herbs, sun dried tomatoes, wild fennel seeds, capers in salt, white figs, dried tuna eggs, tuna bresaola, tuna sausage, dried swordfish eggs and more…

Go to their website to reserve the best (and only) table for an intimate dinner sampling olive their wares:

http://www.latetedanslesolives.com

(also on Facebook)

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Your taste buds will quote Wikipedia:

“Olive oil has long been considered sacred. The olive branch was often a symbol of abundance, glory and peace. The leafy branches of the olive tree were ritually offered to deities and powerful figures as emblems of benediction and purification, and they were used to crown the victors of friendly games and bloody wars. Today, olive oil is still used in many religious ceremonies. Over the years, the olive has been the symbol of peace, wisdom, glory, fertility, power and purity.”

As the French say, “Tu m’en diras des nouvelles”  = “You’ll thank me”!

xxxxxx Aliss

Celebrate Food

Seems to be a bug on WordPress and some of the photos are displaying sideways…hope to debug soon 🙂

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In previous episodes  we postulated that the national religion of France is not Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. but rather Foodism, that French people detect the presence of the Divine through their senses, and the French Table is often an altar (see April 9 and March 5, 2016 on Hugo Desnoyer). Enjoying a beautiful meal made with reverence for the ingredients honors life and connects us to the holy earth. Here is one of my favorite places to celebrate food: Chez Philou, 12 avenue Richerand, 75010,  +33 1 42 38 00 13    http://www.restophilou.com, also on Facebook.

Quality/price ratio for the lunch menu is unbeatable, meanwhile, some images:

DSC01021Owner-chef Philippe Damas recites menu poetry to transfixed diners.

DSC01022  Chandliers with letters and art from fans.

DSC01075Les enfants du paradis poster for Fifi’s cinema friends…

Wild pheasant one October…DSC01076DSC02655Recent déjeuner: filet of pollock fish with succulent baby turnips, carrots, spinach and potatoes….

DSC01078And all mere steps from the romantic Canal Saint Martin and famous Hôtel du Nord bridge…

To be continued xxxxx Aliss

Film…and Fromage

(Photo of Bruno Toussaint, Fabrice Humbert, and me, by Wendy Rohm)12916711_10206764390247902_494156039573775405_o

Where can you enjoy the passion and erudition of Cinema Master Bruno Toussaint followed by a gourmet cheese tasting with assorted wines? Only at Paris Writers’ Retreats sponsored by the Rohm Agency pariswritersretreat.com. Bruno entertained and enlightened us with a weekend of insights into the art of story telling through image and sound. His outlines are clear and to the point, with rich video illustrations from the likes of Stanley Kubrick, Francis Coppola, Andrew Stanton, and Darren Aronofsky. Against a soothing background of bâteaux-mouches gliding by on the Seine just outside a tall French window, lively discussions and inspired readings by our ensemble cast of witty luminaries (novelists, non-fiction writers, and searchers) added to the festivities, guided by Bruno’s skilful moderating and sense of humor. Then, each evening he initiated us into the artistry and mysteries of fromage:

DSC02673The Master presents platter number one (plan américain), in ascending order of sophistication,DSC02670cutting to the chase in a close up (knife clicks metallically on ceramic surface).

DSC02671Dolly out for daring knee-shot of our hostess, behind her always-stunning table (still-life chiaroscuro painstakingly researched at the Louvre).

Leading ladies in group shot by Fabrice…12977285_10206772563532229_3692852297497162057_oAliss, Anne, Karin, Wendy, Bruno, Susan, Letitia (laughter, toasts, clinking of glasses).

12967904_10206764660254652_2240648670203855480_oDialogs with our leading men, photo by Wendy…

 

DSC02665 Establishing shot from Wendy’s door towards Notre Dame.DSC02663Zoom out, looking west from Pont Marie (Parisian traffic noise in the distance)…

To be continued…

French Religion?

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(Came across some notes I wrote a few years back for a friend who wanted to do stand up. Relevant?)

France has heart, and it has other body parts, like noses and taste buds. No matter what you’ve heard, the truth is the French are not Catholic or Protestant or Muslim or Jewish or Buddhist. They’re Foodist. Fundamentalist Foodist.

You may have heard of those people in Northern Scotland? The Findhorn Community? They caused a stir in the 70’s when they grew these humongous vegetables in very extreme and inhospitable climactic conditions because they could communicate with the spirits of plants, which the French have always known how to do.

They have a special relationship with their food. They worship food. Food is God. And the way they recognise the presence of the Divine is through their sense of smell.

Here’s another difference between the French and the Americans:

Americans won’t eat something that smells. The French won’t eat something unless it smells. It has to have an odor to get their attention. Think of the several hundred French cheeses, each with its genetically diverse flora and fauna.

Americans have all these obsessions about food and actually the defining quality of a person now when they enter a room is they announce what they do and do not eat, it’s part of their persona. Americans, when they introduce themselves, tell you right off the bat what they will and won’t eat. It used to be horoscopes. “Hi, I’m Lisa, I’m a Libra, Hi I’m Linda, I’m a Capricorn.” Now, it’s, “Hi I’m Joe, I’ve completely eliminated carbohydrates.”

Everybody in North America is on some kind of wierd dietary experiment. Forget about being vegetarian and vegetalian and vegan. That’s old hat. We’ve gone to a new level of hardcore food obsessions.

Americans evaluate their food in terms of chemical compounds, like their bodies are some kind of mechanical assembly line that will only take specific elements in specific orders. It’s becoming harder and harder to have a meal with a group of Americans. You just can’t come up with a menu that can be eaten by more than yourself. It’s a nightmare. I had this experience of being at the table with a mixed group of French and Americans and it was really incredible. French people lovingly peruse the menu, trying to figure out all these arcane terms that not even French people understand, it takes forever, it’s like foreplay….. The French were lovingly swirling their wine in their wine glasses and admiring the robe, the thigh, deeply inhaling the bouquet .. This is before even tasting it. The Americans were saying, “Could you pass me some more of that red anti-oxydant with tannin?” The French are spreading goat cheese on their crispy baguette, they’re savoring every bite and talking about things like terroir, tracing the origin and the ancestry of the goat, all the way back to Charlemagne…. The Americans were saying, “I’d really like more of that calcium with the high lipid content, but I have to cut down on animal fat.” “Those carbohydrates look very crunchy but I go into anaphylactic shock at the sight of gluten.”

 So food is really a problem. Beyond mad cow, beyond genetically modified organisms… no one is talking about the human problem. The real problem might not be the food, it might be the people….

 

One Divine Quality

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It’s been said that humor is humanity’s one Divine quality*… it’s definitely one of our more transformative creative faculties and one of the things I love most in my fellow human beings… Case in point:

What’s the real name of the famous Metro station pictured above, anagrammed for April Fool’s? Answer, “Opera” of course. I was one of millions of people in transit doing double takes from our seats on the trains and hopping off to laugh and take pictures of the unexpected and festive signs (“Apéro” loosely translates as “Happy Hour”). In all, 13 stations were renamed, my other fave being “Crimée (Crimea) et Châtiment (and Punishment),” this from an organization known more for its reliability and staunchly leftist union activity than for its sparkling wit (esprit). Coming so soon after the Brussels attacks, it was perfect timing, lightening up the atmosphere for all of us who gird ourselves psychologically before embarking on public transportation.

Another encounter with French humor was the Slip (underpants)-themed wrap party for Season 4 of the animated series Titeuf, based on the highest selling comic collection in France. Champagne flowed freely at the spacious new offices of Go-En productions, located in a former denim cloth factory downtown. Director Gark sporting his briefs over jeans…DSC02636

Right to left, creator Zep, Ivan, a big fan, Lewis Primo, music director, Nathalie Homs, voice artist..DSC02634

Titeuf and friends, reflected in a windowDSC02631

Inner courtyard and hors d’oeuvresDSC02632

If you want a good laugh over wine with bilingual Franco-American friends, try asking, “What’s the difference between French humor and US humor?” Vast subject, enough material for a doctoral thesis. Am compiling notes to share…. To be continued xxxx

PS Have decided to write separate post about US vs French humor, too big a topic to piggyback on to this one…. 🙂

*by famously grouchy 19th century German philosopher Schopenhauer