Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Ah France! Our vacation was dedicated to fine food and wine- and there was definitely plenty of that! To start, we visited Hediard and Fauchon, two boutique retailers of delicious gourmet goods. My french came in handy as I ordered un pain au chocolat, et un pain de campagne.... and then asking for du vin blanc.. and some amazing fraises!! We did our picnic in two parts- one in the Luxembourg gardens and then later on the champs de mars by the Eiffel tower. Life did not suck.

For dinner, we tried Au Vieux Comptoir (not to be confused with the millions of other bars and restaurants by the same name- this is the 'old' one. It got to the point where we saw one 'comptoir' restuarant a day, all across france....even in the airport!) (It means 'counter'...)

We shared a plate of white asparagus in a delicious dijon butter thing, and then I had a creamy porcini mushroom risotto, one of the hardier meals I had on our trip. Ry had a steak which he enjoyed with some super creamy mashed potatoes!

And for best lunch, this lovely spot by our hotel- in a pretty little square in the marais- had an awesome salad provencale- complete with egg, tuna, green beans... so delicious!

And of course... the drinking! Our first stop was Champagne- and even the streets are painted with these handy graphics and an _____> to point the way. We tried 3 different brands: Mercier, the most popular in France, Moet Chandon, the most popular... everywhere else, and De Castellane, holder of no significant moniker, but in a 'charlie and the chocolate factory'-esque building. Who could resist?

Very classy tour featuring video with voice over by Scarlett Johanson.

'The people's champagne' with some crazy cool cellars.

Charlie wasn't home.

Then it was off to St. Emilion, Home of Bordeaux. First, a walk through the vineyards outside the city:

Then a little wine tasting... .

Followed by some wine buying..

WARNING: You too may 'storm the castle' after drinking this much wine (kidding...)

Coffee is always better in Europe...

We then spent a day in the Chateauneuf du Pape in Provence, tasting straight from the foudre (big-ass barrel) and checking out the very old vintages (1926!!)

The word is that 2010 is gonna be a good one.

Old (the wine, of course... I would never say that about Ryan!)

For lunch, we had perhaps one of our most outstanding meals at Chez Serge. Truffles, a piece of beautiful fish in a lemony butter sauce, and Ryan had more meat, and of course a really good baba rum cake with berries....

And later, in Avignon, this cute spot- though the food was just ok amongst our many meals, the location and interior had me charmed!!

A great trip, and a lesson learned- next time I will have to blog more as we go so I remember more of each meal!!!

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