Posts from December 2005

A cheese discovery, the 'laguiole' is a good way to finish the year

I was thinking of these words attributed to Charles De Gaulle regarding France, "How can you govern a country that counts as many cheeses as days of the year". Well today I had the pleasure while shopping at my local Whole Foods store (Montclair, New Jersey) to taste and purchase some 'Laguiole' cheese.Languiole_1 This hard cow cheese considered a cousin of Cantal is made on the plateau of Aubrac. It reflects the nature that surrounds it. Some wine suggestions would be Cahors or Cotes du Rhone. Crusty baguette and some saucisson would complement it well. I will personally try it with herb marinated olives, pheasant rosemary pate and a glass of 'Yalumba' Y Series Shiraz-Viogner from Australia. Laguiole is mostly known for its finely crafted knives. Happy and Healthy New Year everyone.


Thinking of 'New Year's Resolutions'...What about being content with performing one's craft well

A recent e-mail from my friend from the windy city Barry Moltz got me thinking of the elusive New Year's resolutions. As I approach the mid-century mark, the only 2 things i would write down for the coming year are 'peace of mind' and a vacation to Europe to catch up with my family. As for work, I would be satisfied to just do my job well for people I mostly enjoy to work with whilw making a decent living. Check Barry Motz hopes for 2006 and has Barry Says: "Remain passionate, stay resilient, and be humble".


The special place of 'Oysters' in the Holiday Festivities in Brittany

In an earlier phase of my life, while I lived in Brittany, France, oysters occupied a special place in the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Most common were the Oysters of Oleron, brought fresh by the producers in their Bourriches Bourrich .
The usual serving was a dozen per person which was quite a bit of work for the volunteer who took up the task of opening them.
The traditional wine pairing would be a Muscadet de Sevre et Maine 'sur lie'.


My mother suggested I try Epoisse cheese from Burgundy

While wishing my mother a Merry Xmas, I mentioned that my wife liked very much Fromage d'Affinois. In my mother's opinion Affinois is a generic, mass produced cheese and that if we were looking for authenticity, we should try Epoisse which she tasted numerous times on a recent trip to Burgundy visiting friends and family. Epoisse_product It has been rated as one of the 10 most pungent cheeses. Made with cow's milk, it was introduced to the world by Cistercian Monks in the 16th century.
Sauternes would be a good wine pairing.


6th 'Christmas Market' is in full swing on Place du Capitole in Toulouse until December 29

Thinking about what those members of my family who live in Toulouse might do this week-end, I discovered a very exciting event taking place on Place du Capitole, right in the center of town. If you happen to be in the area, the "6th Christmas Market"Marchenoeltoulouse with 130 stands is offering arts & crafts, christmas items, food and other delicacies as well as a Provencal Creche.The Toulouse Tourist  Office offers a Nice List of other holiday events.


Buzet wines, a lesser known appellation south of Bordeaux

I recently purchased  Domaine de la Croix (Vielles Vignes 2001), a wine from the Buzet appellation.
A charming town Buzet is located on the banks of the Baise river south of Bordeaux on the way to Toulouse. I discovered these wines some 20 years ago while living in the Loire Valley thanks to a knowledgeable wine shop owner. So this purchase was tinted with a hint of nostalgia. The wine was simple and pleasant. If you like slow travel you can actually rent a boat for a nonchalant cruise on the Baise river.


Forget about New Year's Resolutions, join me to explore 'Goal Free Living' over breakfast with Steve Shapiro on January 9

For two hours forget about New Year’s resolutions, targets, quarterly planning and the like.
On January 9, 2006, from 7:45 am to 9:30 am, I invite you to Explore ‘Goal Free Living’ over breakfast  with the author Steve Shapiro.
The book (published by John Wiley) should be available on January 6.
The event will take place at Church Street Cafe located at 12, Church Street in Montclair, New Jersey.
"Goal-Free Living presents an alternative - that we can have an extraordinary life now, all without goals and detailed plans. By living for each moment, it’s possible to have a successful life and follow your passions at the same time".
Price: $18.00 in Advance And $25.00 at the Door on the Day of the Event (includes breakfast)
Visit the Event Page for Online Reservations and more Details. 


Hot air balloon rides are not just the province of Richard Branson

Wondered what it feels like to lift off in a hot air balloon, one of the companies in the field, the US Hot Air Ballon Team based in Lancaster County (Amish County), Pennsylvania offers balloon flights starting with one hour adventures.Lancaster_1 Thinking of doing something special with your better half, book a one hour private flight for $750.00. They also offer packages abroad throughout the year. Maybe it would appeal to Jeremy Zawodny at Yahoo who frequently writes about his flying lessons.


Now in paperback, 'A year in the Merde' by Stephen Clarke pokes gentle fun at parisian life

Being often the butt of jokes about things french or being asked for travel advice regarding 'le pays de l'amour et du camembert' even though I have lived in the USA for 16 years now, the cover of the paperback edition of 'A year in the Merde' by Stephen Clarke, a Paris based british journalist caught my eye. His humourous comments make for a fun and relaxing read. The book is more about parisian life than french life itself. For whatever reason Merde_uk_1 the UK (left) and US (right) Merde_us_1 cover are different.