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

 

(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

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

Table as Altar?

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For a special occasion this week, we were invited to Hugo Desnoyer’s new restaurant in the 19th:  http://www.hugodesnoyer.com/en/

33 Avenue Secretan, 75019, 01 40 05 10 79, Metros: Bolivar, Jaurès, Colonel Fabien

Intro on the menu: “Food is now vital to the future of our civilization, culture, and public health. All over the world, choosing what to eat expresses life choices. Hugo Desnoyer is one of the rare artisan butchers to direct and participate in the birth of this global phenomenon. He has committed himself to this cause, and to opening new avenues of development.”

From the website: “Let’s consume less, but better. By what we eat, we are all farmers by proxy.

Animal well-being, protected pastures and environment, open spaces and fresh air, limited noise and stress are the basis of quality cattle raising.

A cow grazing freely in a field maintains the landscape. This type of farming is demanding but traditional and can have a positive impact on nature.

– Water and soil are analyzed to avoid all chemical residue.

– Feed comes from natural meadowlands.

– A mixture of grains, without GMO’s, without soy, are grown in the same area (terroir).

– Breeds are preferably from the same terroir.” (my translations)

Food for thought: all indigenous cultures have rituals to sanctify food and thank living creatures for providing nourishment. The Temple in Jerusalem provided meat to the city. This custom survives in kosher practices (Judaism) and halal certification (Islam). I’m curious about why there is nothing similar in Christian culture? Instead we have industrial agriculture… When I was little, there were farmers on both sides of the family and I learned what it meant to sacrifice an animal to feed ourselves. My grandmother used to say grace at every meal, but when she passed that disappeared with her. Living in France has helped me reconnect with the earth and I’m trying to be conscious, to give thanks to all living beings, including people, who bring nourishment to my table. Every time we grocery shop or enter a restaurant we’re impacting policies and voting with our money. As for methane, a town in England powers its public transportation with this by-product. As for health and diet, I highly recommend the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, Ph.D. (see excerpt below)  So in a spirit of reverence:

DSC02562Planche de charcuterie: Chorizo, ham, bacon, pistachio and herb pâtés…

DSC02563Entrecôte and faux filet steaks, sautéed potatoes, rutabaga, chives, parsley, hollandaise sauce, mashed potatoes…

DSC02566Upstairs kitchen

DSC02561Maitre d’ Sophie greets diners

Was in an altered (altared?) state by dessert time and forgot to photograph the amazing chocolate pie and walnut cake. We drank “Côte de Py” Morgon AMC  Jean Foillard Villié 2013…

BTW There are memorable grass-fed viandes in New York State (and elsewhere):  Jack’s on main street in New Paltz, Adam’s on route 9 and Fleischer’s  at the stockade in Kingston, Emmanuel’s in Stone Ridge. Hugo Desnoyer supplies top restaurants in France. The meal was delicious and very expensive (as it should be?) Lunch menu 22€, reserve well in advance 🙂

“The cause of heart disease is not animal fats and cholesterol but rather a number of factors inherent in modern diets, including excess consumption of vegetable oils and hydrogenated fats; excess consumption of refined carbohydrates in the form of sugar and white flour; mineral deficiencies, particularly low levels of protective magnesium and iodine; deficiencies of vitamins, particularly vitamin A, C and D, needed for the integrity of the blood vessel walls, and of antioxidants like selenium and vitamin E, which protect us from free radicals; and finally, the disappearance of antimicrobial fats from the food supply, namely animal fats and tropical oils. These once protected us against the kinds of viruses and bacteria that have been associated with the onset of pathogenic plaque leading to heart disease.”
 Paragraph 4, page 13
 Nourishing Traditions, The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, Ph.D.
To be continued…  xxxxx

 

 

 

 

Feed Your Head (2)

DSC02525So…did I dream that day at the Palais de Tokyo in early January? Could it be as magical a second time? Had to go back and find out. Lunch reservation for Wednesday noon. Got to the museum late due to traffic so went to Monsieur Bleu https://monsieurbleu.com before exploring the art. (Is this a good idea?) Knew the exhibits had changed but wasn’t prepared for complete transformation of the spaces. Last time we couldn’t find the restaurant on the pitch-black lower level. This time the windows were all uncovered for a totally different effect, but door still well camouflaged:

DSC02531(Door? Did you say door?)

If you know where to look, you can get in, otherwise enter from the river side?

More surprises: on  weekdays there’s a reasonable prix-fixe menu (starters 13€, main dishes 20€). Would have ordered the gambas again, they were so delish, but the menu had changed and my dream boat, grand seigneur, insisted I order à la carte. So….”Belle salade avocat-mangue-pamplemousse-orange-oignons-crevettes roses” (Beautiful salad avocado-mango-grapefruit-orange-onions- pink shrimp+fresh parsley & drizzle of customized vinaigrette and yes, it was a beautiful explosion of sweetness, tartness, smoothness, color, with a hint of the ocean).DSC02526

Main dish: “Noix de Saint Jacques dorées, beurre, orange-passion”  (Golden scallops in butter and orange-passion fruit sauce, accompanied by slices of red and golden beets, turnips in shiny butter).

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(You’ll have to imagine my date’s salmon tartare with fresh herbs and Tuna Tataky Saku encrusted with sesame…)

Shared dessert: café gourmand:

DSC02530 (Expresso with tiny cheese cake, meringue, salted butter cream puff, on a bed of pistachio and pastry cream, fresh raspberies….and a chocolate praline).

Accompanied by a glass of white Viognier for me and red Burgundy for him.

Verdict: just as lovely as in January, a feeling of reverence, thankful for all the creatures and people who brought this meal to me here and now. Starting to experience a holographic map of France in my brain, wired to my palate. Every time I eat or drink something in this country, a geographical area lights up, linked to landscape, history, and tradition… a sacred grounding ritual.

Found our way back through the hidden portal to the exhibits on the lower level. First J-M Alberola, whose work focuses on details. In the mood for something on a larger scale, I rushed through what felt like a gallery, with framed canvases and display cases. Struck by one item that echoes a family travel joke (“Are you sure you packed the anvil?”)DSC02532Travel enclume in case, caption “Le verbe être remplacé par le verbe porter/The verb to be replaced by the verb to carry.”

Next a walk through colorful multi-media displays by Shana Moulton (no pix), and on to the Bas Bar (Stocking Bar) by Martin Soto Climent, more like what I hope for at the Palais de Tokyo, with panty hose stretched across the walls and ceiling, hammocks, tables and seating:DSC02533

Detour via Simon Evans (really a duo, for some reason Sarah Lannan’s name doesn’t appear in the title): collages of accumulated scraps of paper inscribed with scrawled soliloquy’s on white out, a word waterfall, woven or distressed surfaces painted and printed with iconic symbols and statements…Somehow was drawn in:

Next, attracted to this poster for Louidgi Beltrame’s movie  El Brujo (The Sorcerer):

DSC02535Turned out to be a million times more interesting than the film, unless you’re a fan of Warhol’s Sleep and really enjoy sitting through it, sorry J-P Léaud, endless hand-held camera shot of you crossing the trestle-bridge over the Gare du Nord tracks just doesn’t hold my attention.

Up to the main floor for:

DSC02544 Florian & Michael Quistrebert, The Light of the Light: stacked hulking LED-incrusted panels rotating on metal rods like mechanical totems.DSC02540

AndDSC02545dizzying op-art projections on angled movie screens…

My favorite of the day, Enrique Oliveira’s white pillars entwining into tree branches and trunks:DSC02547

And finally (you can’t make this stuff up) Vivien Roubaud’s “tarpaulin taking wing on a building site.”DSC02546Yes, I kid you not, a large square piece of torn plastic sheeting rigged to float up and down in the  Great Staircase…One can only conclude that all life is art depending on your perspective? So…in answer to my questions, no, I did not dream that January day at the Palais de Tokyo and even if several spaces are awaiting their new exhibits, yes, coming here can be as magical as the first time. Highly recommend choosing a good companion (I did). Conversation, wonder, and humor guaranteed…. Vive le Palais de Tokyo xxxx Aliss

 

Stillness

DSC02479Fontainebleau Forest, winter. Stillness…..

Winter weekend about an hour south east of Paris, staying in Malesherbes, a little town nearby, at a hotel called “L’écu de France.” The word écu has linguistic cred because it originally meant a long shield or support for a heraldic coat of arms, then designated a medieval gold coin, and more recently was almost used as the official title for European currency. Thank heavens “Euro” won out because l’écu is a homonym for les culs (the asses) in French. (So we were staying at “the asses of France” = Gallic in-joke….)

Anyway, great place, modern accommodations, good food (more about that later) with outbuildings, foundations and ground floor dating back to the 17th century, timbered ceilings, a huge fireplace in the breakfast area, and a stately staircase up to the rooms. Ours was so silent, it was like an isolation pod: no humming refrigerator, no sloshing-gurgling washing machine, no fingers pounding on keyboards, no voices seeping through the bathroom wall, no doors slamming on the landing, no sirens from the street, no motors vibrating the buildings, no neighbor child practicing the saxophone…. People always remark on how calm our place is, but  I realized the sound effects are frequent, if muffled, and how strange and velvety smooth real quiet can be.

Couldn’t wait to walk in the forest… 35 million years ago it was under the ocean and over time, compressed sand formed huge boulders that cover almost 10,000 acres of the total  60,000. They huddle together like trolls turned to stone in The Hobbit. Off season is perfect, very few hikers and climbers, only the occasional trail biker. Calm, alive, natural matrix, network of living creatures, communicating in subtle ways underground and through the air. Peace.

Recalled running across a new term: “forest bathing,” translated from Japanese and Korean, meaning to spend relaxing time in the woods. (French version: “sylvothérapie“)

Highly recommended reading, how trees secrete natural antibiotics, essential oils, and other substances that heal infections, comparison of number of germs found in cities (lots) and in forests (none), beneficial effect on stress symptoms such as blood pressure…etc

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/forest_bathing

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylvothérapie

Disturbing to think that seeing the information presented scientifically is more persuasive than just being there. Are we so removed from our senses that we can only take them seriously when they’re expressed in statistics? Why not trust what we feel when we’re there?

Now the food:

Assortment of terrines made on site by the chef (pork, pheasant, rabbit)

Selle d’agneau au jus (roasted lamb saddle in mouth-watering sauce)

Fontainebleau maison (fromage blanc, mixed with whipped cream)

Pithiviers pastry (almond cake, very good with the Fontainebleau cream)

Fresh baguette bread from local bakery

Wine: Saumur Champigny (red), Saint Cyr en Bourg (Touraine), Domaine Saint-Just vinyard, Cabernet Franc grapes

Lovely service, price reasonable… Generous breakfast, full lunch menu…

Vive la France

xxxxx Aliss