Instead of showcasing a cookbook author, a chef, a wine or cheesemaker, I decided to offer the interview seat to Inez, the winner of our Week End Alambic Contest announced on June 25th.
Inez was the only person to give correct and detailed answers to the 3
questions asked, here in her own words.
Question 1: What difference is there between the way Armagnac and
Cognac get their color?
Cognac gets its color from caramel, Armagnac from the maturation in barrels made from Gascon black oak (the natural tannins in the wood interacts with the alcohol and the color is gradually produced - once the desired color is reached the Armagnac is stored in old barrels where the tannins no longer are active and can affect the color of the eau-de-vie)
Question 2: Name a famous figure from Gascony:
I was not sure if figure in American English implies a fictional or real, and or a historic or contemporary person so here is a selection:
Contemporary Culinary : Pierre Koffmann, Alain Dutournier & Pascal Aussignac.
Historic: Comte d'Armagnac
Serge Blanco .
Fictional: D'artagnan :
Question 3: List 4 common grapes
used to make Armagnac:
Ugni Blanc, Colombard, Baco and Folle Blanche.
Inez was kind enough to share her itinerary from Scandinavian origins to putting down roots in Armagnac recently and also why she decided to give a shot at winning the prize.
Q: Inez, Can you tell me how you found out about the Armagnac contest?
I have an Internet search engine alert for certain foods and wines - amongst them Armagnac - and as I have already read articles on your site with interest, and as I am mad about Armagnac, I decided to read your contest details although I never normally enter contests.
Q: Do you like the interviews and contests on 'Serge the
After winning your contest how can I reply anything other than 'love them' -but honestly I have never looked at your contests before, my main interest in your site has been to read about pairing wine and food, food trends generally and your interviews, where I have liked both your choice of people and questions.
Q: Are there people you would like us to feature?
I shall have to think a bit for this one - are you looking for people with a French/US angle?
Q: Do you have a favorite bistro, wine bar?Not really - sorry - I enjoy a great many of them for different reasons- but I can not honestly think of any that I would pick no matter the circumstances. Further I do not think my 'normal' haunts will be of much interest to your readers as they are not of the trendy or chic sort. I rather favour places where they know their food/wine and offer a fair value for money proposition without too much fuss and pretension. Had you asked about restaurants I would have found it easier to pick some from amongst my favorites that I could recommend and that were likely to be appreciated by your readers as well.
Q: Tell us about your food lover itinerary?
I am Danish/Swedish of origin and have been a foodie since childhood. Had the good luck to have parents who prioritized good quality food and wine and were knowledgeable about the subject so I developed my palate on quality French wines and European food. Since I can remember I have also hung out in kitchens rather than for instance taking conventional holidays, anything to learn more and acquire the skills set to go with my passion. As an adult I lived in London for many years and benefited from the city's dynamic mix of cultures and their culinary traditions. I have also worked in South America and the Far East which has further helped to broaden my taste horizons - and confirmed that sharing a good meal/bottle is the best way to break barriers and create relationships no matter the culture.
Today my husband and I are in the final stages of converting an old farm in Gascony, in SW France. It will become a guesthouse where we from 2011 will be offering tailor made gourmet tours and cookery classes. We chose to do this in Gascony as it is a beautiful and historically rich region that still produce a wide variety of wonderful produce for every season - not least Armagnac! Gascony is also well of the beaten track, the least populated area of France, where traditional values predominate: The culinary heritage is alive and kicking here despite the strong inroads convenience foods are making in France as elsewhere. We have found it a haven and we look forward to share our passion and see our guests savoring quality food and wine whilst enjoying the slow pace of life here.....
Thanks Inez for reminding us of the importance of simple pleasures.
We look forward to featuring your Gascon guesthouse here once it's ready to open its doors.Thanks to Bureau National Interprofessionnel de l'Armagnac for making this Loisirs Acceuil Gers gascon treat possible...Read all about Armagnac 'The true spirit of France'
Previous Interview: Espresso Italiano, Talking Coffee the Italian Way with Carlo Odello
(Old fashioned Armagnac illustration from Wikipedia pages)