Ok, so everyone knows that France is famous for its food-its fresh, flavorful artisanal breads, over 400 types of cheese, chocolates and a myriad of pastries ranging from simple fruit tarts to religieuses filled with salted butter caramel. But of course, France also takes great pride in her high-quality wines and champagnes. Therefore, a yearlong sojourn in France would simply be incomplete without making a concerted effort to learn more about this integral element of French life and culture. Thus, my friends and I set out last week to the Champagne region of France, specifically Epernay and Reims, to visit the production sites of some of the highest quality champagnes in France. In Epernay, we visited the caves Moët-Chandon, while in Reims we toured the cellars of Martel, both producers of incredible champagne. I learned a tremendous amount about the production process and history of various champagnes, and now I understand much more about the difference betweenthe range of champagnes from brut(very dry) to demi-sec(the sweetest kind) :) I consider myself truly fortunate to have taken this trip and further enlightened myself on yet another aspect of the rich French culture. Of course, each tour ended with a tasting. In Moët-Chandon, we sampled Impérial, while in Martel, the staff presented us with three different types-my favorite of which was an Ernest Rapeneau brut. We also tasted a dessertchampagne called Ernest Rapeneau carte bleu, a demi-sec. I found it to be too sweet for my taste, though. But the visit was truly worthwhile and very enjoyable with the great company of friends. Also, in Reims, I ate my first tartine here in France, and it was absolutely delicious. A tartine simply consists of toasted bread topped with usually vegetables of some kind and melted cheese. The kind I ordered came topped with ratatouille and melted mozzarella cheese. As if that were not enough, I ordered what I though would be a scoop each of salted-butter caramel and strawberry ice cream; what I got instead was a giant sundae(which I didn't even think one could find in France) smothered with whipped cream and toasted almonds, accompanied by a fudgy brownie. It was certainly delicious(as is all the ice cream I have tasted here thus far), although I barely managed to finish the ice cream, let alone the entire sundae! Take a look below!
Impérial from Moët-Chandon
A Glimpse of the Cellar at Martelin Reims Tartine with Ratatouille in Reims
The Obnoxious yet Delicious Brownie-Caramel Sundae
I am a graduate student who is a total foodie. I enjoy lacto-ovo vegetarian cooking and baking alike, as well as talking about food in general. I believe that blending flavors correctly is key to creating flavorful, tasty dishes, and I try to achieve the proper balance of herbs and spices in all of my recipes. I am an American francophile of Indian descent who enjoys, other than cooking, reading, particularly mystery/suspense novels, biking and just hanging out.
I am more than happy to take recipe requests; please email me if there is something in particular you would like to see.