Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day Trip to Champagne(Revised)

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 between the 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 dessert champagne 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 Martel in Reims

Tartine with Ratatouille in Reims
The Obnoxious yet Delicious Brownie-Caramel Sundae


Swathi said...

Nice post.Thanks for the info about champagne. France is one of the country in my wish list. Carmel brown sundae looks delicious.

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