Tag Archives: biodynamic wine

What is for dinner this summer?

This week chez nous in Paris the menu has been cantaloupe starters, tomato mozzarella salads, grilled eggplants, stuffed courgettes, Asian prawns with broccoli, peppers and coriander, spanakopita with lots of onion, and sliced peach for dessert.

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All these fruits and vegetables from the Bastille Market for just 10 Euros! Enjoyed with excellent (and cheap) rosé from our favorite wine shop (see: Christmas preparations: wine). Cannot complain!

What has been on your plate this summer?

Christmas preparations: wine

Finding the right wine for one’s meal is serious business in France but even more so when it comes to Christmas meal wine pairing.

Carrying the baby and groceries (read: already about 12kg…), we headed to a wine shop called La Cave des Papilles, located a few steps away from Montparnasse Cemetery. It is not located in our arrondissement, but so worth the visit. This charming wine shop specializes in “le vin naturel“; wine made with minimum technological intervention. Lots of wine offered by independent winemakers, biodynamic wine, etc.

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La Cave des Papilles is a wonderful address for natural wine.

Our visit took about 40 minutes. The shop is not enormous but the choice is extensive. Lots of labels we have never seen before.

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Discovering new labels is a lot of fun.

We listened to the seller –very knowledgeable– and finally based our decision on his recommendations and our taste. AOC Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine (Loire Valley) for oysters. AOC Jurançon (South West of France, near the Pyrenees) for foie gras. AOC Rasteau (Rhône Valley) for poultry. We are big fans of the southern Rhône Valley appellations, home of some fantastic wines like e.g. Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and instead of going with wine from Bourgogne (as recommended by the seller), we opted for our usual region.

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So many labels, so many regions.

We didn’t buy anything for cheese but should we need some more wine, we have a lovely bottle of Irouléguy from 2010.

….and just in case you wondered –no need to buy champagne as we have Canard-Duchêne in the fridge!

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I told you. Serious business.

Is your wine and food pairing as exhaustive this Christmas?

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La Cave des Papilles: 35 Rue Daguerre, 75014 Paris. Metro: Denfert-Rochereau. Closed during lunch hour!

 

Arrival at the summer house

It has been almost one week since I arrived at the summer house in Finland. The routine kicked in fast. The wake-up between 9 and 11 o’clock, porridge with berries while watching the lake view, walking the baby in the woods (she seems very impressed by the surrounding tall pines and spruces), cooking lunch, cutting wood, observing birds, arranging the boat garage, heating up the sauna and preparing dinner (often Grilled vendace: a typical Finnish meal after sauna).

I usually go to sauna around 9 o’clock in the evening, after putting my daughter to sleep, and return to the kitchen to cook while my parents have their turn at the sauna. The weather hasn’t been warm enough for drinking rosé wine at terrace but we have enjoyed red wine from Luberon and biodynamic red from Languedoc-Roussillon (Domaine Cazes, Cuvée Marie Gabrielle 2011). Life is sweet here and will only get sweeter when my husband arrives some time next time.

No need to look further for peace and calm. Finnish lake scenery at its best.

No need to look further for peace and calm. Finnish lake scenery at its best.

It is 7 o’clock in the evening as I am typing this. Time to cut wood and heat up the sauna!

PS I will be here for several weeks, so stay tuned for more stories about the life at the Finnish summer house!

Lastly, Pearlspotting is on Facebook and on Instagram. If you prefer Twitter, you can find me here @Miia_Niskanen

See you soon!

Wine Exhibition of Independent Winegrowers is back!

Is your wine cellar empty? Good, because the Wine Exhibition of Independent Winegrowers returns to Paris this weekend! More than 1000 winemakers from all over France will present their products, often organic and biodynamic, and always of high quality. It is a dream event of all wine lovers and not to be missed! wines of FranceAs previously, I have an extra ticket and happy to send it to someone interested in participating the exhibition between March 28-31. It is for two people and includes complimentary wine tasting glasses.

The rules are the same: like Pearlspotting on Facebook, or if you prefer, become my blog’s follower by inserting your email address into the box available on the front page of my blog (https://pearlspotting.wordpress.com). Please write a comment or a brief story about your most memorable wine experience. Do not forget to mention the name of the wine the story involves (if you remember). Can be from anywhere in the world.

At midnight Wednesday (Paris time) I will pick up the winner (call it Internet lottery) and contact this person. Next day I will send the ticket to the address of the winner.

I am looking forward to your wine stories, and meanwhile, my previous posts about this wine exhibition are to be read here: Wine tasting at Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants and Maison Lorgeril from Languedoc-Roussillon.

EXHIBITION WEBSITE: http://www.france-independent-winegrowers.com/index2.php

What is a whelk?

A whelk looks strange. It is slimy. It smells like sea and mud. Some call it ugly. Just look at this photo!a whelk

But a whelk is also delicious! Especially with homemade mayonnaise! Moreover, it is rich in protein: around 20g of protein per 100g, which is more than what lamb contains. Would you have believed? In addition, a whelk is rich in vitamin B12, copper and zinc, making whelks more than ten times richer in B12 than beef. Impressive how good these slimy creatures are for us!

You can buy raw whelks and boil them for a few minutes with salt and black pepper, but supermarkets in France sell them ready-cooked. This is what we did yesterday: we purchased shrimps and whelks and ate them with mayonnaise. Afterwards we had a cheese platter with salas. Such a perfect dinner. Easy (no cooking needed), affordable, tasty, healthy. And as a bonus, gluten free. shrimps and whelks for dinner

If you are interested in whelks, maybe you would like to read this article by the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/19/dining/whelks-are-coming-out-of-their-shell-and-onto-your-plate.html (December 2012). Apparently the whelk has surfaced on cutting-edge menus in the US, and chefs are creating some very interesting-sounding dishes of them. Why not to try when you next time see them on the menu?

Tip number 1: The only thing you really need to be aware of when eating whelks is that little tiny “lid”. It is the thin top part of the whelk, and should be removed by your fingers and thrown away.

Tip number 2: You need special equipment to eat whelks with. A normal fork won’t do it. Tiny forks or pins are the only efficient ways to pull the whelk from its shell, believe me.

PS Have you already tasted a whelk? What was your impression? How was it prepared and eaten? Did you have red or white wine with it? We had biodynamic red (Côtes du Roussillon, Marie Gabrielle Cazes, Languedoc), creating a nice match.

If you haven’t yet tasted the whelks, do you think you will one day?

 

 

 

Shan Goût: not your usual Chinese restaurant

To celebrate the beginning of the Year of the Horse, we ate at Shan Goût yesterday. This small restaurant near the Marché d’Aligre is recommended by Le Fooding and since our criterion was to find something a bit upscale, the choice seemed perfect. We reserved one week in advance.Shan GoûtUpon arrival, we were given a table sort of in the middle of everyone: there was a group of guys a few centimeters to our left and a bigger group to our right. It felt like sitting in the middle of a corridor. And it surely did not seem fair that reserving one week ahead does not guarantee a nice table. 

Second negative-ish point. No champagne by glass. Ok, call me a snob but we are in Paris. And champagne belongs to the new year…

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One has to order a fix menu, and we opted for two starters and two main courses (22€ per person plus 3€ extra per person because of the dishes we chose).

We begun with steamed cabbage with crab meat and a taro soup. Cabbage had a refined taste but did not compare to the taro soup, which was divine and velvety. taro soupeShan Goût

For the main course we opted for a duck leg served with lentils and greens. It did not taste particularly Asian, and came in a gelatin-like sauce. It was not bad, not at all, but it was not at all what we expected either. Very fusion, to say the least.Shan GoûtThe second main course we shared was sea bass. It reminded us of tastes of Laos, Malaysia…. and it was fantastic!!! Shan Goût

 

We had a carafe of red wine from the Avignon region but my husband liked less than I did. Otherwise, the wine list seemed interesting: for example, Maison Casez from Languedoc-Roussillon makes excellent natural and even biodynamic wine, and would be our next choice should we return to Shan Goût.

This said, yes, I am still puzzled as to what to think. 50% of what we ate was delicious, but the other half left us a bit empty. There was the issue with our table. The service was not particularly friendly. Not rude, but nothing too smiley either. Hmmm. The restaurant aims high: Shan Goût is considered high-end and the price proves it (almost 100€ for two), but I would suggest they work a bit more on the presentation and the service.

Will I return –probably yes because I don’t like having puzzled feelings about something!

Le Fooding review: http://lefooding.com/fr/restaurants/restaurant-shan-gout-paris

Wine: http://www.cazes-rivesaltes.com/vente-vins-de-rivesaltes-muscat-rivesaltes-rivesaltes/?page=shop_home

Maison Lorgeril from Languedoc-Roussillon

Le salon des vins des Vignerons Indépendants (Wine Exhibition of Independent Winemakers) begun in Paris on Thursday. All wine lovers, don’t you just love this photo? Wines from eleven regions of France, and all you have to do is choose where to start! Les salons des vins des Vignerons Indépendants

Our time was quite limited, but oh so rewarding! We were particularly interested in producers coming from Languedoc-Roussillon because of our recent trip in the region. As you may know, Languedoc-Roussillon is the world’s largest wine-growing area, possessing very interesting geographical and climate conditions: it is between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, surrounded by the mountains, and its burning sun is cooled down by strong winds. The grapes often grow in the altitude.  Maison Lorgeril depuis 1620

We found Maison Lorgeril and had an informative, pleasant talk about their wine making.  We learned that the owners, count and countess de Lorgeril live in Château de Pennautier, which has been owned by the same family since 1620. The castle is located near Carcassonne in Languedoc-Roussillon; the region between Rhône and Pyrénées in the southern part of France. The castle is considered the heart of their wine production, and its wines include AOC Cabardès, Vins de Pays d’Oc and Vins de Pays de la Cité de Carcassone. In addition, Maison Lorgeril has five other estates where grapes are grown, totaling in nine different AOC.Lorgeril carte vignoble After tasting two whites, three reds and a white dessert wine, we left the stand  with a heavy bag full of wines we will serve at Christmas… nice! We love buying directly from producers, and especially from those ones who have the kindness to share their knowledge and wine-making stories!

Maison Lorgeril: http://www.lorgeril.com/ (the map was copied from this website)

Le salon des vins des Vignerons Indépendants: http://www.vigneron-independant.com/ (until Monday) and Wine tasting at Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants