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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Gourmandise

   Since my first step to the moment I boarded the plane last September, I was a picky eater. I mean really, really picky. I often ate peanut butter toast for all three meals. Wendy's chicken nuggets was about the only meat I would eat. And I never ever ate vegetables. Rightfully, this bothered my mother, who every night prepared a big, healthy dinner. 
   I learned to eat in France. I don't think my own mom will recognize me when I get home. And not just because of the 15 pounds I've gained. I eat all the normal foods now, vegetables included. But what I really adore is French delicacies. I've learned a good amount about them too, and will now share that information with you all! 
Cheese

Cheese does not belong in the refrigerator! But instead outside, typically it is kept on a window sill. It should be brought inside before beginning the meal in order to warm up before cheese time! I am a real cheese lover. I don't discriminate against a single cheese, I love them all! But my all time favorites are: 

Goat's milk
  • Chevre 

When it's young the cheese is creamy and soft. As it ages it becomes dry and firm. It's crispy white on the inside. 
Salt is used to prevent decay, which leaves a little bit of a salty taste.
Let it sit on your tongue and melt, it's so good. 
It can also be served hot (called chevre chaud). I love putting slices on a piece of toast and putting it in the oven to melt. 

Cow's milk 
  • Camembert
Camembert comes from Normandie and is soft and creamy.  If you refrigerate it and then leave it out, the center will start to ooze, and that is simply wonderful. 
  • Comté

Comté takes longer than these last two to make. It also is very different in texture. It's a hard cheese and pretty sweet. The most common ones are between 12 and 16 months old. The rind becomes bigger as it ages. It's named after my region, Franche-Comté!

  • Mont D'or 
We had this for dinner last night. Served over potatoes and accompanied by sausage. The cheese comes from cows in the mountains between Switzerland and France. It can only be produced during certain periods of the year and not enough is made to ship all around France.


That covers my all time favorite cheeses, and represents a good amount of the variety that cheese they can come in.


Wine


Wine goes so well with cheese. Like peanut butter and jelly, but French style! 
Some people can identify the type of wine they are drinking by the taste. But they may well be cheating because you can actually tell by the shape of the bottle!



Alsace and Bordeaux

Each type of wine has it's own bottle shape. As an example, you can see that Bordeaux wine comes in a long slim bottle, while a bottle from Alsace has more of a curve. 

I prefer white wine but sincerely like them all. 

   Every night for dinner we start with the aperitif. An alcoholic drink and crackers. Then we eat the entree, meat, and two sides.  Afterwards is the cheese course, followed by dessert. Dessert is often chocolate cakes or tarts. Two different wines are served with dinner and cheese to compliment their tastes.  
And that is how I've gained 15 pounds. lol!

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