Category Archives: Food and Wine

French Food, Episode 17

French food, small grocery store
Grocery store in the movie Amélie Poulain

French Food Culture

On today’s episode Annie and Elyse have a good time talking about French food, food culture in France, and the way French people eat at home.

We also talk frankly about difficulties that people with special diets may encounter in France, particularly those who are vegetarian/vegan or have food allergies.

French people are quite set in their ways when it comes to food. What does that mean for visitors?

Can you listen to the whole thing without wishing for a lovely French meal? If you can, we didn’t do this right!

Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.

Episode Highlights

  • Ready to go to France? Ready-to-eat French Food?
  • If I Say Let’s Have French Food, What Do You Think About?
    • What Percentage of the Monthly Budget Do French People Spend on Food?
    • Food is NOT cheap in France
  • What Do French People Have for Breakfast?
    • Breakfast at a French Hotel
    • Breakfast on Sunday in France
    • Biscottes, It’s a French Thing
    • French Adults Often Have a Tiny Breakfast
  • Why Are French People Skinny?
  • Meals Are Served at Set Times in France
  • Lunch in France
    • When It’s Meal Time French People Eat a LOT!
  • French People Are Choosy About What They Eat
  • Where Do French People Buy Their Food?
  • French People LOVE Yogurt and Cheese
  • Bread in France
  • French People Want to Know Where Their Food Comes From
  • Wine Drinking in France
  • Vegetarians in France
  • Older French People Don’t Think of Wine as Alcohol
  • French People Are Not Adventurous When It Comes to Food
    • The Only “Ethnic” Food You Will Find Everywhere in France is North African
    • French People Will Tell You What You Should and Shouldn’t Eat
    • France Is Tough for Vegans and People Who Suffer from Food Allergies
  • Smoking in Restaurants in France
  • Halal and Kosher Food in France
  • French Regional Food
  • Do French People Really Eat Frog’s Legs and Escargots?
  • Foie Gras Is Not Controversial in France
  • French People Eat a Lot of Oysters on the Half-Shell
  • “Lait Cru” Cheeses (Made with Unpasturized Milk) Are Common in France
  • For more on French food, listen to our other episodes on Cheese, Pastries of Southern France and Pastries of Northern France, Chocolate and Macarons, and all the episodes in the Food and Wine category on this website.

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Continue reading French Food, Episode 17

Champagne Region, Episode 11

Champagne bucket with bottles: Champagne Region

Champagne Region, a Brief History

In this episode Elyse takes us on a trip to the wonderful world of Champagne. She tells us about the history of the Champagne Region  (part of the “Grand Est” Region in France) and how monasteries played a big part in it. There were some lucky breaks and the English helped things along. Dom Perignon is the one who came up with a great solution to an age-old problem, and thankfully, we all benefit today.  “À consommer avec modération”, most of the time anyway. It’s all in today’s episode! Subscribe and listen!

If you love our approach to travel and want to tour France with us, visit Addicted to France to look at upcoming tours.

If you enjoy this episode, you should also listen to Day-Trips from Paris, Reims

Episode Highlights with Time Stamps

  • 1:30′ Where is the Champagne Region geographically? How big of an area is it?
  • 2:40′ Most northern wine-producing region in France.
  • 3:00′ Nine Hundred Anniversary of the charter of Champagne that designates officially what makes a wine Champagne.
  • 4:00′ Champagne without bubbles?
  • 5:00′ Romans introduced grape vines in France and started producing wine in the fourth century.
  • 6:00′ How Romans drank wine: a brew of red wine, water, and spices.
  • 7:00′ How monasteries played a vital role in the development of wineries in France.
  • 9:00′ Wine was shipped in barrels, glass bottles were not used early on, and wood barrels were used for centuries.
  • 10:20′ Sometimes the wine in the barrels formed bubbles. That was not desirable and when that happened the wine was considered spoiled.
  • 11:30′ Every monastery had people who understood wine and they tried to control what happened in the barrels.
  • 12:20′ Royalty drank a lot of wine, commoners drank a kind of beer or cider.
  • 13:30′ Why the English had a big part to play in the development of Champagne. One early version of wine was called Clairette.
  • 14:30′ Consumers were unhappy when their barrel of wine had “turned” and had too many bubbles. Then an Englishman realized that perhaps the secret to controlling what happens to the wine was to seal it better inside of a glass bottle. This happened in the early 1600s.
  • 15:30′ The English promoted the idea of wine in glass bottles to the French. The idea was to put the wine in glass after fermentation and seal it up with wood (no cork yet) and cover the wood with a cloth.
  • 16:30′ The wine with two fermentations: wooden barrels + inside bottles.
  • 17:40′ Monks realized that they needed really thick bottles. The English also introduced the use of cork instead of wood. Why cork is better than wood. Why there is a wire over the Champagne bottle.
  • 19:00′ Dom Perignon
  • 20:30′ Dom Perignon started to mix different grapes to make his wine to get to a flavor he wanted.
  • 21:00′ The three varieties of grapes used in Champagne making are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier and they are always mixed in various proportions. A 100% Chardonnay drink made in the Champagne area is called Blanc de Blanc, not Champagne.
  • 22:00′ Pinot noir is a red grape with white flesh inside, if they don’t want the wine to have a red color (most Champagnes don’t), they remove the skins as soon as they’ve pressed the grapes. Dom Perignon wrote a book about how to mix grape varieties to get various wine flavors. You were supposed to taste first thing in the morning before you had tasted anything else!
  • 23:00′ The French court immediately adopted this wine Dom Perignon made and so did the English court. By the late 1600s Champagne was THE drink of the aristocracy in Western Europe.
  • 24:00′ The rules for making Champagne. Only 5% of Champagne has a “millésime”, and those are the most expensive bottles. Otherwise wine is not dated as other wine is.
  • 25:40′ Consumers find a brand of wine that they like and stick to it and then year after year they’ll find that same flavor. Tastes in wines have changed, they used to be a lot sweeter, now a slightly sweet wine is called “demi-sec”.
  • 27:00′ Rosé Champagne. Buying Champagne for an event and how we drink it in France.
  • 28:00′ Statistics about Champagne and the business of Champagne.
  • 31:00′ Magnum bottles vs small bottles. How to get a good deal on Champagne. Some of the big names are Veuve Clicquot, Moet et Chandon, Taittinger, Lafitte, Pommery, Ruimart (oldest official), Martel (not exported). There are over 200 brands of Champagne.
  • 33:00′ Buying Champagne from a “caviste”. A “caviste” is someone who does not specialize in any one kind of Champagne, they sell many wines and Champagnes and can advise you on what you need for your event and your particular taste. In English: wine merchant?
  • 35:30′ Champagne tasting at the various Champagne houses.
  • 36:20′ Rosé Champagne.
  • 37:00′ Why you should visit the Champagne Region

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